Showing posts with label Save the Children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Save the Children. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 18


The civil war in Syria has entered its fifth year. So far, with 210,000 dead and 10 million displaced, scattered to refugee camps or left to fend for themselves, the crisis seems overwhelming. 

"A lack of funding, coordination and international political will to guarantee aid access has meant that many people are not getting the help they need, particularly in hard-to-reach areas inside Syria," writes Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children, for the New Statesman.

Save the Children works in 120 countries: "Across all our work, we pursue several core values: accountability, ambition, collaboration, creativity and integrity."

Forsyth offers specific recommendations including coalitions of governments and NGOs that can better coordinate aid, new strategies for reaching remote places, devising a system for nations to provide equitable funding, and empowering recipients. YaleGlobal points out that such strategies may "seem narrow in light of an expanding population, rising inequality, a decline in resources as basic as water amid so many longstanding conflicts."

As is often the case, readers' comments to Forsyth's essay reflect the challenges and even awareness of the complexities in the Middle East. Some readers offer small and hopeful recommendations; others argue the conflict is not the West's concern. YaleGlobal concludes by noting that the crisis could destabilize neighboring countries. The globe has reason to provide aid. Yet polarization among nations and within nations and organization, in addition to unnecessary politicization of countless issues and misinformation, not only prevent efficient distribution of aid but also the good governance and united effort that could keep such conflicts at bay in the first place.

The novel Allure of Deceit examines how charitable aid comes with an agenda by examining  a foundation's work on the ground in Afghanistan. A director uses programs to investigate the death of her son and wife while villagers are astounded to be regarded as recipients of aid. In the end, most parties are aligned, but not without deceit.

In the end, does aid from external sources help governments evade their responsibility? What kind of aid encourages responsibility? Priorities must be set.

Photo of Syrian children studying in Lebanon schools, with aid from the UK, Save the Children, and Unicef, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Russell Watkins, Department for International Development.

Sunday, September 9


Pakistan has ordered six foreign workers of the charity Save the Children to leave the country. "The aid group had been under suspicion from authorities ever since a doctor accused of assisting the CIA in its search for the al-Qaida leader claimed that Save the Children had introduced him to US intelligence officers," reports Jon Boone for the Guardian.  Pakistanis suggest the workers had "engaged" the doctor who has been charged of setting up a vaccination program to catch Oasma bin Laden.

Save the Children has worked in Pakistan for decades and only six of the 2000 workers in the country are foreign nationals, Boone explains.

The charity issued a statement: "Save the Children is a global organisation and has a zero-tolerance policy for people involved in work that is not humanitarian and does not benefit children and their families. We reiterate our offer to the Pakistani authorities to examine our country office financial records and interview any of our staff concerned with our operation there."

Save the Children strives for transparency and offers a Donor Bill of Rights, that including transparency on mission and finances, ability to ask questions and the expectation "that all relationships with individuals representing organization of interest to the donors will be professional in nature."

Doctor Shakil Afridi, who helped the US pinpoint the location of Osama bin Laden,  is serving a 33-year prison sentence for treason. Pakistan should be very careful calling the Save the Children workers or Dr. Afridi a spy - unless, of course, bin Laden was working for Pakistan in an official capacity.

Photo of a group of children in Khost Province, Afghanistan, courtesy of funbobseye and Wikimedia Commons