Guide To Non Governmental Organizations For The Military

Guide To Non Governmental Organizations For The Military
for the
A primer for the military
about private,
voluntary, and
operating in
edited by Lynn Lawry MD, MSPH, MSc
Guide to
for the
A primer for the military about private, voluntary, and nongovernmental
organizations operating in humanitarian emergencies globally
Edited and rewritten by Lynn Lawry MD, MSPH, MSc
Summer 2009
Originally written by Grey Frandsen
Fall 2002
The Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine (CDHAM)
Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USUHS)
International Health Division
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
U.S. Department of Defense
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About CDHAM.................................................................................................................................................................... 5
About OASD(HA)-IHD..................................................................................................................................................... 6
Introduction........................................................................................................................................................................ 7
Acronyms and Abbreviations...................................................................................................................................... 8
Part 1. NGO Structures and Themes
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions Related to Aid, Relief, and Development................................. 13
Chapter 2. Introduction to NGOs........................................................................................................................ 25
Chapter 3. What Is an NGO?.................................................................................................................................. 30
Chapter 4. NGO Structure, Authority, and Standards................................................................................. 40
Chapter 5. NGO Personnel and Policies........................................................................................................... 49
Chapter 6. NGO Funding......................................................................................................................................... 64
Chapter 7. NGO Coordination............................................................................................................................... 87
Chapter 8. NGO Identification and Presence................................................................................................. 95
Part 2. NGO Capacities and Services
Chapter 9. NGO Emergency Deployment and Response........................................................................100
Chapter 10. Scale and Scope of NGO Activity.................................................................................................114
Chapter 11. NGOs and Health Services.............................................................................................................119
Chapter 12. NGOs and Food and Nutrition.....................................................................................................130
Chapter 13. NGOs and Water, Sanitation, and Shelter................................................................................136
Chapter 14. NGOs and Protection.......................................................................................................................142
Part 3. NGO Operations
Chapter 15. NGO Logistics......................................................................................................................................150
Chapter 16. NGO Use of Information and Communications Technology...........................................169
Chapter 17. NGOs and Security............................................................................................................................181
Chapter 18. NGOs and the Military.....................................................................................................................195
Part 4. Annexes
Annex 1.
Selected NGOs.....................................................................................................................................213
Annex 2.
Selected Humanitarian Resources.............................................................................................335
Annex 3.
Selected Humanitarian Publications........................................................................................347
Annex 4.
Code of Conduct.................................................................................................................................350
Annex 5.
How the U.S. Government Provides Humanitarian Aid....................................................353
Annex 6.
Red Cross and Red Crescent Systems Explained.................................................................356
Annex 7.
Key United Nations Agencies.......................................................................................................365
Annex 8.
Médecins sans Frontières speach at NATO............................................................................370
Annex 9.
About CDHAM: Advancing medicine in humanitarian and disaster relief
The vision: To contribute to national security by achieving regional and global stability through health
care diplomacy.
The U.S. military has a long history of responding to disasters and participating in humanitarian
assistance missions. Until recently, however, these missions were considered less important than
traditional combat and combat support missions. Events in the 21st century have made it clear that
our national security depends on stability around the globe.
This was emphasized in recent Department of Defense (DOD) guidance establishing stability
sperations, including humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HA/DR), as missions with a
priority equal to combat operations.
The mission: To provide support to Department of Defense agencies, through education & training,
consultation, direct support and scholarly activities, regarding the role of health care in response to
disasters and humanitarian assistance missions.
The Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine (CDHAM) was formally established
at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) by the Defense Appropriations
Act of 1999. Organized within the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine at USUHS,
CDHAM is postured as the Defense Department’s focal point for academic aspects of medical stability
The successful delivery of aid depends on a coordinated effort between the host nation, United
Nations agencies, other governmental organizations, and many NGOs. With respect to HA/DR
missions, the DOD will function in a supporting role to other agencies, such as the Department of
State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Effectiveness requires achieving synergy
by optimizing each participant’s relative strengths. Although the primary target audience for this
Guide to Nongovernmental Organizations for the Military, 2nd edition, is the Department of Defense,
it is intended to be a practical source of information about many NGOs for the entire humanitarian
assistance community. It is hoped that it will also serve as a bridge to better understanding and
I would like to recognize Dr. Lynn Lawry for her efforts revising this guide as an author and the
senior editor. Without her expertise and dedication, it would not be the quality product it is. It is also
appropriate to recognize the work done by Mr. Grey Frandsen as author of the initial guide.
Charles W. Beadling, MD, FAAFP, IDHA, DMCC
Director, Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine
Department of Military and Emergency Medicine
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
About the International Health Division OASD(HA)-IHD
The International Health Division (IHD) advises the assistant secretary of defense (Health Affairs) on
policy related to interaction of the military health system with host nation civilians and their health
infrastructure in stability operations, counterinsurgency, and humanitarian assistance/disaster
response. The IHD is supervised and resourced by the deputy assistant secretary of defense for force
health protection and readiness.
In accordance with DOD instructions, IHD is committed to partnerships in policy with NGOs, the
Interagency, allies, private groups and others. IHD identifies gaps in knowledge, policy and capabilities,
and informs OASD(HA)’s continuous quality improvement to meet the challenges of disaster response,
complex emergencies, fragile states, and conflict zones. In these circumstances, DOD recognizes it
is rarely the health lead except by default; however, MHS must be able to effectively support other
agencies and, when necessary, take lead in areas that are too dangerous or otherwise inaccessible to
nonmilitary agencies and assets.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
This book is about nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), often referred to as private voluntary
organizations (PVOs), nonprofits, charities, and (humanitarian) aid organizations. Its aim is to
orient the military with NGOs: their operations, strengths, limitations, budgets, practices, and other
characteristics that make them unique actors in a large and dynamic humanitarian community.
Every NGO is unique: no two have exactly the same objectives, missions, operating procedures, or
capacities. To provide a cohesive body of information, generalizations are often made and detail may
be sacrificed. This book has been produced specifically for uniformed services personnel, but it may
prove useful to others in understanding some of the military-specific issues in foreign aid.
The annexes in this book play an important part in constructing an understanding of NGOs and the
NGO community. Designed as a quick reference, annex 2 is a compilation of the most informative
websites highlighted in different sections of the book. Annex 1 covers the basics for NGOs commonly
found in humanitarian emergencies around the world and ones the military are likely to encounter.
In addition, a more comprehensive and searchable database of NGOs can be found at
This publication was initially written in the spring and summer of 2002 by Grey Frandsen, at the
time a project officer for CDHAM and a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University School
for Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Mr. Frandsen served as special assistant to Ambassador
Carlos Pascual, who headed the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/
CRS) at the State Department, and S/CRS advisor on NGO-military relations.
Using the original text as a guide, the book was rewritten and updated in 2009. Many people contributed
to this effort and are designated as authors in the chapter they wrote or edited. Additional editorial help
came from Jennifer Espititu MD, MPH (UNC-Chapel Hill), Warner Anderson (IHD), Charlie Beadling,
and Kevin Riley (CDHAM). The extensive NGO list in annex 1 was researched and written by Kristen
Saenger and Helen Barnhardt, both first-year medical students at Uniform Services University of the
Health Sciences, with the help of Gregg Nakano (CDHAM). We are grateful to everyone who helped in
this revision.
This publication was funded and published by the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance
Medicine, but does not express the opinion, findings, or position of CDHAM, the Uniformed Services
University system, or the U.S. Department of Defense.
For feedback, suggestions, or additions, contact Dr. Lynn Lawry at [email protected]
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Acronyms and Abbreviations1
Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger)
Adventist Development and Relief Agency
Allied Forces Central Europe
Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit
area of responsibility
American Refugee Committee
Assistant Secretary of Defense
Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance
consolidated appeal process
Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc
community-based organization
China’s Children Fund
comprehensive campaign plan
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
complex-emergency database
Combined Humanitarian Assistance Response Training
community health worker
local community health worker
Canadian International Development Agency
Center for International Disaster Information
civil-military operations
civil-military operations center
Consequence management planning team
crude mortality rate
chief of mission
Cooperazione Internazionale
commercial off-the-shelf (technology)
Catholic Relief Services
commodity tracking system
Church World Service
Development Assistance Committee
Disaster Assistance Logistics Information System
Disaster Assistance Response Team, of OFDA
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
USAID Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance
Department for International Development (UK)
UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs effective January 1, 1998)
Not all of these terms are used in this manual. Many are general humanitarian community terms that are useful to
know while studying or working in any of the fields related to humanitarian assistance.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Defense Logistics Agency
U.S. Department of Defense directive
U.S. Department of Defense
diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus vaccine
Danish Refugee Council
Direct Relief International
displaced population
Executive Committee for Humanitarian Affairs
European Commission Humanitarian Office
Foreign Assistance Act
food aid management
USAID BHR Food for Peace program
foreign humanitarian assistance
Foreign Operations Guide
Global System for Mobile communications
Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (Germany)
spectrum of humanitarian assistance provided by any organization
humanitarian assistance/special operations, low intensity conflict
humanitarian assistance coordination center
humanitarian assistance/disaster relief
humanitarian assistance operation
humanitarian assistance survey team
humanitarian and civic assistance
household economy approach
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
humanitarian operations center
humanitarian relief organizations
Human Rights Watch
International Atomic Energy Agency
UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee
International Civil Defense Organization
International Committee of the Red Cross
International Council of Voluntary Agencies
International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance
internally displaced person/population
international disaster relief assistance
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
international or intergovernmental organizations
International Medical Corps
International Monetary Fund
International Search and Rescue Advisory Group
intergovernmental organization or international organization (noted in text)
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
International Organization for Migration
indefinite quantity contract
International Rescue Committee
Integrated Regional Information Network
international relief teams
interagency working group
joint force commander
joint logistics operations center
joint task force-consequence management
knowledge, attitudes, and practice
local emergency management authority
liaison officer
logistics operations center
Lutheran World Relief
military civil defense assets
Military Civil Defense Unit of OCHA
Mercy Corps International
Medicins du Monde (Doctors of the World)
military operations other than war
memorandum of understanding
Movement for Peace, Disarmament and Freedom
Medicins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders)
North American Treaty Organization
national emergency relief services
nongovernmental organization
Norwegian Refugee Council
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Office of Foreign Assets Control
USAID BHR Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
on-site operations coordination center
Pan American Health Organization
Presidential Decision Directive
Physicians for Human Rights
Peacekeeping/Humanitarian Assistance
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (U.S. Department of State)
private voluntary organizations
Relief Coordination Branch
Relief International or Refugees International (noted in text)
search and rescue
Save the Children Fund
Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Secretary of Defense
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
standardized monitoring and assessment of relief and transition
special operations, low-intensity conflict
standing operating procedures
stability, security, transition, and reconstruction operations
traditional birth attendant
United Methodist Committee on Relief
United Nations
UN Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination
UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination Standby Team
UN Development Program
Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator (now DHA)
UN Environmental Program
UN Family Planning Agency
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
UN Children’s Fund
see OCHA
UN Office of Project Services
U.S. Agency for International Development
U.S. dollar
U.S. government
U.S. Transportation Command
village health worker
Volunteers in Technical Assistance
Voluntary Organizations in Cooperation in Emergencies
World Food Program
World Health Organization
water sanitation and hygiene
World Vision International
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Part 1.
NGO Structures and Themes
Chapter 1.
Policies and Definitions Related to Aid, Relief, and Development
Cecili Sessions MD, MPH and Lynn Lawry MD, MSPH, MSc
ecent changes in U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) policy have transformed the military medical
tradition of health-care assistance around the world into a core U.S. military mission. This
chapter summarizes current U.S. government (USG) and DOD guidance, international guidelines,
and key definitions to facilitate the understanding required for “a carefully coordinated deployment
of military and civilian, public and private, U.S. and international assets.... in support of a broader
U.S. Government effort to advance U.S. interests by assisting an existing government with internal
challenges or helping establish a new social, economic, and political domestic order in the shortterm, and in the longer term, by establishing conditions for a sustainable peace.”2
That is, these policies guide and direct the DOD in foreign aid and disasters.
DOD Guidance
DOD Directive 3000.05, Military Support for Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction
Operations (20051128), addresses the DOD role in support of reconstruction and stabilization as a
core U.S. military mission, with a priority comparable to combat operations; encourages integrated
civilian and military efforts and close work with interagency and foreign partners, international
organizations, and the private sector.3 It provides the following definitions:
• Stability operations are military and civilian activities conducted to establish or maintain
order in foreign states and regions and to advance U.S. interests and values. Immediate goals
include providing security, restoring essential services, and meeting humanitarian needs.
Long-term goals focus on capacity-building to promote a stable and legitimate state with
democratic institutions and a market economy capable of meeting its citizens’ basic needs
(that is, water, food, sanitation, public health, and medical care).
• Military support to stability, security, transition, and reconstruction operations (SSTRO)
includes DOD activities that support U.S. government plans for stabilization, security,
reconstruction, and transition operations that lead to sustainable peace while advancing U.S.
interests. Although tasks may be best performed by U.S. or foreign civilian professionals, DOD
is instructed to be prepared to perform all tasks necessary to establish or maintain order
when the civilian community cannot do so.4
U.S. Department of Defense, Military Support to Stabilization, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction Operations
Joint Operating Concept, Version 2.0, December 2006,
(accessed November 12, 2009), p. i.
U.S. Department of Defense, “Directive 3000.05: Military Support for Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction
(SSTR) Operations,” November 28, 2005, (accessed November 12, 2009).
See also U.S. Department of Defense, “Instruction: Stability Operations” September 16, 2009,
directives/corres/pdf/300005p.pdf (accessed May 29, 2009).
U.S. Department of Defense, “Directive 3000.05,” p. 2
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions 13
• Medical requirements are to ensure that DOD medical personnel and capabilities are prepared
to meet military and civilian health requirements in any stability operation.5 In addition to
conventional responsibilities of peacetime and operational medicine, the twenty-first century
paradigm of the Military Health System includes the following strategic elements of medical
stability operations (in order of increasing complexity): medical security cooperation, MilMil medical capacity-building, medical support to international humanitarian assistance/
disaster relief, health sector stabilization, and health sector reconstruction.
• International or intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) are global or regional organizations
representing alliances between two or more national governments for political, strategic,
economic, social, or humanitarian objectives; examples include the United Nations (UN), the
World Health Organization (WHO), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the
African Union.
• The private sector includes individuals and for-profit corporations, especially those involved
as financial donors or providers of humanitarian assistance.
Publication JP 3-08, Interagency, Intergovernmental Organization, and Nongovernmental Organization
Coordination during Joint Operations, volumes I and II (20060317), describes the operating
environments, core competencies and organizational structures of various civilian organizations to
facilitate interagency partnerships.6 This document provides comprehensive insight into the NGO
community, including the following working definitions:
• Interagency partnerships are those involving multiple U.S. federal government agencies and
public and private organizations. The National Security Act of 1947 (NSA 47) defines DOD
participation in the interagency process.
• Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are independent, nonprofit, private organizations
with humanitarian goals, which may be local, national, or transnational and have formal or
unstructured management. A broader USAID definition also includes private or nonprofit
entities that are not affiliated with local or national government and receive USAID funding, such
as foundations, firms, academic institutions, and cooperative development organizations.
• Private voluntary organizations (PVO) are included in the NGO category, but DOD working
with these organizations should recognize that this combination is not necessarily widely
accepted across the U.S. government or even by the organizations. The USAID definition
describes a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that relies on voluntary contributions of funds
or staffing from the general public, and is involved in international development activities.
The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) maintains a list of entities
subject to economic sanctions programs. Legal counsel must verify that a particular organization is
not on the list OFAC maintains, because personnel are prohibited from dealing with such entities.
U.S. Department of Defense, “Instruction: Stability Operations,” p. 10.
See Joint Chiefs of Staff, Interagency, Intergovernmental Organization, and Nongovernmental Organization During
Joint Operations, vol. 1, JP3-08 (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2006),
jp3_08v1.pdf (accessed May 29, 2009).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions 14
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an autonomous federal agency under
policy direction of the secretary of state, shapes foreign policy through administration of U.S. foreign
economic assistance, and serves as the lead for interagency foreign disaster assistance. Presidential
authority for emergency relief and long-term humanitarian assistance is coordinated through the
USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) in response to disasters declared by the chief
of mission (COM), that is, the U.S. ambassador. Overseas assets include missions, offices, and regional
organizations, in addition to the deployable disaster assistance response team (DART)—specialists
with disaster relief skills rapidly deployed to assist U.S. embassy management of USG response to
foreign disasters. DODD 5100.46, Foreign Disaster Relief, describes the relationship between DOD
and USAID.
Publication JP 3-29, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance (20090317), outlines joint doctrine for
foreign humanitarian assistance (FHA) operations by DOD and “provides the doctrinal basis for
interagency coordination and for U.S. military involvement in multinational operations.”7 The chapter
on NGOs mentions organizations that can facilitate coordination, including the American Council for
Voluntary International Action (InterAction), a coalition of 165 U.S.-based NGOs, and the UN Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The following guidance is also provided for
DOD interactions with NGOs: clearly articulate the role of the military to the NGOs. Be aware that
not all NGOs appreciate military assistance or intervention, and some have charters that prohibit
collaboration with armed forces. Consider the use of a third-party liaison, such as USAID—the lead
federal agent for government FHA—and review recorded lessons learned. The section titled Key NonU.S. Government Participants and Organizations describes the terms:
• Host nations are those receiving assistance coordinated by the U.S. embassy and granting
permission for FHA by U.S. forces through formal or informal agreements.
• The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization focused on maintaining international
peace and security, developing friendly international relations and harmonious actions, and
promoting cooperation to solve international problems and preserve human rights and
• Private contractors are for-profit, independent actors that the local population often considers
representatives of the U.S. government despite being employed by a wide range of customers
to provide security, technical, and logistical expertise.8
Moreover, the previous edition of JP 3-29 was published 20010815—before the start of the global
war on terror—and the following terms represent what it terms a substantial transition.
• Developmental assistance missions establish or maintain secure conditions for the delivery of
FHA by relief organizations, including storage and transportation of relief materials, providing
armed escorts for convoys or personnel, and protecting shelters for dislocated civilians.9
See Joint Chiefs of Staff, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, JP 3-29 (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2009), www. (accessed May 29, 2009).
Joint Chiefs of Staff, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, p. xvii
Ibid., p. 1–7.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions 15
• Security assistance is a group of programs in support of U.S. policies and objectives that
provides materiel, training, or services to foreign nations in exchange for grant, credit, or
• Peace operations encompass multilateral crisis response and contingency operations designed
to contain conflict, shape an environment supportive of reconciliation and rebuilding, and
facilitate the transition to a legitimate state; include peacekeeping, peace enforcement,
peacemaking, peace building, and conflict prevention, and are further described in JP 3-07.3,
Peace Operations.11
• Civil-military operations centers (CMOCs) are physical or virtual meeting places of stakeholders
that serve “as the primary collaboration interface for the joint force among indigenous
populations and institutions (IPI), IGOs, NGOs, multinational military forces, the private
sector, and [other government agencies] OGAs” and are further described in JP 3-57, CivilMilitary Operations.12
USG Guidance
Publication NSPD-44, Management of Interagency Efforts Concerning Reconstruction and Stabilization
(20051207), concerns foreign states and regions at risk of, involved in, or recovering from armed
conflict or civil strife, and instructs the secretary of state to integrate U.S. government efforts to
engage in transition and reconstruction activities, and to harmonize such efforts with U.S. military
security and stability operations.13 The directive emphasizes interagency, civil-military coordination
by mandating not only integration of contingency plans by the secretaries of the Department of State
and the Department of Defense, but also development of a framework for coordination of stability
operations and reconstruction activities.
Publication HSPD-21, Public Health and Medical Preparedness (20071018), introduces a national
strategy to “transform our national approach to protecting the health of the American people against
all disasters” and directs the establishment of a National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public
Health at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) as an academic center
of excellence on subjects including international health, international disaster and humanitarian
medical assistance, and military medicine, with joint missions carried out by DOD and the Department
of Health and Human Services (HHS).14
International Declarations and Guidelines
The following summaries of international guidelines pertain to the roles and responsibilities of NGOs
and international civil-military cooperation.
Ibid., p. I-9.
Ibid., p. I-10.
Ibid., p. II-21.
See Office of the Press Secretary, National Security Presidential Directive 44 (Washington, DC: The White House,
December 7, 2005), (accessed May 29, 2009).
See Office of the Press Secretary, Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (Washington, DC: The White House,
October 18, 2007), (accessed May 29, 2009).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions 16
The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005) is a UN declaration that supports “partner
country efforts to strengthen governance and improve development performance” by aligning donor
commitments with priorities established by the nation receiving assistance (partner country) and
setting targets for 2010 aligned with twelve indicators based on the partnership commitments.15
• Signatories reaffirm pledges to strengthen national development strategies, build capacity,
enhance accountability to citizenry to maximize combined effectiveness, and define measures
and standards of performance and accountability.
• The declaration acknowledges and addresses the following challenges: failure to provide
predictable or multiyear commitments, inadequate delegation of authority to field staff,
inadequate integration of national agendas and global programs, and corruption and lack of
• In the spirit of mutual accountability, partnership commitments include several indicators of
progress to be tailored to specific situations, including fragile states, measured nationally and
monitored internationally:
ŠŠ ownership or effective partner country leadership in operational development
ŠŠ alignment of more predictable, untied aid flow with partners’ strategies, using partner
country procurement and financial systems, and strengthening capacity;
ŠŠ harmonization through common procedures and shared analysis;
ŠŠ managing for results or outcomes, rather than outputs; and
ŠŠ mutual accountability of donors and partners for development results.
The OCHA Oslo Guidelines (2007), titled The Use of Foreign Military and Civil Defence Assets in Disaster
Relief, “establish the basic framework for formalizing and improving the effectiveness and efficiency
of the use of foreign military and civil defense assets in international disaster relief operations” and
define the following key terms.16
• The UN seeks to provide assistance guided by the basic humanitarian principles of humanity,
neutrality, and impartiality, and “with full respect for the sovereignty of States.”17
ŠŠ Humanity. Human suffering must be addressed wherever it is found, with particular
attention to the most vulnerable in the population, such as children, women, and the
elderly. The dignity and rights of all victims must be respected and protected.18
ŠŠ Neutrality.19 Humanitarian assistance must be provided without engaging in hostilities or
taking sides in political, religious, or ideological controversies.
See Managing for Development Results, “Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness,” in Sourcebook on Emerging
Good Practice in Managing for Development Results (OECD and The World Bank, 2006), pp. v–xvi,
sourcebook/1stEdition/2-1Paris.pdf (accessed October 15, 2009).
See UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Guidelines on the Use of Foreign Military and Civil Defence
Assets in Disaster Relief (“Oslo Guidelines”), November 2007, p. 4,
(accessed October 15, 2009).
Ibid., p. 8.
“Oslo Guidelines,” p. 8.
Neutrality is difficult for many NGOs and some have taken this out of their guiding principles. In any disaster, putting
programs on one side of the line or the other makes the other side perceive they are not neutral when in fact the
reason for doing so may have been safety or access.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions 17
ŠŠ Impartiality. Humanitarian assistance must be provided without discriminating as to
ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political opinions, race or religion. Relief of the suffering
must be guided solely by needs and priority must be given to the most urgent cases.20
ŠŠ Humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian aid must be delivered to a crisis-affected
population for the primary purpose of saving lives and alleviating suffering, and provided
in accordance with the basic humanitarian principles. Categories of aid include direct
assistance (on-site distribution of goods and services), indirect assistance (transportation
of relief goods or personnel), and infrastructure support (less directly of benefit to or
visible by those affected).21
• International disaster relief assistance (IDRA) includes materiel, personnel, and services
provided to a partner country by the international community and facilitation of such
actions by neighboring states. IDRA is considered humanitarian assistance if it conforms to
humanitarian principles.
• Military and civil defense assets (MCDA) are personnel, equipment, supplies, and services
provided by foreign military or civil defense organizations in support of IDRA, and viewed
as a tool of last resort complementing existing relief mechanisms to provide specific support
to specific requirements, in response to the acknowledged humanitarian gap. MCDA can
be mobilized and deployed as part of a bilateral or regional alliance, or as part of a UN
operation. Affected states must request or consent to such assistance as part of an appeal
for international assistance, and MCDA should be provided at no cost. The MCDA states that
any personnel on disaster relief missions will be unarmed and in uniform and that security
will be provided by the affected state. Unarmed UN MCDA, accepted as neutral and impartial,
and clearly distinguished from other military units, can be used to support the full range of
humanitarian activities, if requested by the humanitarian coordinator or resident coordinator
and maintained under civilian control.22
• The Civil-Military Coordination section (UN-CMCoord) of OCHA is responsible for mobilizing
UN MCDA and fostering civil-military coordination in an emergency. Parameters for the
use of resources by MCDA and modus operandi are to be established before deployment,
in accordance with international law, and in consultation with the affected state and UNCMCoord.
The InterAction Standards (2007) for PVOs govern the activities of a coalition of international NGOs
with American chapters or exclusively U.S.-based humanitarian organizations, formally known as the
American Council for International Action.23 The standards emphasize human dignity, social justice,
public awareness, ethics, respect for diversity, and a sense of professionalism, and InterAction member
organizations review them annually to recertify compliance. Specific sections cover governance,
“Oslo Guidelines,” p. 8.
Ibid., p. 3.
Ibid., p. 11.
See Interaction, “PVO Standards,”
(accessed May 30, 2009); see also Interaction: A United Voice for Global Change, (accessed May
30, 2009).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions 18
organizational integrity, finances, communications, and management of human resources, programs,
public policy, implementation, and administrative guidelines.
Civil-Military Guidelines and Reference for Complex Emergencies (2008) is the first collection of
core humanitarian instruments developed by the UN and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
regarding civil-military relationships in complex emergencies with the aim of assisting professionals
in reflecting “humanitarian concerns at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels.”24 The document
answers questions about peace operations, provides operational guidelines for peacekeepers, and
defines key military terms, abbreviations, and acronyms for a UN audience to facilitate civil-military
coordination in UN operations. It also references the two documents described below:
• IASC Guiding and Operating Principles on Civil-Military Relationship and Use of Military
Assets (1995) codifies common positions across a wide range of international humanitarian
actors. IASC guiding principles emphasize increased attention to the perception of neutrality
and impartiality when military assets are used in humanitarian assistance, and the potential
risk of political considerations being reflected, rather than humanitarian principles. Operating
principles are summarized by the statement, “a humanitarian operation using military assets
must retain its civilian nature and character.”25
• The Code of Conduct (1994) of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is
presented in annex 4 of this guide.26 It stipulates that members of international civil society
are expected to adhere to its 10 core principles relating to humanity, impartiality, neutrality,
nondiscrimination, sovereignty, cultural sensitivity, community involvement, capacitybuilding, sustainability, and accountability in providing foreign humanitarian assistance.
Defining Emergencies
NGOs work in and respond to humanitarian emergencies. This is a generic term covering situations
from natural disasters to man-made conditions that negatively affect human populations. To prevent
confusion, the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee delineates the differences between emergencies
and disasters:27
• An emergency is “an extraordinary situation in which people are unable to meet their basic
survival needs, or there are serious and immediate threats to human life and well-being.”
Events and processes that can cause disasters do not always do so, and disasters do not
always result in emergencies. Thus droughts or outbreaks of migratory pests may or may not
See IASC and OCHA, Civil-Military Guidelines and Reference for Complex Emergencies (New York: Inter-Agency
Standing Committee and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2008), p. iv,
lib.nsf/db900sid/ASIN-7CHT7T/$file/Full_Report.pdf (accessed May 30, 2009);
PNormativeGuidanceSpecificIssues.html (accessed May 30, 2009); see also Inter-Agency Standing Committee, www. (accessed May 30, 2009).
Civil-Military Guidelines and Reference for Complex Emergencies, p. 7.
See ICRC/International Federation, “The Code of Conduct” (Geneva: ICRC, 1994),
nsf/htmlall/code-of-conduct-290296 (accessed May 30, 2009).
See Inter-Agency Standing Committee, (accessed May 30, 2009).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions 19
result in widespread crop failure, a disaster that may or may not have consequences grave
and immediate enough to warrant the declaration of an emergency.28
• A disaster is “the occurrence of a sudden or major misfortune [that] disrupts the basic fabric
and normal functioning of a society (or a community). An event or a series of events [that]
give rise to casualties and/or damage or loss of property, infrastructure, essential services or
means of livelihood on a scale [that] is beyond the normal capacity of the affected communities
to cope with unaided.”29
• Natural disasters come in many forms and have many effects on populations. Floods, droughts,
earthquakes, landslides, tornadoes, and hurricanes are all types of natural disasters that
affect populations. NGOs respond to the needs of communities affected by natural disasters
and often tie longer-term development programs into relief activities. Natural disasters
can be devastating to a country or region in a variety of ways, including the destruction of
infrastructure, health systems, water and sanitation systems, local economics, crops, and the
onset of high disease and mortality rates. Depending on the type and size of natural disaster,
the effects on a population are highly variable.
Although both categories will be described as humanitarian emergencies in this guide, the differences
between them are important to remember.
Humanitarian Crises
Any form of humanitarian emergency can further deteriorate into a type of humanitarian crisis
increasingly encountered in the current operational environment.
Complex humanitarian emergencies (CHE) stem from multiple causes and have variable effects on
populations. The UN describes “a humanitarian crisis in a country, region or society where there is a
total or considerable breakdown of authority resulting from internal or external conflict and which
requires an international response that goes beyond the mandate or capacity of any single agency
and/or the ongoing UN country program.”30 The term CHE Natsios, former director of OFDA and now
administrator for USAID, highlights five characteristics of a humanitarian emergency:
• Civil conflict is rooted in traditional ethnic, tribal and religious animosities and accompanied
by widespread atrocities.
• National governmental authority deteriorates to a point where public services disappear.
Political control is passed to warlords, provincial governors over whom the central government
has lost control, and occasionally traditional local leaders.
• Mass population movements occur as a result of the desire or need to escape civil and political
conflict and the necessity for food and water.
• A disturbed or destroyed economy suffers from hyperinflation and destruction (or complete
devaluation) of currency, the gross national product sees large declines, unemployment
reaches depression levels, and markets collapse completely.
UN Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO’s Emergency Activities: Technical Handbook Series (Rome: UNFAO, 2002), (accessed November 12, 2009).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions 20
• Food security declines, possibly as a result or exacerbation of drought, which quickly leads to
severe malnutrition that may in turn quickly lead to mass starvation.31
A CHE is an extreme disruption of governance, with more lethal, destructive, and insidious effects
than any other form of conflict because an entire society or region is traumatized. The greatest losses
of life (70 to 90 percent) in humanitarian emergencies occur following an emergency or disaster—
rather than directly due to the disaster (be it man-made or natural). These so-called indirect deaths
are attributable to the breakdown of health and social services, health information (surveillance
systems), mass displacement, overcrowding or poor temporary living conditions, and the loss of
livelihoods, all characteristic of CHEs.32
Maynard points to identity conflicts as a new and unpredictable root of humanitarian emergency that
may grow out of the denial of rights, economic disparity, elite manipulation, historical vendettas,
or growth in social chaos. This form, she argues, includes not only political identities and struggles
with emerging or retreating regimes, conditions or changes, but also the “full spectrum of societal
interaction.”33 A quest to form identities often spurs entire societies to become involved in disparate
acts or violent activities. Within the current operational environment, NGOs respond to complex
humanitarian emergencies on a regular basis, often dealing with large-scale effects of the emergency
that include massive population movements, food production and distribution problems, disease,
lack of water, injuries and large death tolls caused by any or each of these symptoms. As a result,
50 to 90 percent of those suffering the consequences of these disasters are civilians. Particularly
vulnerable populations include children, women, the elderly, and the disabled.34
In 2008, OCHA listed complex humanitarian emergencies of various forms in more than 25 countries
and regions.35 From Afghanistan’s political collapse and major conflict to Central Africa’s recent
genocides and continuing civil wars, most are experiencing massive levels of displacement and
increased rates of mortality, violence, malnutrition, and disease. Table 1.1 provides an alphabetical
listing of countries the UN defines as complex emergencies in 2009.
Andrew Natsios, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Humanitarian Relief in Complex
Emergencies (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997).
Frederick M. Burkle and P. Gregg Greenough, “Impact of Public Health Emergencies on Disaster Taxonomy, Planning,
and Response,” Disaster Medicine Public Health Preparedness 2008; 2: 192–99.
Kimberly Maynard, Healing Communities in Conflict: International Assistance in Complex Emergencies (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1999), (accessed
November 10, 2009).
Frederick M. Burkle, “Complex Humanitarian Emergencies: A Review of Epidemiological and Response Models,” Journal
of Postgraduate Medicine [serial online] 52 (2006):110–5,
(accessed November 10, 2009).
UN/OCHA data on complex humanitarian emergencies,
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions 21
Table 1.1 Complex Emergencies, 2009
The Balkans (Bosnia, Kosovo)
The Caucuses (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia)
Chechnya (Russian territory)
Central African Republic
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
DPR Korea
East Timor (now independent)
Palestinian Territories/Israel
Sierra Leone
Sri Lanka
NGOs respond not only to natural disasters and complex humanitarian emergencies, but also to manmade disasters, epidemics, technological or industrial accidents, and either regional or neighboring
crises that affect large populations worldwide. In most such emergencies, populations are displaced
or under physical, social, psychological, political, or economic duress.36
Uniformed, government, and DOD personnel may be more familiar with definitions of humanitarian
emergencies through a tradition of involvement in humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HA/
DR), foreign disasters, or foreign disaster relief, as defined by joint doctrine and DOD directive.37
• Foreign assistance can range from the sale of military equipment to donations of food and
medical supplies to aid survivors of natural and man-made disasters. Assistance from the
United States takes three forms—development, humanitarian, and security.
• Foreign disaster is defined as “an act of nature (such as a flood, drought, fire, hurricane,
earthquake, volcanic eruption, or epidemic), or an act of man (such as a riot, violence, civil
strife, explosion, fire, or epidemic), which is or threatens to be of sufficient severity and
magnitude to warrant U.S. foreign disaster relief to a foreign country, foreign persons, or to an
intergovernmental organization.”38
• Foreign disaster relief is prompt aid that can be used to alleviate the suffering of foreign
disaster victims. Normally it includes humanitarian services and transportation; the provision
of food, clothing, medicine, beds, and bedding; temporary shelter and housing; the furnishing
Defining humanitarian emergencies and reviewing the reasoning for various terminology or categorization requires
at least an entire chapter for itself. For the purposes of this manual, emergencies, be they complex or natural, are
events or conditions that effect human populations negatively as indicated in the definitions covered above. There
may be room for debate, but the value here is in understanding the types of emergencies that NGOs respond to, and
how different emergencies may require different types of responses.
Joint Chiefs of Staff, Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States, JP-1 (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff,
2009),; Joint Chiefs, Intergovernmental Coordination, JP3-08, www. (accessed June 1, 2009).
Joint Chiefs, Intergovernmental Coordination, p. GL-8.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions 22
of medical materiel and medical and technical personnel; and making repairs to essential
U.S. forces conducting foreign humanitarian assistance as part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) operation should be cognizant of the following NATO-specific definitions:40
• Humanitarian assistance. “As part of an operation, the use of available military resources to
assist or complement the efforts of responsible civil actors in the operational area or specialized
civil humanitarian organizations in fulfilling their primary responsibility to alleviate human
• Humanitarian operation. “An operation specifically mounted to alleviate human suffering
where responsible civil actors in an area are unable or unwilling to adequately support
a population. It may precede, parallel, or complement the activity of specialized civil
humanitarian organizations.”42
Displaced Persons
Victims of humanitarian emergencies—including earthquakes, famine, severe drought, floods, civil
and intrastate wars, human rights abuses, and dire economic conditions—are often, even typically,
displaced from their homes, sometimes within their native country and sometimes across national
The military has many names for displaced persons. In publication JP 3-29, for example, the term is
frequently dislocated civilians. When talking with the international community, however, only two
populations are distinct:
• Refugees cross international borders and have a valid fear of persecution.43 They are protected
under international law by UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
• Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are displaced within their country of origin.44 Unless
UNHCR is mandated by the UN to protect IDPs, IDPs are not protected under international
This distinction between IDPs and refugees is important. According to international law, it is the
responsibility of each national government to provide assistance and protection for its IDPs incountry. However, many IDP situations arise from civil conflict and violence or when the legitimacy
and authority of a central government is in doubt. Consequently, there is frequently no local authority
39 Ibid., p. GL-9.
40See NATO’s Role in Disaster Assistance (Brussels: NATO Civil Emergency Planning and Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response), (accessed May 30, 2009).
41 NATO Standardization Agency, NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions, AAP-6(2008), p. 2-H-4,
stanag/aap006/aap6.htm (accessed November 12, 2009).
42 Ibid., p. 2-H-5.
43 See UN, “Convention relating to the Status of Refugees” (1951),
pdf (accessed October 15, 2009).
44 See Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, “The definition of an internally displaced person,”
(accessed May 30, 2009).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 1. Policies and Definitions 23
willing and able to provide assistance and protection for IDPs. Refugees, however, are under the
protection of UNHCR. Understanding this distinction can aid the military in knowing who to call to
discuss provision and protection for these displaced populations.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 2. Introduction to NGOs 24
Chapter 2.
Executive Summary
Introduction to NGOs
ongovernmental organizations are essential to
humanitarian relief in bringing years of experience in
public health and preventive medicine programming to a
crisis zone.
More than 90 percent of aid coordinated by the United
Nations is provided by NGOs, 95 percent of which is
provided by only 35 to 40 major American and European
organizations.45 NGOs worldwide number in the thousands
and vary widely in their performance, professionalism, sense
of responsibility, and attention to standards in accordance
with the Humanitarian Code of Conduct.46
ƒƒ NGOs are a major component of the
global aid system.
ƒƒ NGOs respond to all types of
complex humanitarian emergencies
and natural disasters.
ƒƒ Understanding NGOs is vital
in today’s complex world of
humanitarian emergencies and
assistance-disaster response
ƒƒ NGOs follow codified, well-tested
international standards of care.
ƒƒ NGOs are defined by their voluntary,
independent, and not-for-profit
ƒƒ NGOs have unique charters and
The term humanitarian community refers to the body
of organizations and individuals dedicated to providing
assistance to people in need internationally. Organizations
that are neither an NGO nor a government agency (civilian or military) may be international
organizations (IOs) and will normally be indicated by name. IOs are international bodies like
the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Food Program (WFP) and other
independent UN agencies like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is often described as a NGO, an international, or an
intergovernmental organization, but it is not any of these. The ICRC is an organization with a hybrid
nature. As a private association organized under the Swiss Civil Code, its existence is not in itself
mandated by governments. Yet its functions and activities—to provide protection and assistance
to victims of conflict—are mandated by the international community of states and are founded in
international law.47
A nongovernmental organization is a legally constituted entity created by private organizations or
people with no participation in or representation of any government. When an NGO is funded totally
or partially by a government or governments, it maintains its nongovernmental status only as long as
it excludes government representatives from membership.
Author communication with Frederick Burkle, MD, former deputy assistant administrator, Bureau for Global Health.
IFRC, “Code of Conduct,” (accessed July 31, 2007).
U.S. Department of the Army, Stability Operations. Field Manual No. 3-07 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the
Army, Headquarters, October 6, 2008)
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 2. Introduction to NGOs 25
The first NGO, Rotary, which later became Rotary International, dates to the early twentieth century. In
the early 1900s there were more than 1,000 recorded NGOs important to women’s suffrage, scientist
rescue, and refugee issues.
The term NGO came into use in 1945 with provisions in Article 71 of chapter 10 of the United Nations
Charter, when organizations that were neither governmental nor member states were needed
for a consultative role to the UN. On February 27, 1950, international NGOs (or INGOs) were first
defined in resolution 288 (X) of ECOSOC as “any international organization that is not founded by an
international treaty.”48
In June 1997, the vital role of NGOs and other major groups in sustainable development was recognized
in chapter 27 of Agenda 21, leading to intense arrangements for a consultative relationship between
the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations. Globalization throughout the twentieth
century heightened the importance of NGOs, which have since developed to emphasize humanitarian
issues, developmental aid, and sustainable development.
NGO Characteristics
NGOs are founded, developed, and managed by civilians.
• NGO personnel are highly professional and skilled, trained or educated in disaster management,
public health, logistics, technology, water sanitation, communications, medicine, geology,
sociology, and psychology.
• Staff are of different backgrounds, training, nationalities, and cultures.
• Most NGOs have moved to use all local staff to build capacity and have large human resource
databases that keep emergency personnel and cadres of career aid workers on call.
• NGOs have major global procurement capabilities for relief supplies, technical and capital assets,
vehicles, and other material that can be used to respond to humanitarian emergencies.
NGOs can be not-for-profit (nonprofit).
• NGOs require funding from external sources to design, implement, and manage their
• NGOs obtain funding from numerous sources including government agencies, private
foundation grants and private contributions or gifts-in-kind from companies and other
• Donations of cash, material, or even services (legal, technological, and the like) to NGOs
normally qualify as charitable gifts and can be used to lower tax liability for the donor.
“Currently there are 3051 NGOs in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and some 400
NGOs accredited to the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), a subsidiary body of ECOSOC. NGOs in the
CSD roster need to contact the NGO Section of DESA in order to apply to consultative status” (United Nations, “NGO
related frequently asked questions,” [accessed December 11, 2008]).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 2. Introduction to NGOs 26
• In the United States, legal charitable status for an organization is granted by the federal
government under the classification of 501(c)(3) that enables the charity to receive taxdeductible donations from individuals or corporations.
• To become a not-for-profit organization, an NGO must be charitable in its mission, managed
and accounted for by a board of directors with no financial interest in the programs or
operations of the organization, and maintain financial accounting methods that are fully open
to the public at all times (see chapter 3).
• NGOs can also be solely for-profit or have arms within the organization that are for-profit (for
example, International Relief and Development).
NGOs are unique.
• Although NGOs worldwide number in the thousands, they vary widely in their performance,
professionalism, sense of responsibility, attention to standards and in accordance with the
Humanitarian Code of Conduct.49
• The vast majority, 95 percent, of NGO relief work is provided by only thirty-five to forty
major American and European organizations50 that, on the whole, follow codified, well-tested
international standards of care.51
NGOs share many characteristics.
• NGOs typically serve the public, beneficiaries, needy populations, constituencies, or target
groups that have been affected by some emergency, disaster, or massive reduction of
• Activities are intended to serve needs that a donor feels appropriate but aid is based on need
rather than any political agenda.
• NGOs share a relatively small labor pool of emergency, relief and humanitarian assistance
workers, and often times share personnel, practices, and customs.
• NGOs have many of the same donors (especially foundation, UN, and large government grant
types), compete for a limited pool of funding, and must be financially accountable in many of
the same ways.
NGOs coordinate activities and resources internally and externally (see chapter 7 for more detail).
• Internal coordination, though not always formal, is the most common way civilian sectors
organize in humanitarian emergencies. When more than 100 organizations are present in
a region responding to a given emergency, the rationale for pulling together coordination
bodies to manage information flow, project locations, shared resources, and combined efforts
is clear and immediate.
IFRC, “Code of Conduct,” (accessed July 31, 2007).
Author communication with Frederick Burkle.
See United Nations Children’s Fund, “Guidelines for Monitoring the Availability and Use of Obstetric Services,”
1997, (accessed June 8, 2002); SPHERE, darfur/infocentre/sphere/
index.asp (accessed January 13, 2006); MISP, (accessed September 19, 2005); U.S.
Agency for International Development, Bureau for Humanitarian Response, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance,
Field Operations Guide for Disaster Assessment and Response,
disaster_assistance/resources/pdf/fog_v3.pdf (accessed November 10, 2009).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 2. Introduction to NGOs 27
ŠŠ Examples: In Kosovo, Burundi, Darfur, Iraq, and Afghanistan, NGOs coordinated extensively
within the NGO community to manage information, for safety as well as advocacy bodies
to international donors or local and regional governments.
• External coordination between NGOs, militaries, governments, and donor agencies has
also produced a substantial amount of experience for all parties involved in coordinating,
communicating and generally interfacing with one another. The preferred external
coordination for NGOs is a UN-coordinated effort (OCHA), not a military-run effort, unless the
UN is not available to do so.
ŠŠ Examples: In Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, NGOs and militaries
interfaced in military run operations centers (HACC or HOC). These meetings served as
a place to exchange information (especially security concerns) and discuss strategies,
criticisms, and even logistical and service capacities.
NGOs neither “coordinate” with, nor are they “coordinated by” the military.52
• Some NGOs maintain large communication capabilities, and often use the same technologies
as governments or military units when there is no local infrastructure (satellite phones and
VSATs, Internet, global cell phones, and so on).
• NGOs represent a large group of professionals
Quick Reference
well seasoned in field work who have been to
No one source covers all NGOs and
many (if not more) conflict regions than the
nonprofits worldwide, but several are
useful for quick online reference:
• NGO professional staff are highly educated,
ƒƒ (U.S.-based
often holding advanced degrees in medicine,
international NGO consortium)
law, international policy, public health, and
ƒƒ (European-based
engineering, and have decades of experience in
international NGO consortium)
ƒƒ (guide to
financial reports of almost every U.S.Given the hundreds of NGOs in the United States and
based NGO)
the thousands more worldwide, the list of activities,
ƒƒ (relief and
services, strengths, expertise, abilities, capacities, and
development portal listing various
policies that make up this varied and dynamic field
NGO updates and resources)
is incredible. Today, large, professional NGOs with
ƒƒ (searchable
database of NGOs and other NGO
substantial operating budgets and emergency response
related resources)
capacity are shedding the corner charity image and
becoming major technical agents of humanitarian
assistance worldwide.
Civilian capacity to mitigate, manage, and respond to humanitarian emergencies has grown rapidly
in the last 40 years. Established and substantial NGOs today have operations in numerous countries,
major coordination mechanisms, strong governing structures and partnerships with local and
See chapter 18 for a discussion on the term coordination and how its meaning differs among the military, the UN, and
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 2. Introduction to NGOs 28
international governments, military, and other international actors. Some NGOs have lobbying arms
devoted to influencing policymaking and national level foreign assistance. NGOs rely on substantial
organizational infrastructure to maintain numerous emergency operations around the world, and it
is becoming apparent that NGOs are now more important than ever.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 3. What Is an NGO?
Chapter 3.
What Is an NGO?
Executive Summary
ongovernmental organizations come in many forms,
sizes and types. Many are religiously oriented,
regionally based, technically specialized, or communitybased organizations. Most are small, though the more
well-known are worldwide entities with international
umbrellas and national chapters.
When an NGO is created it establishes a mission or vision
statement, and a series of objectives and goals that guide it
as an organization. If an NGO is founded with the mission
of responding to disaster victims that are children, for
example, it will seek to raise funds, capacity, and knowhow to deliver programming to assist child victims of a
disaster. The focus may also be regional, country specific,
or to provide a specific service.
NGOs are extremely diverse and can
be characterized by their missions or
ƒƒ Two important NGO activities
addressed here are emergency
response-relief and development.
ƒƒ Other equally important NGOs focus
on human rights and advocacy,
conflict mitigation and resolution, and
ƒƒ NGOs are operational in almost every
emergency around the world.
ƒƒ NGOs generally need external financial
support as well as technical, logistical,
and programmatic support.
The global community of NGOs encompasses a wide range of organizations, which can usually be
categorized into four basic types:
• humanitarian aid, both emergency response and developmental
• advocacy groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, and Physicians for Human Rights
• faith-based groups are humanitarian aid groups originally founded on faith principles but
do not use religion as a part of the aid given (Mercy Corps) Insert footnote “missionary aid
groups (by definition not NGO’s) seek to “spread the word” using humanitarian aid to access
to those who they consider needing spiritual help; more or less conditional aid (Samaritan’s
Purse, Hope Ships)“
The following organizations are smaller in capacity, staff size, or funding levels but operate in numerous
locations across the world. Some are unique and focus solely on a specific sector or specialty.
• Air Serv International
• American Refugee Committee
• Americares
• Doctors of the World
• Direct Relief International
• Project Hope
• Relief International
• Volunteers In Technical Assistance
As noted, some NGOs are advocacy organizations. That is, they do not supply aid per se but instead
focus on advocacy issues specific to the disaster to draw public attention with the aim of changing
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 3. What Is an NGO?
international, domestic, or host country policy. Recent examples of such type of advocacy include
women’s rights in Afghanistan, and the genocide in Darfur.
• Refugees International
• Physicians for Human Rights
• Human Rights Watch
• Amnesty International
• Landmine Survivors Network
Faith-based organizations are the largest growing group of NGOs and accounted for 10.5 percent of
USAID dollars to nongovernmental aid organizations in fiscal 2001, and 19.9 percent in 2005. Some
of the older, more experienced NGOs were founded on religious principles (Mercy Corps) but do not
proselytize as part of their programming, though others do. An easy way to identify these groups
is from their mission statements, which are typically available on the group’s website. Samaritan’s
Purse states that they have a “single-minded commitment to evangelism through aid relief” (www. The following list is not comprehensive (or based on size) but outlines
evangelical NGOs, which the military frequently encounters:
• Samaritan’s Purse
• Shelter Now
• Cure International
• Food for the Hungry
• Hope Ships
• World Vision
• Catholic Relief Services
• Church World Service
In today’s world, it is important to understand these differences. Using a missionary group in a Muslim
country can cause havoc and distrust, as well as put aid programs at risk if the host country does not
understand that not all NGOs are oriented to promote religion.
NGOs can be found in every country, and though the NGOs studied in this manual are primarily
oriented internationally and mostly headquartered in western countries, most of the thousands of
NGOs globally are local or indigenous civil society organizations that operate much as nonprofits do
in the United States. More than 30,000 NGOs operate internationally, of which approximately half
represent various western-based organizations working in developing countries.53
Union of International Associations, (accessed December 11, 2008).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 3. What Is an NGO?
Characteristics of Aid
NGOs work in five areas:54
• international relief and development
• democracy promotion and electoral support, human rights and good governance
• conflict mitigation, management, and resolution
• civil society support and community-based service
• education, medical, and state service replacement (traditionally formed locally to substitute
or enhance lacking or nonexisting government services)
This manual focuses on international relief organizations found in numerous places internationally
and constantly responding to humanitarian emergencies. Of course, depending on the location and
type of emergency the reader is considering, the number and type of organizations involved will
vary. Local (host nation) NGOs and the various other organizations are often found in humanitarian
emergencies and are used as partners, facilitators, or guides to international NGOs and IOs that
deliver emergency services.
Keep in mind, however, that international NGOs have moved to using primarily local staff in a response
for building host nation capacity, safety, and credibility among recipients of aid. Just because you
don’t see a flag does not mean an international NGO is not there.
International NGOs are and have been prominent features in international responses to humanitarian
emergencies globally. The United States and other governments have come to rely heavily on NGOs
and their vast network of local and international connections. Because NGOs have extensive groundlevel experience and are many times present before humanitarian emergencies arise, there exists an
immediate capacity and knowledge of what needs to be done to respond to humanitarian needs.
NGOs—both locally and internationally—focus their work in a ground-up fashion that uses local
capacity, local and regional organizations, familiarity and intimate relations with the community to
implement programs. This is one of the primary advantages that NGOs have when compared with
government and military agencies responding to the same type of emergency. Instead of duplicating
efforts or having to establish new programs from scratch, donors now use the NGO community as an
extension of capacity, and often as partners in formulating regional-level responses or policy.
NGOs Overseas
NGOs are found in most overseas disaster and emergency settings. NGOs are present in all phases of
the emergency, including well beforehand. Their work includes various levels of activity:
Although these are generalizations, this list encompasses the primary differences between international and local
organizations, and those organizations that exist to operate in humanitarian emergencies and those that operate in
more long-term development settings.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 3. What Is an NGO?
• The onset of the emergency (acute phase) normally lasts for approximately a month in new
emergencies. NGOs deliver all forms of emergency services, including emergency medical
assistance, shelter, water and sanitation services, displaced population management, food
and water provisions and nonfood items such as cooking utensils and blankets and the like.
• The recovery stage includes the period just after the initial chaos and expanded relief efforts
are implemented. More assessments, detailed analysis, and extended and more far-reaching
services can be delivered once security is better and the host nation, NGOs, and the donor
community have identified priorities.
• The rehabilitation and development stages normally take hold after about six months, when
the crude mortality rate (CMR) is close to baseline, and populations have been repatriated or
settled and longer-term programs are designed and initiated.55
The primary objectives of most NGOs responding to emergencies are to reduce the crude mortality rate,
lower the level of physical, emotional and psychological suffering, provide stable food and clean water
sources, provide for services of displaced populations and to generally assist national governmental
or international efforts to stem large-scale suffering and humanitarian tragedy. This suggests that
NGOs are often the first international organizations into an area during or after a humanitarian
emergency, and often remain the only form of international presence in areas that are especially
rough. U.S. military forces often encounter NGOs that have been in-country for years and that have
specialized or in-depth knowledge of the country’s or region’s culture, politics, demographics and
terrain and other pertinent forms of familiarity that comes with time and experience.
InterAction (, the U.S. consortium of U.S.-based international NGOs, states that
its 170+ member organizations are operating in “every developing country” in the world.56 This
means that in any operation in a developing country, government or military units is likely to find a
U.S.-based NGO on the ground. It is also likely that international NGOs based in Europe and the United
States will be on hand in humanitarian emergencies.
Many NGOs sustain multiple programs in more than one country at a time. Larger NGOs, such as
CARE, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, and World Vision, specialize in responding to
numerous emergencies simultaneously, often using leverage from one emergency to respond to
another, or relying on an extensive network of national chapter organizations to establish a footing in
an emergency. Smaller organizations will also often respond to more than one emergency at a time,
but have to choose their responses more selectively.
See Michael J. Roy, “Humanitarian Assistance: Introduction to Key Topics,” lecture presented in the Military Medical
Humanitarian Assistance Course for Internal Medicine, sponsored by the Uniformed Services University of the Health
Sciences, Bethesda, MD, March 26–28, 2001.
InterAction, the American Council of Voluntary International Action, is based in Washington, DC, and is the leading U.S.
consortium of internationally operating U.S. NGOs. It serves as a coordinating mechanism that primarily advocates to
U.S. and other governmental institutions and international donors on behalf of its membership (see www.interaction.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 3. What Is an NGO?
NGO Assistance Activities
In most responses to humanitarian emergencies four major objectives are commonly held by the
international community, by NGOs and by military units participating in humanitarian assistance
operations (HAOs):
• reduce excess mortality
• reduce or minimize excess disease, disability and unstable health conditions generally
• provide infrastructure rehabilitation (including health-care facilities, water and sanitation
systems, roads, telecommunication systems, and so on)
• ensure and protect return passage for displaced populations (refugees and IDPs)
NGOs vary in their program capacity and may carry out any or all of several functions: emergency
assistance, long-term development, peace building, and sustainability programming. Key policy and
operations are designed with several goals in mind: preserve life and minimize suffering by providing
warning of natural events that often result in property damage and loss of life, sometimes extreme
(such as hurricanes); preserve life and minimize suffering by responding to human-generated
disasters; foster self-sufficiency among disaster-prone nations by helping them achieve some measure
of preparedness; alleviate suffering by providing rapid, adequate response to aid requests; and
enhance recovery through rehabilitation programs. Although most NGOs subscribe to the elimination
of extreme poverty, many work as development agencies in specific theaters, including postconflict
In addition, assistance activities can be divided into three categories based on the degree of contact
with the affected population. Direct assistance is face-to-face distribution of goods and services.
Examples include support of medical clinic services, supplies, and personnel. These services can be
and usually are long term. Indirect assistance is at least one step removed from the population and
involves such activities as transporting goods or relief personnel, support for ministries of health,
and technical assistance such as assessments of hospitals, clinics or even population needs and
gaps. The third category, infrastructure support, involves providing general services, such as road
repair, hospital repair, airspace management, and power generation, which facilitate relief but are not
necessarily visible to or solely for the benefit of the affected population.
Categories of NGO Response
The thematic division between those NGOs that focus on disaster-emergency response and those
that focus on longer-term or community-based development is significant. Nonetheless, it is not
uncommon to find organizations that participate in both longer-term and shorter-term programming
in disaster-affected areas or developing regions or countries.
Disaster and Emergency Response NGOs
Many NGOs focus only on disaster response. This means that some arrive at the earliest possible time
during or after an emergency, implement emergency response programs, and leave shortly after the
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 3. What Is an NGO?
first stages of an emergency are complete. NGOs focus on being light, nimble, and efficient with very
little red tape to prevent immediate action. NGOs that provide medical assistance pride themselves in
being specific in their mission and efficient in their capacity to deal with emergency health matters
while working to rebuild local capacity in the host country to deal with ongoing crises with the end
state goal of improving health infrastructure and public health capacity.
Organizations that maintain disaster response capacities can respond immediately to humanitarian
emergencies and are often part of a team of organizations that will arrive in an emergency setting
before any other agencies or organizations. Albania and Kosovo, East Timor, earthquakes in Turkey,
Iran, Pakistan, Peru, and China, floods in Mozambique of 2000 and 2001, Afghanistan, and the
Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 showed that civilian capacity to muster resources and
deliver emergency, search and rescue, and engineering specialists to the affected regions was indeed
impressive. In many cases, NGOs were either already operational on the ground at the onset of the
emergency or were the first responders, delivering relief personnel often only hours after the onset
of an emergency.
Larger organizations have disaster response teams ready to respond to man-made and natural
disasters on a moment’s notice, and though normally reliant on private sector transportation, they
can be deployed with considerable speed and resource to manage portions of the initial stages of the
emergency. For those organizations that can afford to have a series of doctors, engineers, coordinators,
and other general relief specialists on call, there is often a roster of people the organization can call on
to ship out to an emergency-effected region to better assess the needs.
Long-Term Development NGOs
Other organizations shy away from relief and disaster response specialties (either solely or entirely)
and focus on providing longer-term developmental assistance to populations affected by complex
humanitarian emergencies that have existed for long periods, or in generally desperate conditions
in very poor countries. Some NGOs do both relief and development, but those that focus solely on
development are often sensitive about the delineation between how their activities are distinct
from emergency responses or temporary fixes. Vested in working closely with the host community,
region, or country, a development-focused NGO establishes stable projects that focus on economic
development, health-care system enhancement, infrastructure rehabilitation, and other longer-term
and thematic programs through local capacity building.
Many development-oriented NGOs are primed to provide emergency services in their area of
operation. The NGO may not have specific emergency response strategies, but those that have been
in a country or region for a long time have an advantage in knowing a region’s workings, terrain, and
culture extensively. When a humanitarian emergency strikes, many development NGOs can easily
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 3. What Is an NGO?
harness resources to be the first responder, or to serve as an information source for donors and
emergency response NGOs soon to arrive.
NGOs like Winrock International do not normally participate in emergency response activities even
though they may be in the area.57 Winrock is a development NGO that specifically provides support
for economic development in developing communities. It has no capacity to respond to emergency
needs outside of providing information to other NGOs about the area, people, resources, and other
pertinent information. Because it does not normally use trucks, warehouses, local procurement
channels for large commodities, or emergency networks, it would not be a prime candidate to shift
its programming to an emergency response-oriented framework.
On the other hand, NGOs that focus on development such as CARE, World Vision, Food for the Hungry,
or International Relief and Development are also capable of responding to a humanitarian emergency.
Each has extensive worldwide networks of emergency response capacities and personnel, as well
as comprehensive policies and experience in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Although
they participate in development-oriented programming, these organizations can quickly adapt their
capacities and become a viable humanitarian emergency response when a humanitarian emergency
This differentiation between the two major types of international NGOs is essential. Both have
value and should be understood as part of the NGO community, but are often different in objectives,
missions, and capacities.
Multisectoral NGOs that participate in global relief and development activities are valuable in
an emergency because of their unique blend of ground-level knowledge of an area gleaned from
development projects and significant know-how on emergency response acquired during missions
worldwide. Development-oriented NGOs are valuable in that they can easily provide an extensive body
of knowledge and understanding that would not normally be readily available for the international
NGOs and donor organizations arriving specifically to respond to a new emergency.
Table 3.1 (see following page) distinguishes comparative advantages, weaknesses, and other
characteristics between emergency response NGOs, development NGOs, and those active in both
sectors. Although not comprehensive, it can be useful in understanding the various dynamics of each
type of NGO.
Why Are NGOs Overseas? Why Are They in My AOR?
Military and other entities that begin operations in humanitarian emergencies will find various
types of NGOs in the area that focus on many different types of services. There is often overlap, and
Winrock International is a U.S.-based NGO headquartered in Arkansas and Virginia. It says that “achieving a sustainable
balance between the need for food and income and environmental quality is the most effective approach to improving
living standards of rural people and ensuring resources for the future” (see
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Chapter 3. What Is an NGO?
sometimes an organization will specialize in general sectors that may or may not be needed in a given
Table 3.1 NGO Comparison
Emergency Response
advantage or
Extensive expertise in
logistics, communications
and coordination; rapid
deployment; specialized
capacity to handle
emergency health,
infrastructure, and so on
Extensive groundlevel knowledge of
a region’s people,
culture, language,
economy, society,
political atmosphere;
close relationships
and networks with
local NGOs, other civil
society organizations,
Extensive knowledge of the
ground with the capacity to
shift operational strength to
emergency response; support
of an international network of
emergency response individuals,
programs and policies; ready
for anything; sensitive to needy
population’s needs, strengths,
and capacities
Often lack knowledge
of needy population’s
culture or politicoeconomic atmosphere;
often unaware or not
knowledgeable about
region’s transportation,
communications structures,
ministry regulations, and
the like. Often have to
establish new systems and
programs from scratch,
requiring set-up and
learning-curve time
Often lack capacity
to handle multiple
stages of humanitarian
suffering (emergency);
often limited by narrow
mission or project scope
Sometimes not strong enough in
any one sector or programming
area; potentially weak in
coordination efforts with other
relief or development NGOs or
even militaries
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 3. What Is an NGO?
Value to an
Provide emergency
relief and humanitarian
assistance; concentrated
expertise and capacity to
provide immediate services;
normally host to emergency
specialists, medical
personnel and an efficient
logistics system to complete
assessments, coordinate
and deliver HA
Provides body of
knowledge and
extensive networks
between local NGOs,
governments and donors
that can be shared with
emergency response
entities, donors and
Can immediately harness
knowledge of local conditions
and atmosphere for most
appropriate forms of emergency
response; can leverage the
strength of local entities and
relationships; has large sense
of credibility in eyes of local
populations as not an outsider
Medicine San Frontiers
(MSF), International
Rescue Committee (IRC),
International Medical
Corps (IMC), Doctors of
the World (MDM), Air Serv
Winrock International,
Catholic Relief Services,
World Vision International,
Catholic Relief Services, CARE,
Oxfam, Relief International, Save
the Children, International Relief
and Development.
Where found
At the onset of an
emergency; immediately
after large-scale fighting has
stopped or natural disaster;
after peace agreements and
cease-fires; during conflict
(variable depending on
scale, accessibility); up to 6
months after an emergency
In poor or postemergency countries
and/or regions; in rural
and urban areas with
substantial offices and
presence in specific
areas of operation; 3
to 6 months after an
emergency. Can be incountry for a decade or
In both development and
emergency settings, often using
an existing development project
in an emergency-affected country
to launch emergency HAOs; can
be in-country for a decade or
more (IMC in Afghanistan more
than 23 years)
1 week to 6 months for
natural disasters and
postconflict response;
indefinite for complex
emergencies and continuing
humanitarian emergencies
Indefinite, often lasting
more than 20 years in a
specific region; normally
provides programming
until donor priorities
Victims of a humanitarian
Postconflict, poor
and poverty-stricken
A combination of emergency
victims and the postconflict
Governments, UN agencies,
private contributions, and
NGO savings that have been
set aside for emergency
development oriented
UN agencies, churches,
synagogues, and
mosques, religious
An NGO will be found in a humanitarian emergency for three primary reasons.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 3. What Is an NGO?
• It has a comparative advantage in responding to a specific emergency, it has current operations
in the area that precede the emergency, it has specific capacity nearby that could be utilized
in the emergency, or it has a specific expertise or strength in the affected region or emergency
• It has a specific interest in the area, suggesting that it was formed to serve a specific population
or region, and any emergency within that population or region would naturally warrant a
response from it.
• It targets a specific type of victim, and when an emergency or situation creates victims of this
type, it is a natural responder.
NGOs have a number of advantages in a disaster.58
• They are able to experiment freely with innovative approaches and, if necessary, to take risks.
• They are flexible in adapting to local situations and responding to local needs and therefore
able to develop integrated projects, as well as sectoral projects.
• They enjoy good rapport with people and can render microassistance to very poor people as
they can identify those who are most in need and tailor assistance to their needs.
• They can communicate at all levels, from the neighborhood to the upper echelons of
• They can recruit both experts and highly motivated staff with fewer restrictions than the
At the same time, they also have a number of disadvantages.
• The paternalistic attitudes of some NGOs may restrict the degree of participation in program
or project design by the local community.
• Approaches to a problem or area may sometimes be either restricted or constrained.
• An approach or idea may not be replicable because the project or selected area is not
representative, the project coverage is relatively small, or outside financial resources are too
• What is called the territorial possessiveness of an area, sector, or project reduces cooperation
and coordination across agencies, and is often seen as threatening or competitive.
The most common NGOs military personnel are likely to come in contact with are profiled in annex 1,
which harnesses a representative cross-section of the types of organizations that can fall within the
NGO category and are likely to interface with the military in disasters. The range extends from the
world’s largest NGOs to smaller organizations, but does hold steady the condition that each operates
in humanitarian emergencies in countries other than its origin. It is, however, worthy of note that
many U.S.-based NGOs changed their charters to respond to the Katrina disaster.
Abstracted from William Cousins, “Non-Governmental Initiatives,” in The Urban Poor and Basic Infrastructure Services
in Asia and the Pacific (Manila: Asian Development Bank and the Economic Development Institute, 1991).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 4. Structure, Authority, and Standards
Chapter 4.
NGO Structure, Authority, and Standards
ongovernmental organizations emerge from communities, civil society organizations, collective
activities, religious organizations, universities and individual initiatives. Often started as small
volunteer projects, NGOs are sometimes referred to as grassroots
organizations, voluntary organizations, charities or nonprofits, all
Executive Summary
names that denote the voluntary, public service, and community
ƒƒ NGOs emerge from a variety of
orientation that NGOs have. In legal and organizational terms, there
religious, community, interest,
is little difference between an NGO and a nonprofit or not-for-profit
or expertise backgrounds, often
organization in the United States. Nonprofits and NGOs are the same
starting quite small.
thing, and only when nonprofits extend their activities overseas
ƒƒ NGOs are governmentare they popularly called NGOs or private voluntary organizations
registered, legal entities with
(PVOs).59 The term NGO denotes an organization that is based
management structures
nationally or locally but that raises money and organizational
and financial reporting
capacity to participate in international relief and development
activities. This, of course, is only sensitive to organizations based
ƒƒ The NGO community has
in western or donor countries that extend services through NGOs
adopted standards and codes of
in developing countries. Nonprofit organizations in developing
conduct that many but not all
countries are also often called NGOs but are defined as local
sign and abide by.
NGOs when deciphering differences between international and
indigenous organizations that work locally.
NGO can be understood by their orientation or level of operation.60
• Charitable orientation often refers to a top-down effort with little participation by the
beneficiaries. It includes NGOs with activities directed toward meeting the needs of the poor—
distributing food, clothing, or medicine and providing housing, transport, schools, and the like.
Such NGOs may also undertake relief activities during either a natural or man-made disaster.
• Service orientation includes activities such as providing health, family planning, or education
services in which the program is designed by the NGO and beneficiaries are expected to
participate in implementing the program and in receiving the service.
• Participatory orientation is characterized by self-help projects where beneficiaries are
involved particularly in implementing a project by contributing cash, tools, land, materials,
labor, and so on. In the classical community development project, participation begins with
the need definition and continues into the planning and implementation stages. Cooperatives
have a participatory orientation.
For this manual, the term NGO will be used widely when referring to any nonprofit organization that operates overseas.
The term PVO is normally used by the U.S. relief industry to describe U.S.-based organizations and companies that
act under contract with USAID and the State Department. The term NGO is more widely known internationally, and
includes PVOs and nonprofits that act internationally.
Abstracted from William Cousins, “Non-Governmental Initiatives,” in The Urban Poor and Basic Infrastructure Services
in Asia and the Pacific (Manila: Asian Development Bank and the Economic Development Institute, 1991).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 4. Structure, Authority, and Standards
• Empowering orientation incorporates the aim to help people develop a clearer understanding
of the social, political, and economic factors affecting their lives, and to strengthen their
awareness of their own potential power to control their lives. Sometimes these groups develop
spontaneously around a problem or an issue; other times outside workers from NGOs play a
facilitating role in their development.
Although this manual focuses on international NGOs, it may be helpful to understand there are many
types of NGOs, from community to internationally focused groups.
• Community-based organizations (CBOs) spring from personal initiatives. These can
include sports clubs, women’s organizations, neighborhood organizations, and religious
or educational organizations. There are a large variety of these, some supported by NGOs,
national or international NGOs, or bilateral or international agencies, and others independent
of outside help. Some are devoted to raising the consciousness of the urban poor or helping
them understand their rights in gaining access to needed services and others are involved in
providing such services.
• Citywide organizations include organizations such as the Rotary or Lion’s Club, chambers of
commerce and industry, coalitions of business, ethnic or educational groups and associations
of community organizations. Some exist for other purposes, and become involved in helping
the poor as one of many activities. Others are created specifically to help the poor.
• National NGOs include organizations such as the Red Cross, YMCAs and YWCAs, professional
organizations, and the like. Some have state branches and assist local NGOs.
• International NGOs range from secular agencies to religiously motivated groups. Their
activities vary from mainly funding local NGOs, institutions, and projects, to implementing
the projects.
NGOs have constituencies and develop specialties or areas of interest in which its programming,
solicitations, fundraising and growth is oriented. When NGOs are met in the field, there are wide
variances in size, appearance, activity, and expertise. It is crucial to understand that when various
NGOs operate in the same emergency, there are large but often subtle differences between them.
The international NGOs that are covered in this manual normally have headquarters in a major city of
an industrialized country such as Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, New Haven, Brussels,
London, Paris, Geneva, Rome, or Tokyo. NGOs come from any number of places, however, and bring
with them a variety of sources of support. With shrinking relief budgets, many NGOs now will have
offices in both the United States and Europe to take advantage of funding from different sources,
governments, and donors.
NGO Foundations and Structure
NGOs founded in the United States to serve populations outside the United States fall under the same
rubric that nationally based and local organizations do. An NGO is an incorporated or organized body
that abides by laws, can make contracts, employ people, make legally binding relationships with
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 4. Structure, Authority, and Standards
other entities, and generally operate as a corporation within the country or state of origin. For those
NGOs based in the United States, each state has different regulations, although most require that the
organization fulfill several requisites:
• establish and maintain a mission or charter, and articles of incorporation or association;
• establish a board of directors or trustees that assume responsibility for the organization’s
financial, operational and general well-being as well as legal status;
• establish tax-exempt status from both the federal government Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
and the appropriate state government entities should the organization want to accept taxdeductible and to remain somewhat free of federal and state taxes themselves;
• maintain audited and accredited financial records; and
• remain financially, legally, and organizationally sound, and abide by specific rules or guidelines
set forth by federal and state law.
Most NGOs are incorporated organizations that are structured to protect its founders, employees
and board members from personal liability. The incorporation process serves to establish bank
accounts and contracts, to accept donations, purchasing abilities, and buy insurance, and establish
relationships with other organizations and governments or other entities. As an organization, the
NGO is the embodiment of its mission and of the articles of incorporation or association.
Board of Directors
The board serves as the trustee body of the NGO, normally part of the large-scale decision-making
process and thematic issues of the organization. There is no financial benefit or reward for board
membership and members have no financial interest in the organization’s programming. Although in
many cases, board members agree to give (sometimes substantial) financial gifts to the organization.
board members are valuable in that they extend the organization’s resources into various communities
and encapsulate personalities that are not specifically significant in daily operations but that lend
credibility to the organization as a whole. Many NGO boards are packed with celebrities, former
government officials, experts, academics, and community leaders with the intention of attaining
recognition or publicity that would not otherwise be attainable. During emergency appeals, NGOs
will often send board members out to make public statements, write newspaper or journal editorials,
make speeches, or give interviews to spark focus on the organization’s work and needs in responding
to the emergency.
NGO boards vary widely in style. Some are very active, often establishing close relationships with
NGO officers and staff and involving themselves in programmatic planning processes and fundraising
and therefore must be consulted when new programming is in planning. Other boards are largely
fundraising entities, lending their names to give credibility to an organization’s fundraising practices.
In a few cases, boards are primarily symbolic, giving way to an NGO’s strong leadership, and only
fulfilling the legal requirements of meeting a specific number of times each year and certifying
financial obligations.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 4. Structure, Authority, and Standards
An NGO’s board is legally liable for the organization. In some U.S. states, and in some other countries,
this liability differs. Generally, though, the board is the pinnacle of oversight of the organization’s
direction, mission, articles of incorporation or association, executive leadership and even programs.
It is normally involved in only the larger thematic decision-making and guidance, not the daily
workings of the NGO unless there are specific issues. Occasionally a board member will tour an NGO’s
programming in the field.
NGOs often have board members who were once colleagues or government and military officials.
Understanding that boards generally have a large level of influence or involvement with the NGO is
essential to understanding what type of tact or approach is appropriate when attempting to work
with, coordinate, guide, or even understand a particular organization. Table 4.1 outlines a few of the
differences between various types of NGO boards.
Table 4.1 NGO Board of Directors Comparison
Features or Characteristics
Well-known individuals
Assists the NGO with credibility should
the NGO alone be unknown, small or
new. Also provides the NGO with star
power or the ability to raise money
when associated with a popular or
well-respected mentor.
Sometimes unwieldy to manage;
top level NGO personnel spend
significant time managing board
meetings, functions, travel plans, and
Technically oriented
Can assist the NGO officers and staff
with know-how, regional knowledge,
donor identification and management
experience. Often valuable for NGOs
that are new or that are seeking
guidance in a new sector or region.
Often cannot offer substantial
credibility with the general public;
potentially limited and stems the
board’s innate function of spreading
the NGO’s presence into different
Often valuable if NGO has strong
officer and staff base. Gives NGO
personnel room to operate, and only
serves the minimum requirements
established by law.
Often offers no guidance or allows
NGO to veer from mission or charter;
can often become too removed and
lose influence over NGO officers and
staff. Problematic if poor decisionmaking becomes common.
Extends the NGOs reach into various
communities and is a sign that
something is being done right; also
provides increased levels of leverage
and of sources of knowledge.
Often unwieldy and difficult to
manage; potentially removed and
difficult to find firm decision-making or
unified opinions.
Easy to manage and involve in
decision-making; NGO personnel
can form close relationships with
the board and can utilize the board’s
functions easily. Easier to find
consensus for decision-making and
thematic issues.
Potentially weak or limited in scope
of outreach possible; Potential for
negative signal to donors or public.
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Chapter 4. Structure, Authority, and Standards
NGO Guidelines, Codes, and Standards
Practically speaking, NGOs are not governed by any specific international law. They are free to
participate in international operations as a unique and independent actor, and although neutrality or
other specific guidelines protect their activities, they are largely unaccountable to any entity that the
NGO is not under contract with (a specific donor, government, or company). Instead, the collective
NGO community is governed by a series of self-initiated or externally imposed legal and ethical
guidelines. These include the following elements:
• Restrictions within the legal structure of the NGO’s country of origin. This might be tax laws,
donor restrictions, accountability and transparency standards, political or geographical
limitations, and the like.
• Guidelines, rules, or stipulations of the donor agency or source. In receiving funding from a
donor, NGOs will often be subject to the special requirements the donor agency sets out.
Large government donors, such as USAID or the United Kingdom’s DFID (Department for
International Development), are often bound by restrictions as to hiring, religious activity,
associations while implementing programs, geographical flexibility, safety measures,
reporting procedures, accounting methods, antiterrorism compliance (since 2001), and even
technical specifications. An NGO will have an interest in operating within the guidelines of
any donor requirements when it has an overarching interest to maintain positive relations
with the donor.
• Restrictions within the legal structure of the country in which the NGO operates. When an NGO
operates in any country, it must register with the central or provincial-state government
authorities, and continue throughout the emergency, to report to that entity, its activities,
whereabouts, materials it uses, funds it receives and the types of materials imported
(assuming that there is still some form of central government authority). NGOs must abide by
local, state, national and international laws generally, and during emergencies must remain
accountable to the donor community, to its constituencies, and to the national government or
lead governing authority in the region.
The trend is for NGOs to join or propose coordination mechanisms (see chapter 7) and as donor
pressure continues to mount on NGOs to maintain credible, accountable, and transparent programming
while providing effective services, NGOs have created a series of standards and best practices that
help to improve the overall quality, consistency, and fluidity of NGO programming worldwide. This is
helpful for outside agencies that have to deal with NGOs, for NGOs themselves, and ultimately for the
recipients of NGO programming.
The following are the most commonly used and cited standards:
• The Sphere Project (
• The Interagency Standing Committee Guidelines (
• MSF Clinical Guidelines (
• SMART Indicators (
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Chapter 4. Structure, Authority, and Standards
The Sphere Project
The aim of Sphere is to improve the quality of assistance to people affected by disaster including
the accountability of states and humanitarian agencies to their constituents, donors and the affected
Sphere is a voluntary initiative of international and national NGOs, the International Red Cross and
Red Crescent Movement, UN agencies, donor agencies, host governments, and representatives from
affected populations. Sphere is based on international humanitarian, human rights, and refugee
law and the Code of Conduct: Principles of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent
Movement and NGOs in Disaster Response Programs.
The objectives of the initiative are to (1) to improve the commitment to and effective use of Sphere
by all actors involved in humanitarian action; (2) to strengthen the diversity and regional balance of
organizations in the governance and implementation of Sphere; (3) to develop and nurture a cadre of
people who are able to use Sphere effectively; (4) to coordinate and interact with other humanitarian
initiatives, and work together when that complements Sphere’s aim; and (5) to understand and
increase the impact of Sphere.61 A revision of the handbook is scheduled for release in 2010.
The Sphere Project text is available online without charge ( The website also
lists upcoming training courses and other resources useful for NGOs. The Sphere Manual, the staple
of the project, presents technical standards in five sectors: nutrition, food, health, shelter and camp
design, and water and sanitation. It is formally endorsed by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of
Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), USAID (OFDA), UNHCR, and the Inter-Agency Standing
Committee (IASC). The manual is used in training around the world, the focus of which has been
primarily on outreach, international training, security, and minimum standards.62
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee
The IASC is a unique interagency forum for coordination, policy development and decision-making
involving the key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners. The IASC was established in June 1992
in response to UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182 on the need to strengthen humanitarian
assistance. General Assembly Resolution 48/57 affirmed its role as the primary mechanism for
interagency coordination of humanitarian assistance.
The IASC develops humanitarian policies, agrees on a clear division of responsibility for the various
aspects of humanitarian assistance, identifies and addresses gaps in response, and advocates for
effective application of humanitarian principles. Together with Executive Committee for Humanitarian
Affairs (ECHA), the IASC forms the key strategic coordination mechanism among major humanitarian
61 See The Sphere Project,
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Chapter 4. Structure, Authority, and Standards
The objectives of the IASC are sixfold: (1) to develop and agree on system-wide humanitarian
policies; (2) to allocate responsibilities among agencies in humanitarian programs; (3) to develop
and agree on a common ethical framework for all humanitarian activities; (4) to advocate for common
humanitarian principles to parties outside the IASC; (5) to identify areas where gaps in mandates or
lack of operational capacity exist; and (6) to resolve disputes or disagreement about and between
humanitarian agencies on system-wide humanitarian issues.
The following IASC guidelines are available (effective late 2009):
• Operational Guidelines and Field Manual on Human Rights Protection in Situations of Natural
• Women, Girls, Boys & Men: Different Needs—Equal Opportunities. IASC Gender Handbook for
Humanitarian Action
• IASC Policy Statement Gender Equality in Humanitarian Action
• Disaster Preparedness for Effective Response—Guidance and Indicator Package for Implementing
Priority Five of the Hyogo Framework
• IASC advocacy paper Humanitarian Action and Older Persons: An Essential Brief for
Humanitarian Actors
• Checklist for field use of IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency
• Guidelines on the Use of Foreign Military and Civil Defence Assets in Disaster Relief—Oslo
Guidelines (Revision 1.1, November 2007)
• Civil-Military Guidelines and References for Complex Emergencies
• Guidelines for HIV/AIDS Interventions in Emergency Settings
• Implementing the Collaborative Response to Situations of Internal Displacement. Guidance for
UN Humanitarian and/or Resident Coordinators and Country Teams
• Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse
• Plan of Action and Core Principles of Codes of Conduct on Protection from Sexual Abuse and
Exploitation in Humanitarian Crisis
• Respect for Humanitarian Mandates in Conflict Situations
• Saving Lives Together: A Framework for Improving Security Arrangements Among IGOs, NGOs
and UN in the Field
• Exit Strategy for Humanitarian Actors in the Context of Complex Emergencies
MSF Clinical Guidelines
These guidelines were developed by Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) and are freely available to
downloaded from their website ( Well-known and used across the NGO community,
they include
• clinical guidance,
• essential drugs,
• management of epidemic meningococcal meningitis,
Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 4. Structure, Authority, and Standards
obstetrics in remote settings,
rapid health assessment of refugee or displaced persons,
refugee health, and
tuberculosis guidelines.
SMART Indicators
SMART is a voluntary, collaborative network of all humanitarian organizations: donors, international
and UN agencies, NGOs, universities, research institutes, and governments. It includes organizations
and humanitarian practitioners who are leading experts in emergency epidemiology and nutrition,
food security, early warning systems, and demography.
SMART addresses the need to standardize methodologies for determining comparative needs based
on nutritional status, mortality rate, and food security and establishes comprehensive, collaborative
systems to ensure reliable data is used for decision-making and reporting.
SMART was initiated in response to the lack of a coherent understanding of need, in turn attributable
to the use of many methodologies, consistent, reliable data for making decisions and reporting,
the necessary technical capacity to collect and analyze reliable data and comprehensive, long-term
technical support for strategic and sustained capacity building. The goal of SMART is to reform the
system-wide emergency responses by ensuring that policy and programming decisions are based on
reliable, standardized data and that humanitarian aid is provided to those most in need.
The SMART methodology uses crude death rate (CDR) and nutritional status of children under five
as the most vital, basic public health indicators of the severity of a humanitarian crisis. These two
indicators are used to monitor the extent to which the relief system is meeting the needs of the
population and the overall impact and performance of the humanitarian response. NGOs with certain
U.S. government funding are required to report using SMART to retain funding.
NGO Codes of Conduct and Standards
The Principles of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in
Disaster Response Programs is also a staple reference document for many NGOs.64 Although not
universally accepted, these norms normally are accepted by U.S.-, Canadian-, and European Union–
based NGOs and provide the language for what most NGOs feel is their creed or most basic elements
of service. The language is general and includes the primary theme that every person deserves and
should receive humanitarian assistance when needed. As well, it suggests that aid should be given
impartially and without stipulation or restriction, and that beneficiaries are humans and should be
treated as such (for the full text, see annex 4).
For the full text and explanation, see The full text is included in annex 4.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 4. Structure, Authority, and Standards
InterAction has a series of PVO standards that each of its member NGOs must follow. These are
compiled in an extensive document that serves as a guiding tool for NGO management. The intent
was to ensure and strengthen public confidence in
the integrity, quality, and effectiveness of member
Executive Summary
organizations and their programs. The standards cover
budgetary allotments, gender balance on governing ƒƒ NGOs employ many types of people,
but are normally managed by seniorboards, financial accountability, and hiring practices, and
level professionals who come from
provide a baseline series of standards in management
years of NGO, government, military, or
activities to promote professionalism and accountability
private sector careers.
among the InterAction members.65
ƒƒ Some NGOs rely heavily on volunteers
and interns, but most of the larger
The More Standardization, the Better
have developed a staff of experienced
professionals who manage daily relief
A large part of the international NGO community
operations and humanitarian assistance
promotes standardization and protocols because it
NGO management structures
ensures that such a wide-ranging body of organizations
are unique, but generally loosely
operating in such critical settings have some form
structured, ground-up systems that
of accountability. All of the referenced guidelines,
permit fast and critical decision-making.
standards, and codes of conduct are common knowledge
NGOs hire and employ full-time and
among the NGO community.
part-time contractors for short and
long-term projects, consultants,
volunteers, interns and outside
ƒƒ NGO personnel training is becoming
more available, enabling NGOs to
train their work force in technical and
general relief management techniques.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
Chapter 5.
NGO Personnel and Policies
ecause NGOs are so varied in their mission and capacities, regions of operation or constituencies,
NGO staff too are varied in their composition and characteristics.
When military and NGO personnel come into contact, there is often a mixture of curiosity and
frustration that emerges from two very different cultures. Whereas military personnel are normally
part of a stringent and well-defined hierarchy, NGO personnel are part of a largely decentralized
organizational structure, often tasked with responding to the needs of NGO beneficiaries before that
of the NGO. NGO staff members are from different backgrounds and have extensive experience in
conflict regions, disaster areas, hostile living conditions, emergency settings and in danger. They
carry long histories of involvement in these types of settings, and often develop highly valuable skills
and abilities that outweigh those of government, military or international organization capabilities
in many cases.
There is also a flow of personnel between government, military, and NGOs. Government officials often
retire from USAID, the Department of State, or the Department of Defense and join an NGO to serve
as a senior level manager or consultant. Military personnel also often find themselves cycling out of
active duty and entering the service of an NGO doing jobs similar to those they had in the military.
NGO personnel as well often move from the private sector into the government or UN (less to the
military). Although NGO staff members are often young and inexperienced and often thought of as
unprofessional, today’s NGO staff labor pool is highly professional and skilled.
NGOs started gaining ground as primary actors in emergencies during the 1980s and 1990s. With this
increased field time and exposure, NGO personnel started gaining expertise and credibility. Today,
thousands of NGO employees travel, live, and work worldwide and have dedicated their careers and
lives to serving within NGOs. This class of relief workers now dominates the way the international
community responds to emergencies.
Who Works for an NGO?
NGOs employ all types of people. No one type of personality, profession, or capability characterizes an
NGO staff member, and though it is common to find people with similar desires and experiences, most
often few patterns can be discerned. For military and government personnel not used to working
with NGO staff, a few generalizing characteristics can be helpful. NGO personnel are often
• graduates of advanced degree programs often in public health, international relations,
medicine, social work, engineering, political science and communications;
• highly professional, with memberships in professional associations, certificates, and
specialized training;
• well-traveled and multilingual, having worked, lived, or studied in international destinations
for extended periods;
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
• extremely knowledgeable about the emergency affected regions they work in after living and
working there, or knowing the types of emergencies the region is affected by;
• highly motivated, often volunteering for long periods with minimal pay, or voluntarily working
in harsh conditions;
• dedicated to the people they are serving and to their NGO; and
• more and more often local staff running programs in the field rather than westerners.
Looking at a few standard candidate requirements for new hires can also help. Table 5.1 presents
shortened mid-level job candidate requirements from the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the
International Medical Corps (IMC), Oxfam Great Britain, and ACTED.
The qualification requirements vary widely, as do the types of position each NGO is soliciting. For
general management positions, qualifications for ideal candidates will normally include wide-ranging,
management-oriented experiences, and more sectoral-focused positions will demand expertise and
extensive experience (in both the subject and specific country) with a specific trade or project type.
NGO Staff Positions
From ex-military, government, or UN executives to young volunteers or fresh college graduates, NGOs
employ a wide range of talent, labor, and abilities to manage and staff the NGO’s diverse programs.
And though the type of employees at NGOs worldwide is as diverse as the NGO community, it is
valuable to understand how an NGO manages its staffing and programs overseas. For the purposes of
this manual, NGO staff member positions can be identified within six groupings: general support staff
(normally at headquarters), general international field staff (younger, less-experienced but skilled
expatriots), senior international field staff (country and program directors, senior-level officials,
senior management), experts, local staff, and executive management.
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Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
Table 5.1. Mid-Level NGO Job Requirements
IRC Job Announcement: Regional Director, East Africa
• 7 years international work experience, preferably in a refugee or displaced person setting
• 3 years experience at senior management level, including at least 2 years experience as country director
• Proven experience as a strong manager and negotiator
• Previous budget and fiscal oversight responsibilities
• Experience working with the UN, EU, US and other government agencies a plus
• Graduate degree in relevant field preferred
• Must be computer literate
• Must be self-reliant, the regional coordinator will have at most one local support staff person
• Must be willing to travel 25 percent to 35 percent of time
IMC Job Announcement: Country Director Positions
• Knowledge of donor practices, the program proposal process, and humanitarian or development program
solicitations and applications ·
• Ability to conduct and or supervise new program assessments and write cogent proposals and budgets ·
• Familiarity with international humanitarian operations, coordination structures, and the mandates of donors,
UN agencies, and other NGOs
• 5+ years of field experience in humanitarian relief or development programs focused on primary health care
and public health in insecure settings
• Graduate degree in public health, public policy, or related field
• Fluency in English required; second language skills (i.e., working knowledge of French, Spanish, Portuguese,
Swahili, etc.) a plus
• Strong written and oral communication skills necessary
• Ability to analyze and prioritize needs
• Proven organizational and supervisory skills
Oxfam Job Announcement: Humanitarian Coordinator
• Proven analytical and planning skills
• Leadership and management skills of multidisciplinary teams operating within complex matrix management
• Experience and knowledge of the international humanitarian sector, sufficient to advise staff on the legal and
institutional framework within which humanitarian action takes place
• Three years field experience of emergency and developmental work and a continuing commitment to
humanitarian action
• An understanding of public health principles and preferably experience of at least one of Oxfam’s areas of
distinctive competence in humanitarian response
• A understanding of and active commitment to promoting gender and diversity issues in all aspects of Oxfam
GB’s work
• Representational, advocacy and diplomatic skills to enable the post holder to operate effectively within
Oxfam and in external networks
• Competence in written and spoken English
• Ability to travel up to 12 weeks per year
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Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
ACTED Job Announcement (Afghanistan): Road Programs Manager
• Knowledge of non asphalted road networks
• Proven experience in a related field
• Professional English
• Control of the data-processing tools
• Necessary qualities: autonomy, rigour, direction of the contact
General Support Staff
General support staff members are employees or volunteers most often found at the NGO’s
headquarters (HQ) somewhere in western Europe or the United States. As generalists, these people
focus on providing the backstopping and support services for NGO field operations. Significant
time is given to providing logistical support for shipping, procurement, personnel travel and other
programmatic assistance needs. General support staff members normally are also charged with human
resource duties (hiring, recruiting, managing health care, insurance, often travel and other benefits),
fundraising and publicity (solicitation, fundraiser event planning, gifts-in-kind organization, media
relations and advertising), accounting, board relations and recruitment, information technology (IT)
support (rare for smaller organizations) and the like. Larger organizations will have specialized staff
members for website development and technology support, warehouse and shipping staff, specialized
fundraisers, and lobbyists. Many organizations have access to a seemingly endless source of labor
from universities: interns often populate NGO headquarter locations and provide research, media
monitoring, general administrative duties, and clerical tasks.
General staff at headquarters are normally low to mid-level, excluding senior human resource
personnel and accounting staff. Although not necessarily part of the decision-making process, general
staff ensure that much of what the executive management and board members plan is put into action.
General staff are normally valuable for their knowledge of an organization’s overall programmatic
strategies and capabilities, and are large storehouses of information.
General International Field Staff
These NGO expatriate staff members (expats) make up a large portion of an NGO’s international staff
base, normally filling mid-level management positions and participating in general programmatic
oversight, creation, logistical services, and implementation. Normally younger men and women that
are just starting in the field or that have fewer than five years of experience will find themselves
assisting program managers in various duties, managing local staff, managing logistical services or
shipments, participating in establishing and managing refugee or IDP camps, and will often write
reports or proposals with the guidance of more senior level staff.
General international field staff members are the backbone of any international NGO operation,
and normally fulfill some of the more unpopular tasks or demands placed on NGOs working in
underdeveloped, conflict, or emergency affected areas. Striving to find a place in the international NGO
community, these staff members are enthusiastic, ambitious, and willing to take a heavy workload in
bad working conditions. In emergency settings, 20 to 24 hour workdays are common, and poor food,
bad traveling conditions, personal danger, and major health risks are all just part of the job.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
Many of these personnel have at least an undergraduate degree and often an advanced one in
international relations, public health, communications, engineering, or social work and may speak
multiple languages, but they are also often paid poorly. Furthermore, many are employed or volunteer
under a specified time contract; ranging from 3 months to a more common 1- or 2-year contract.
They are often required to move from job to job, changing organizations, countries, and job functions
numerous times. Although not specific to any one disaster or emergency, an informal labor pool of
NGO workers who move from one emergency to another, taking up similar roles in each organization
they work for does exist. It is not uncommon to meet the same people in different emergencies in
different countries, regions, or continents. By traveling light and working hard, these individuals
are valuable and carry with them experiences that can translate into more efficient humanitarian
assistance programs. It is not uncommon for NGO personnel to cycle to HQ after long stints in the
field, or to move to more permanent senior-level HQ roles that will help the organization connect
field and HQ programs more efficiently.
Senior International Field Staff
This group includes expats with an expertise employed to manage entire countrywide or regional
programs for an NGO. Sometimes referred to as country director, regional director, senior advisor,
or coordinator, these individuals have worked in the humanitarian assistance field for career-length
spans. Older and often with decades of experience, they manage other international and local staff
members, and are charged with ensuring that programs are implemented appropriately. As the seniormost NGO staff person in a given region or country, this person controls budgets, grant processes,
personnel, logistics, relations with the host country, donors, local and foreign military (if present),
and other NGOs. Enjoying a comfortable level of autonomy, these individuals are relied on for their
sound judgment, experience, and contacts within the international aid community.
Senior staff members normally have extensive knowledge of the donor and aid community, as well as
close friends and peers within the UN, the U.S. government, and the U.S. military. Senior NGO staff will
be found in recurring emergencies, and often travel to launch new projects in a newly affected area.
Once in the senior level (varies in pay grade, title and duties for each NGO), an NGO staff member is
somewhat of a permanent fixture, and fewer changes between NGO employers occur. Senior field
staff often will phase out of an international location, and return to HQ for a more managerial role.
Specialized Subject Matter Experts
NGOs often employ medical doctors, engineers, psychologists, pilots, water sanitation and hygiene
(WSH) specialists, transportation and logistical specialists, agricultural, or economic specialists
on short to medium-term contracts or assignments. Because the needs in any postconflict or
postemergency settings are so varied, NGOs keep rosters of deployable experts who can be dispatched
in a relatively short time. These experts are deployed to the affected region to begin work in their
specialized field. Normally supported by the general international field and local staff, experts focus
on providing their services without much involvement in the normal daily NGO functions (fundraising,
management, accounting, logistics).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
Experts are normally hired on short-term contracts, though they may work for the same NGO
consistently and may not be from industrialized nations. Many medical doctors enjoy time off from
normal private practice or hospital duties while serving with an NGO in a humanitarian emergency,
using their skills in a new venue for a short period and then returning to their usual work. Many NGOs
keep emergency rosters with updated lists of those willing to be called on short notice, and what their
specialty and requirements are. In the last decade and because of funding constraints and the need
to standardize programs, fewer volunteers are used and more international staff who can commit
to one- to five-year contracts are filling these once short-term agreements. However, for specialized
needs, (such as surgical subspecialties, NGOs maintain rosters.
Local Staff
Local NGO staff members are hired in country and are often victims of the emergency an NGO is
responding to. Local staff fill a wide variety of job functions from drivers, security guards, cooks,
storehouse managers, administrative clerks to medical doctors, program managers, translators and
experts, and are essential to the success of any NGO program.
When first arriving in an emergency-affected area, NGOs normally attempt to hire fixers (translators
and drivers combined) who can quickly orient the expats and secure housing, food, and the basic
resources needed for launching an operation. The fixer serves as a link to the local population and
market. He or she can help exchange money, open local bank accounts, move shipments through
ports or borders, help an international NGO register with the local government, find additional staff
members, and keep the NGO personnel safe.
Once programs are initiated, NGOs employ local staff at all aspects of the management, leaving
larger organizational issues to senior management and international matters for the NGO.66 NGOs
pride themselves on empowering local populations with the skills and resources to manage
effective assistance programs themselves. By training the trainers and incorporating local staff into
most processes during an emergency, NGOs create local capacity to respond to and manage future
emergencies. Local NGO staff normally outnumber the international staff in an emergency-affected
region. Smaller NGO operations will sometimes have one or perhaps three expats on staff to between
10 and 50 locals.
Executive Management
Executive management for NGOs also varies widely. Most management teams are comprised of
professional, senior-level executives from a variety of fields. As mentioned, former government,
military, private sector, and long-term NGO professionals are well suited for management positions,
The pay levels that local NGO staff members receive have been a contentious issue for some time within the NGO
and donor community. Because expats receive western level salaries, per diems, travel allowances, COLAs and other
benefits, local staff members’ receive minimal fractions when salaries are compared. Farshad Rastegar, executive
director of Relief International, suggests that this is not necessarily bad. Local staff members should be paid
appropriately, taking the job function, market and economic conditions into account of the host country. Incentive
enough to attract the best candidates but without disturbing local economic and employment patterns, local NGO
staff pay should be relevant to local economic and labor market conditions. Otherwise, damage to local wages and
currency value could occur.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
often bringing a unique blend of outside management experience and connections with other sectors
that may prove valuable for an NGO’s programs and fundraising.
For larger NGOs, senior management plays a direct role in developing, managing, and guiding an
NGO’s growth and activity. An NGO executive focuses on ensuring that programming and emergency
response efforts fit into the NGO’s mission and capacities, are funded, coordinated, and part of a larger
international picture. Program oversight, fundraising, lobbying, advocacy, coordination, and general
organizational management fill up most parts of the day for senior managers. NGO executives also
spend significant time and resources managing, growing, and engaging the NGO’s board of directors.
While running the NGO, an executive also must plan for future growth, challenges, setbacks, legal
issues, budgets, competition, employee loyalty, and donor relations.
Many of the same tasks fall to executives of smaller NGOs. These individuals are normally founders
or an inside hire, and often are directly engaged in every aspect of the organization. Some CEOs and
presidents find themselves making their own travel arrangements, running photocopies, writing
proposals, and taking care of other activities normally relegated to staff members.
In all cases, an NGO’s success within its mission, its capabilities, direction and funding are heavily
dependent on the NGO’s leadership. With a strong and flexible board of directors, an executive can
manage effective humanitarian assistance programming, can assure that program implementation is
sound and appropriate, and can make sure that the NGO’s growth potential or strengths are maximized
(growth may not be desired).
Hierarchy and Staff Management
NGOs are structured in different ways. Most, though, depend on a loose structure centered on locations,
programs, a hierarchical relationship between HQ and field offices, emergency teams dispatched to
new crises, and sometimes partnerships agencies. NGOs face many of the same problems that private
companies, government agencies, and militaries have when dealing with management issues. Typical
burdens include lack of financial or material resources, technical support, or personnel security.
Communication between offices, staff members, and programs is always difficult. Last, although NGOs
have established national chapters or umbrella organizations to manage worldwide coordinated
fundraising, public relations, and public appeals, most NGOs also deal with the challenge of being
everywhere at once.
At almost every NGO, the board of directors is the ultimate decision-making body and is accountable
for the well-being of the NGO. The executive director, president, or CEO is the manager of the
organization, and normally fulfills two types of functions, encapsulating board management and
general organizational management. Below the executive director is an array of senior officer
positions, normally each with a portfolio, sector, or section of the organization to manage (Assistant
director of finance, vice president of operations, program manager, and so on). These managers
provide the daily, hands-on management of NGO staff members worldwide, and are normally part
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
Figure 5.1 NGO-Military Interface
Board of Directors
Executive Director/
Assistant Director/
Vice President of
Vice President of
Vice President of
HQ Program Officers/Desk Officers/Operations Managers
Country Director
(Country Y)
Country Director
(Country Z)
Program Director
Shelter Project)
Program Director
Local NGO Staff
Expert NGO Staff
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
NGO/Military Coordination Unit
Country Director
(Country X)
Military HA/PK
Joint Military
of the executive director’s planning body, strategy makers, and proponents of the organization’s
objectives and mission.
Many NGOs are flexible in their hierarchy. This translates to a heavy emphasis on making decisions at
the lowest possible level. For an organization with permanent offices in various countries, this means
that a country director or regional manager will normally be the ultimate authority for each country.
Decisions concerning personnel, budget use and reporting, personnel safety and the like are all major
areas of responsibility of a country director or regional manager.
Although closely coordinated with the executive director and senior officers at HQ, NGO staff members
establish a hierarchy within each program in a specific country. A country director will normally
manage multiple programs in the area of concern, and is responsible for ensuring that reporting is
appropriate. Financial, programmatic, and personnel reports are filed with HQ often, and it is the
duty of the program officer at HQ to liaise with senior staff and officers to ensure that the principles
of the organization and the guidelines of the grant are followed.
Because large portions of NGO funding come from grants, NGO personnel are assigned tasks and
responsibilities within the grant framework. This makes each program, ideally, a well-mapped
project that requires minimal oversight. This is not always the case, however, and more often than
not NGOs find themselves in difficult working conditions and in situations that require adjusting the
original program. For flexible staff members with wide-ranging abilities, this is of little consequence.
For smaller organizations with less capacity, this could cripple program implementation.
Figure 5.1 presents a sample organizational chart on how an NGO may structure itself. Although
the schematic is not holistic or standard for every organization, it shows the relationships between
various levels within the organization, and where entry points are for coordination or collaboration.
Coordination usually starts with field-based staff members. Little to no contact with an NGO’s HQ is
standard, and most communication is done on either the country director level or the programmatic
level, and a program manager or officer will be the NGO point person. For example, an NGO may
have various programs within a country or region, all of which fall under one director, but a program
manager or director who reports to that director normally manages each program.
In Figure 5.1 (see following page), three lines indicate possible entry points for an NGO and military
interface. This identifies a common theme among NGOs operating in humanitarian emergencies and
across multiple programs: depending on the size of the organization and the scale of the program, the
lead coordinating staff member may be the country director, the program director or manager, or one
of the expat staff members within the project. Despite clear lines indicating responsibilities for NGO
operations, the liaison for the military and outside entities will be varies widely. Larger NGOs will
often have a designated civil-military affairs staff member assigned to specific regions or countries.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
NGO Hiring and Contracts
NGOs take various approaches to hiring staff. Many NGOs operating in emergencies maintain shortterm contracts with their employees because of the nature of the work: short, intense, and unsure
conditions that require immediate response and that may end relatively quickly. When a new
emergency arises, NGOs are under intense pressure to deploy current staff to establish programs,
and to hire new regional, sectoral, or general experts to join the teams immediately. When the NGO
identifies that it can and should respond to an emergency, funding and donations often will dictate
how many new hires can be made, and what level of experience can be afforded.67
Larger NGOs have a professional human resources (HR) office that is a key ingredient to properly
staffing NGO activities overseas, to maintaining a safe and professional work force, and in passing on
the NGO’s image and professionalism to new hires or contractors.
HR offices within larger NGOs, and sometimes a single HR officer for a smaller NGO, normally keep a
databases of CVs, which are kept on file for a certain period and can be searched by category, sector,
or expertise when the need arises. Because emergencies are relatively unpredictable, it is in this light
that hiring and employment practices of NGOs are often challenging. Some challenges include
• limited funding for the maintenance of full-time professional staff levels;
• short-term needs for experts during
NGO Employment Sites
• no longer-term needs (and thus job
A number of websites are available for potential NGO
security) for experts;
employees to use to learn about and apply to open
• inability to compete with privatepositions. None are exhaustive, but the trend among
sector or government salaries;68
NGOs to use online employment sites is growing.
ƒƒ ReliefWeb:
• harsh working conditions, lack
ƒƒ InterActions:
of safety or personal comforts,
stressful conditions, long hours,
and often challenging work
ƒƒ International careers:
ƒƒ UN:
Many NGO lifers have grown accustomed to
this lifestyle. NGO contractors will often bounce between different NGOs in different emergencies
around the world, holding 3-, 6- or 12- month contracts before moving on to their next assignment.
Larger organizations, such as World Vision International, are focusing on hiring and keeping
personnel by increasing benefits, personal comforts, and other incentives for staying on board
between emergencies or even during prolonged programs.
Despite popular opinion, most NGO staff members are not volunteers.
This disparity between wages in different sectors is changing for the better, however.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
An anonymous World Vision Australia staff member is a good example of how many NGO staffers
are becoming more permanent members of international emergency response teams and the
NGO community in general. This individual is currently stationed in Afghanistan, having started in
southern Sudan in Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) as a logistics officer, moved to East Timor for a
similar position, been sent to Kosovo, and then detailed to his current assignment.69 Enjoying his
work, he has also benefited from World Vision personnel policies and practices that make his ability
to work, live, and have a life within emergency settings tolerable. With ample vacation time, travel
allowances, vacation stipends, excellent health, and procedures that ensure his satisfaction and job
utility, he and many other World Vision staff members are breaking the traditional mold of contractor
lifestyles that would see upwards of three or four employers per year in various emergency settings.
In hiring practices, HR offices and representatives are faced with making quick decisions and often
do not meet the contractor in person, although video conferencing has made face-to-face interaction
less anonymous. NGOs often employ people already in the area of concern, or those on assignment
in some other region. By reviewing a candidate’s credentials, referring to references and background
data (including criminal checks), and by attempting to learn the person’s reputation, an HR office
often makes a hiring decision that other sectors would cringe at making.
People seeking employment with NGOs have a few resources at their disposal. Sometimes fresh out
of undergraduate or graduate school, current employment with another NGO or other profession,
people can use the Internet, e-mail, and publications to learn which positions are open, what each
position requires, the terms, and how to apply. Most applications today are submitted electronically
by e-mail or website form.
NGO Personnel Policies
NGO Training Organizations
Many of the religiously based NGOs require
employees to sign a faith-compliance or
acknowledgment of religious beliefs, policies,
or orientation, which the NGO maintains.
For some potential employment candidates,
these types or requirements are deterrents.
In efforts to remain neutral or nonbiased,
many humanitarian workers strive to remain
independent and free from any association
with a larger cause. Although the days of
handing out Bibles and food together to
beneficiaries are largely over, major overtones
of proselytizing from some organizations
The following websites list courses for NGOs for
specialized training for improving technical capacity
and professionalism:
ƒƒ Alnap:
ƒƒ H.E.L.P.:
ƒƒ IDHA:
ƒƒ INTRAC: http://bricksandmortar.wordpress.
ƒƒ InterWorks:
ƒƒ Karl Kübel Institute for Development Education:
ƒƒ RedR:
Interview with World Vision staff member, June 17, 2002.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
NGO personnel policies are normally basic and straightforward. Policies normally include safety
procedures, neutrality, NGO code of conduct acknowledgments, descriptions of duties, appropriate
behavior in specific areas, sexual harassment awareness training, and sometimes a confidentiality
agreement. Many NGOs have new hires sign a form that suggests they have read the Red Cross code
of conduct, and that they agree, understand, and will abide by its elements.
Many organizations attach specific policies to specific positions. For World Vision positions open in
Afghanistan, candidates are told that strict behavior restrictions exist, and that religious sensitivity
must be maintained at all times. A warning about the use of alcohol is given as well.70
NGO Training Sources
As NGOs and the NGO community become more professional and established, so too are resources
that assist NGOs to manage, operate and implement programs more effectively. Most of the training
programs that exist are focused on providing humanitarian personnel with training in specific sectors,
topics, or themes.
RedR, founded initially as Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief, is now a leading organization
that provides not only an extensive roster of professionals that can be called on by partner agencies,
but also a significant level of training to NGO personnel globally. Founded in England in 1979, it has
offices in more than five countries.
InterWorks, of Madison, Wisconsin, also provides NGO personnel and organizational training to a
variety of clients. Specific seminars, distances learning options, and direct consulting services are
ways that InterWorks helps NGO personnel develop professional, technical, and general skills that are
of use in the field. The InterWorks website explains it this way:
InterWorks provides customized training, distance learning and consulting services that
enhance our client’s efforts to reduce disaster risks, prepare and respond to humanitarian
emergencies and build peaceful and sustainable societies…. InterWorks provides… solutions
to [the] United Nations, NGOs, governmental, academic and military organizations involved
in international development, disaster management and humanitarian emergency response.
We are dedicated to addressing your particular priorities, opportunities and constraints, and
delivering our services when and where you need them. To date, our staff have worked in
more than 60 countries.71
Training and consulting services that InterWorks provides are primary indicators that disasters are
becoming increasingly complex and professional. Still, gaps exist between NGOs and other agencies,
potentially because of management structure and the lines of work associated with NGO operations.
Although the number of NGOs is rising, there is not necessarily a significant parallel shift in the level
World Vision International employment solicitations for positions open in Afghanistan are available at http://
(accessed November 10, 2009).
71InterWorks, (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
of professionalism and expertise. Paul Thompson, executive director and cofounder of InterWorks,
suggests that though some sectors are increasing in capability, many still have not progressed from
1980s levels of capacity and know-how.72 This is troubling, Thompson believes. “Many NGOs are
staffing their projects with generalists,” he says, “and that means that an NGO doing a shelter project
after a conflict or earthquake can manage materials and the logistics of the program, but may not
know the appropriate materials, structures, geometry or plumbing to use for that region. Kosovo was
a good example. Of the more than 10 NGOs that were executing emergency shelter programs, only
three or four were competent and had shelter or construction experts.”
NGOs also depend largely on training conferences and courses held at various times of the year by
different hosts. For an extensive list of training conferences, classes, and programs, Reliefweb (www. is the most likely to have comprehensive databases available online. It lists numerous
training programs for humanitarian assistance management, logistics, telecommunications, sectors,
and many other topics.73 The H.E.L.P., IDHA, and CHART courses are examples of civil-military
relations programs, specific humanitarian assistance courses, and medical response training courses
that involve both civilian and military participants:
• H.E.L.P. Managed and taught by the ICRC, the H.E.L.P. course was created in 1986 to upgrade
professionalism in humanitarian assistance programs conducted in emergency situations.
These courses are given all over the world and since 1986 have helped train approximately
1,600 health professionals and humanitarian aid workers from the International Red Cross
and Red Crescent Movement, United Nations agencies, NGOs, ministries of health, armed
forces medical services, and various academic institutions.
• International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA). The Center for International
Humanitarian Cooperation developed a practical, academic program offering an international
diploma in humanitarian assistance with the goal of creating universally accepted basics that
should be taught to humanitarian aid workers. This course enables aid workers to function
more effectively and efficiently in times of war or in the event of natural disasters. More than
990 UN, NGO, military, diplomats, academics, political, and religious groups from more than
120 nations have graduated from the program.
• Combined Humanitarian Assistance Response Training (CHART). This 5-day course is
designed to introduce military and civilian personnel to the spectrum of humanitarian
action within complex emergencies and natural disasters. Course participants discuss the
unique issues in coordination, public heath, security, and logistics necessary to support or
execute a humanitarian program or operation. Graduates are better prepared to respond in
their respective capacities to emergencies through their increased awareness and enhanced
understanding of different humanitarian response environments including the difficult civilmilitary relationship.
Interviews, Paul Thompson (InterWorks, Summer, 2002) and Donald Krumm (USAID, Winter and Spring, 2002).
ReliefWeb, “Professional Resources: Training,” (accessed
November 10, 2009).
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Chapter 5. Personnel and Policies
NGOs and Inter- and Intra-NGO Relations
NGOs are just like other organizations. There are good managers, bad managers, rivalries, weaknesses,
deficiencies, staff shortages, and various other problems. Of specific value to this manual are two
types of conflict: field-headquarter conflicts within an NGO, and NGO-to-NGO conflicts between
Many NGOs experience ongoing conflict between
field and HQ offices. Although the root of the conflict
be explained various ways, evidence is clear that
HQ personnel continually feel left out of field-based
decision-making, and that field personnel feel
continually pressured and burdened by HQ demands
and processes. Field staff members are often experts
in their trade and are able to make decisions quickly.
HQ staffers often attempt to put more management
into the decision-making process because of
specific donor regulations or senior-level director
management style. In any case, this straddling for
position often creates tension between staff members
who feel the urgency of the moment (field level)
and those who have to archive and account for field
operations from a safe and comfortable HQ location.
Executive Summary
ƒƒ NGO funding comes from a variety of
sources: the UN, the U.S. government,
EU governments, private citizens, and
ƒƒ Because NGOs depend on funding to
become and remain operational, NGOs
must spend a considerable amount of
time preparing funding proposals and
ƒƒ Only a fraction of total international
spending by the United States and EU
countries is spent on humanitarian relief.
ƒƒ NGOs spend billions of dollars every year
in humanitarian assistance activities,
far outspending any other agency or
organization globally.
The NGO community is also known for rivalries
between NGOs. Many NGOs develop institutional
relationships with others, creating bonds in some cases and tension in others. Furthermore, many
NGOs depend on external funding from the same few donor agencies. When vying for the same grant
award, NGOs must compete with each other to obtain the grant. Although the lowest bidder does not
always get the grant, it is true that NGOs must jostle and position for funding in tense environments.
NGO operations often depend on it. Without that grant, NGOs may have to pack up and go home,
which would mean laying off personnel and capacity. This is institutional competition.
In any case, tensions within and between NGOs are not major factors in gauging an NGO’s capacity,
but often can be a sign of institutional credibility and performance. An NGO with low personnel
morale and negative attitudes toward their work and employer could signal a specific weakness in
management or organization culture. An NGO with a bad reputation throughout the NGO community
may be a signal of poor programming or practices. However, it is important to keep in mind that NGOs,
for reasons including safety, personality of field staff, funding, and the like may have a poor reputation
in one country but be considered effective and successful in others. Still, as in other organizations
and communities or sectors, there are always problems at NGOs, and most navigate through them
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Chapter 6. Funding
Conclusion: NGO Staff Are Good to Go
NGOs depend on a solid class of professional, experienced, and senior-level disaster and emergency
managers that have worked in some of the most severe, harsh, and challenging environments in the
world. The days of witnessing untrained and young “humanitarians” attempting to get involved are
not over, but now more than ever value is placed on professional operations, experience, protocol,
training, and capacity to handle extremely technical tasks in difficult working environments.
Advanced degrees and program specialties are major rank indicators, and most mainstream NGOs
found operating in humanitarian emergencies can be trusted to meet their objectives.
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Chapter 6. Funding
Chapter 6.
NGO Funding
Gregg M. Nakano
ongovernmental organizations are legal entities
established within a regulated and legal framework
normally hosted by a mix of national and local government
structures. Depending on where the NGO is established
(the United States, the UK, and so on), different rules and
laws govern how the organization can accept donations,
how it must report its financial data, and to whom it is
See for
financial evaluations of U.S.-based
NGOs, expenses, breakdown of
expenses, rating among similar NGOs,
financial statements, leadership,
contact information, and mission
The international governmental community, and the NGO community specifically, does not respond
to every humanitarian emergency. Political considerations, special interest pressures, national
security concerns, funding constraints, or general humanitarian interests often guide international
humanitarian assistance responses. No two responses are the same; the level, types, duration and
strategy implemented differ greatly in every emergency.
NGOs are only part of international responses to humanitarian emergencies. Governments, the UN,
militaries, private individuals, corporations, companies, and volunteer groups often contribute in
various ways to humanitarian emergencies. NGOs require external funding sources to respond, and
though some NGOs can afford to establish emergency operations for short periods without specific
external support, many NGOs eventually turn to UN funding, U.S., UK, or other government grants,
private contributions from foundations, communities, or individuals, or umbrella organizations that
distribute funding on behalf of another agency or organization.
NGOs spend a significant amount of time fundraising and raising awareness about their programs and
mission with various communities, populations, target audiences, and potential supporters. Support
comes from multiple sources and varies as to its proportion of the total budget from NGO to NGO.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is governed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and
supported by Catholic churches worldwide with funding and relief supplies. Although its budget relies
primarily on government grants, more than one-third of its funding comes from private contributions.
Direct Relief International (DRI), based in Santa Barbara, CA, relies heavily on contributions from the
surrounding community and companies based in the area, making their location extremely important
in deciphering what types of programs DRI initiates or supports. To move out of the area would be
to stem much of the support for its programs and activities, or potentially shift the vision of DRI
to fit that of another community.74 An NGO often relies heavily on donor intent and support. NGOs
Telephone interview, Susan Fowler of Direct Relief International, October 19, 2001; telephone interview, Rachel
Granger of Americares, October 16, 2001; e-mail correspondence, Richard Walden of Operation USA, October 8, 2001;
e-mail correspondence, Susan of MAP, September 18, 2001.
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Chapter 6. Funding
while catering specifically to needs must also take into consideration the desires and intent of specific
donors or donor communities. Although in many cases they do not necessarily conflict, NGOs must
often find a balance between the needs of and the willingness or desire of what a specific donor may
want to fund or support. It is important to remember that NGOs answer to those they aid, their board
of directors, the donors, and the public.
NGOs without question depend heavily on donors. Because they are nonprofit entities and have
neither revenue streams nor fee-for-service systems, NGOs can operate only in emergency settings
for a minimal time before needing donor support. Even a large NGO, often depending on the scope
or scale of the emergency, must solidify funding after the initial phases of an emergency if it is to
continue with its programming. Some NGOs have the capacity to maintain emergency response funds
specifically for such use. CARE, World Vision, CRS, MCI, and other large NGOs make this a priority, and
are known for their unique ability to muster resources immediately during an emergency without
first obtaining donor support for their activities. Most NGOs do not have large emergency funds and
external funding availability thus tends to determine the timing, type, place, duration, and scale of
NGO response activities.
International Humanitarian Assistance and NGO Funding
The term nongovernmental organization is often used by military personnel to identify any number
of communal groups that prioritize issues affecting U.S. foreign policy objectives. By some estimates,
there are as many as 20 million of organizations around the world which meet these criteria, ranging
from Mom and Pop community groups that collect used clothes to the multimillion dollar corporations
able to build municipal sanitation systems. Within the United States and for our purposes, NGO legal
status will be primarily defined as an organization’s ability to qualify for 501(c)3 tax exemption
Tax-exempt status is provided to organizations that are “charitable, religious, educational, scientific,
literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and
preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal
sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion;
advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or
works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice
and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community
deterioration and juvenile delinquency.”75
By 2008, the IRS had recognized more than 1.9 million tax-exempt organizations, the combined assets
of which represented $2 trillion dollars.76 These organizations are divided by the IRS into five broad
categories: charitable organizations, churches and religious organizations, political organizations,
Internal Revenue Service, “Exempt Purposes: IRS Code Section 501(c)(3),
article/0,,id=175418,00.html (accessed November 10, 2009).
Remarks of Sarah Hall Ingram, Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities, Internal Revenue Service,
Georgetown University Law Center, Continuing Legal Education, June 23, 2009.
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Chapter 6. Funding
private foundations, and other nonprofits. Most of the larger organizations with tax-exempt status
can be found online at
All U.S.-based organizations must maintain their qualifications and submit an annual report of
their funding sources and expenditures to retain tax-exempt status. This is usually accomplished by
submitting a Form 990, which mirrors Form 1040 for individual citizens. Form 990 is one of the key
determinants used by watchdog organizations like Guidestar and Charity Navigator to monitor and
evaluate the efficacy of NGOs.
Organizations that fail to maintain their qualifications or to properly submit their Form 990, lose
their tax-exempt status and are updated each tax period on the IRS website. The IRS will also suspend
tax-exempt status for those organizations identified by the Department of Treasury as potentially
engaged in charitable fundraising for the purpose of supporting terrorist activities per Executive
Orders 13224 and 12947. A list of State Department counterterrorism-designated organizations is
available online at
In general, NGOs are considered nonprofits because the resources and services they provide highlight
certain values or ideals rather than commercial gains. As values-driven organizations, NGOs rely
on other individuals and entities with similar priorities to provide the means to continue their
work. In general, common value transfer mechanisms include gifts, grants, contracts, and collective
Sources of Funding
Gifts are “the voluntary transfer of property (including money) to another person completely free of
payment or strings.”77 In most cases, a donation of cash is generally the most appreciated as money
can be transferred around the world and transformed into goods, services, and property almost
instantaneously at little to no cost. Gifts may also come as donations-in-kind, which may be goods,
services, or property that have value.
Although appreciated by most NGOs, donations-in-kind in the form of goods cannot always be
transferred or transformed into the specific resources necessary for a particular operation or location.
This is an important consideration for U.S.-based NGOs that are soliciting resources for overseas
operations. For example, even though canned food may be exactly what is needed for a famine, there
are incremental administrative and logistical costs in moving it from here to there. At best, a pipeline
that will pick up the various costs to inventory, ship, track and distribute the donation-in-kind already
exists. At worst, the donated items waste valuable time, energy, and money as the NGO tries to deliver
a well-intentioned but inappropriate gift of food, clothing, or medicine.
The Free Dictionary, “Rules of Gift-Giving,” (accessed November 10,
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Chapter 6. Funding
Many times these frustrated goods end up failing to clear customs and clutter up shipping ports
or disaster airfields. In some cases, donations-in-kind are inappropriate for the beneficiary (pork
and beans for Jews or Muslims, for example) or have a negative impact on the economy of the local
population (donating rice to a rice-growing region). Other times, as in the case of bottled water, the
cost of shipping and handling equals or exceeds the amount of money necessary to create a sustainable
solution, such as digging a well or installing a purification system.
Donations-in-kind in the form of services are generally appreciated by most NGOs because they has
the potential to lower administrative costs otherwise be spent paying people for their time. This
includes everything from the sweat equity of swinging a hammer at Habitat for Humanity or providing
pro bono legal or financial consultations through the Business Executives for National Security. That
said, donations of services can cause more damage than they are worth when the donor does not
understand the NGOs mission or respect their operating procedures.
Donations-in-kind in the form of property or monetary securities are appreciated as a way to build up
the total assets of the NGO. These resources do not necessarily offer additional resources for operational
responses, however. In general terms, NGOs that specialize in disaster response operations will tend
to solicit cash donations because of their liquidity, whereas NGOs focused on long-term development
will be more amenable to accepting donations-in-kind.
Although an individual, foundation, or corporation may make a gift of money, property, or services to
an NGO, the U.S. government will usually use either a contract or a cooperative agreement. The legal
definitions for contract, grant, and cooperative agreement follow:78
• Contracts. “An executive agency shall use a procurement contract as the legal instrument
reflecting a relationship between the United States Government and a State, a local
government, or other recipient when (1) the principal purpose of the instrument is to
acquire (by purchase, lease, or barter) property or services for the direct benefit or use of the
United States Government; or (2) the agency decides in a specific instance that the use of a
procurement contract is appropriate.”79
• Grants. “An executive agency shall use a grant agreement as the legal instrument reflecting a
relationship between the United States Government and a State, a local government, or other
recipient when (1) the principal purpose of the relationship is to transfer a thing of value to
the State or local government or other recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or
stimulation authorized by a law of the United States instead of acquiring (by purchase, lease,
or barter) property or services for the direct benefit or use of the United States Government;
and (2) substantial involvement is not expected between the executive agency and the State,
local government, or other recipient when carrying out the activity contemplated in the
31 USC Sec. 6301, (accessed November 10, 2009).
31 USC Sec. 6303, (accessed November 10, 2009).
31 USC Sec. 6304, (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Chapter 6. Funding
• Cooperative agreements. “An executive agency shall use a cooperative agreement as the legal
instrument reflecting a relationship between the United States Government and a State, a
local government, or other recipient when - (1) the principal purpose of the relationship is
to transfer a thing of value to the State, local government, or other recipient to carry out a
public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States instead
of acquiring (by purchase, lease, or barter) property or services for the direct benefit or use
of the United States Government; and (2) substantial involvement is expected between the
executive agency and the State, local government, or other recipient when carrying out the
activity contemplated in the agreement.”81
From an NGO perspective, the primary differences between a contract and a grant are that a grant
would provide resources to the recipient for the execution of a public good rather than the specific
benefit of the federal government. Because the primary purpose of transfer of resources is not for the
direct benefit to the federal government, less oversight and reporting were required.
In a cooperative agreement, like a grant, resources are provided to the recipient to execute a
public good rather than for the specific benefit of the U.S. government. However, like the contract,
a cooperative agreement requires substantial administrative monitoring and evaluation. Thus a
cooperative agreement offers the NGO a level of separation from being a direct service provider to the
U.S. government, yet still requires a significant amount of administrative effort. From a government
perspective, potential advantages and drawbacks are calculated somewhat differently.82
Although a contract is usually awarded through a competitive process and spells out the standards for
the delivery of goods and services to USAID, the solicitation process can be can be time consuming and
manpower intensive. Once the contract is awarded, additional staff is needed to monitor and evaluate
performance against agreed standards. When no direct-hire staff are available, this responsibility
must be delegated to short-term contractors, who may not be familiar with the agency rules and
protocols. In other cases, this responsibility may fall to local hire staff, who may be uncomfortable
with reporting irregularities in execution or might be influenced by the contractor.
Cooperative agreements and grants are also awarded on a competitive basis and could be equally
time consuming in the solicitation process. However, once the cooperative agreement or grant were
awarded, oversight or monitoring of the project would be minimal. Although this left loopholes for
shortcuts or inflated estimates, it did not require the agency to expend limited administrative capacity
or funds on monitoring and evaluation.
Even though cooperative agreements and grants did not allow USAID to levy legal penalties or receive
compensation for poor quality or incomplete work, poor execution could result in banning the NGO
from funding. Blacklisting by the United States, the largest national donor in the Development
31 USC Sec. 6305, (accessed November 10,
“USAID Relies Heavily on Nongovernmental Organizations, but Better Data Needed to Evaluate Approaches,” GAO-02471 (Washington, DC: U.S. General Accounting Office, April 2002), pp. 12–13.
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Chapter 6. Funding
Assistance Committee (DAC), could significantly damage an NGO’s reputation with other donors,
potentially resulting in millions of dollars lost in future revenues.83
Over time, USAID developed other ways to maximize the benefits of the different funding
mechanisms while minimizing the drawbacks. Contracting officers started exploring variations of the
traditional practices and began using indefinite quantity contracts, umbrella grants, and cooperative
In an indefinite quantity contract, a solicitation is drafted outlining product or services specifications
for a specified amount of time, but without limiting the units of delivery. In this way, USAID could
design specifications for a particular product, like wool blankets, and award a vendor a contract
to provide a “no less than… but not limited to” clause to avoid re-competing delivery for each new
operation. These indefinite quantity contracts would usually be awarded for common use items
(plastic sheeting, water purification units, hygiene kits) or services (transportation of personnel,
translation of documents, education and training) and last roughly three to five years. The primary
benefit over a simple contract being that the program officer does not need to learn new standards or
build new relationships each time the same product or service is needed.
Another way of employing a wide variety of skills and capabilities in a single grant or cooperative
agreement is to award an umbrella grant. Much like hiring a general contractor to build a house,
USAID would award an umbrella grant to a designated lead agency, which would oversee a consortium
of subgrantees. Although no one organization would be able fulfill all the requirements of a program
alone, by working together and sharing a funding source, they could.
Umbrella grants and cooperative agreements allowed USAID to use all the skills of a great number of
smaller NGOs to accomplish complex or large tasks. Although umbrella grants created another layer
of administrative costs and limited control over the subgrantee selection, the mechanism provided
the consortium members the flexibility to assign and modify responsibilities based on changing needs
without having to stay within one particular discipline or function.
U.S. Government and NGOs
The NGO’s primary benefit in working with the government is that large sums of funding can be
accessed immediately and augmented seamlessly over time. In some cases, contracting officers
have signature authority to commit hundreds of thousands of dollars without referring back to
headquarters. But though a close relationship with the government is beneficial for receiving
funds, it also presents certain challenges and drawbacks that can make using government funds for
humanitarian operations difficult.
OECD, Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD-DAC),,2688,en_2649_33721_1_1_
1_1_1,00.html (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Chapter 6. Funding
Before the end of World War I, NGOs did not rely heavily on the U.S. government, for two reasons.
First was American isolationism and a general lack of interest in overseas affairs. Second was a lack
of federal funds.
Charitable giving and volunteerism have long been a sustaining principal throughout American
history. As early as 1630, Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts understood that, to survive, the
colonists would need to “be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other
in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of
others’ necessities” and that “every man afford his help to another in every want or distress.”84
In the generations that followed, settlers often relied on each other for mutual assistance and
protection. Many times these informal compacts became the de facto governing bodies as people
were thrown together on a common journey West. In most cases, these associations were built
around the Christian church, which became the nexus of charitable works in the community. And
though American Christian charities sent thousands of missionaries abroad, they did so primarily in
the name of religious rather than national service.
World War I began to change the perception of the role of the federal government in supporting
humanitarian work. With the ratification of the 16th Amendment, for the first time in U.S. history, the
federal government had a significant budget collected through the income tax on its citizens. “Driven
by the war and largely funded by the new income tax, by 1917 the Federal budget was almost equal
to the total budget for all the years between 1791 and 1916.”85 Even so, it was not until World War II
that collaboration between NGOs and the U.S. government began in earnest.
At the end of World War II, President Truman created an advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign
Aid “to tie together the governmental and private programs in the field of foreign relief.”86 Recognizing
that the United States would have to provide significant postconflict development assistance for
Europe if the global economy were to recover, the U.S. government reversed the Morgenthau Plan,
which focused on the elimination of German industrial capability, and implemented the European
Recovery Program, what became known as the Marshall Plan.
Although the bulk of the Marshall Plan’s funds were channeled through organizations like the United
Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and went directly to national governments; there
was a growing recognition of the importance of NGOs like Oxfam, which formed in 1942 to donate
food supplies to starving women and children in enemy-occupied Greece.
John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity,” The Religious Freedom Page,
sacred/charity.html (accessed November 10, 2009).
U.S. Department of the Treasury, “History of the U.S. Tax System,”
ustax.shtml (accessed November 10, 2009).
USAID, “A Brief History of ACVFA,” (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Perhaps one of the best-known NGOs established in the aftermath of World War II is CARE, then called
the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe.87 Formed through a coalition of 22 American
organizations, CARE provided food relief to Europe purchased with donations from private citizens.
In this case of government–NGO cooperation, CARE provided as much as 60 percent of the private
assistance provided during the Berlin Airlift, and the U.S. government provided the logistics support
free of charge. On the other side of the world were organizations like the China’s Children Fund (CCF),
formed to help children orphaned during the Japanese invasion of China.
For the most part, these NGOs were sustained by local churches and operated on a shoestring
budget. Without the benefit of the Internet or cell phones, these humanitarian missionaries solicited
donations by traveling throughout the United States, sharing their stories, photographs, and world
vision with local congregations. Thus, throughout this period, it was Christian charities rather than
U.S. tax dollars that financed the work of many of these efforts.88
Between 1948 and 1951, the Marshall Plan delivered an estimated $12 billion ($100 billion in 2008
dollars) worth of food, fuel, raw materials, and equipment to begin the reconstruction of Europe. But
NGOs funded with private donations had played an essential role in meeting the individual needs
official sources missed. By taking the initiative to help a fellow human in need, NGOs had significantly
minimized the federal government’s expenses to help the world recover from World War II.
Seeing the power of humanitarian assistance to influence without force, Congress formally recognized
that “a principal objective of the foreign policy of the United States is the encouragement and
sustained support of the people of developing countries in their efforts to acquire the knowledge and
resources essential to development and to build the economic, political, and social institutions which
will improve the quality of their lives.”89 To manifest this aim, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961
established the U.S. Agency for International Development and gave it the primary responsibility for
achieving five principal goals:
• alleviating the worst physical manifestations of poverty among the world’s poor majority,
• promoting conditions enabling developing countries to achieve self-sustaining economic
growth with equitable distribution of benefits,
• encouraging development processes in which individual civil and economic rights are
respected and enhanced,
• integrating developing countries into an open and equitable international economic system,
CARE, “History,” (accessed November 10,
John Feffer, “Spreading the Word,” Discussion Paper, Foreign Policy in Focus, (accessed
November 10, 2009).
U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, Legislation on Foreign Relations through 2002, 87-164CC (Washington:
U.S. Government Printing Office, 2003), (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Chapter 6. Funding
• promoting good governance through combating corruption and improving transparency and
Buoyed by President Kennedy’s promise to “those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe
struggling to break the bonds of mass misery… to help them help themselves, for whatever period is
required—not because the Communists may be doing it, … but because it is right,” USAID recruited
hundreds of teachers, engineers, doctors, and development specialists to directly implement
programs on the ground.90 By 1962, USAID had roughly 8,600 direct hire employees deployed around
the world.
Embedded in the establishment of USAID and the Peace Corps, also established during the Kennedy
administration, was a desire to replicate the success of the NGOs in improving the image of the United
States as a prosperous alternative to communism. Locked in a political, military, and economic battle
with the Soviet Union, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 provided a mechanism of influence with
the Non-Aligned Movement or so-called Third World that would not lead to thermonuclear war.91
Developing nations, which had not declared which camp they would support, the communists or the
capitalists, often became the dual beneficiaries of a battle by potlatch.
Collaboration between USAID, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State to achieve U.S.
foreign policy objectives continued to increase in strength and fraternity over the next ten years, but
the loss of the Vietnam War in 1975 brought about disillusionment with the ability of development
assistance to “win hearts and minds.” The staff of USAID was gradually whittled down from a high of
more than 10,00092 during the Vietnam era to 3,162 in 1990.93 As more and more experienced USAID
personnel left the agency with no pension or desire to enter the private sector, they joined existing
or created their own NGOs. With USAID’s organic capacity to implement government programs, the
number of private voluntary organizations doing the work in the field increased from 18 in 1970 to
more than 190 in 2000.94
In 1984, understanding the need to improve coordination between the different NGO efforts, the
American Council of Voluntary Service formed a merger with Private Agencies in International
Development to become the American Council for Voluntary International Action, or InterAction.
The idea was to provide a collective voice that could lobby the U.S. government to take action in
humanitarian activities like the Ethiopia famine. As the largest coalition of U.S.-based international
“Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy” (January 20, 1961), John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum,
htm (accessed November 10, 2009).
The Non-Aligned Movement, “Background Information,”
History (accessed November 10, 2009).
James Kunder, Testimony before the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Relations, and Related Programs, House
Committee on Appropriations, “Buiding a 21st Century Workforce,” February 20, 2009, p. 2, http://budgetinsight.
General Accounting Office, “Foreign Assistance: Strategic Workforce Planning Can Help USAID Address Current and
Future Challenges,” GAO 03-946 (Washington, DC: U.S. General Accounting Office, 2003).
USAID, “Global Development Alliance,” (accessed October
15, 2009).
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Chapter 6. Funding
NGOs, InterAction sought to leverage “the impact of this private support by advocating for the
expansion of U.S. government investments and by insisting that policies and programs are responsive
to the realities of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations.”95
With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the imperative to continue development assistance to “win
hearts and minds” diminished even further. The needs of dispossessed populations from the breakup
of Yugoslavia, postcolonial civil wars in Africa, and poorly governed or oppressive states around the
world were increasingly provided with NGO personnel, equipment, and expertise. Correspondingly,
the number of international NGOs surged from roughly 6,000 in 1990 to an estimated 26,000 by
2000.96 After decades of continuous budget and personnel cuts, USAID was eventually transformed
from an agency in which U.S. direct-hire personnel implemented projects in the field to one where
an increasing number of short-term contractors oversaw NGO grantees who carried out most of its
day-to-day activities.
Before the end of the cold war, NGOs had been mostly engaged in long-term development work. Tied
to their missionary purpose, NGOs would spend years, sometimes generations, learning the local
languages, preaching the Gospel and working to improve the communities’ quality of life. Dividing the
world into categories and regions such as the West, the Soviet Bloc, and Non-Aligned or Third World
regions limited the ability of NGOs to move freely between the different camps and become a truly
global organization.
But with the breakdown of the Soviet Union and the U.S. government’s curtailing or abandoning
of overseas development assistance programs, NGOs were provided the ability and opportunity to
become increasingly engaged in rapid response operations either as proxies or in the absence of
government agencies. In many cases, this meant working in postconflict environments or the midst of
a civil war. But these new opportunities brought with them a realignment of funding strategies.
Initially NGOs were able to operate in complex humanitarian emergencies with impunity because all
parties saw their presence as mutually beneficial. This was primarily because of the NGOs adherence
to the humanitarian imperative, the concept that the prime motivation of a response is “to alleviate
suffering amongst those least able to withstand the stress caused by disaster.”97 As long as the U.S.
government transferred the resources in the form of a grant with the intent of benefiting all, the aid
could be “given regardless of race, creed, nationality of the recipients and without adverse distinction
or any kind.”By respecting the local culture and ensuring that assistance was not used to further a
political or religious standpoint, NGOs were able to create a humanitarian space that allowed unarmed
and unprotected individuals to work unmolested in the midst of ongoing conflicts or atrocities.
Although humanitarian space did not protect NGOs from nonspecific violence or criminal activity, NGO
personnel were able to work unscathed within conflict zones for months and, in some cases, years
InterAction, “About Interaction,” (accessed November 11, 2009).
“The Non-Governmental Order: Will NGOs Democratize, or Merely Disrupt, Global Governance?” The Economist,
December 11–17, 1999.
97IFRC, The SPHERE Project: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Geneva: The Sphere
Project, 2004), p. 317. The next edition of the handbook is expected to be published in late 2010.
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Chapter 6. Funding
on end. To maintain acceptance of the local population and protection of humanitarian space, most
NGOs attempted to ensure that only a portion of the funds they received were from governmental
sources and that the government funds accepted did not carry the perception of bias.
Once a contract is used as a mechanism to transfer resources, the U.S. government creates a legal
obligation of service. This in turn transforms the NGO into an agent of the government and thus
a legal target for enemy combatants. Although this distinction was not an issue in the decade that
followed the end of the cold war, it rapidly complicated the way NGOs managed funding as the United
States embarked on the global war on terror.
By 2002, USAID was responsible for development assistance programs in more than 150 countries,
but had only 1,985 direct-hire personnel.98 USAID deployed more than 600 direct-hire personnel to
oversee programs in 71 countries but was unable to staff permanent representation in the other 80
nations receiving U.S. government assistance, relying instead on NGOs. A review of USAID capabilities
by the Government Accounting Office showed that in fiscal year 2000 (FY2000), “USAID directed
about $4 billion of its $7.2 billion assistance funding to nongovernmental organizations, including at
least $1 billion to private voluntary organizations (charities) working overseas”99 (see figure 6.1).
Realizing that any reconstruction efforts in Iraq would exceed the staffing of the agency, USAID
began readying a number of multimillion dollar agreements with NGOs to cover the anticipated
requirements. This posed a number of challenges for the NGOs.
Because the development assistance was based on support of U.S. government policy objectives,
funds were earmarked funds for specific projects dictating where, when, how, and thus, by extension,
who received assistance on the ground. By definition, this act would change the NGO’s assistance
from humanitarian, providing assistance based on need, to conditional, where assistance would be
given in exchange for political allegiance or military information. But perhaps more dangerous to the
NGOs was the loss of perceived neutrality in the eyes of the combatants.
In being seen as agents of a belligerent power in an armed conflict, the humanitarian space, which
had previously kept NGOs safe, was gradually eroded. This was especially challenging for those NGOs
that had traditionally received a substantial percentage of their budget from government funding and
was complicated by the emotional passions stirred up by the invasion of Iraq. If an NGO decided not to
accept U.S. government funding, it gave the perception of being seen as being against the war and, by
extension, as anti-American. This could damage potential funding streams, not only with the federal
government, but also with the traditional NGO donor church base, whose congregations tended to
support the invasion. But, given the lack of international support for the invasion, the NGOs could lose
General Accounting Office, “Foreign Assistance: USAID Needs to Improve Its Workforce Planning and Operating
Expense Accounting,” GAO-03-1171T (Washington, DC: U.S. General Accounting Office, 2003),
getrpt?GAO-03-1171T (accessed November 10, 2009).
General Accounting Office, “Foreign Assistance: USAID Relies Heavily on Nongovernmental Organizations, but Better
Data Needed to Evaluate Approaches,” GAO-02-471 (Washington, DC: U.S. General Accounting Office, 2003), www. (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Chapter 6. Funding
strategic access to Muslim populations by being seen as part of a resurgent Christian crusade. With
more than 1 billion Muslims in the world and constituting a majority in more than 40 nations, the
NGOs recognized another threshold in government–NGO relationships was being crossed.
Figure 6.1 USAID Budget Distribution
contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements to NGOs
$4 billion (35%)
USAID FY2000 budget
$7.2 billion
Fund transfers to foreign countries
$1.9 billion (26%)
USAID operating expenses
$0.5 billion (6.9%)
Funding of U.S. government agencies
$0.9 billion (13%)
Funding of public international organizations
$0.2 billion (3%)
Other assistance
$0.2 billion (3%)
The principles of humanitarian assistance were further complicated by the broad powers granted
to military commanders providing conditional aid in the field. Armed with Commanders Emergency
Response Program (CERP) funds, money taken from the former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein,
military commanders engaged in what were called quick impact programs designed to gain the
immediate compliance of the occupied territories.
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Chapter 6. Funding
By early 2004, military commanders working directly with local citizens to identify and respond to
immediate needs with low-cost, high-impact projects spent more than $126 million on more than
5,000 education, health-care, electricity, water, and security projects.100 And though the idea was for
CERP projects to be a grassroots effort by local commanders to quickly deal with short-term needs,
speed often outweighed sustainability. In cases where the Department of Defense was not closely
linked with USAID, military commanders implemented programs that duplicated or conflicted with
reconstruction programs assigned by USAID to NGOs.
In the breakdown of overseas development assistance from 2001 to 2007, the United States—in
contrast with the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany—did
not break out the funds allocated to NGOs to implement assistance programs into a separate category
(see table 6.1). Over time, this omission may strengthen inferences that the U.S. government views
NGOs as parastatal entities or that the NGOs are just a cut-out for occupying forces. At its worst, this
perception might eventually erode the acceptance of the local population that protected NGOs working
in complex humanitarian emergencies or eliminate the concept of humanitarian space altogether.
Table 6.1 Overseas Development Assistance, 2001–2007 (millions of US$)
United States
Population policy and reproductive health
Water and sanitation
Government and civil society
Social infrastructure and services
Economic infrastructure
Agriculture, forestry, fishing
Industry, mining, construction
Trade policy and regulations
Multisector and cross-cutting
General budget support
Food aid and other commodity assistance
Action related to debt
Emergency response
Reconstruction and rehabilitation
Disaster prevention and preparedness
Administrative costs to donors
Support to NGOs
Refugees in donor countries
Other costs
$ 1,216.31
USG% of
100 U.S. Department of Defense, “News Transcript: Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing, Commander’s Emergency
Response Program” (January 14, 2004),
(accessed November 10, 2009).
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Chapter 6. Funding
Source: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, StatExtracts, “ODA by Sector,”
Corporations, Foundations, and Individuals
To be able to operate independently, most NGOs, like mutual fund managers, develop a diversified
portfolio across individual, corporate, and government donors. These portfolios are designed to go
beyond searching for government grants in the areas noted in table 5 to actively solicit support for
a specific issue, beneficiary group, or topical news item. The percentage of each funding source is
usually based on the NGO’s balance between long-term development assistance and crisis response
capability. In general, the more long range and development focused an NGO is, the less pressure to
seek funds from sources, like the U.S. government, that might compromise their impartiality.
To do this, most NGOs rely on a variety of private sources for financial support. These include
unsolicited contributions from citizen or corporate donations, gifts-in-kind contributions, foundation
or corporate grants, and religious or civil society-based funding. Some NGOs receive one or the other,
limiting either government or private contributions for organizational or capacity reasons, and some
NGOs combine sources of funding to maximize all potential contributions. And though it may seem a
daunting task, American private individuals and corporations collectively donate a greater percentage
and sum of their resources to charitable organizations than the federal government does.
In raw numbers, private contributions from American foundations and companies in 2006 collectively
amounted to more than $49 billion,101 whereas official development assistance donated by the
U.S. government came to only $24 billion.102 Since the early 1970s, companies have undergone a
transformation from being interested solely in making money to becoming responsible corporate
citizens. This change has largely been driven by the NGOs and had its greatest impact on how
companies are defining profits and the bottom line.
When the United States was originally established, there were no legal mechanisms to appropriate
taxes for federal government operations. Instead, operating expenses were paid for by donations
from the various states. By 1787 and the Constitutional Convention, it became apparent that taxation
would be necessary to pay for expenses. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gave Congress the
“Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the
common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”
By 1792, tax receipts “totaled $208,943 this fiscal year—less than one tenth of the amount collected
through customs duties. The cost of collecting this money was about twenty percent of the total
101 Jeffrey Thomas, “Charitable Donations by Americans Reach Record High,”, (accessed November 10, 2009).
102 OECD, DCD-DAC, “Development aid from OECD countries fell 5.1% in 2006” (March 4, 2007),
document/17/0,2340,en_2649_33721_38341265_1_1_1_1,00.html (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Chapter 6. Funding
revenue collection.”103 The challenges of collecting any taxes continued as people continued to
move farther and farther west across America. Thus taxes initially focused on goods that required a
permanent address and were not essential to all, such as liquor and tobacco.
Thus from roughly 1800 to 1900, individuals and businesses were allowed to keep almost all of
their profits. During this time, businesses would donate to charitable organizations, but there was
very little incentive, aside from one’s conscience, for any sort of voluntary contribution that reduced
profits. In the economic Darwinism of this period, the workers’ hardships in the factories and damage
to the environment were considered an externality the company did its best to avoid paying.
As reflected in Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, published in 1838, or the Communist Manifesto,
published 1848, the role of business was to make a profit, regardless of the human cost. Even though
the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery in the United States was ratified in 1865,
it did little to improve working conditions. The flush labor market filled with newly freed slaves and
soldiers returning from the Civil War gave business owners little incentive to focus on “relief of the
poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged.”
However, by the Progressive era, roughly 1890 to 1920, people began looking at the conditions in
the workplace and forcing businesses to institute more human conditions. Although not formally
recognized by the term NGO at the time, charitable organizations—like the Salvation Army, brought
to the United States from Great Britain in 1879; United Way, established by a Denver priest, two
ministers and a rabbi to address the city’s welfare challenges in 1887; and Rotary, established “for
the purpose of doing good in the world” in 1917—helped address the needs by those disabled by
predatory business practices. With new immigrants continuing to stream into the United States every
day willing and able to put up with longer hours for cheaper pay, businesses did everything they
could to avoid making changes that might reduce their profits. Slowly, through trade unions and the
NGOs, worker protections and business practices continued to improve resulting in the Fair Labor
Standards Act of 1938, which included the first federal standards for child labor.
This attitude began to change radically in the 1960s as the Baby Boomers began to come of age.
Sheltered from the worst abuses suffered by their parents and grandparents and raised with the
notion that America was a force for good in the world, they demanded more, not only from the U.S.
government but U.S. companies as well.
One turning point in the idea of corporate social responsibility was the publication of Silent Spring in
1961. The book detailed the impact of the uncontrolled use of DDT, an insecticide, had in reducing the
animal (particularly bird) populations and the potential effects on human health. The book echoed
concerns of NGOs, such as the World Wildlife Foundation, formed in 1961, also concerned with the
endangerment of animal species and environmental degradation. When the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), formed in 1970, finally banned the use of DDT in the United States two years later, it
103 U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRS Historical Fact Book: A Chronology, 1646–1992, p. 16,
irshistoricalfac00unit#page/17/mode/1up (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Chapter 6. Funding
was a recognition of the changing focus of the American population and the power of NGOs to effect
change. More directly, it sent a clear signal to businesses and corporations that the external costs
must be considered when developing a product or providing a service.
NGOs like Greenpeace, formed in 1971 to protest underground nuclear testing in highly seismically
unstable area, began to raise awareness of the environmental costs of relying on industry and
technology to solve all the world’s problems. Highly visible accidents like the partial core meltdown
at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in 1979 and the 1984 chemical accident in Bhopal, India,
validated NGO concerns about industry safety standards. The complete nuclear reactor meltdown
in Chernobyl in 1986 and the Exxon Valdez oil spill
in 1989 helped consolidate the view that NGOs were
Figure 6.2 Relative Donations
more than just muckraking cranks, and that, left
unchecked, business practices could cause serious
and often long-lasting damage to the environment.
By the time the character Gordon Gekko made
his famous speech, “Greed is good,” in the 1987
movie Wall Street the tide toward corporate social
responsibility had already begun to turn.
“About one in every ten dollars of assets under
Source: Giving USA Foundation, “U.S. charitable giving
estimated to be $307.65 billion in 2008” (press release,
management in the U.S.—an estimated $2.3 trillion
June 10, 2009).
out of $24 trillion—is being invested in companies
that rate highly on some measure of social responsibility.”104 Of the top ten companies in the Global 500,
the world’s largest companies, all
Figure 6.3 Donations as Portion of Income
have corporate social responsibility
programs with a link prominently
displayed on their website.105
“Companies are beginning to
discover that the questions, ‘How
can I accomplish more good in the
world?’ and ‘Where is the market
the same thing.”106 Increasingly
businesses are talking about working
for the “triple bottom line” or “people,
planet, profit” in a way that achieves
social, environmental, and economic
the bottom
line,” Charitable
Fortune, Giving
on Philanthropy,
of Household
by 23, 2006,
Group, 2005” (Indianapolis: Indiana University,(accessed
2007), p. 17,
figure 2. 10, 2009).
105, “Global 500: Our annual ranking of the world’s largest corporations,” Fortune 2008, http://money. (accessed November 10, 2009).
106 Center on Philanthropy, “Corporate Philanthropy: The Age of Integration” (Indianapolis: Indiana University, May
2007), p. 5.
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Chapter 6. Funding
advances in a sustainable fashion. As more and more consumers demand that companies become
active global citizens, the more businesses are seeking NGOs as partners to solve community relations
In the past, private companies contributions to NGOs came in the form of cash donations or donationsin-kind. But as more companies develop their own corporate social responsibility programs, the focus
of engagement is finding a strategic partner who shares core values. Corporate philanthropy today
focuses on a trialogue of the company, which assists with funding, management, and resources; the
consumers, who select the branding message of the company or NGO; and the NGO, which works
to improve the local population’s quality of life while increasing the company’s bottom line. Table
6.2 (see next page) presents a ranking of some of the top foundations, corporations, and community
And even as companies move their production facilities overseas or search out new consumers to
purchase their products, they are beginning to discover the value of the NGOs acceptance model.
Rather than relying on gunboat diplomacy or the imposition of unequal trade practices to open up
new markets, multinational companies are learning to tailor their messages and products match the
needs and sensibilities of the local population. Much of this transformation has been driven by NGOs.
In an interconnected world with a 24-hour news cycle, anyone with a “laptop computer, a website,
and an email address … can wreak havoc on a giant multinational.”108 Businesses must ensure that
working conditions meet the minimum standards within the host nation.109 But more than just
avoiding bad press for poor work conditions, corporations are learning the potential of transforming
today’s beneficiaries into tomorrow’s consumers.
Called by some the “fortune at the bottom of the pyramid,” businesses are finding it beneficial to
work with NGOs. “The basic economics of the bottom of the pyramid market are based on small
unit packages, low margins per unit, high volume, and high return on capital employed.”110 Instead
of packaging products like shampoo, soap, and skin cream in large quantities for people who make
less than $1 a day, companies are learning to repackage it into one time trial-size servings, and make
a miniscule profit many times. Taking a new twist from Henry Ford’s “sell to the masses, eat with
the classes,” businesses are rediscovering that making 1 cent of profit 1 billion times still equals $10
million dollars.
The Foundation Center, (accessed November 10, 2009).
The Future 500, “About Us,” (accessed November 10, 2009).
Atul Varma, “Sweatshops: Poverty is Awesome,” (accessed November 10, 2009).
C. K. Prahalad, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School, 2006), p. 24.
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Chapter 6. Funding
Table 6.2 Total Giving by Donor Type
Top foundations
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (WA)
The Ford Foundation (NY)
AstraZeneca Foundation (DE)
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (CA)
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (NJ)
GlaxoSmithKline Patient Access Programs Foundation (NC)
Lilly Endowment Inc. (IN)
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation (CA)
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (NY)
Silicon Valley Community Foundation (CA)
Top corporations
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. (NC)
Sanofi-Aventis Patient Assistance Foundation (NJ)
Wal-Mart Foundation (AR)
The Wachovia Foundation, Inc. (NC)
Citi Foundation (NY)
GE Foundation (CT)
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation (NY)
ExxonMobil Foundation (TX)
Wells Fargo Foundation (CA)
Johnson & Johnson Companies Contribution Fund (NJ)
Largest community foundations
Silicon Valley Community Foundation (CA)
California Community Foundation (CA)
Greater Kansas City Community Foundation (MO)
The New York Community Trust (NY)
The Chicago Community Trust (IL)
The Columbus Foundation and Affiliated Organizations (OH)
Foundation for the Carolinas (NC)
The San Francisco Foundation (CA)
The Community Foundation National Capital Region (DC)
Tulsa Community Foundation (OK)
And, as NGOs discover that goods given away free are not valued as much by the recipient, by working
with businesses and the local population, they can develop sustainable development assistance
models that continue to grow and expand after an investment of seed capital. Businesses, being profitmaking ventures, are more likely to scrutinize the way an NGO manages its budget than a government
organization or individual donor. Thus the development of these NGO–business partnerships has had
complementary benefits of making the corporation more socially responsible and aware at the same
time that it encourages the NGO to be more financially responsible in its efforts to do good.
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Chapter 6. Funding
Despite the increased focus on corporate social responsibility over the past 20 years, perhaps most
surprising statistic is that individual private citizens accounted for $229 billion, or roughly 75 percent,
of the total amount donated in 2008. This dwarfs the the $78.3 billion from foundations ($41 billion),
charitable bequests ($23 billion), and corporations $14.3 billion, as noted in figure 6.2.
Not only do individuals donate more in terms of total amount, they also donate more as a percentage
of their total income. In contrast to the federal government, which allocated only 0.16 percent of the
gross national income in 2007 to development assistance; since 1964, roughly the same time as the
establishment of USAID, individual private citizens have consistently donated more than 1.4 percent
of their gross income to charitable causes.111 Thud private individual donations continue to be the
primary source of most NGOs’ income (see figure 6.3).
As might be expected, the bulk of those donations go to religious charities.
Of course, this does little for the NGOs concerned with international affairs, given that fewer than 2
percent of all donations are earmarked for overseas response. When religious groups were asked
if America should help overseas, 55 percent responded, “We should pay less attention to problems
overseas and concentrate on problems here at home.”112 But, like the humanitarian pioneers of the
past, NGOs are increasingly courting a new class of individuals to raise resources and awareness to
address the problems of the future.
The first class of super-empowered individual is the magnate. Whether the Nobel Peace Prize,
established after Alfred Nobel decided he wanted to be recognized posthumously as something other
than the merchant of death or the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, established from the
largess of Andrew Carnegie, who wrote in The Gospel of Wealth that “all personal wealth beyond that
required to supply the needs of one’s family should be regarded as a trust fund to be administered for
the benefit of the community,”113 these individuals reshape the way the world thinks because of where
they place their resources. Among contemporary examples, Bill Gates is probably the best known.
Gates, whose wealth has been as much as $100 billion, depending on stock value, has been ranked
the richest man in the world on several occasions. In 1984, he established a foundation that would
transfer some of the wealth accumulated through Microsoft into charitable works. Over time, the
foundation grew to an organization with more than 750 employees and endowment of over $27 billion
making grant payments equaling $2.8 billion (2008) to organizations in all 50 states and roughly 100
nations. With a budget of $27 billion, about the combined gross national incomes of Eritrea, Belize,
111 “Disaster Giving Power Point,” (accessed
November 10, 2009).
112 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, “Comparisons,” (accessed
November 10, 2009).
113 Carnegie Corporation of New York, “Biography,” (accessed November
10, 2009).
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Bhutan, Maldives, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Gibraltar, San Marino, Saint Lucia, Djibouti, Liberia,
Burundi, British Virgin Islands, The Gambia, Seychelles, Grenada, Northern Mariana Islands, Saint
Vincent and the Grenadines, Vanuatu, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Comoros, Samoa, East Timor, Solomon
Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Dominica, American Samoa, Tonga, Micronesia, Cook Islands, Palau, São Tomé
and Príncipe, Marshall Islands, Anguilla, Kiribati, Tuvalu, and Niue combined, the Gates Foundation is
less an nongovernmental organization and more an extragovernmental force.
With consolidated financial practices, the Gates Foundation can account for grants as large as
$200,665,210 or as small as $500 with equal accuracy.114 And being a business with a sense for how
to manage funds, it has been able to attract other super-empowered individuals, such as Warren
Buffet, ranked as the richest man in the world in 2008, to donate millions, even billions, of dollars to
the foundation to expand their charitable works.115 That said, big foundations act very much like the
government and don’t necessarily make it easier for all NGOs to increase their funding. The second
type of super-empowered individuals does.
One of the keys to donations is visibility of needs. As long as ignorance confers innocence, there is
no responsibility to act on behalf of something that one is unaware of. Although not as egregious as
launching wars based on erroneous information, the effects of ignoring or suppressing information
that might otherwise cause people to act can be just as devastating. The Ethiopian famine of 1984 is
one example of the second super-empowered individual.
During the twelve short months of 1984, a number of world events consumed U.S. leaders’ attention.
Iran turned the tide against Iraq and both sides escalated hostilities by attacking oil tankers in the
Persian Gulf. With Israel’s war in Lebanon heating up, the CIA station chief in Beirut was kidnapped
and eventually tortured to death; the Marines had been withdrawn after a fatal attack on their barracks
the previous year. Premier Indira Ghandi ordered an attack on Sikh separatists in the Golden Temple,
resulting in her assassination four months later. To assist the insurgency against the Soviet occupation,
the CIA’s budget for operations in Afghanistan was tripled. That year, United Kingdom and China
agreed to the terms of restoration of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty. U.S. support for El Salvador’s
military government against the Farabuno Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) continued, as well
as assistance to other Latin American nations struggling against popular insurgencies. Desmond Tutu
was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid.
In March 1984, faced with the prospects of a poor harvest, the Ethiopian government announced
that as many as 5 million people could be at risk of starvation by the end of the year. By August, the
effects of the poor harvest were beginning to show and thousands of people began starving to death
each day. Oxfam made the largest contribution in its 40-year history, £500,000, in an effort to spur the
western governments to respond, but to no avail. Despite a bumper harvest of grain in September, the
western nations declined to offer Ethiopia famine relief.
114 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “Financials,”
115 Carol J. Loomis, “Warren Buffett gives away his fortune,” Fortune, June 25, 2006,
magazines/fortune/charity1.fortune (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Chapter 6. Funding
Frustrated with the lack of official interest, Bob Geldoff gathered with a number of fellow singers to
record a single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” in late November, hoping to raise perhaps as much as
£70,000 for the famine response.116 Within a week of the song’s release, it went to #1 in the British
charts and raised £8 million by the end of that year.
This event became a watershed for NGO funding. For the first time, entertainers could play a
significant role in providing resources for overseas assistance by lending their name recognition and
entertainment skills to raise awareness and resources for humanitarian needs. Social edutainment,
or the focus of providing educational material in a popular format, slowly became a legitimate way
to reach a more secular generation that was unlikely to donate money through traditional church
Major institutions like the United Nations took note and in 1988 began recruiting entertainers like
Audrey Hepburn, herself a former refugee, to be what became known as goodwill ambassadors,
who could raise awareness of the unmet needs of millions around the world. Some entertainers, like
Bono, who participated in the original Band Aid, went on to become major voices for development
assistance and disaster response. More than ever, individuals with star power, such as Angelina Jolie,
Lucy Liu, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Mia Farrow, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, and Drew
Barrymore, are offering an advertising donations-in-kind to raise awareness of existing humanitarian
needs.117 But more than individual contributions to specific needs, celebrities bring a modern and
secular cachet to the idea of helping others.
The last category of super-empowered individual is perhaps the most significant as well as the least
recognized, the humanitarian genius. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, is probably
the best known.
Grameen Bank—the word grameen means rural or village in Bangladeshi—was first started in
1976 as an action research project to look at ways to create opportunities for self-employment for
the unemployed in Bangladesh and increase savings, investments, and income through a injection
of credit. The program, which provided micro-loans to groups, turned out to be so successful that
the government of Bangladesh took formally recognized the idea in 1983. A people’s movement,
borrowers of Grameen Bank own 90 percent of the shares and the government owns the rest.
Other individuals, such as Dean Kamen, who turned his intellect to developing a universal water
purification system after building the Segway, or Eric Rasmussen, who is developing common
information sharing systems with Google for disaster responses, are changing the way the world
perceives, measures, and values human life. NGOs are increasingly focused on concentrating
these individuals’ talents, intellect and efforts and intellect through consortiums like Architecture
for Humanity, where innovative building ideas are freely shared for common benefit. Technology,
116 “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” November 26, 2006, (accessed
November 10, 2009).
117 Look to the Stars, “Charitable and Philanthropic Celebrities,” (accessed
November 10, 2009).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 6. Funding
Education, Design (TED) forums are another example of this and replicate on a more individual
level, the efforts of other NGOs like National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Station
(PBS), attempt to raise awareness and influence value
Executive Summary
Future Trends
Perhaps one of the greatest impacts on the way NGO are
funded was the introduction of the Internet: instant news,
cutting across demographic lines, and instantaneous
transfers of funds.
Because the Internet serves as an information commons
where all can compete equally, the idea of an official voice
is lost within the crowd. Rather than relying on a single
source for definitive definitions, increasingly reality is
defined by mass perception. This is best exemplified by
the shift from Encyclopedia Britannica to Wikipedia. This
is important in that the Internet allows NGOs to raise
awareness of injustices and humanitarian needs around
the world and strip away the innocence of ignorance.
ƒƒ NGOs coordinate and are part of a
community of organizations.
ƒƒ NGO association value lies in their
providing a common forum for
discussion and debate, coordinating a
common voice and advocacy efforts,
and hosting professional and technical
ƒƒ The International NGO Council,
InterAction, and VOICE are the leading
global NGO consortiums-associations.
ƒƒ NGOs coordinate during both regional
and national emergencies, and often
share resources, information, and
ƒƒ NGOs also coordinate with the UN and
both national and local governments.
ƒƒ NGOs and military will interface in
disasters, though what happens
programmatically varies.
Because the Internet is accessed equally by people of
all description, anyone can hear the message an NGO is
sending. By appealing to fundamental human values, the
NGO can reach the widest audience, as long as its website is in the appropriate language and an
appealing format. And as the newspapers are discovering, because it takes little to no time to go from
reporting to print, it is a far quicker way to get work out about a disaster or humanitarian crisis and
can offer far more detailed information with more regular updates.
But perhaps the most empowering aspect of the Internet is the ability to transfer funds instantaneously
around the world. Because banking has transformed from a centralized institution to institution
process to a decentralized individually managed system, the ability to gain donations or transfer
funds directly to projects around the world has increased exponentially. In addition, and significantly,
because traditional transfer fees are rapidly being discarded, the economy of sending small sums of
money increases. Thus, collectively, the Internet has changed the opportunities for NGO funding by
providing instantaneous information on human needs around the world stripping away the innocence
of ignorance, providing the information to all equally so that everyone can be aware of the needs, and
creating a mechanism for sending even modest sums of money instantaneously to areas in need.
118 TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, “About TED,” (accessed November 10, 2009); Public
Broadcasting System, “Support PBS,” (accessed November 10,
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 7. Coordination
In many ways, the ubiquity of the Internet and vast number of NGOs supporting different agendas and
interests have allowed a closer approximation of the democratic ideal of a government of the people,
by the people, for the people. Because everyone competes equally, the traditional definition of a state
being the entity with ultimate authority to use violence is slowly evolving to the entity able to serve
as the framework of common values and provide human security or the means to live. Increasingly,
largely through changes brought about by the Internet and abdication of government responsibility
for humanitarian needs, NGOs are becoming a force of their own.
Since 1991, the importance of NGOs in international politics has increased substantially because of
their willingness to take on the traditional role of providing for the needs of the population. And
though the local government may have retained control over the use of violence, in many cases those
entities have been unable to provide the goods or services necessary to live. Over time, support and
respect for government by force is reduced to merely fear, leaving the NGOs as a moral authority
amidst the chaos of humanitarian needs. Although the impacts of these changes are still being played
out, the idea of NGOs as dependent organizations obliged to beg for funds to continue operations is
gradually changing.
As noted earlier, not only corporations, through their social responsibility programs, but governments,
in their need to show a beneficent face, rely increasingly on NGOs, in some cases to validate their
work, in other cases to implement it. For those associations, funding has become less an owner-client
relationship, and more a partnership of equals where each individual and group brings their specific
talents and resources to accomplish a mutually agreed on goal.
In many ways, this manifests the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, which states that “the powers
not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved
to the States respectively, or to the people.” Instead of taxing individual incomes and redistributing
wealth according to a centralized top down system, governments are seeing the benefits of a wholeof-society approach.
By allowing individuals to educate themselves and make personal decisions where they want their
resources to go, foreign policies and overseas responses more closely reflect the will of the people.
This whole-of-society approach goes beyond the joint or interagency discussions being debated today
or the public-private partnerships being tested as ways to implement programs tomorrow. With more
than 1.9 million tax-exempt organizations, with combined assets represented $2 trillion in the United
States alone, NGOs are the wave of the future.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 7. Coordination
Chapter 7.
NGO Coordination
oordination is an extremely important part of international relief activities and operational
efficiency. A common military misperception regarding NGOs, is that they do not coordinate,
plan, or cooperate. In fact, NGOs spend much of their time doing exactly that.
NGOs depend heavily on the NGO community in any given disaster, because individual NGOs often have
limited resources and need to piggy-back transportation, communication, and security elements of
their programming with other NGOs. Coordination also limits parallel programming and maximizes
limited funding.
Because most international NGOs that respond to international emergencies are funded by the same
UN and government donor agencies, donors will often mandate or require each of its implementing
partners to cooperate and coordinate their activities. As well, many NGOs operating within the
same programmatic sector or within the same region, find themselves coordinating activities,
transportation, security protocols, and advocacy efforts.
As discussed in chapter 4, some NGOs will coordinate with military units. By communicating and
sharing information about various regions, hotspots, or dangers that may exist within a military’s
AOR, NGOs can understand more fully where they can deliver humanitarian assistance. NGOs also seek
geographical data, satellite imagery, airlift support, logistical support, landmine removal services,
and other forms of assistance from militaries if there is a DOD mandate to do so.
NGO to NGO Coordination
Coordination within the NGO sector can be found globally. In almost every humanitarian disaster,
NGOs will seek to immediately establish some form of coordination mechanism, often in the form
of an NGO council, an association, cluster meetings, a weekly meeting, e-mail listserv, or website.
Because NGOs are often the first to respond to a humanitarian disaster, this body may be the only way
of coordinating the international community has during the initial stages of a disaster. As disaster
response efforts progress during a disaster, this coordinating body, which may start as an informal
group, often serves later as the contact point for military, government, and donor agencies to the NGO
community in general.
Most NGOs participate in at least some form of coordination during a disaster. This does not mean that
NGOs give up autonomy or share programming advantages: NGOs remain independent and guard their
privacy and programmatic specialties, regions, proposals, funding sources and ideas closely. In using
a common language, these private organizations can benefit from pooling resources (transport cost
sharing, logistics services, safety and security, communications infrastructure, and the like), sharing
experiences, setting standards, and organizing campaigns in responding to a humanitarian disaster.
Many smaller and medium-sized NGOs, and even large NGOs with expansive programming and
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 7. Coordination
capacity, find it necessary to participate and contribute to coordinating bodies that share information
and services. By participating in coordination meetings, smaller NGOs with limited manpower can
often piggy-back with larger NGOs for assets, information, safety, transportation, and other services.
Larger NGOs often seek the skills or technical expertise
that highly specialized smaller NGOs often have.
How OCHA Coordinates in a Disaster
Coordinating efforts are partly a manifestation of NGO
communities that exist internationally. Internationally
operating NGOs are part of a community that often
shares knowledge, advocacy efforts, positions, opinions,
resources, and labor pools. Some NGOs partake in
community efforts more than others, but most find
some form of camaraderie with other NGOs as well
as reasons to communicate or share resources and
information. Many NGOs responding to disasters today
face similar challenges and resource restraints, and it is
not uncommon for NGOs in the field to share housing,
warehousing, equipment, and sometimes staff.119
ƒƒ provides emergency response tools at
the start of a crisis including the UN
Disaster Assessment and Coordination
Team (UNDAC)
ƒƒ provides search and rescue
coordination in accordance with the
International Search and Rescue
Advisory Group (INSARAG) guidelines,
civil-military coordination personnel,
logistics coordination support
ƒƒ helps access military assets as a last
resort in disaster response
ƒƒ provides management tools for use
by humanitarian response agencies
to assist in planning, response, and
In sum, NGOs coordinate with other NGOs to
• increase logistical and service capacity,
• share and obtain new information pertinent to a humanitarian operation,
• increase the weight of NGO community suggestions and appeals,
• reduce operational costs,
• increase security, and
• enhance efficiency and transparency.
Figure 7.1 shows, simplistically, how an NGO can increase both its message and, for example here, its
logistical capacity.120 If NGO A decides to work alone within a disaster and conduct its programming
in refugee camp design and management, it will depend entirely on its own resources. Without any
organization willing to share equipment, expertise, staff, or information, this NGO will be relatively
isolated in its programming, most likely aloof to any major regional changes in condition, new
practices, or developments in refugee care, and other similar programs other NGOs are conducting.
If an NGO chooses not to coordinate at the initial onset of a disaster, it could waste valuable time in
conducting assessments that others may have already conducted, or attempt to design or propose
programs that have already been designed or proposed.
119 Some NGOs exist to provide personnel or some other service to other NGOs. Air Serv and VITA, as mentioned, both
provide other NGOs with technical services. This is not necessarily staff sharing, but is a form of coordination and
collaboration during an disaster. Both Air Serv and VITA are funding funded by donors with the mandate to provide
other relief and development organizations with specific services.
120 This variable chosen for its simplistic characteristic. If an NGO has no trucks and does not coordinate, it has no
opportunity to obtain the services of a truck when it may need one. If an NGO has no trucks and DOES coordinate, it
may have the chance to use another NGO’s truck should there be need and an agreement.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 7. Coordination
If NGO B coordinates with other NGOs in the region of concern, it can join in a consolidated appeal to
donors and governments involved in the disaster. When speaking together with other NGOs, NGO B
is increasing its capacity to advocate for the programs it thinks are most valuable during the disaster.
Using the logistical capacity variable to express benefits for working together, it can be seen that
when NGO B joins other NGOs, it has at its disposal shared convoy and cargo space, warehouses,
information that may flow other NGOs working in various surrounding regions, communication
equipment, and the like. When more NGOs work together, per-NGO operation costs are reduced and
more (efficient) services can be delivered. The graph on the right of figure 7.1 shows an increase in
both advocacy strength and logistical capacity.121
Figure 7.1 Increasing NGO Message and Capacity
Advocacy for
Single NGO
Advocacy for
NGOs Working
121 The term advocacy is popular among NGOs. Although traditionally used by those organizations advocating for
populations or individuals suffering from human rights abuses, abject poverty or political oppression, advocacy now
is used in the context of consolidating NGO messages, demands or desires when communicating with donor agencies
and government entities. NGO associations, like InterAction (explained in more depth below), tout that advocacy is
a major program benefit for members. By advocating for funding, standards, safety, working conditions, and respect,
the U.S. NGO consortium is benefiting its members. Single NGOs do not have the access, resources, or the luxury to
lobby, advocate, or consolidate strong messages from many organizations.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 7. Coordination
NGO to Donor or Government Agency Coordination
In addition to coordinating within the NGO community, NGOs coordinate with lead UN agencies,
government agencies, and other international organizations. Although an NGO may be required
to work closely with the organization that is funding its programming, information sharing
between the NGO community and the national government and UN agencies is also valuable to all
organizations involved. Every organization depends on information during a disaster, and because
no one organization (NGO, IO, or otherwise) can obtain or manage all pertinent information in every
sector, NGOs, donors, IOs, and the UN tend to provide and receive information in formal or informal
relationships with each other. The UN, IOs, and government agencies all have access to large levels
of information, normally dealing with funding, political settings, large-scale refugee movements,
repatriation patterns, and region-wide public health concerns. NGOs, on the other hand, have specific
on-the-ground data, understand refugee-IDP sentiments, can detect community or subregional
instability, health dangers or outbreaks, and know the lay of the land when implementing relief or
development activities.
The preferred mechanism of coordination for NGOs in a disaster is the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, whose mission is to mobilize and coordinate effective and
principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors.122 OCHA
was established by the UN General Assembly (Resolution 46182-to strengthen the United Nations’
response to complex emergencies and natural disasters and to improve the overall effectiveness of
the UN’s humanitarian operations in the field. It supports and facilitates the work of UN agencies,
nongovernmental organizations, and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and works closely
with host governments, supporting them in their lead role for organizing humanitarian response in
emergency situations.
In a disaster, OCHA focuses on humanitarian coordination, related policy issues, advocacy, information
outlets, and funding.123
• At the country level, OCHA may appoint a humanitarian coordinator (HC) with the overall
responsibility for ensuring that response efforts are well organized and coherent. This
coordinator works with government, international organizations, NGOs, and affected
communities. They preside in an established OCHA office set up to support the HC.
• On policy issues related to humanitarian action, OCHA will support the development of a
common policy position among humanitarian agencies and at the international level through
the United Nations.
• In advocacy on humanitarian issues, OCHA serves as the speaker on specific areas concerning
the protection of civilians, prevention of displacement, disaster preparedness and the
efficiency of humanitarian response. Each year OCHA determines its advocacy priorities
122 See OCHA, “OCHA Mission Statement,” (accessed
June 2, 2009).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 7. Coordination
which can include (but may not be limited to), internal displacement, climate change, and
gender-based violence.
• OCHA is the lead for information outlets for humanitarian actors. The following outlets are the
most comprehensive and up-to-date networks for all humanitarian information.
ŠŠ The Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) provides news and information
through text and radio services (see
ŠŠ ReliefWeb is the global hub for time-critical humanitarian information on complex
emergencies and natural disasters, and its maps and reports are some of the most
valuable, well-organized information this site has (see
ŠŠ OCHA Online provides an overview of key issues and challenges facing the humanitarian
community and hosts OCHA’s advocacy materials (see
• As to funding for humanitarian action, OCHA is active in improving the way in which the
international humanitarian system seeks and manages funding. Through its participation in
the Good Humanitarian Donorship initiative OCHA aims to contribute to improving the quality
and quantity of humanitarian funding. The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), The
Consolidated Appeals and The Financial Tracking Service (FTS) are all managed by OCHA.
Figure 7.2 presents generally the types of information that both the NGO and the UN-donor-military
communities have. Because the difference in the type of information obtained during a disaster by
NGOs and UN-donor-military entities is substantial, the market of information valuable to each party
is correspondingly large.
Figure 7.2 Information Types
NGO community contributions
to coordinating mechanisms
knowledge of
conditions, lay of
land, IDP-refugee
health problems,
civilian logistical
capabilities in
specific regions,
local government–
civil society
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
donor, UN, and military
contributions to coordinating
mechanisms (generalized)
and/or area
of mutual
interest for
Chapter 7. Coordination
knowledge of
political conditions
and developments,
donor themes and
priorities, funding
levels in pipeline
or available,
donor government
priorities, national
relations, largescale intelligence
information, largescale patterns and
The U.S. military will want to participate in a coordinating mechanism—formal or informal—to obtain
ground-level information and potentially valuable subregional population movement numbers,
health problems, and ground-level themes otherwise not available. Information about funding
sources, political and economic events, donor priorities, macro-scale intelligence, and other normally
inaccessible information. In the cases of conflict-mediated disasters, information on unexploded
munitions, landmine data, troop movements, border crossing changes, checkpoints, and other
specific military information that may make NGO response unsafe, change the political landscape in
displacement camps, or change displacement flows is all important to NGOs in effectively meeting the
needs of displaced persons.
By working together, all entities can walk away from coordination meetings with more information
than they contributed.
With regard to advocacy, the NGO community within its working groups and cluster meetings will
participate in an information exchange forum and then advocate decisions, demands, or ideas on
behalf of the group with regard to the needs of the displaced or at-risk persons. Without undermining
each member NGO’s autonomy, the association makes each voice stronger, and bolsters the NGO
community presence when dealing with other large bureaucratic entities, such as the UN, militaries,
and government agencies. Figure 6 shows how NGOs often work together in a common forum or
coordinating mechanism that then serves as a direct advocate or contact point for other entities
within a disaster setting.
NGO-Military Interface
Since 2001, new and revised DOD instructions and guidance have changed how the military interacts
with NGOs and how NGOs interface or interact with foreign militaries. This subject is dealt with indepth chapter 18 of this guidebook.
NGO Coordination at Home
Much of the coordination within the NGO community is handled in major capitals in western
countries. Although most of an NGO’s staff is deployed in disaster or development programs around
the globe, experts, policymakers, academics, and NGO leaders are working with each other to
strengthen performance, awareness, and funding levels for humanitarian affairs. More simply, NGOs
come together to think; to advertise and to lobby; share lessons learned, experiences, challenges, and
reports; and to create standards.
Two coordinating bodies especially important outside an immediate disaster setting are InterAction
and VOICE. Both organizations serve as consortiums of international NGOs and provide a range of
services to their members. A third, the International Council of Volunteer Associations, overlaps with
InterAction and VOICE but is more broad than either.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 7. Coordination
• InterAction ( is a consortium of 170-plus U.S.-based NGOs and NPOs
that operate internationally. Some of the largest and the smallest NGOs in the world are
members of InterAction, with annual operating budgets ranging from less than $1 million
to more than $400 million. From specific child-rights advocacy NGOs to the larger disaster
response NGOs, InterAction is the central place where many of the leading NGOs in the United
States congregate and visit for information, access,
and assistance. Specifically, member organizations
Executive Summary
list programming activities in disaster relief, and
ƒƒ NGOs are staffed by
others list programs in refugee and migration sectors.
largely local staff and a few
InterAction hosts forums, an annual conference, and
expatriates, and often drive
working committees; coordinates closely with the U.S.
Land Rovers, trucks, and cars in
government, U.S. military, and the UN; and provides
emergency settings.
a large body of technical resource for member NGOs.
ƒƒ In conflict areas, NGOs may
Located in Washington, DC, it spends a considerable
not be visible.
amount of energy lobbying specific government
ƒƒ NGOs may use flags or large
agencies for more attention, funding, and support for
stickers to display their logo
international assistance programming. InterAction is a
and signal their presence
where they work, live, or store
large supporter and contributor to the Sphere Project.
It also has an extensive resource collection on civil
ƒƒ It may also not be expedient
military relations that offers downloadable guidelines
for safety reasons to identify
and policy briefs possibly helpful to the military who
their presence.
find themselves in the same area as humanitarian aid
workers (see
• VOICE (, or Volunteer Organizations
in Cooperation in Emergencies, the European counterpart of InterAction, is based in Brussels,
Belgium, and is Europe’s central NGO coordination point and thought and activity center. Its
website provides listings of all members, their websites, and countries of operation. VOICE
publishes a widely read journal, The Humanitarian Review (published every two months), that
normally finds its way to the hands of many relief workers, disaster specialists, policymakers,
and think-tank employees. Many of VOICE’s members are also members of InterAction,
normally as national chapter organizations or parts of the same umbrella organization.
• ICVA (, the International Council of Volunteer Associations, is a Europeanbased and internationally targeted association established in 1962 that provides many of the
same services InterAction and VOICE do, but with a wider and more varied membership list.
Member organizations are involved in human rights and legal issues, advocacy, refugee and
migration work, education, democracy and governance issues, and other sectors not covered
in this manual.
Both InterAction and VOICE provide their member NGOs with an extensive array of services. These
two bodies differ from regional NGO associations because they conduct business as an organization
with independent missions, objectives and activities that may not be directly from a member NGO.
InterAction and VOICE are organizations in and of themselves that exist to serve their members, but
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 8. Identification and Presence
that also carry on activities aimed at promoting the organization and those objectives set forth upon
Why the fuss about these organizations? They represent member NGOs and serve as pools of thinking
and resource for the NGO community, but also as stark proponents of specific efforts that normally
include increasing government foreign aid budgets and levels of awareness for specific emergencies.
InterAction and VOICE are lobby organizations in Washington, DC, and European capitals, and are
now integral parts of how western governments craft their foreign assistance budgets and priorities.
As well, they serve as conduits of information to the public, often sponsoring advertisements or
awareness campaigns nationally to promote proper donation contributions or support for their
member NGOs internationally.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 8. Identification and Presence
Chapter 8.
NGO Identification and Presence
GOs, NGO personnel, and NGO operations do not in fact “look” like anything in particular.
Sometimes identifiable by their trucks, logos, staff, or flags, NGOs are civilian organizations and
do not require any form of specific uniform or standard presence. Some may argue this point, though,
and suggest that NGOs are extremely sensitive to identifying themselves as major actors within an
emergency. Many NGOs do indeed attempt to delineate themselves from other NGOs, from combating
parties, and almost always attempt to remain distinct from any nonneutral entities within the region
of operation. In recent years, NGOs have gone from visible, easily identified cars, trucks, and offices to
nondescript ones. Because NGOs have become targets for violence, this is now the norm.
NGOs participating in disasters are visible to U.S. or international peacekeeping forces when
transporting goods, managing refugee, or IDP populations, or providing medical assistance. Because
there are so many NGOs, military personnel often become confused or pessimistic about working
with one or another, citing too many differences between them, or an inability to tell one from another.
This is normally short-sighted, and a brief review of how an NGO identifies itself in a large pool of
international actors is important.
An NGO will often attempt to brand itself and make itself visible by using logos, flags, stickers, labels,
websites, t-shirts, and jackets. Although not normally a formal area of study or even of concern, at
least identifying the more common NGO icons that are now somewhat common in humanitarian
disaster settings is deemed essential to this guidebook.
The most identifiable aspect of an NGO is its logo. These are used on office doors or compounds,
personnel vehicles, trucks and containers, letterhead and correspondence, and sometimes flags. The
logo is one way to indicate location for coordination purposes, beneficiary benefit, or donor sight.
Table 8.1 presents several well-known logos (see following page).
Identifying NGO Personnel and Equipment
With very few exceptions, NGOs traditionally have not used uniforms and normally do not impose
a dress code on their employees and volunteers. Many NGO employees will wear their NGO’s logo
on shirts, coats, or hats, and often will also wear an armband or some other form of insignia that
separates them from local populations or other international staff in the area. International staff that
still fall under the rubric of expatriate are also often visible if their physical features differ from that
of the local population of the country or region in question.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 8. Identification and Presence
Table 8.1. NGO Logos
World Vision
Medicines San
Frontiers (MSF)
Action Against
Catholic Relief
Services (CRS)
Medical Corps
Rescue Committee
Danish Refugee
That is, there is no easy way to identify NGO personnel. Instead, and to generalize grossly, many NGO
personnel wear what has become seemingly if informally standard—multipocketed vest (normally
tan or black), khaki pants, chukka boots, and sometimes a badge with an ID card or insignia. Medical
personnel often wear or tote fanny-packs filled with essential tools and medicines, and engineers and
logisticians often carry small tool belts. Again, these are generalizations, but it holds true that often
expats are largely identifiable by their clothing, physical stature differences, skin color differences,
and association with other similar expats (see chapter 5 for a more in-depth discussion).
NGO personnel almost always require personal transportation within the emergency-affected
region. Smaller organizations often rent local cars or hire a taxi for an extended period of time
during the assessment or initial onset period. In traveling between cities or rural areas, programs
or regions, smaller NGOs find major challenges in providing the most basic of transportation for its
personnel. Larger NGOs with more capacity will often bring in large four-wheel drive vehicles or rent
vehicles locally. Some NGOs will also hire individuals locally to drive the vehicles and care for them
(maintenance, security at night).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 8. Identification and Presence
NGOs use many of the same types of vehicles. Obtained from the UN when implementing UN-funded
projects, and sometimes purchased or leased, four-wheel drive vehicles are popular for rugged and
sometimes not-so-rugged areas. Table 8.2 identifies vehicles representing a few of the types NGOs
typically use in emergencies.124
Table 8.2 Emergency Vehicles
Pajero 2.8 GL Station Wagon 4x4
Toyota Hi-Lux Double Cabin Pick-Up 4 x 4
Hi-Lux with NGO logos on side panels
NGO-owned refueling truck
Other types of vehicles are used as well. NGOs often buy used vehicles on the local market, rent local
vehicles, or hire drivers and their vehicle for periods of time. Many cited cases show that NGOs will
pay drivers more than national medical staff during emergencies because keeping a good and flexible
driver is essential to the health of any program. Drivers are often more than chauffeurs. Serving as
guides, translators, and junior logisticians, they become essential to any new NGO program during an
Depending on the type of disaster and conditions of the region, NGOs often will set up at least two
distinct locations within an area of potential operation: one for working or storage (or both), and
the other for living. By renting a house, office space, a hotel room or often enough putting up a tent
or temporary structure, NGOs set up shop where the staff will work, coordinate, communicate, and
store supplies. A second location is often established to house personnel. Although sometimes office
124 These photographs were taken from the Bukkehave Corporation website. Bukkehave is one of the largest providers
of vehicles to the UN in HAOs, and many of their vehicles are given directly to the implementing partner NGO. The
Bukkehave website offers catalogues of the vehicles it supplies. All images, trademarks, names, and copyrights belong
to Bukkehave (
and living space are shared, it is not too uncommon for an NGO to set up a separate living quarters
to support an operation. This is a generalization, and depending on the size of the NGO and the type
of program, an NGO can easily have more than two offices and
numerous living quarters. If the NGO is operating programs that
Executive Summary
distribute material, storehouses or warehouses are used and
ƒƒ NGOs participate in all facets
most often rented from local owners.
and stages of an emergency.
ƒƒ Different NGOs specialize in
In Kosovo in 1999, a number of NGOs and IOs established
responding to various stages
living and working quarters in a few residential areas just
of emergencies.
outside the downtown area of Pristina, Kosovo’s provincial
ƒƒ NGOs are quick, nimble,
capital. Immediately after NATO forces moved in and made the
and largely free-roaming
environment somewhat safe for NGOs to operate in more actively,
organizations strapped only
NGOs began setting up office and living quarters in the same
by their budgets or selfareas. NGOs would hire Kosovar Albanians to assist in finding and
imposed mandates.
then negotiating the terms for a leased house or office space, and
ƒƒ NGOs are not always on
their own able to manage
Albanian families would often willingly move out of their homes
major logistical efforts, large
to take advantage of the high rents they could charge the NGOs.
population movements,
NGO logos began popping up on gates outside of the homes and
major food or water
on garages, and soon larger four-wheel-drive vehicles and NGO
provision, or communication
personnel dominated this area of the city.
Conclusion: NGO Staff Levels “Positively” Diverse
NGO personnel are diverse. They come from all backgrounds, cultures, races, and are of both sexes
and all ages, some very young and some very old. They are competent and dedicated to their mission.
While NGOs often employ young staff members, there is normally a management structure that is in
tact and accountable.
An NGO’s diversity is often one of its primary assets. With diversity, an NGO may be able to take
advantage of multiple points of view, shared experiences, regional and language expertise, and
a generally adaptable work force. With a number of nationalities, an NGO can move into more
emergencies in different regions with confidence that any one of its staff members has a deeper
understanding of some aspect of the emergency operation, the population in need, the climate, UN
politics or economy, and that this will reflect positively in the NGO’s operation.
Many people outside of the NGO community are critical of the perceived lack of accountability or
management structures among NGOs. Although this can be true of smaller organizations, most
established NGOs are well staffed and capable of coordinating and operating in emergency settings.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 9. Emergency Deployment and Response
Part 2.
NGO Capacities and Services
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 9. Emergency Deployment and Response
Chapter 9.
NGO Emergency Deployment and Response
GOs participate in all facets of an emergency, from development and early warning activities before
an emergency, immediate and relief-oriented activities during an emergency, and reconstruction
efforts afterward. This chapter outlines briefly various elements of an NGO emergency deployment
and activity throughout all stages of an emergency.
This manual uses the term emergency loosely, but it is valuable to define various stages of an emergency
to better understand where NGOs fit in. Whether it is a natural disaster (such as an earthquake or
tropical storm), ongoing civil war, new conflict, full-scale intrastate war, or major poverty, NGOs
approach emergencies in various ways, and often depending on the stage of an emergency. This
guidebook turns away from more technical literature concerning stages of an emergency, and
emphasizes the clear periods of NGO involvement. The three phases, simplistically, that NGOs are
involved in are the preemergency or onset, the emergency itself, and the aftermath. NGOs respond at
each stage.
NGOs and the Preemergency Phase
International NGOs that respond to humanitarian emergencies are often already involved in
development projects in the affected region or country. Whether the emergency is natural disaster or
war, chances are good that at least a few international NGOs are familiar with its territory, populations,
and problems.
Poverty-stricken regions tend to be more affected than others by large-scale disaster and conflict.125
Although a developing country may be able to manage and limit the loss of life or physical damage
during an emergency effectively, population displacement, disease outbreak, crumbled infrastructure,
high indirect death count, and slowed political and economic development are not uncommon.126
Development activities beforehand play a key role in defining NGO responses to emergencies. Given
that NGOs are particularly active in poorer countries and regions, and because these are (as noted)
often the hardest hit by natural disasters or conflicts, development NGOs are often the strongest
agents of relief delivery and solid emergency response programming once conditions become acute.
A short list of development activities includes
125 Debate rages over what to call poor countries. Developing country is used most here, whereas in other publications,
the terms Third World, highly indebted poor countries (HIPCs) or the South are used to denote countries lacking
the economic growth rates, production, or well-being of their counterparts in the West, the North, or developed
community of states.
126 Frederick Burkle Jr. and P. Gregg Greenough, “Impact of Public Health Emergencies on Disaster Taxonomy, Planning,
and Response,” Disaster Medicine Public Health Preparedness 2(3)(October 2008), pp. 192–99.
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• developing public health infrastructure, including rehabilitation or building clinics and
hospitals, training doctors and medical personnel, upgrading equipment or fixing old
equipment, and providing public health education;
• building educational infrastructure, often building or repairing schools, developing curriculum,
and providing school materials;
• supporting or enhancing local infrastructure, including roads, water, sewage, and electrical
systems; and
• developing legal infrastructure, human rights education, and political party capacity building.
Much of the work of international NGOs is only a portion of larger assistance packages. Development
NGOs—often the same that respond to emergencies—develop capacity, tools, knowledge, trust, and
a working fluency of ground-level conditions before the emergency ever emerges. These NGOs can
easily transfer the knowledge and much of their capacity into a response mode. Large organizations
such as CARE, CRS, World Vision, Relief International, and Church World Service can also readily
turn their organization’s expertise to developing emergency responses and consolidating resources
quickly. Their development programs may be managed by different departments, offices, or even
country-level chapter organizations, but these all draw from the same best practices, personnel,
equipment, and logistical expertise.
As well, trucks that may have been part of a rural farming development project or an intimate knowledge
of the region’s border and importing procedures can greatly ease or facilitate incoming international
relief responses. These NGOs also have relationships with donors that can easily be leveraged to
expedite the funding process for new emergency programming. Foundations, government agencies,
and UN departments often take months (or longer) to initiate an implementing partner agreement
for any type of grant or contract award. If an NGO has a working relationship with a donor, it can
easily assess, confer, and apply for funding much more quickly than otherwise.
Development NGOs and NGOs active in preemergency settings are also valuable for early-warning
activities. NGOs operate at the ground level of a region or country, and often are the first organizations
to witness or experience an activity or event that may lead to more serious conditions in the future.
Whether ethnic or religious violence, storm conditions, food security, or drought, NGOs can relay
information to coordinating agencies, the local government, the UN and donors as it arrives. Through
NGO associations, early warning information can be collated, organized, and passed off to other
pertinent entities as a comprehensive body of data.
Considerable attention is now being paid to early warning activities. Thanks to an extensive network
of NGOs that feeding information into central databases, the international relief and development
community has a fair idea of what problems currently exist, and where local problems might evolve
into larger humanitarian emergencies. Many websites have been developed to monitor and publish
information pertinent to early warning analysis and activity.127
127 See annex 2 for a more extensive list of selected humanitarian-oriented websites.
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Table 9.1 Early Warning and Disaster Alert Websites
IASC Humanitarian Early
Warning Service (HEWSweb) HEWSweb is an interagency partnership project aimed at establishing a common
platform for humanitarian early warnings and forecasts for natural hazards. Its
main objective is to bring together and make accessible in a simple format the
most credible early warning information available at the global level from multiple
specialized institutions.
This website displays the latest forecasts, reports and alerts on drought, floods,
tropical storms, locust infestation, El Nino, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. It
has dedicated pages for each of these natural hazards and includes additional
references and resources. In the near future, HEWSweb will also offer the
opportunity to access and share information on sociopolitical crises.
Global Disaster Alert and
Coordination System
The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System provides near real-time
alerts about natural disasters around the world and tools to facilitate response
coordination, including media monitoring, map catalogues, and its Virtual On-Site
Operations Coordination Centre.
Humanitarian Information
Centers and Partners
A space where the humanitarian community can share and access information
resources in order to improve the planning and delivery of humanitarian
A provider of information products and services that enable the humanitarian
community to deliver assistance more effectively, following principles of good
practice in information management.
A focal point for data collection, analysis and dissemination in support of the
provision of humanitarian assistance, developing and supporting data standards.
A facilitator for initiatives and activities related to information management in the
field, particularly in collaboration between other humanitarian actors in support
of existing coordination structures.
An advocate for a culture of information-sharing in the humanitarian community,
generating awareness of good practice and making it possible for agencies to
develop common standards and practices in the field.
Global Information and Early
Warning System on Food
GIEWS is a major source of information for NGO personnel managing early
and Agriculture (GIEWS)
warning activities and potential trouble-spot monitoring. It is supported by the UN
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Global Early Warning System
for Major Animal Diseases,
GLEWS is a joint system that builds on the added value of combining and
including Zoonoses (GLEWS) coordinating the alert mechanisms of FAO, OIE and WHO for the international
community and stakeholders to assist in prediction, prevention and control of
animal disease threats, including zoonoses, through sharing of information,
epidemiological analysis and contribute to joint field missions to assess and
control the outbreak.
Global Outbreak Alert &
Response Network (GOARN)
Earlier WHO and partners started the Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network
with the aim to combating the international spread of outbreaks among humans,
ensuring that appropriate technical assistance reaches affected states rapidly and
contributing to long-term epidemic preparedness and capacity building.
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Early Warning System
FEWS is a resource for individuals seeking information on food levels, weather,
news and resources for famine and CHE effects on food levels and food security.
FEWS is supported by USAID.
Forum on Early Warning and
Response (FEWER)
FEWER International is a global coalition of nongovernmental and governmental
agencies and academic institutions working to promote coordinated responses to
violent conflict
INCORE is a good online source for information on activities, publications, and
International Crisis Group
Extremely thorough and in-depth, ICG is a leading think tank that publishes
periodically on international conflict. All reports are free.
Minorities at Risk Project
The Minorities at Risk (MAR) Project is a university-based research project that
monitors and analyzes the status and conflicts of politically active communal
groups in all countries with a current population of at least 500,000. The project
is designed to provide information in a standardized format that aids comparative
research and contributes to the understanding of conflicts involving relevant
groups. Selected project materials on more than 283 groups (the MAR database
and codebook as well as detailed historical chronologies) are available for
researchers, public officials, journalists, students, activists, and others interested in
the topic. The project also has collected data on 118 ethnopolitical organizations
representing MAR groups in the Middle East and North Africa.
African Conflict Journal
The African Conflict Journal is an online resource for news and information on
current and developing conflict in Africa.
OFDA/CRED Database
This website is dedicated to providing data on more than 12,000 disasters.
Normal users include national governments, NGOs, UN agencies, and academic
WHO Health Action in Crises
Sponsored and hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO), this resource is
a popular destination for not only early warning information, but also for disaster
and emergency information.
Surveys and assessments are also key elements during the preemergency phase. Many suggest that
assessments come primarily after an emergency has been declared or is apparent, but just as many
organizations include surveys and assessments in preemergency settings. Some emergencies are not
predictable, but others are. Large-scale famines, food shortages, and often conflict or ethnic strife can
be predicted to some degree, and early warning activities often can alert the international community
of the need for action.128 What happens then?
128 The digestion of early warning data is another story, and it is often difficult to estimate the success of various
early warning programs. Rwanda is the perfect case for criticizing early warning capabilities. Many critics of the
international community’s response to Rwanda suggest that early warning data can be clear and solid and still illicit
no international response. Politics matter, and if the international community does not act on data obtained, does not
make sense of the data obtained, or ignores the data obtained (for any specific reason), little use of the early warning
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NGOs respond to many preemergency and emergency settings with assessment or exploration teams.
If a country or region is thought to be slipping into a large-scale humanitarian emergency, many NGOs
will send small groups of experts to identify the root causes of the emergency, specific infrastructural
and technical data, population movements, food and water resources, roads, ports, airstrips and
bridges to serve as relief supply hubs, and other factors that help identify need, capabilities, challenges
and potential focus for the international community.
Although the assessment phase is complex and the focus of much professional consideration and
debate, NGOs use assessments several ways:
• to identify types, numbers, and places of needy populations;
• to identify specific requirements for needy populations;
• to identify general political, economic, cultural, ethnic, religious, geographic, and climate
factors that may be pertinent to an international response;
• to define areas of most need;
• to define relationships with national and local government entities, ministries of health and
interior, local NGOs, civil society groups, and populations at risk; and
• to define appropriate resource levels, methods for implementation, and general requirements
for NGO-specific or international community-wide deployment of aid programs.
USAID recently convened a technical working session for the Standardized Monitoring and
Assessment of Relief Transition (SMART) group. Although it focused primarily on food security
and nutritional surveys, it reveals a few important points. First, NGOs, government, and UN
agencies are all striving aggressively for a series of standardizations for collecting data. This
means that until now, NGOs and other agencies that have conducted initial surveys during
humanitarian emergencies have been using different frameworks to report their findings. By
attempting to create standards and by using central store-houses of data, NGOs and other agencies
may also be able to cut down the redundancy, inaccuracy, and variations in the methods used to
collect data during surveys or surveillance studies. When a disaster hits, displaced populations
(DPs) need assistance. When multiple NGOs survey the same area or conditions but use different
methods to collect data and report their findings, the results can be complicated and inefficient.
Top NGO Reference Publications
ƒƒ UNHCR. Handbook for Emergencies, 2nd ed. (1999)
ƒƒ USAID/OFDA. Field Operations Guide, version 3.0 (1999)
ƒƒ Frederick Cuny. Disasters and Development (Dallas TX:
Intertect Press, 1994)
ƒƒ The Sphere Project.
system is had. With clear calls from NGOs, religious organizations, government, and military agencies, the UN, the
United States, and many EU nations did little to prevent genocide in 1994 in which up to (and potentially more than)
800,000 people were killed.
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NGOs are effective at rapid assessments, coordinating information with donor and UN agencies, and
turning information into implementation for specific humanitarian operations. Information-sharing
between NGOs is often another story, and will be covered in more depth in later chapters. This is
not always the case with larger bureaucratic systems. Information is digested and distributed to
appropriate NGO staff members, and within a few days, an appropriate plan can be created. During
the preemergency phase, assessments often are carried out to be prepared for subsequent emergency
conditions in that country or region. NGO assessments are often used by USAID and other government
agencies, and NGOs will often piggyback on OFDA/DART assessments.
When a country or region becomes an emergency setting, NGOs are often prepared and capable of
acting immediately because of their activity in the preemergency phases. NGO activity within the
emergency phase can also be well thought-out, practical, and effective.
NGOs and the Emergency Phase
As military and government officials now know, NGOs will be found operating in humanitarian
emergencies. Even when conditions are at their worst, civilian-led efforts to provide for EPs dominate
the landscape of complex humanitarian emergencies (CHEs), disaster settings and generally bad
places. NGOs have responded to almost every humanitarian emergency around the globe (including
disasters within the United States), and very few CHEs are sever enough to keep out relief workers.
Chechnya, parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), parts of Colombia, the Timors, and
Sri Lanka are a few places known for their no-man’s land status for NGOs and are difficult to work in.
This is not to say that NGOs do not work there, but only that one may be hard-pressed to see a Range
Rover, chukka boots, a tan vest, or a generally expat-looking relief worker often, though they’re most
likely nearby.
When an emergency strikes, whether natural or man-made, NGOs respond in various ways:
• deploying medical teams and basic medical supplies immediately to treat the most severely
affected persons;
• deploying assessment teams to survey the damage, take count of potential needs, and promptly
report the needs of the EPs;
• establishing communication systems for NGO personnel (often done by UN or IO agencies
specializing in this field);
• delivering various relief supplies, including food, medical equipment, and medicines;
• initiating public information campaigns to raise money for and awareness about the crisis;
• coordinating efforts with other agencies and organizations within the emergency-affected
area, granting other funding agreements, and so on;
• establishing territory or sectoral strongholds throughout the emergency-affected area for
funding purposes and to spread out specific comparative advantages.
Larger NGOs often bring in their own supplies from nearby programs in neighboring regions. This
can include trucks, generators, relief materials, tents, nets, cans, and sometimes food. Smaller NGOs
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often solicit for funds first to procure relief material within the region or from outside sources during
the emergency.
Depending on whether the emergency is a rapid or emerging onset, NGOs will react in various ways.
Rapid Onset
If an emergency is an earthquake, tsunami, or hurricane, disaster effects are immediate. Populations
are displaced, infrastructure is damaged and the means of meeting primary needs have often been
removed as a result of the disaster. NGOs respond by arriving, quickly assessing humanitarian
conditions (rapid assessments), and then distributing immediate services aimed at alleviating the
most dire of affected areas and those primary needs that have been stripped away. Primary medical
care, food rations, water, and temporary shelter are normally key focuses of an immediate emergency
response while damage is surveyed and cleaned or repaired.
It has been suggested that any international humanitarian response to emergencies should aim at
providing the local population with skills and capacity to rebuild their lives themselves—both during
and after an emergency.129 Although international resources and some expertise may be required in
many instances, that local NGO staff should be trained and equipped with the knowledge to continue
the development process after the initial emergency response period ends.
Rapid onset emergencies are obviously more difficult to deal with. Humanitarian needs of the EPs
are difficult to assess in tight time frames. NGOs are pressured to arrive, orient themselves, and then
immediately figure out what needs to be done while somehow delivering services. This is not always
the case, and when NGOs or humanitarian agencies are familiar with the lay of the land, there is less
of a learning curve. Still, NGOs face difficult tasks. With help from government and donor agencies,
NGOs can normally begin providing services that are of immediate concern even as they perform
assessments and surveys for larger or more intricate projects.
Gradual Onset
If the emergency has a more gradual onset, NGOs have a harder time mustering resources for fullscale responses. The term gradual onset emergencies is often synonymous with complex humanitarian
emergencies, noting a deterioration of humanitarian conditions over time. Crude mortality rates (CMRs)
increase slowly, no major political or natural events occur to spark attention, and the deterioration of
humanitarian conditions are often the result of complex conflicts, civil wars, or civil strife. This often
makes it hard for NGOs to access all portions of the needy populations.
NGOs participate in gradual onset emergencies often by using a part-relief and part-development
approach to delivering humanitarian services. This assistance is much different than that in rapid
onset emergencies. In gradual onset emergencies, NGOs are faced with the challenge of needing to
provide for various EPs even as conflict or continuing emergency conditions make it impossible to
establish any permanent relief or development structure.
129 Frederick Cuny, Disasters and Development (Dallas, TX: Intertect Press, 1994).
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More clearly, in gradual onset emergencies, NGOs must face the difficult task of working with a
continuing emergency. A rapid onset emergency goes as quickly as it comes, though it may happen
again or the effects may be felt for some time in various ways. Gradual onset emergencies continue to
grind down humanitarian conditions without respite, however. NGOs face the challenge of providing
for needy populations, staying politically neutral, and developing sustainable ways of maintaining
programs. Donor fatigue often kicks in, and operation fatigue often chokes an NGO’s willingness to
pay the high costs of operating in unsure or unsafe conditions. Chechnya is a good example. Because
violence still has a grip on the entire region, relief agencies have had a difficult time providing emergency
services to the populations within Chechnya, and in establishing solid networks and structures for
continued humanitarian assistance. NGO employees often get burned, injured, demoralized, and often
professionally frustrated in such conditions, which makes an operation that much harder.
Still, in most CHEs and gradual onset emergencies, NGOs have done anything but given up. With
incredible stubbornness and display of dedication, NGOs have operated in places like Sudan, Angola,
Chechnya, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Colombia, and others most people would think of as the
last place to visit or work with diligence and persistence. In many instances, the NGO sector has
developed a system of specialization in which many participating organizations work to delineate
tasks depending on specialization, expertise, capacity, or size. For example, the continued and harsh
working conditions of southern Sudan have forced NGOs to work closely together and with donors to
establish AORs and methods to better distribute the capacity of the civilian sector.
In places like Somalia, Albania, Kosovo, and Iraq, NGOs have worked side by side with military units,
have been directly engaged in the planning process, and have implemented humanitarian assistance
amidst continuing violence. NGO personnel, in many places globally, are in danger every day, and
often are victims of violence or the generally harsh conditions of an emergency setting.
NGOs that do focus on providing long-term emergency assistance are, as mentioned, challenged with
keeping streams of project funding in the funding pipeline. Because longer-term emergencies are
often forgotten in the wake of a new or more urgent emergency elsewhere, NGOs struggle to keep
donors engaged and willing to expend funds. This is a substantial challenge.
NGOs have come up with various ways of getting around the seemingly insurmountable challenges:
• establishing strong NGO networks to share lessons, experiences, infrastructure, capacity, and
security within an emergency-affected region;
• continually waging public relations campaigns on specific and often forgotten emergencies,
both from the field and from headquarters;
• establishing regional capacity, often keeping staff, equipment, and relief supplies as near as
possible to beneficiaries who may be in inaccessible areas, ready for delivery on a break in
violence or the conditions that normally prevent the immediate delivery of humanitarian
assistance; and
• providing strong and unified lobbying efforts to the UN and other governments, often by
giving reports or accounts of what is happening on the ground.
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NGOs and the Postemergency Phase
After the most devastating and chaotic stages of an emergency are passed, conditions settle into a
normal buzz of activity. NGOs focus on managing their displaced population assistance programs and
begin to tailor specific programs for specific subgroups of the affected population. Women, children,
the elderly, and minority groups are often given special attention. NGOs also begin to undertake more
in-depth assessments and surveillance and continue to advocate for more international support for
the emergency.
International response normally begins to taper off after the height of an emergency, and though the
media may begin to look elsewhere for footage, NGOs normally stay the course. Although focusing
at first on emergency programs, many NGOs specialize in providing services to EPs that extend
into development-oriented programming. Local capacity building, specific training, education, and
economic development are all potential positive externalities that stem from NGO activity during and
immediately after an emergency.
NGOs that specialize only in emergency response will often leave the area after the crisis ends. MSF,
for example, does so because its primary focus is immediate emergency medical services. Other NGOs
may scale back their emergency teams and capacity and begin shifting to more development-oriented
programs that will assist the community in the future. Albania is a good example: NGOs arrived to
provide Kosovar Albanians assistance while they were refugees in Albania. Once they returned to
Kosovo, many relief agencies remained in Albania and used their newly established capacity to help
rehabilitate hospitals and clinics, schools, water systems, and roads. Many NGOs are multisectoral and
deliver humanitarian assistance during emergencies while also providing development assistance to
EPs in the same or similar settings.
Often NGOs are limited by the type of donations they receive. For those that operate on private
donations only, the time and scope of activity is limited by the time the NGO can and wants to operate
during and after a given emergency. NGOs that depend on grants may see funding dry up after the
emergency is over, and thus have to pack up and go home. This is common. Many UN, US and EU grants
are short term and provide funding only for emergency-response oriented programs. NGOs that want
to remain in the region must establish new relations with new donors (often the same donor agency
but in a different office or department) and get funding for postemergency or development programs.
This transition is often difficult.
Sample Deployment Schedule
NGOs are often the first humanitarian organizations to arrive in an emergency scene. Once an emergency
hits—should it be a new emergency and rapid onset—an NGO has any number of transportation options
to move a small team of personnel inside the affected area. Government agencies and military units are
hard pressed to meet this agility, and many times military or government personnel will find that on
their arrival, they’re greeted with NGO staff members who have been in-country for some time. This is
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an obvious advantage to having a small organization, few rules or regulations governing deployment
or travel, and flexible staff members devoted to a profession of responding to emergencies.
Should an emergency hit an unsuspecting population, or if a CHE gets dramatically worse, NGO
deployment may look something the schematic presented in table 9.2.
Table 9.2 NGO Deployment
NGO Action
Emergency onset or rapid
deterioration of CHE
announced/information made
NGO obtains information about emergency from public or
normal information channels (CNN, the Internet, e-mail
discussion lists, newspapers, field reports) and convenes
meeting of senior-level staff (directors, program-specific
officers, regional officers and managers).
Situation is analyzed, information briefings and discussion
are held on what can and should be done.
Working group established and key staff members assigned
to steer NGO activity for the emergency.
Maps and country data are compiled by lower program
officers and contacts with donors, other NGOs, and field
offices (if applicable) are made to get more information.
Emergency onset or rapid
deterioration of CHE
Assets in region or available generally if the NGO has
nearby programs are reviewed. Contact made with program
or country directors of NGO’s programs in area; initial
assessments given over e-mail or telephone about what the
NGO can do for this emergency and what assets can be used
to deploy to new emergency.
1 and 2 (time
often must be
Onset settles into
humanitarian emergency,
displaced populations, and
substantial EPs; international
community sets in motion
NGO decides whether to send assessment and initial
2 and 3
response teams from HQ or regional area; if yes, personnel
on staff or contracting specialists are contacted and oriented
and dispatched with various equipment (often a tote bag or
container with medical equipment, a satellite phone, field
guides and other general purpose equipment).
Donor or other assessment reports may be released to the
NGO community.
International community
NGO personnel enter emergency-affected area and begin
4, 5, and 6
NGO personnel attempt to coordinate activities with HICs,
other NGOs, and government or donor agencies. If military
units are involved, interaction with CMOCs or liaisons is also
a priority.
Housing established for NGO personnel; drivers and
translators hired; assessment teams hired; often local
medical personnel hired or recruited for service with NGOs;
NGO assessments for logistical access made and reported to
HQ or regional office.
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More international response
NGO establishes AOR or sector specialty within emergency,
often liaising with donor agencies (UNHCR, USAID, ECHO,
etc) and writing proposals for funding.
NGOs coordinate with HQ and private donors, often
launching PR campaigns to raise awareness of cause and to
raise funds from communities or the public.
NGOs coordinate with local NGO partners, or establish new
partnerships with local NGOs that deliver specific services.
Funding and programs
NGOs begin to receive donor funding and begin
implementing larger programs (and replace the smaller,
emergency-response oriented programs with refugee camp
design and management, large-scale public and primary
health programs, water and sanitation, transportation, food
and nutritional support, etc).*
Logistical challenges
International aid begins to flood into emergency-effect area; 7–21
ports and airports are back-stocked with relief supplies,
food, and material, and NGOs and UN agencies are hardpressed to get relief material out of the ports and to
distribution points.
NGOs still soliciting for new programs and often still
implementing relief.
Emergency management,
NGOs settle into program implementation and
management, monitoring and assessing new needs or the
change of conditions, often implementing smaller programs
for smaller communities (minorities, women, children,
disabled, elderly) and being selective with program targets.
Main large-scale emergency now potentially under control,
and population movement has been stabilized, as has been
the logistical supply of relief supplies, food, security and
International community working with military units (if
applicable), national governments and with displaced
population leadership or representative councils or
Emergency teams are often removed, and longer-term
NGO personnel are contracted, hired or transferred to
manage current emergency-oriented programs, and the
development of new development or longer-term relief
Rehabilitation and repatriation NGOs now assist with the facilitation of repatriation, and
programs begin closing. Often NGOs will transfer capital
assets or remaining material to new emergencies, or to
development programs in postemergency settings.
* NGOs begin providing services almost immediately on arrival in an emergency-affected area. Often NGO personnel will take
all they can when traveling to the region, and many times NGO personnel will come from other areas or regions with specific
supplies. Most common are medical supplies and communications equipment.
There is no standard timeline or operational mechanism for NGOs that governs their responses to
emergencies. In fact, every NGO is different in how it responds. For those NGOs with operations close to
a region affected by an emergency, materials and personnel can be transferred with minimal thought.
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Chapter 9. Emergency Deployment and Response
Regional know-how and connections make it easier for these NGOs to arrive and begin implementing
programs immediately.
NGOs without programs close to or in an affected area need more time and effort to establish
programs. Staff, materials, donor relations, and regional know-how must be mobilized. More money
is needed for overhead, because an NGO new to an area must ship or procure locally everything for
both implementing and supporting emergency programs. Still, many NGOs (often larger NGOs) have
slush funds or emergency accounts designed expressly for emergencies. These funds are only a small
portion of the NGO’s total annual expenditures, and are kept to be used as cash to establish new
emergency response programs. Generally, the larger the NGO, the larger the cash account. Still, even
small NGOs attempt to prepare for emergencies in the future, and getting themselves established in
an emergency setting before requiring donor funds for operations gives credibility and operational
freedom within an emergency-affected area. Larger NGOs traditionally have a solid donor foundation,
whether primary support is from donor agencies or from private donations, and are often the most
capable in delivering the primary phases of a humanitarian response.
A small NGO without regional capacity usually finds respond to new emergencies especially difficult;
it must use limited resources to transport people to the new area while attempting to establish some
relationship with donors. And, without knowing the region well, it depends heavily on immediate
donor funds. This means that a small NGO must arrive in an emergency-affected area, establish its
footings, and promptly start writing and submitting project proposals. Contracted experts often make
up a large percentage of a small NGO’s operations and ideally bring to the NGO their experience as
emergency managers or sectoral specialists. If a smaller NGO has positive relations with a donor from
other regions, it may expedite the funding process in the new emergency.
NGO Needs during Deployment
NGOs cannot do everything themselves. They may be on the ground first and they may have the
technical capabilities, the freedom, and the regional knowledge to begin programs immediately,
but they do not have major logistical capacities to move large levels of commodities, large water
quantities, communications equipment or to keep EPs safe. NGOs have three major weaknesses that
can be identified in the deployment phase:
• no large-scale transportation mechanisms, including cargo aircraft, seafaring vessels, large
fuel stocks, or appropriate ground transport mechanisms;
• no capable communications equipment and access to international bandwidth,
telecommunications infrastructure and maintenance requirements; and
• no independent means of establishing or maintaining operations in violent conditions,
protecting its personnel and operations, EPs when operating emergency programs in war
130 This is not to suggest that NGOs are not active in war zones. NGOs do operate in war zones, but collectively and
individually are not able to use force or defend from violence.
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Chapter 9. Emergency Deployment and Response
There are more, but these three seem to identify the critical curbs on an NGO’s ability to act
independently of any UN, government, or military agency. Because NGOs are civilian entities, they
must often use whatever commercial services are available for communications and transportation
and other logistics, and must depend on military
forces to provide safety and organization within
Executive Summary
conflict regions. Without the help of outside
ƒƒ NGOs vary in scale, scope, and ability to
entities, then, NGOs would be able to provide only
respond to emergencies.
a fraction of their services, and possibly be unable
ƒƒ The capacity of NGOs collectively or
to implement their programs or distribute their
individually is hard to measure. In fact, no
credible method of evaluating the NGO
community’s total capacity exists. Examining
In many emergencies, U.S. and European militaries
annual budgets, staff levels, and number of
provide important backbones of support for
country operations can help.
humanitarian emergencies. NGOs often depend
ƒƒ Headquarters (HQ) operations can range
on large-scale military intervention and support,
in size and complexity and provide an NGO
which can turn around and provide EPs with
with make-or-break support.
faster, more thorough humanitarian services. The ƒƒ Through various procurement methods,
NGOs can move in and out of private
UN, too, provides its services in a number of cases
markets to obtain time-sensitive and
when dealing with commodities and large-scale
critical equipment without bureaucratic
equipment movement.
restrictions. NGOs are also often assisted
by UN, government, and military agencies
Militaries have distinct advantages when
with larger procurement and equipment
responding to humanitarian emergencies. The
U.S. military, in particular, is most likely the
largest agency with the most capacity to respond
to humanitarian emergencies. Whether it be
transportation, security, communications, or search and rescue, military units—when transformed
into humanitarian response-oriented units—can be extremely effective when working with the NGO
sector. The military provides NGOs support in several forms:
• operations in both conflictual and consensual atmospheres, often allowing NGOs to operate in
safe zones or with protection; protection for EPs during large-scale emergencies and conflicts;
• major logistical transportation services, including large-scale airlifts, oceanic and maritime
services, road and bridge repair, control of access points, facilitated border crossings, and
access lines or safe zones for humanitarian supply transport; and
• communications infrastructure and maintenance, often established within short time-frames
and available to civilian agencies for use.
Militaries and NGOs have now had ample time to understand the others’ weaknesses, and where
military units often provide essential services for NGOs and EPs directly, NGOs have strong advantages
in terms of rapid and longer-term relief programs.
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Chapter 10. Scale and Scope of Activity
Conclusion: NGOs Lead the Way
NGOs, then, can deploy quickly and efficiently and can bypass major political, organizational or
structural challenges with their small teams, independent nature, and specialties in sectors and
regions. NGOs don’t have large-scale logistical capacities, but can often use commercial transport
services, the UN, and militaries to move supplies into an emergency-affected region. Many NGOs have
significant in-house logistical capacities and can manage the large-scale commitment of aid to DPs in
the harshest conditions, but they still require the support of IOs and other entities.
NGOs are both relatively small and neutral. They focus on specific DP cohorts, sectors, and regions,
and target their services according to the direct needs of the DPs in concern. NGOs often use off-theshelf technologies to establish communications during the onset of an emergency, and do not require
major support services or security for their personnel. When NGOs respond, they often have a good
sense of what types of programs are required and will work, as well as experienced and professional
staff members who can make quick decisions based on years of experience.
NGOs are without question invaluable during an emergency. Although they do not have unlimited
cash reserves (and sometimes have no cash whatsoever), major logistical capacities, or protection
capabilities, NGOs are the driving force in deploying humanitarian assistance programs. With more
than 50 years of experience, NGOs now know what to do and how to farm out resources effectively to
manage emergencies.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 10. Scale and Scope of Activity
Chapter 10.
Scale and Scope of NGO Activity
Ann Yu PhD
here are thousands of operating NGOs but only a handful are capable of responding to emergencies
internationally, and few of these have the know-how, organizational capacity, and funds to respond
to international emergencies consistently.
Size and Capacity of NGO Community
The NGO community involved with international humanitarian assistance is large and diverse. This is
clear from the membership profiles of InterAction— the largest coalition of U.S.-based international
NGOs. Of its 175 members, the number whose program areas are classified in either refugee or
development or disaster and emergency relief is presented in table 10.1.131 The 90-member European
UnionVOICE—the main NGO interlocutor with the EU on emergency aid, relief, and rehabilitation and
disaster preparedness has a similar breakdown.132
Table 10.1 International Emergency NGOs
InterAction members
Members classifying some or all of their work as disaster and emergency relief
Members classifying some or all of their work as refugee and displacement
Total organizations in the two program areas
Measurements of community-wide capacity are hard to quantify. NGOs can do many different things
and muster many resources, whether acting together or individually. NGOs have different capacities
and the same NGO may have a different capacity in one emergency than it does in another. NGO
capacity fluctuates because regional or sectoral specialties may be required in one region over
another and because donor intent or relations with NGOs are different in various emergencies. In any
case, the number of employees, offices, operations, programs, and number of HQ personnel may be
clues to how active or strong an NGO can be during an emergency. NGO funding levels are also good
indicators for capacity.
Size and Capacity of Individual NGOs
Individual NGOs of course vary in size and capacity. The larger ones, such as CARE, CRS, and MSF, all
have substantial individual capacities to respond to emergencies and to manage emergency activities
for extended periods.
131 InterAction, “Our Coalition,” (accessed November 10, 2009).
132 NGO VOICE, (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Chapter 10. Scale and Scope of Activity
To get an idea of the variety of sizes within the NGO sector, the Cuny Center’s Greater Efficiency
work gives a good glimpse into the budget types and percentages that NGOs expend during an
the 25 operational InterAction members reported total revenue of $2 billion in 1998 or 1999
(the latest report for some agencies was 1998 and for the others was 1999). Very few agencies
are able to identify the fraction of that amount devoted to HA. It likely falls between 1/3 and
1/2. For example, in 2000 Catholic Relief Services (CRS) spent $151,152,000 on emergency
programming out of a total annual expenditure of $371,000,000, or 41%, while CARE’s 2000
annual report shows $58,842,000 spent on emergency programs out of a total expenditure
of $409,289,000 or 14%. Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA),
an agency with a mandated emphasis on disaster relief, estimates that their average annual
expenditure on emergency programs is between $40,000,000 [and] 50,000,000, which is
between 60% and 75% of their budget. A ballpark estimate of average annual expenditures
for the principal 25 US-based NGOs is between $5 million and $100 million.133
NGO capacities are not necessarily measured by annual operating budgets. In some cases NGOs
with small budgets have large impacts during emergencies, even as NGOs with seemingly incredible
budgets have minimal impact. Many NGO capacities come in-kind from gifts to the organization.
During the Kosovo crisis, for example, Wal-Mart provided a few NGOs with container loads of hiking
boots and clothing for distribution among the then-refugee Kosovar Albanians. The container was
sent from the East Coast of the United States and did not reach a Greek port until after the refugees
had returned home. The container was then sent to Kosovo and after a few weeks, many Kosovars
that lived in the southern part of Kosovo were wearing shiny new hiking boots.134 Aside from private
donation for materials or equipment NGO can also obtain commodities donated by government
agencies donated medical supplies (see chapter 11), capital assets (UN contracts and loaned
materials), local NGO partnerships and partnerships with companies or government relief agencies,
off-the-shelf technology, and other types of tools or resources an NGO can use to leverage its strength
during an emergency. As mentioned in chapter 8, NGOs often keep reserves of cash for responses to
new emergencies.
Some NGO capacity can be found in the UN Central Registry. In line with a UN order to create a
central register that inventories all disaster management capabilities, Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has provided the web-based OCHA Central Register.135 It is a portal
website that archives information and organizes resources that are reported by NGOs, UN agencies
and governments that are ready for deployment at the behest of a government or UN agency. Within
the OCHA Central Register is the Emergency Stockpiles of Disaster Relief Items section. This area
includes specific inventories of NGO and IO warehouses in storage for future emergencies. It is
133 The Cuny Center, Greater Efficiency in Humanitarian Emergencies (Arlington, VA: The Cuny Center, 2002), p. 125.
134 One thrifty company provided a 20-foot container of Chap Stick for the Kosovar Albanian refugees, and a Kuwaiti
company provided two truckloads of canned and caramelized dates. These were off-loaded to the black-market
because no one wanted tons of either Chap Stick or dates.
135 OCHA, “Introduction to the OCHA Central Register,” (accessed November 11, 2009).
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Chapter 10. Scale and Scope of Activity
valuable to see how few resources are currently available for emergencies, and how crude the NGO
inventory management system is sector-wide.
Stockpiled materials listed in the database are to be used for international humanitarian emergencies
through the UN or other partner agencies. The relief materials must comply with the following three
• the stocked disaster relief items can
Executive Summary
be made available for international
ƒƒ NGOs work extensively in the health sector,
assistance through the UN,
covering emergency medical needs to longer• the disaster relief items are provided
term public health programs.
on a nonprofit basis, and
ƒƒ NGOs must prioritize when entering an
• the stockpile activity is not limited to
emergency, health needs vary in each emergency,
local relief operations (that is, in the
and priorities often shift during an emergency.
country of the stockpile’s location).136
ƒƒ Providing clean drinking water, immunizations,
and food security are always at the top of priority
lists when NGOs formulate response plans.
The OCHA Central Register is neither an
ƒƒ The most effective relief programs come after
extensive site nor extremely user-friendly. It
methodical and thorough surveys, assessments
does, however, provide valuable information
and analysis of the conditions that affect a
about locations of specific stockpiles and
population in an crisis.
who oversees them. For example, MSF France
ƒƒ Misappropriated assistance or the wrong types of
manages extensive warehouses, as do USAID
assistance can be the result of too little regional
and other national aid agencies. It is a start,
or situational understanding in an emergency.
and developments have been made recently
ƒƒ No single NGO can provide all the necessary
to make the site more accessible. More on this
medical assistance programs of a specific
topic will be discussed in chapter 14.
emergency. Even the NGO community requires
assistance from militaries, governments, and
Headquarters and Staff
other agencies for logistical support and technical
or large-scale assistance measures.
NGOs often manage multiple emergency
responses around the world at the same time;
operations at HQ can be complex. Staff levels range from two to 100 at headquarters and often up
to 2,000 in the field. The range for the top 25 or 30 NGOs based in the United States for field staff is
between 1,000 and 2,000.
Headquarters staff members often focus on a range of issues including but not limited to fundraising,
programmatic backstopping, administration and accounting management, program development,
public relations, and government liaising. HQ staff members also help manage commodity and relief
material equipment and are often the central coordinating and hiring body for personnel. Most
HQ activities are focused on supporting field activities and the stronger the HQ staff, the better the
programs run in the field. Many HQ functions are essential to the viability of relief programs abroad.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 11. Health Services
Obtaining Equipment and Tools
NGOs typically do not have large capacities in maintaining fleets of trucks, cranes, well-digging
machines, or other technical or capital assets. Instead, they secure use of the appropriate equipment
needed during an emergency response. Local procurement, where appropriate and available, is the
first choice. Another option is to work with large brokers that specialize in providing major shipments
of trucks, cars and other hardware otherwise hard to come by in emergency settings. Sometimes
also the UN or government agencies will bring in shipments of specific equipment and distribute the
equipment to implementing partners like NGOs or IOs.
Well-digging machines, large generators, satellite stations, specialized trucks and personnel vehicles,
land-mine removal equipment, water and sanitation equipment, and even some construction tools
are often hard to obtain, and therefore procured by coordinating with NGO associations or other
international agencies. NGOs normally can build
the costs of required equipment and tools into
Figure 11.1 Sample Emergency Priority List
a grant proposal or contract agreement with
donor agencies. Such costs are usually considered
According to USAID’s
a justified expense because the international
Field Operations
community would not have any other way of
Guide, emergency
obtaining the appropriate goods otherwise.
response to
populations should
fall into an order
similiar to this one.
An NGO’s primary strength in procurement comes
from the ability to participate in market systems
around the world. Whereas government and
This is not USAID’s
military entities are often strapped by procurement
view and not
guidelines, purchasing restrictions, or liquidity
health care
specifically adopted
concerns, NGOs can move in and out of local and
internationally. Still,
international markets to obtain the appropriate
protecting displaced
populations and then
equipment and tools for their programming. NGO
providing water and
personnel are normally not required to procure
food are the top and
equipment from any specific vendor and normally
essential elements of
can deal effectively with local business people or
any response.
international companies alike. Although an NGO
may not have an unlimited amount of funding for
any specific program, it can still procure equipment
quickly and efficiently. Very little bureaucracy or regulations governing purchasing or procuring exist
for an NGO, and this is a benefit during an emergency.
NGOs do not, for the most part, have access to large cargo planes, major water purification systems,
and communications equipment. Liaising with military offices and UN agencies is one way around
the problem.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 11. Health Services
Conclusion: Where NGOs Don’t Go
There are very few places and types of emergencies that NGOs are likely to respond to. NGOs have
little capacity, for example, to respond to chemical, biological, or nuclear incidents. Still, the NGO
footprint in humanitarian assistance is large and NGOs will continue to find ways to meet the needs
of emergency-affected populations.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 11. Health Services
Chapter 11.
NGOs and Health Services
GOs participate in a wide spectrum of health-related activities during humanitarian emergencies
and in general have significant capacity. When working with UN agencies and IOs, NGOs serve as
the front-line combatant against epidemics, large-scale malnutrition, and ultimately high mortality
It is essential to understand that some NGOs specialize in health care, and some do not and that
NGOs normally do not work alone in the health sector. Coordination within and outside he NGO
community is considerable. UN agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American
Health Organization (PAHO), UNHCR and UNICEF, for example, are all key leaders and partners in
assisting NGOs with their missions and capabilities particularly in health. NGOs provide groundlevel information about health needs of displaced and nondisplaced populations, and are also the
implementing agent for health programs. WHO and UNICEF, meanwhile, are often the backbone
of support for shipments, surveillance, comprehensive data compilation, guidelines, and technical
The health sector incorporates a large swath of sectoral activities. NGOs are often, as mentioned,
the first actors into an emergency setting and just as often the last to leave. NGOs provide valuable
ground-level information for the international community as well as the ground-level implementation
of health services.
Because NGOs are so often either first on the ground in an emergency or active in the health sector
in a region beforehand, they are often best suited to respond. Once an emergency hits, the NGO
community can normally collect assessment data, surveillance systems, and program proposals
before other organizations can gear up. Once the international community and larger agencies (UN,
government) are ready to begin implementing or funding programs, the NGO community serves as
an orienting body or partner for creating a comprehensive, emergency-wide health program. NGOs
report to the international community and then implement programs with financial and technical
support from organizations and donors such as WHO, UNICEF, OCHA, USAID, and CIDA.
NGOs are thus by far not the only operating agencies in the health sector during an emergency.
UNICEF, CDC, OFDA and DART teams, the World Food Program, and other larger agencies often have
operational wings that can implement programs just as NGOs do (and sometimes with larger scale or
technical capacity). Still, NGOs provide the bulk of emergency health programming and are normally
the implementing agents for donor and coordinating agencies.
Health Priorities in an Emergency
When NGOs and the international community respond to a humanitarian emergency, health services
provisions are generally implemented immediately. Major, rapid onset emergencies require a series
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 11. Health Services
of immediate responses. Less than rapid onset situations, though, often provide enough time for the
international community to measure and methodically map out the types of services that a population
may need to curb excess mortality and general human suffering. Still, in both cases, priorities need to
be established so that scarce resources can meet time-sensitive needs.
The international community targets specific tasks in humanitarian emergencies, and often order
priorities during a response. According to USAID’s Field Operation Guide (FOG), the priorities can be
arranged as presented in figure 11.1.137
The diagram suggests that water is one of the top priorities, as are vaccinations against measles,
particularly for young children. The diagram, however, can be misleading. The international
community prepares an array of responses in every emergency, and every emergency is different.
Ideally, priorities are established using assessments, surveys, surveillance, local and international
experts, historical lessons, and an array of other variables.
NGOs take such painstaking steps because too broad a response can deplete resources, thin the ranks
of available staff and expertise, and ultimately be ineffective. Although many NGOs can and do manage
multiple programs, it is more common that an NGO specializes and focuses its efforts in a particular
sector. In health programs, NGOs carve out niches, territories, or forms of services so as not to overlap
with other NGOs, to maximize donor funding, and to minimize the waste and inefficiencies inevitably
generated when attempting to manage multiple programs at the same time.
NGO Surveillance and Surveys
Before an NGO begins a program, it must either conduct an assessment or be privy to assessment
data, surveillance results, and indicators of the population in the affected area. Many NGOs carry out
information gathering on their own. Just as many tap into assessments done by IOs, the UN, or other
NGOs. NGOs are not required to follow any specific or standard methodology when doing surveys
or assessments, which is often a disadvantage to emergency managers who want to create a holistic
picture with data from numerous agencies.
NGOs most often use proven methodologies, however, and the gathered data is in turn most often
used only by that NGO. Sharing, depending on the emergency, could be seen as giving up comparative
advantages, special data, or even territory. Assessment or surveillance data is valuable to an NGO
because it often holds the keys to funding and program support. NGOs have been criticized for
inflating numbers and painting a grimmer picture than exists to increase the likelihood of funding
or support. This is normally led by an NGO’s desire to deliver services to a population it believes
deserves attention or for which it may have the expertise.
137 See USAID, Field Operations Guide for Disaster Assessment and Response (2005), version 3,
humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistance/resources/pdf/fog_v3.pdf (accessed September 3, 2009).
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Chapter 11. Health Services
Generally, four indicators are central to helping NGOs and IOs create a series of priorities. Assessing
postdisaster mortality among refugees and internally displaced persons in international disasters is
determined with either a crude mortality rate (CMR) or the under-five mortality rate (U5MR), which
are key indicators to define an emergency. For reference baseline, noncrisis CMRs in most of subSaharan Africa range from 0.3 to 0.6 per 10,000 per day. A doubled CMR (to 1 per 10,000 per day)
gives the internationally accepted threshold.138 However, CMR and U5MR alone may not help to clearly
identify specific gaps in the humanitarian response or the causes of the indirect mortality. For most
causes of death, a reduction in mortality is the result of multisectoral interventions, not just health.
For example, a decreased mortality rate from acute respiratory infections can be a result of improved
shelter, greater access, and availability to outpatient and inpatient care and better nutrition.
NGOs can collect CMR data a number of ways. This manual does not attempt to provide any indepth information on data collection, but it is worth noting that there are many accepted methods
and that the NGO and international community have not agreed entirely on which is best. The CMR
approach is most widely used, and is probably the most accurate when no other method is available,
especially in short or high-pressure situations.139 In recent years, NGOs accepting funding from the
Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM) are required to use
SMART indicators and report mortality and nutritional status to the Complex-Emergency Database
(CE-DAT).140 The SMART initiative is a multisourced, searchable database established by the Centre
for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), Brussels, with funding from State/PRM. The
database and initiative are meant to provide a comprehensive picture of the human impact of conflicts
in terms of mortality, morbidity, and nutrition.
John Seaman of Save the Children, UK has promoted another method for measuring the effects of
an emergency that are short of starvation, adding and not specifically replacing data obtained on
CMRs. His household economy approach (HEA) suggests that rural economic conditions should be
taken into consideration with other information to fully understand the shock that an emergency
may have on a population. By measuring the types of actions populations take to ensure welfare (food
storage, planning, sharing), the prices of local commodities and foodstuffs, income, household goods,
138 Francesco Checchi and Les Roberts, “Interpreting and Using Mortality Data in Humanitarian Emergencies,” Network
Paper 52 (London: Humanitarian Policy Network, September 2005), (accessed
May 31, 2006).
139 In July 2002, in Washington, DC, Paul Spiegel and others presented a case study on the Horn of Africa and methods
used to obtain information on malnutrition. In Ethiopia and Somalia, he suggested, NGOs were hardly reliable for
many of the surveillance reports and assessments done on malnutrition. Many NGOs used different definitions
of malnutrition, used different methods of measuring malnutrition rates, and ultimately were not coordinated or
presented in a clear fashion. This meant that data was hard to use, and a comprehensive response to malnutrition
rates could not be specifically accurate. To the NGOs, Spiegel suggests that sampling and methodology should be
simple, should be coordinated with other NGOs, and should be in line with standard sampling or methodologies that
are used. Ultimately, he says, policymakers and donors should be wary of data and reports provided by NGOs, and that
donor or coordinating agencies should have a considerable amount of technical know-how on-hand to review NGO
reports (John Spiegel, presentation at SMART Conference, Washington, DC, July 24, 2002).
140 See Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transition, (accessed
September 3, 2009).
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Chapter 11. Health Services
and related information, surveyors can obtain a larger and more accurate picture of the effects of an
The second indicator is the level of malnutrition levels within a population or nutritional health of
populations. Mid-upper arm circumference measurements (MUAC), weight-for-height (or weightfor-length) measurements, and other methods are used to obtain information on needy populations
and potential response areas for programming, focusing primarily on food needs. Malnutrition rates
higher than 20 percent signal a significant emergency and are strong indicators that higher CMRs are
A third method is monitoring communicable diseases. With knowledge of preemergency levels of
specific diseases (HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue fever, typhoid fever), variances from
normal infection rates can signal systemic or emergency-related problems. NGOs watch closely for
communicable diseases like measles or cholera because outbreaks could mean that an epidemic is
forming. NGOs also watch for cases of recurring diarrhea because that, too, could signal that other
things are wrong. Water or food could be bad, or parasites or other diseases may be present.
The fourth approach is measuring the level
Quick Read
of health-care coverage. From this, NGOs
For more information on reproductive health and
and others can estimate changes from
how it fits into humanitarian emergencies, see a
preemergency settings, preemergency needs,
World Health Organization quick-read:
or emergency or postemergency requirements.
Reproductive Health during Conflict and
These estimates are largely informal, and very
Displacement (WHO/RHR/00.13),
few systematic methods have been established
to measure and evaluate what coverage rates
really mean. In any case, the approach can give
an NGO a good idea of where attention should be given, and what populations need which types of
health-care access.
Becoming Operational in the Health Sector
NGOs face a number of challenges when first responding to an emergency. For many, as mentioned,
preemergency theater involvement makes a transition from development programming to relief
programming relatively simple. For others, a new emergency may mean establishing new programs
in a new country or region. Regardless, though, most NGOs active in an emergency do participate in
some form of health programming during or after the event. Some NGOs run general, communitylevel health programs, and others provide population or service-specific programs that require
specialization and focus.
141 The HEA approach was developed by Save the Children, UK to serve as a “model of rural economy based on current
quantitative economic descriptions, obtained using rapid field methods, to simulate the relationship between a shock
and an outcome…the model being comprehensible to the user…not a blackbox” (John Seaman, presentation at SMART
Conference, Washington, DC, July 23, 2002).
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Chapter 11. Health Services
Most NGOs hire local health workers to implement health assessments and programs. Local medical
staff, doctors, and volunteers are most often hired because of their knowledge of the community and
access to information and relationships within it. NGO expats will normally manage programs and
relations with donors, but will largely depend on local staff to implement the project and keep the
program viable.
To implement health programs, assessments are critical and are normally the first step in any
response to an emergency. NGOs then move into the donor-seeking stage, attempting to establish
grant or contract relationships with possible donors. Once funded or supported in some way (not
always donor specific), NGOs begin mobilizing staff members and supplies to begin implementation.
This normally includes two main phases.
First, an NGO must staff its programs appropriately. Many NGOs rely on relationships established
with physicians, nurses, or other medical professionals in the home country (most often the United
States, the EU countries, Australia, Canada, and Japan) for staffing emergency programs. Calling on a
roster of medical professionals that have indicated their interests or willingness in assisting in shortterm medical programs overseas, many NGOs can staff a program in fewer than 48 hours. This is
costly for an NGO because the time in the field is limited. Project management staff members are
also required, and, depending on how large the NGO is, may arrive in two or more stages. If an NGO
has experienced experts in assessments and preprogram and emergency management, staff may
be deployed to establish an understanding of the ground-level conditions and health needs of the
affected population. These staff members will conduct assessments and surveys and often establish
relationships with donors. Project management staff members are then deployed to initiate and
operate the funded health programs.
Project management staff members are not necessarily health or medical professionals, but often
enough simply NGO professionals with years of experience in managing various humanitarian
assistance programs. They operate the logistics, support services, relationships with donors, finance,
safety and security, and community relations with other IOs, the UN, governments, and the military.
They provide the structure for both local and international medical experts to work within, and keep
the NGO’s project moving forward.
Once staffed for health programming, many NGOs face medical supply challenges. NGO personnel are
responsible for understanding which drugs are essential and appropriate, where and when they’re
needed, and in what quantities. This does not of course mean that all the required supplies will be
available or even obtainable. To combat some of the chaos associated with attempts at finding drugs,
supplies, vaccines and other health-related materials from around the world and thousands of donors,
some NGOs have specialized in procuring and shipping donated medical supplies to emergency
settings. Pharmaceutical supply NGOs will be covered more in-depth later in this chapter.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 11. Health Services
NGOs and Immunizations
NGOs move rapidly during or immediately after a humanitarian emergency to immunize parts or all
of an affected population. Water and sanitation is a top priority, as mentioned earlier, as is preventing
the rapid spread of disease. Disaster areas or CHEs normally offer ideal conditions for the spread of
disease, and common prevention strategies can easily stop large-scale infection rates. NGOs have a
comparative advantage in providing immunizations because of their focus on community-level staffing
and program implementation, and their significance in number during an emergency response.
Efforts to immunize against measles, meningitis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and polio are all
major priorities. Children are often immunized on a mass scale before more specialized or outbreakdeterring immunization campaigns get under way. NGOs normally use local organizations through
established or temporary health clinics, or use community centers or common settlement areas to
deliver immunizations.142
NGOs do face a number of challenges in providing many immunizations:
• lack of cold-chain supply management delivery to disaster-affected areas
• inaccessibility to displaced persons because of weather, violence, political, cultural, or
religious reasons
• immunization shortages
• lack of knowledge
• inadequate staff member specialty in field offices
Still, NGOs provide leadership in the immunization field and often work in close collaboration with
agencies such as WHO, UNICEF, CDC, ICRC, and PAHO. NGO activities with immunizations have to date
been extremely effective. With appropriate surveillance and monitoring methods, NGOs are normally
able to either contain or prevent major outbreaks of disease. Future challenges—and challenges that
exist today within the NGO community, between NGOs and IOs and other entities—will center on
standardization, early-warning methods, and effective measurement practices.
NGOs and Community and Public Health
During humanitarian emergencies, NGOs operate through various programs that attempt to develop
health consciousness, public health levels, local medical training, and primary and secondary healthcare capacity. With firm support from UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO, and other larger agencies,
NGOs are more than ever finding adequate sources to provide major assistance to ailing public health
systems and to support education initiatives aimed at reducing the spread of disease, decreasing
indirect mortality attributable to failed public health infrastructure and unhealthy living conditions.
142 Once of the standard texts for introducing immunizations for humanitarian emergencies is Public Health Action in
Emergencies Caused by Epidemics, published in 1986 by the World Health Organization.
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Chapter 11. Health Services
NGOs, in almost all cases, rely extensively on local health-care systems, personnel, and workers. This
community health initiative system empowers local systems during the emergency response phase
of the crisis, but with the intent of strengthening a damaged or weak health-care system for use after
the emergency is over. Community health initiatives normally use local community health workers
(CHWs), village health workers (VHWs), or even traditional birth attendants (TBAs) to implement
information campaigns and support or service programs. NGOs also work closely with Ministries of
Health to gain access to populations.
Community and public health programming includes a wide range of programs, most of which focus
on disease or injury prevention, and the enhancement of local medical capacities. Of current interest
to many NGOs are reproductive health (RH) programs that empower CHWs and TBAs to provide
forms of birth control, education and medical services to women and children, and other programs
that encourage healthy community planning and public health services. These programs place large
emphasis on a woman’s right to choose, public information campaigns about rape, HIV/AIDS, other
STDs and other forms of family and community planning.
Postwar or conflict rehabilitation often includes public health programming because a society’s
community health infrastructure was dilapidated, has been destroyed, or was nonexistent to begin
with. For NGOs, the postconflict wake of reconstruction activities opens the door to providing services
like those with local buy-in and international support. NGOs will often introduce new programs
unseen before by the affected population in hopes of enhancing women’s rights, community health
capacities, and health practices. In Albania and Kosovo in 1999 and 2000, NGOs focused on introducing
reproductive health programs to Muslim populations. With some resilience, Albanian and Kosovar
health officials began adopting some of the new practices and theories. Condom education, birth
control pill distribution, and women’s rights training were not particularly well received by some of
the more traditional Muslim communities.
These activities are not always seen as emergency-oriented, but NGO activity throughout all phases of
an emergency in this sector is extremely important, especially when protecting women and children
or supplementing collapsed or nonexistent community health centers.
NGOs and Medical-Pharmaceutical Supply
Unlike NGO activity in food and commodity management, NGOs do play a critical role in procuring
and delivering pharmaceutical and medical supplies to emergency areas. In fact, NGOs play a larger
role than any other entity in procuring medicines and medical supplies for programs during an
emergency. Four large medical supply NGOs include Direct Relief International (DRI), Americares,
MAP, and Operation USA. Each focuses on creating relationships with pharmaceutical and medical
supply companies that can donate excess goods or overstock. The NGO receives the materials and
then either stores or ships them to a partner NGO in an emergency area.
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Chapter 11. Health Services
Medical supply NGOs will ship medical and pharmaceutical supplies from their U.S. or Europe-based
storage locations to emergency settings by private carrier, sometimes by air freight but mostly ocean
freight. Once into a regional port or receiving area (airport, border, and so on), a partner NGO will
receive the goods and begin the in-country process of distribution, use, or storage. Medications must
follow WHO guidelines, which follow four core principles.143
These NGOs provide those in the field with all types of medical supplies, and are extremely useful in
emergencies that cripple a poor country’s medical infrastructure and stockpiles of medicines. Medical
supply NGOs can send everything
from polio vaccines to dentist’s
NGO Health-Related References
chairs or anthropometric tools.
Emergency Library Kit (ELK). The Department of Health Action
specialized in procurement
and shipping and are not
normally operational in the
field. By working closely with
implementing NGO partners,
medical supply NGOs can
effectively focus on soliciting
new donors, caring for existing
stockpiles and the shipping
process while other NGOs focus
on distributing supplies.
in Crises (HAC) will provide on request an ELK to agencies
working in the field during an emergency. The kit is intended
as technical guidance to agencies in the field. Each kit comes
in a metal trunk, which can be used as a bookshelf. It includes
130 documents consisting of guidelines and reference manuals
produced by WHO, other UN organizations, and external
publishers. A summary of the contents is available online.
The kit is regularly updated and costs approximately $2,300.
Transportation costs are not included. Available at www.who.
“Public health leaders using social media to convey
emergencies: New tools a boon.” Social media tools such as
Twitter and Facebook allow public health officials to reach out
fast and directly to the public on everything from salmonellarelated food recalls to disease outbreaks and weather
emergencies. Available at
None of the four NGOs surveyed
for this section has extensive
logistical capacity. Although
World Health Organization. “Guidelines for Drug Donations.”
they maintain large stockpiles
Available at
of medical supplies within the
United States or Europe, they do
not use an extensive technology
system, logistical tracking or
management systems, and normally rely only on partner NGOs or agencies for the appropriate
quantities and types of medical supplies needed during an emergency.
143 See Guidelines for Drug Donations (Geneva: WHO Department of Essential Drugs and Other Medicines, 1999), www. (accessed September 4, 2009). Core principles include
maximum benefit to the recipient, respect for wishes and authority of the recipient, no double standards in quality,
and effective communication between donor and recipient.
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Chapter 11. Health Services
The process often looks like the flow presented in figure 11.2.
Figure 11.2 Medical Supply Flow during an Emergency
Medical supply NGOs create relationships with the private medical sector to
in turn create incentives for medical supply donatons. These donations are
sent to field locations around the world, and are distributed to NGOs that
are operational in the emergency-affected region. Medical supply NGOs are
normally not active in CHEs or disaster areas, but play critical roles in assuring
that NGOs in those areas receive pertinent and enough medical supplies.
Medical supply
NGO procures
Ships to
Partner NGO
NGO uses or
supplies for DP
These NGOs are scattered throughout the United States and Europe and have many implementing
partners around the world.
Medical supply NGOs normally operate large warehouses where the supplies are received. These are
sorted, dated, and stored appropriately and then sent to an emergency area when a request comes
from a partner NGO or agency. All medical supply NGOs in the United States are relatively close to
a seaport and have close relationships with shipping forwarders or shipping brokers. Most of the
medical supplies shipped are bundled with other supplies sent by ocean freight in 20- or 40-foot
Average shipping space taken by medical supplies by these NGOs is about 1000 cubic
square feet per container. MAP, based in Georgia, has shipped an average of 150 containers
with an equivalent of 1000 cubic square feet per container in the last two years. Direct
Relief International in FY2000 made 220 shipments. This is equivalent to 691,571 pounds
of material shipped…. Once into a port and after being offloaded from a ship or aircraft, a
consignee, broker or another NGO will sign for the goods, become responsible for moving it
out of the port area, and then to either another storage facility or directly into a distribution
pattern otherwise designed. As mentioned above, once the medical shipment reaches the
port it normally is no longer the responsibility of the medical supply NGO who processed and
initiated the shipment.144
144 Gary Frandsen, chapter 5 in Greater Efficiency in Humanitarian Operations (Arlington, VA: The Cuny Center, 2002).
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Chapter 11. Health Services
Conclusion: NGO Strengths and Weaknesses in the Medical Field
In general, NGOs are the most advanced organizations equipped to handle a range of technical,
essential, and urgent medical services. This does not mean that NGOs are capable of meeting all the
needs of an affected population. NGOs have both strengths and weaknesses in this sector.
First, NGOs have limited logistical capacities. For
large-scale food procurement and shipments,
air transport services, cold-chain management,
and in-patient medical services, NGOs are at a
disadvantage. Without major financial capabilities
or either logistical know-how or capacity, NGOs
do not maintain ocean liners, large cargo aircraft,
and stockpiles of food commodities or even fleets
of trucks. NGOs do not have the power to procure
millions of tons of food for a specific emergency or
airlift them if they did have the supply, and must rely
on military, government, or UN agencies to support
large-scale transportation and logistical services in
many emergencies.
Executive Summary
ƒƒ NGOs spend significant time and resources
procuring, storing, and distributing food aid
to emergency-affected populations. Food is
by far one of the most common types of aid
in the world.
ƒƒ NGOs work closely with UN and government
agencies to procure and move food into
emergency regions.
ƒƒ WFP is the UN’s food aid agency (see
annex 8) and works closely with NGOs to
effectively manage food commodity and
food distribution programs.
Second, NGOs are a community and not a cohesive body. No matter how much coordination occurs, NGOs
are still individual entities, often both small and private, that act independently during emergencies.
This, also deemed a unique strength, often means that the NGO community does not benefit from
scaling capacities or sharing duties during an operation. An NGO must recreate capacity for each
program it delivers, even if another NGO is delivering a similar service. Still, although coordination
levels are increasing and NGO specialization is occurring, competitiveness and independent actor
problems arise and make the NGO community weaker than it could be if its members worked closely
Third, and combining the first and second, NGOs cannot provide comprehensive services alone.
Although many NGOs can provide a wide range of services from feeding centers to immunizations to
public health programs, NGOs still rely on outside actors in many specific sectors or fields for support.
NGOs, in very simple terms, lack the logistical capacity to manage full-scale medical programs. NGOs
have been unable to deploy major food programs without the help of the U.S. or EU governments and
have had to rely heavily on militaries or other agencies to help with in-patient services, major surgical
capacities, large population movements and displacement, water and sanitation provisions, access
and security issues, and other issues that require major technical and resource support.
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Chapter 12. Food and Nutrition
NGOs provide medical services during conflict and disasters and are faced with innumerable
challenges beyond those a peacetime medical provisions organization would face. Within this context,
NGOs have developed strategies and priorities for responding to emergencies that help define the
most urgent and important needs of a population. These priorities—whether they concern primary
medical care, food, immunizations, or public health—mean that not every issue is dealt with, and that
not every need is met. Still, NGOs fill a vital role during international humanitarian emergencies, and
their strengths outweigh their weaknesses in most cases. There are four major thematic strengths
that NGOs enjoy in the medical sector.
First, to combat the fact that there are resources and capacity limitations within the NGO community,
many NGOs specialize. Medical supply NGOs are one example, and show the advancement of the
NGO community to a stage where certain NGOs are now taking specific job functions that mirror
larger agencies. The NGO community may be fragmented, but, with specialization, the community
can begin mirroring an agency such as USAID that has specific departments for managing various
activities during an emergency. This is a particular strength of the NGO community and has potential
for becoming more beneficial as more NGOs specialize in various functions during emergencies.
Second, NGOs within the medical sector are the most ground-level entities that exist. When the UN or
USAID or other donors cannot be present in an area because of security concerns, the NGO is there.
With local partnerships and an in-depth knowledge of what medical needs exist at the community
level, NGOs can work closely with the international community to meet the needs of areas that might
have otherwise been overlooked. NGOs add strength to the international community’s ability to
survey, assess, and plan appropriate and scaled responses.
Third, NGOs have little overhead and bureaucratic structures that can prevent swift action in the most
harsh or remote locations. NGO response teams do not require stringent force protection services,
and can break down into small two- or three-person teams. NGO staff members can adapt to local
environments and use local transportation, make contracts with and hire local services, liaise with
the local government and community organizations, and generally act as free agents in a very chaotic
picture. This is not replicated in by any other type of actor in the medical field, and NGOs are close to
perfecting the adaptation technique.
Fourth, NGOs use the private sector to their advantage. NGOs can use private shipping and
transportation services, donated goods or financial resources, human resources, and can procure
goods locally, which enhances operational efficiency. Because NGOs are often strapped for cash or
other resources, NGOs must act quickly, aggressively, and purposefully to muster resources. Given
their significant investment in soliciting funding or support from the private sector, NGOs often benefit
from public sympathy for affected populations, donation dollars, grants, in-kind gifts, and volunteers.
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Chapter 12. Food and Nutrition
Chapter 12.
NGOs and Food and Nutrition
GOs provide massive food and nutrition aid around the world. NGOs are key survey agents,
providing the community of emergency responders with appropriate, ground-level data, and are
also key delivery agents. NGOs often manage extensive programs in this sector, ranging from largescale food distribution during massive famines to therapeutic or rehabilitating feeding clinics for
malnourished populations. During major emergencies, NGOs work closely with and are supported by
the extremely operational World Food Program that procures and distributes food directly to needy
populations, and other UN and government agencies with the capacity to handle major logistical feats.
Food Aid and NGOs
Although hundreds of millions of people do go hungry on a daily basis around the world, hunger,
malnutrition, and famine are not necessarily due to a lack of food. Instead, food problems come from
poor distribution mechanisms, lowering the terms of trade for a country that can lead to the reduction
of the appropriate mixes of food (normal export commodity prices are potentially dropped, making
it more difficult to purchase different types of food), war, and major natural disasters (entire crop
rotations ruined or food stores destroyed). Food aid is often under fire by political and policy critics
on two fronts:
• Food aid disturbs markets. Food aid delivered by the international community can dramatically
reduce the market price of food commodities within the targeted country. This upsets
local market economies and a source of well-being for particular segments of a country’s
population. Although this is often not a concern for a country experiencing major famine, it is
when only part of a country or region is experiencing food shortages. Somalia was an example
of how food aid was often misused or abused with a resulting impact on lives not specifically
associated with a famine or malnutrition.
• Food aid is often misused or not understood. Many policymakers and observers see food
aid as a dangerous political tool that is wasteful, or a cure-all to solve a country’s food and
humanitarian problems. Neither is the case, and though there are many examples of misused
or abused food aid, most food aid is in fact delivered to the intended population. As well, food
aid addresses only hunger, not the underlying conditions. Political causes, infrastructural
deficiencies, conflict, or economic problems are often severe problems that external food aid
can’t compete with or solve with simply the distribution of food.
NGOs often steer clear of the politics and push for food aid when and where it is needed. Because
NGOs operate at the ground level during emergencies, they are firsthand witnesses of how food aid is
used, how it affects markets, and when it is and is not needed.
NGOs are at the forefront of nutrition and hunger services, and are implementing partners with
larger UN or government agencies in most phases of a food aid program. They are responsible for
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Chapter 12. Food and Nutrition
most food aid distribution around the world. The system of distribution, sometimes known as the
pipeline, often requires intricate and involved distribution or food aid management programs. Food
aid programs often follow a flow similar to that in figure 12.1.
Figure 12.1 Sample Food Aid System
creates food
with other
NGOs report
to donor
UN makes
appeal, donors
pledges made,
donors fund
food inputs
food delivered
to portairport-rail
NGO receiving
to distribution
After an emergency hits, an NGO initiates food or hunger-response programs like any other program
(see chapter 8). Information is collected, sorted, and analyzed, and the NGO identifies areas of
potential operation and whether it has a comparative advantage in the proposed type of operation.
The NGO must also consider whether funding is available. For major emergencies in which major
portions of the population require food aid, NGOs must normally work closely with UN agencies and
governments and sometimes local authorities. NGOs lack large logistical capacities and lift capabilities
and normally cannot provide massive amounts of food from external sources without assistance.
USAID and WFP are the major logistical participants in food procurement, storage, and distribution
to field-level NGO management teams because of their unique capabilities to acquire large quantities
of food (millions of tons), ship it (by ocean, air, truck, or rail), and to keep it coming.
As shown in figure 12.1, an NGO will determine logistical requirements, work closely with the UN
and governments to relay these perceived requirements, and then eventually take over the inflow
and distribution of food to the affected population. NGOs have or can establish extensive field-based
networks with local NGOs or communities, and are often the most efficient providers at the ground
level. WFP and USAID, for example, specialize in establishing the commodity-level logistical supply
system but then need smaller agents to take truckloads of food to points along the pipeline.
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Chapter 12. Food and Nutrition
When dealing with sustained hunger or malnutrition rates, NGOs often create feeding or therapeutic
feeding centers that provide children or the severely malnourished specific nutritional treatment.
Caloric intake levels, types of food, appropriate delivery methods, and other variables are all
considered when implementing such a program. Household, community, or regional level approaches
are also variable and will affect the types of programs the international community will implement.
For example, household-level programs also must take into consideration that malnutrition is not
necessarily caused by a lack of food. Care, access to appropriate foods, regularity, and sustainability
can all influence a population’s nutritional health.
NGOs will deploy programs depending on the size, place, intensity, and scope of a nutritional crisis.
Several program types are identified in table 12.1.145
Table 12.1 NGO Food Programs
General food distribution (GFD)
Blanket feeding
Supplementary feeding program (SFP)
When food insecurity is prevalent, sustainable economic and health
development programs are often appropriate, targeting the most
vulnerable populations. This is not a blanket coverage, and is most
likely not used in large-scale emergencies.
This is deployed normally during a severe food crisis and also targets
specific populations, normally extending nondiscriminatory feeding
programs for pregnant mothers, under-5 children, elderly, and the
sick, whether they are facing malnourishment or not.
When malnutrition rates extend over 15 percent and populations
still need assistance to fill gaps and in treating specific target groups,
NGOs will provide SFPs during the day to provide warm meals,
appropriate nutrients, and special foods for various parts of the
affected population.
TFPs are established to treat severely malnourished people, and
to provide immediate relief to those of an emergency-affected
population in danger of dying because of lack of food. Ideally, TFPs
are 24-hour stations. In emergency settings, though, staff and supply
limitations will often prevent 24-hour operation.
Therapeutic feeding program (TFP)
A more in-depth, emergency-setting specific operations flow could include the processes identified
in figure 12.2.
145 For a clear presentation of selective feeding programs and types of selective feeding programs, see the UNHCR
Handbook for Emergencies (2000), pp. 196–97.
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Chapter 12. Food and Nutrition
Figure 12.2 Sample of NGO Food Operations
delivers large food
NGOs receive at
port, move to
storage facility
trucks take loads of
food to distribution
NGOs break down
and repackage for
smaller shipments
move food
into specific
feeding or
therapeutic feeding centers
supplemental feeding centers
blanket feeding or
general food distribution
move into
staging area
refugee camps or
settlement areas
Conclusion: Players in the Food Aid Sector
The international community has created a specific and resourceful community that deals with food
aid and nutritional emergencies around the world, and NGOs play an important part. Table 12.1
presents the main actors in food aid.
Table 12.2 Food Aid Organizations
World Food Program (WFP)
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)
Food Aid Management (FAM)*
Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)
USAID/Food for Peace
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Lutheran World Federation/Relief
World Vision
Food for the Hungry (FHI)
* Food Aid Management, based in Washington, DC, is a consortium of NGOs and agencies that focus on food aid
and nutrition. It has become a central location for thinking and storing information on nutrition and emergencies.
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Chapter 12. Food and Nutrition
World Food Program
No discussion of humanitarian food aid would be complete without mention of the World Food
Program. WFP is an operational UN agency that provides most likely the largest quantities of food
aid around the world. With internal logistical
infrastructure, ships, trucks, planes, experts,
Executive Summary
and field offices, WFP offers direct support to
ƒƒ Water and sanitation services are often the
displaced populations and also provides support
most essential relief activities that can be
to NGOs when appropriate (see annex 2 for more
deployed at the onset of any emergency,
detail on the WFP, WHO, and UNICEF).
and can mean the prevention of disease,
malnutrition, and sometimes conflict.
The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is
ƒƒ NGOs manage various types of water and
a lead player in food aid, but is sometimes quiet
sanitation programs in emergencies, ranging
during emergencies. With a mission of providing
from emergency water provision to latrine
large-scale development assistance in food sectors
building, filtration plant construction, or well
and agricultural economies, the Rome-based UN
agency based has created some progressive tools
ƒƒ Other agencies are also involved in water
services, but in managing refugee camps and
for the international community when dealing
IDP settlements, NGOs are normally the lead
with and either preventing or responding to
agency for specific water services.
nutritional emergencies. Of specific interest to
Water is often the hardest material to
many government and military personnel is
introduce into an emergency setting, because
the use of satellite and imagery technology for
it is heavy, fragile, and must be secured at all
monitoring food supplies. Now superseded by
times from unsafe or unsanitary conditions.
even more advanced technology, FAO created the
ƒƒ NGOs often empower local communities with
Global Information and Early Warning System
water conservation knowledge, sanitation
workstation, which uses satellites and GIS
practices, and sustainable equipment during
services. The FAO description follows.
and after emergencies.
ƒƒ NGO activity in the shelter sector is extensive.
• FAO uses the Meteosat-based estimates
NGOs provide emergency housing, refugee
of rainfall and the NOAA/AVHRR-based
camps and management, and longer-term
assessments of vegetation cover as
housing as well.
one of the key inputs for operational
monitoring of crop conditions by the FAO Global Information and Early Warning System
(GIEWS). Assessment of crop growing conditions and related food production outlook
is based on agrometeorological observations combined with remote sensing and other
relevant socio-economic information. The development of models to integrate satellite
and agrometeorological data with socio-economic and nutritional information, using GIS
technology, is currently being finalized under the GIEWS Risk Mapping Project. This Project is
implemented by FAO in partnership with the Save the Children Fund (SCF-UK) in London and
executed by ESCG/GIEWS with financial assistance from the European Union.
• Since early 1992, GIEWS is implementing the project “System Definition and Development
of a Computer Workstation for GIEWS” with funding from the EU. The objective of the
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Chapter 13. Water, Sanitation, and Shelter
project is to develop a tool to better integrate image and graphic data especially the socioeconomic and nutritional indicators with the satellite-based ARTEMIS products and field
agro-meteorological data in the analysis and reporting process of the GIEWS analysts. The
University of Arizona has been contracted to develop the GIEWS workstation. A prototype
was installed and tested at FAO Rome in June/July 1993. The development of an advanced
version of the workstation started in September 1993, along with the establishment of
databases. Work on this version was finalized in 1995 and is now fully operational at FAO
headquarters. Its applications development at the regional levels is now being undertaken
within the framework of the Regional Early Warning System in the SADC region through the
FAO/SADC Regional Remote Sensing Project.146
Another development that has stemmed from NGO and private sector cooperation is the FACTS
software system. FACTS, or the Food and Commodity Tracking System, was created by Microsoft
in 2001 in collaboration with Mercy Corps International (MCI) and Save the Children US.147 It is an
online-based commodity management system that allows NGOs to monitor and track shipments from
the port of entry to the point of distribution. At this point, very few NGOs have used it, and MCI
and Save the Children are still in beta stages of testing. Advanced stages of this software, Microsoft
and testing NGO personnel say, will allow NGOs to use handheld devices, real-time data on relief
programs, and minimal bandwidth. It is still in beginning stages but represents a significant amount
of energy devoted to attempting to standardize software and logistical systems.
146 See FAO, SDdimensions, “FAO activities: Environmental monitoring by satelitte,”
htm (accessed October 20, 2009).
147 See Garin, “Food Aid Community Tracking System,” October 6, 2006, Community Information Corps, http://cic. (accessed August 20, 2009).
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Chapter 13. Water, Sanitation, and Shelter
Chapter 13.
NGOs and Water, Sanitation, and Shelter
Cecili Sessions
he Institute of Medicine’s 2009 report The U.S. Commitment to Global Health recognizes the sea
change of shifting from a medical to a public health model for humanitarian assistance: “Meeting
fundamental human needs lack the glamour of high-technology medicine or rescue, but their value
is the significant potential for impact on health because they deal with the major causes of common
disease and disabilities across the globe.”148
This chapter outlines the assessment and response of the humanitarian community to the challenges
of meeting Gostin’s basic survival needs of water, sanitation, hygiene, and shelter. In the context of
stability, security, transition, and reconstruction operations (SSTRO), or humanitarian assistance and
disaster relief (HA/DR), precarious access to safe drinking water and sanitary living conditions may
become jeopardized because of security concerns, or can be overtaxed by population displacement.
Shelter might be inadequate because it is either unavailable or inappropriate for the climate and
terrain of a new locale. In the chaotic and crowded living circumstances that displaced persons
face, the stage is set for preventable outbreaks of water-borne or vector-borne diseases that might
otherwise—by access to adequate water, sanitation, and shelter—be prevented.
Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, and the Burden of Disease
The terms WatSan or WASH refer to integrated, cluster approaches by the global health community
to ensure essential services—including access to safe drinking water, provision of basic sanitation,
and hygiene education and training—not only in crises but also as a form of sustainable development
through capacity-building. Water systems are a perennial natural security concern,149 and UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan asserts that “access to safe water is a fundamental human need and
therefore a basic human right. Contaminated water jeopardizes both the physical and social health of
all people.”150 Whether approached as an issue of security or of rights, access to WASH is indisputably
an issue of health:
• one in six people (884 million worldwide) lack access to safe water for basic needs from a
protected well or spring within walking distance of their homes;
• 2.5 billion people—including 1 billion children—live without access to basic sanitation or
private hygiene;
• a child dies every 20 seconds as a result of poor sanitation, resulting in 1.5 million preventable
deaths yearly;
• 88 percent of diarrheal deaths worldwide can be attributed to WatSan problems; and
148 Institute of Medicine, The U.S. Commitment to Global Health: Recommendations for the Public and Private Sectors
(Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2009), (accessed June 4, 2009).
149 Pacific Institute, The World’s Water, (accessed June 11, 2009).
150 World Water Day 2001, “Message of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan,” March 22, 2001,
wwday/2001/news/msgun.html (accessed June 4, 2009).
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Chapter 13. Water, Sanitation, and Shelter
• hand washing with soap can reduce the risk of diarrheal diseases by 47 percent.151
The health benefits of improved water and sanitation can be translated into increased productivity
due to decreased adult and child morbidity, health-care savings, time savings due to more convenient
access, and increased school attendance days.152
Almost one-tenth of the global disease burden—in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), as a weighted
measure or 6.3 percent of all deaths—could be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation,
hygiene and management of water resources. Avoidable health-related costs are estimated at $7.3
billion globally.153 The following significant global health concerns are directly related to the adequacy
of WASH efforts:
• diarrhea spread by fecal-oral transmission, including cholera, typhoid, and dysentery;
• malnutrition contributing to death, developmental challenges, and increased susceptibility to
infectious diseases;
• intestinal nematode infections from fecally contaminated soil afflicting up to one in three
people worldwide; and
• trachoma (a cause of preventable blindness), lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and
WASH may also impact physical health through respiratory infections related to hygiene, drowning,
toxic exposures, micronutrient intake, and the extremes of drought, flood, and climate change.
Additionally, WASH influences social health and gender equity issues surrounding school attendance
for adolescent girls and lost productivity of women procuring water.155 Adequate shelter is closely
tied to the provision for water, sanitation, drainage, or the collection of household waste. Lack of
shelter leaves people vulnerable to insect exposure, extremes of heat or cold, and environmental
hazards, and can adversely impact mental health and community resilience.
Standards for Emergency Shelter and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)
SSTRO or HA/DR interventions should ensure that basic survival needs of water, sanitation, hygiene,
and shelter for affected or displaced populations are met in a manner consistent with international
standards for humanitarian assistance and conducive to interagency sustainable development. The
following summaries reference USAID, UNHCR, and SPHERE guidelines for emergency provision of
shelter and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).
151 UN Water, “Statistics: Graphs & Maps,” (accessed June 11, 2009).
152 UNICEF, “Soap, Toilets, and Taps” (2008), (accessed
June 9, 2009).
153 Jamie Bartram, Kristen Lewis, Roberto Lenton, and Albert Wright, “Focusing on Improved Water and Sanitation for
Health,” Lancet 365 (9461): 810–12, (accessed June
5, 2009).
154 Annette Prüss-Üstün, Robert Bos, Fiona Gore, and Jamie Bartram, Safer Water, Better Health: Costs, Benefits and
Sustainability of Interventions to Protect and Promote Health (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2008), http:// (accessed June 11, 2009).
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Chapter 13. Water, Sanitation, and Shelter
The USAID Field Operations Guide for Disaster Assessment and Response offers the following insights
into priorities and considerations for meeting the needs of shelter and WASH, with an emphasis on
involvement of those receiving assistance in the process:
• The provision of water demands immediate attention from the start of an emergency. The
objective is to ensure the availability of enough safe drinking water to meet at least minimal
health and hygiene needs, including drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing. Sources of fresh
water may be identified by local government, local population, displaced persons, UN/NGOs,
terrain inspection, maps, or hydrologists. If the locally available water supply is not enough
to meet the minimum needs of the population, consider relocation, because water must be
brought in by truck. Water distribution is an important consideration in camp layouts to
ensure easy, safe, and controlled access to water for displaced persons. (Water storage and
treatment are also discussed in detail.)
• Disruption and overcrowding of people impacted by disaster or conflict make sanitation a
critical issue. Sanitation facilities to which individuals were accustomed may no longer be
available, leading to indiscriminate disposal of human excreta and other waste products and
posing a serious health threat. A comprehensive environmental health program must address
provision of safe water; disposal of human excreta, wastewater, and garbage; insect and
rodent control; safe food-handling practices; and site drainage. An acceptable and practical
system for disposal of human waste developed in cooperation with the affected population
is vital, even if circumstances necessitate a departure from culturally traditional practices.
Providing special public health or hygiene education may be required to ensure that the
system is used.
• Settlements are concentrations of people in physical space, and key features include shelter
and related support services. A key objective of any shelter sector intervention should be
the timely provision of safe, secure, private, and habitable shelter that provides protection
from the elements. Community participation and needs are critical to determining the kind of
housing needed, the materials and design, who constructs the housing, and how long it will
need to last in a given situation. The intervention should feature covered living space of at
least 3.5 m2 per person, cognizant that expansion is probable as part of a future, incremental
construction process. Lack of adequate shelter and clothing can have a major adverse effect
on the health and nutritional status of displaced people.156
The Sphere Project is a handbook of minimum standards in disaster response, a collaborative
humanitarian charter between IFRC and NGOs, and “an expression of commitment to quality and
accountability.” Sphere emphasizes “the alleviation of human suffering arising out of calamity and
conflict,” the right to life with dignity, equitable access to services for vulnerable subpopulations, and
the processes of needs assessment and key indicators of effectiveness. The following compilation of
minimum standards, key indicators, and guidance notes from the Sphere handbook pertain to WASH
(chapter 2) and shelter (chapter 4).
156USAID, Field Operations Guide for Disaster Assessment and Response (2005), version 4.0,
library/us+aid+field+operations+guide+disaster+assessment+response (accessed October 15, 2009).
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Chapter 13. Water, Sanitation, and Shelter
• Providing a minimum survival level of safe drinking water on a regular basis is critical.
Average water use for basic needs is 15 liters per person per day, and survival needs may be
as low as 3 liters depending on climate and individual physiology. Maximum distance to the
nearest water point is 500 meters, with a wait time of 15 minutes or fewer. Distribution of
clean and appropriate collection and storage containers (two per household) or treatment
with residual disinfectants such as chlorine can minimize the health risks of recontamination
of freshwater sources and ensure that there is always water in the household. Turbidity and
palatability are additional concerns.
• The standards for sanitation ensure that people have “rapid, safe, and acceptable access at
all times” for excreta disposal. Before construction of toilets, it may be necessary to create
trench latrines or a defecation field, with 30m from groundwater sources and 1.5m above
the water table. Each communal toilet may serve up to 50 people, decreasing to a maximum
of 20 people as soon as feasible. Toilets should be located no more than 50m from dwellings,
and be arranged by household (up to five families) or segregated by gender. Urinals should
be provided for men, and the ratio of women’s cubicles to men’s should be about 3:1. Shared
responsibility is vital for cleaning and maintaining shared or public toilets and immediate
disposal of children’s feces. Toilets should be designed with input from the population
regarding privacy and security concerns to ensure continued use and cleaning, and to
minimize fly and mosquito breeding.
• Avoidance of risky hygiene behaviors requires community mobilization (2 promoters per
1000 members of the population), provision of essential materials and facilities, avoidance of
overburdening, and sharing of information and knowledge between the affected population
and donors of humanitarian assistance in order to identify key hygiene risks and behaviors
and to ensure optimal use of facilities. At least 250g of soap should be made available per
person per month. Communal bathing facilities should provide separate cubicles for males
and females. One laundry wash basin per 100 people is recommended, along with private
laundering areas for women. Facilities should be strategically located to facilitate hand
washing after defecation and before eating or food preparation. Adequate vector control
mechanisms are essential to prevent disease.
• The Shelter and Settlement section discusses strategic and physical planning, design,
construction, and environmental impact. Additionally, the recommendations for covered
living space include provision of dignified accommodation, permitting essential household
and livelihood activities, and separation of by family, age, or sex as needed. At least 3.5m2
per person of living space—with the notable exception of short-term provision of shelter
in the aftermath of disaster, to save lives, or shelter the greatest number of people in need.
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Chapter 13. Water, Sanitation, and Shelter
Existing cultural practices should be preserved whenever possible in consideration of design
and materials.157
UN Cluster Approach: WASH and Emergency
The UN Cluster Approach was first implemented in the
aftermath in the Pakistan earthquake of October 8, 2006,
and emphasizes accountability, predictability, and reliability
to close identified gaps in humanitarian response provided
by the Interagency Standing Committee—UN agencies, the
Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and NGOs.158
Executive Summary
ƒƒ Protection means helping
populations avoid being targeted
for persecution or attacks
ƒƒ NGOs participate in protection
activities in a variety of ways.
ƒƒ Duty bearers are responsible for
providing protection, but NGOs fill
major gaps when authorities are
unable or unwilling , and when
protection means relocation,
advocacy, migration issues, and
asylum needs.
ƒƒ Emergency response NGOs
often participate in protection
activities without highlighting it
in their program descriptions:
shelter services, advocacy, and
transportation services are often
part of protecting a population
from discrimination or danger.
Recognizing the direct causal link between child mortality
and WatSan, UNICEF (UN Children’s Fund) serves as lead for
the cluster on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). “All
UNICEF WASH programmes are designed to contribute to the
Millennium Development Goal for water and sanitation: to
halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable
access to safe water and basic sanitation.”159 Active working
group participants include Action Against Hunger (ACF),
CARE International, CDC, Concern, Catholic Relief Services
(CRS), InterAction, International Centre for Health and
Migration (ICHM), IFRC, International Rescue Committee
(IRC), Mercy Corps, Norwegian Church Aid, Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (Oxfam), Register
of Engineers for Disaster Relief—International Health Exchange (RedR-IHE), UNHCR, UN Relief and
Works Agency (UNRWA), WHO, and World Vision International (WVI).160
The Global WASH Cluster Strategic Framework outlines coordination with country-level teams,
standardization, capacity for humanitarian response, preparedness, and best practices.161 Additional
guidance in the UNHCR Water Manual for Refugee Situations describes “the technical characteristics
and functioning of components, structures or equipment that may form part of a refugee water supply
157 The Sphere Project, (accessed June 5, 2009).
158$file/aa-gen-apr06.pdf?openelement (accessed 12 June
2009). ActionAid International, “The Evolving UN Cluster Approach in the Aftermath of the Pakistan Earthquake: An
NGO perspective” (Johannesburg: ActionAid International, 2007).
159 UNICEF, “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene,” (accessed June 11, 2009).
160 Humanitarian Reform, “Water Sanitation Hygiene: Global WASH Cluster,” 2008,
humanitarianreform/Default.aspx?tabid=76 (accessed June 11, 2009).
161 Humanitarian Reform, “Water Sanitation Hygiene: Resources and Tools,” 2008,
humanitarianreform/Default.aspx?tabid=161 (accessed June 11, 2009).
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Chapter 14. Protection
system,” while urging use of the highest possible standards and consideration of political, social, and
funding circumstances.162
With mandates to protect the world’s most at-risk populations, the Office of the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies co-chair the
Emergency Shelter Cluster. UNHCR takes the lead in the area of IDPs affected by armed conflict, and IFRC
leads in disaster situations. Additional partners include the UN Human Settlements Programme (UNHABITAT), OCHA, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Oxfam International, CARE International, the
Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF), Shelter Centre, the International Organization for Migration),
UNICEF, UNDP, WFP, and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).163 The Emergency Shelter Cluster Toolkit
includes lessons learned, reference materials, coordination documents, and technical guidelines for
construction and placement.164
People cannot live long without water, and they cannot stay healthy for long without sanitation or
shelter. “Far more people endure the largely preventable effects of poor sanitation and water supply
than are affected by war, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction combined,” resulting in about
one tenth of the global health burden.165 When HA/DR and SSTRO are conducted in a baseline context
of limited or inadequate access of local or displaced populations to basic survival needs for shelter
and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WatSan or WASH), USAID, UNICEF, UNHCR, and SPHERE provide
evidence-based standards for intervention.
162UNHCR, Water Manual for Refugee Situations (Geneva: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, November 1992), www. (accessed June 4, 2009).
163 Humanitarian Reform, “Emergency Shelter: Introduction,”
Default.aspx?tabid=77 (accessed June 11, 2009).
164 Humanitarian Reform, “Emergency Shelter Cluster Field Coordination Toolkit,”
Default.aspx?tabid=301 (accessed June 11, 2009).
165Editorial, Lancet 371 (28 June 2008), (accessed
June 11, 2009);, note 5.
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Chapter 14. Protection
Chapter 14.
NGOs and Protection
Steven Hansch and Grey Frandsen
n the parlance of aid agencies, protection is distinct from assistance. Where assistance takes the
form of the provision of raw commodities (food) or services (health-care attention), protection
refers to something more subtle: helping local populations avoid being targeted for persecution or
attacks. The core concept is to prevent any displaced population from being killed or harmed during
or immediately after an emergency. Longer-term protection roles also arise for populations that have
been interned, displaced for extended periods, or for those that may permanently alienated from
their home after war or genocide.
In this regard, protection also has a distinct meaning from security. When aid agencies refer to security
they are more often referring to either the personnel security (from harm) of their staff (international
and local), or referring to military security, as in peacekeeping, to quell overall violence and banditry
in general. Sometimes security refers to the guarding of aid itself, as with armed security guards. The
boundary between these two concepts is not always easy to define. In practical terms, protection is
what civilian agencies do, security is what armed guards and military forces do.
Protection implies action—doing something to stop or reduce a genocide, massacres, or systematic
rape. Increasingly in the community of NGOs, a sense has grown that each agency has an unavoidable
responsibility to report what it observes, which often means to report to external authorities, the UN,
western governments, or the news media.
Most humanitarian aid agencies do not characterize or advertise their work as protection, even if
they deliver protection as an ancillary aspect of their operations. For example, although IRC, IMC,
Relief International, World Vision, and dozens of traditional aid NGOs focus on food, water, and health
care, they also provide protection through their presence, observation, and reporting. Their very
presence of expatriate doctors deters persecution of many local populations. And NGOs informally
share observations with journalists, or host journalists to observe for themselves. Yet, the same NGOs
rarely advertise these forms of protection as their main work.166
In the same situations, they may refer to their protection work when they hire protection monitors
(often lawyers) to do only protection work. Some operational NGOs, such as Medicins sans Frontieres
(MSF, or Doctors without Borders) speak out on abuses they observe frequently. For MSF, public voice
and medical assistance are both core goals of their work.
best review of how NGOs have pioneered field-level practical protection mechanisms is in
Diane Paul, Protection in Practice: Field-Level Strategies for Protecting Civilians from Deliberate
Harm (London: Overseas Development Institute, 1999)
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Chapter 14. Protection
Another set of NGOs who recognize protection as a central basis of their work are human rights
organizations. That is, they monitor and report on human rights problems as their main activity.
These groups do not deliver any direct services (food, water, and so on) to local populations. These
include NGOs that emphasize voice over aid, who publish reports, meet directly with leaders and
policymakers, and speak out through the media.
Several of the agencies best known in the United States and very involved in defining policy debates
in Washington, DC, include the following:
Amnesty International (AI)
Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights)
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
Refugees International
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
One group that focuses on research publication attempts to protect civilians by reducing the stocks
and flows of light weaponry in developing countries. The Small Arms Survey is an independent
research group, based in Geneva, that publishes an annual survey about the problems and solutions
to small arms.
A third, smaller, category of NGOs seek to provide protection not through advocacy, nor through
assistance, but purely through presence and accompaniment. One is Peace Brigades International
(PBI), which deploys unarmed volunteers, committed to nonviolence, to zones of conflict and
persecution, including Nepal, Indonesia, and Colombia. Peace Brigades has headquarters in London
and in Washington DC. A similar NGO focused only on local protection work, accompanies local leaders
threatened with persecution, including indigenous human rights monitors is Nonviolent Peaceforce,
which has offices in Minneapolis and Brussels.167
Differing Interpretations of Protection
Protection for the local civilian populations in emergencies is a long-standing and basic element of
humanitarian law: civilians and all those not taking part in the fighting must on no account be attacked
and must instead be spared and protected. The 1949 Geneva Conventions and their 1977 Additional
Protocols contain specific rules to protect civilians. In situations that are not covered by these treaties,
internal disturbances in particular, civilians are conferred protection by other international bodies
of law, notably human rights law, national laws compatible with international laws, and the principle
of humanity.
Liam Mahoney and Enrique Eguren, Unarmed Bodyguards: International Accompaniment for the
Protection of Human Rights (Sterling, VA: Kumarian Press, 1997)
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Chapter 14. Protection
The field of humanitarian protection has evolved and grown over the past decade. Although
protection actors have come to no agreement on the overlapping elements of human rights, justice,
equality, international humanitarian law, common law, peace, war-crimes trials and enforcement
of protection, many definitions and an understanding of responsible protection programming have
been reached: for example, the ICRC’s Professional standards for protection work, the Australian NGO
Consortium’s Minimum Agency Standards for Incorporating Protection into Humanitarian Response,
Several key civilian agencies view protection as being composed primarily of observing or
documenting human rights abuses in the field and then reporting—arguing with governmental
authorities, sometimes in outrage. Other NGOs add to this a list of other practical activities that can
be undertaken to protect the displaced.
The following are examples of protection activities:
• Legal action or lobbying or enjoining a government to allow asylum-seekers to stay in
a country—that is, to not be forcibly returned to the country they fled where, if returned,
they might be killed. This would be an example of reference to refugee conventions and the
principle of nonrefoulement. In more recent years, many of those human rights groups that
had focused their attentions on refugees have shifted to give equal attention to internally
displaced persons (IDPs) who had long been neglected.
• Advocacy and lobbying by groups like Human Rights Watch, asking warring factions not to
fire weapons (such as mortars) into civilian population areas, which would be a violation of
the laws of war and Geneva Conventions.
• Generating international attention to attacks on civilians in the hopes of stopping killings
through international embarrassment or by the intercession of governments. For example,
if an advocacy group like Refugees International calls attention to extrajudicial killings
Afghanistan, or rape as an instrument of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they expect
that the media highlight or attention will compel armed killers to back off.
• Providing refugees with some form of personal identification so that each refugee can reclaim
some legal status or record that will help them achieve some rights as a citizen, perhaps later
when returning home, an activity many agencies helped with, for example, when Kosovars
fled to Albania in 1999 during the war with Serbia.
• Helping smuggle populations in danger out of areas where they are being persecuted, a
common activity of protection groups working with Jews during World War II and with the
underground railroad before and during the U.S. Civil War.
• Creating and enforcing safe areas where civilians will not be targeted is a common tactic,
often unsuccessful. Aid agencies help displaced families in Sri Lanka in these open assistance
camps, in enclaves in Bosnia, and in IDP camps in Burundi and Rwanda.
• Reporting rights violations as part of public health monitoring. For example, the American
Refugee Committee, in charge of health surveillance for the Cambodian refugees in Thailand
(in the largest camp, Kao I Dang), added physical violence to their list of reportable health
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Chapter 14. Protection
events, allowing aid agencies and authorities to begin to track down and reduce cases of
political persecution within refugee communities. In more recent years, physicians have
become important in speaking out against torture.
• Just being there. Aid agencies have an enormous indirect impact on local protection when they
live and work among emergency-affected populations. Just before he was killed in Chechnya,
Fred Cuny called on more NGOs to join him there, pointing out that expatriate presence in
Grozny, by itself, had kept the Russians from aerial bombing. Cuny was concerned about the
less-mobile, urban-based elderly who would have been killed. The NGO he founded, the Cuny
Center, promotes an innovative strategy for improving the readiness of communities to cope
with targeted violence, called preparedness support, led by the American Casey Barrs (see
Civilian aid organizations often strive to defend their humanitarian space, by which they mean their
ability to reach populations in need without compromise by affiliations with military or political
forces. Thus, for NGOs and other organizations, their ability to protect local populations frequently
requires them—as they see it—to keep their distance from combatants, whether U.S. armed forces or
regional security forces.
International and Other Organizations that Lead in Protection
A protection response may involve a range of actors, including legal, security, and humanitarian
organizations. Although governmental actors remain the primary duty bearers in protecting civilian
populations, other organizations have been mandated to assume certain protection roles, such as
country-specific peacekeeping operations with protection mandates.
Other organizations, including the ICRC, OHCHR, UNHCR, and UNICEF, have protection mandates
derived from a variety of sources including international treaties, the Statutes of the Red Cross/Red
Crescent Movement, and UN General Assembly resolutions.
The ICRC’s mission is, on the basis of the Geneva Conventions and protocols, to protect and assist
victims of armed conflict and those affected by internal disturbances or tension. This includes the
• visiting and interviewing, without witness, prisoners of war, and detained or interned
• searching for missing persons;
• transmitting messages between family members separated by conflict, including from
prisoners of war and detained civilians;
• working to reunify dispersed families;
• providing basic health-care services;
• providing urgently needed food, water, sanitation and shelter to civilians without access to
these basic necessities;
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Chapter 14. Protection
• monitoring compliance with and helping develop international humanitarian law; and
• spreading knowledge of international humanitarian law.
The ICRC is known—and sometimes criticized—for its confidential approach to dealing with sensitive
issues, such as its work in places of detention. The ICRC maintains, however, that discreet dialogue
is key to protecting and assisting those affected by conflict. Confidentiality allows the ICRC to build
trust, open channels of communication, and influence change. Discretion also has its limits, and
the ICRC reserves the right to speak out, publish findings, or stop working in exceptional cases. For
example, if a detaining authority issues excerpts from a confidential report without consent, the ICRC
reserves the right to publish the entire report to prevent inaccurate or incomplete interpretations of
its observations and recommendations. Similarly, if after repeated requests, prisoners continue to
be mistreated or the ICRC is prevented from working according to its operating procedures, it may
suspend detainee visits or other operations and publicly explain the reasons.
Whereas the ICRC is frequently the lead organization promoting protection for populations caught
within conflict zones, UNHCR tends to be the lead in assisting those populations who have fled
conflict and crossed an international border. It too demarches, meets with governments, reminds
authorities about their treaty obligations, and provides direct observation and presence for refugees.
Historically, UNHCR has divided its work into the two categories of assistance (most of their budget,
for shelter, camp management, water, education, and the like) and protection. Of these two, although
assistance dominates in their budget, protection has always dominated as their reason for existing.
Thus, UNHCR fields protection officers to more areas than assistance.
UNICEF describes its work as rooted in concepts of protection. UNICEF works in more countries in
the world than almost any other agency, both in development and in emergencies. They promote
the protection of children from harm in active conflict areas through the safety of schools. They also
frequently seek to protect civilians from land-mine injuries through education.
In principle, the Office of the (United Nations) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) ought
to be a leader in mobilizing protection. They convene meetings, do field research, and sometimes
deploy field monitors to provide protection, as in Rwanda 1995 and 1996. But they are not well
funded to be operational in this area.
NGOs have been prominent in bringing human rights abuses to international communication and
news channels. But NGOs have been less effective at taking more practical actions in field locations—
monitoring or negotiating security, or providing security with force.
For many U.S. NGOs, a challenge has been to find funding for field-level protection. Most donors,
including USAID and foundations, are reluctant to fund protection-only activities, such as monitoring
and accompaniment for several reasons: in part because it veers away from their assistance focus, in
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Chapter 14. Protection
part because of liability (personnel being harmed) concerns, and in part because it’s often easier and
more visible to fund groups that focus on publication and voice.
One useful example has been the militarization of many refugee camps. In numerous camps of refugees
and IDPs in Pakistan, the Horn of Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indochina, and Central America, the
social structures, economics, and population movements are controlled by refugee and IDP leaders
who exert their own credible threats over the refugees with the threat or use of force, often with
bandit or gang-like groups.
Because refugee camps may exist for many years, armed factions in conflicts are able to draw on their
populations for recruitment, allowing their military effort to survive or grow. Even when the warrior
community lives apart from the women and children, the two groups remain linked. The refugee
community provides a pool for recruitment, serves as a buffer population against attack, is a political
symbol of the failure of the opposing faction, and legitimizes the warrior community. The Khmer
Rouge army drove a large civilian population along with it when it retreated from Cambodia to the
Thai border in 1979. Many among that population became refugees because they were so instructed
and remained in exile for more than a decade because of the strategic needs of the Khmer Rouge
warrior faction.NOTE166[For a detailed account of the events that led to the Khmer Rouge setting
up warrior camps in Thailand, see William Shawcross, The Quality of Mercy (New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1984).] A more recent example is in the Darfur refugee camps in Chad where children are a
target for recruitment by warring factions.
The challenge of persistent refugee warrior communities has not been solved by donors or the UN.
Refugees (not combatants) have not been effectively disarmed in most crises. Afghan refugees in
Pakistan and Somali refugees in Kenya remained heavily armed, though there were few threats to
them while they were in these countries of asylum. The Rwandan Hutu refugees, in contrast, used their
period of exile in Zaire (DRC) to rearm and retrain. In recent years, success stories of defusing warrior
communities have come when political negotiations have included the leaders of each faction and
peace accords have laid clear steps for demobilization and integration. Limited success has been seen
in Mozambique, El Salvador, and South Africa. Even with peace agreements, however, demobilization
and disarming may not succeed, as in southern Sudan.
Conclusion: A Few Protection NGOs
Five protection-oriented NGOs are profiled here and in annex 1. These are not specifically emergencyresponse NGOs, but are nonetheless active in emergencies in a variety of ways.
Human Rights Watch (HRW). Possibly the largest and most recognized of all agencies that report
on human rights problems, HRW not only covers every country in the world, it also has specialized
programs that track issues like landmines, arms trade, refugee asylum, torture, slavery, and the rule
of law. The Human Rights Watch network grew out of Helsinki Watch, which was established as a
mechanism to promote human rights across the Iron Curtain.
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Chapter 14. Protection
Amnesty International (AI). Because of its extensive networks of volunteer civilian groups (chapters)
around the world, particularly the United States and England, Amnesty International is the best
known reporting agency. Like HRW, AI does not specialize in large-scale crises, but has traditionally
focused on smaller sets of prisoners of conscience—those jailed or tortured for their political views.
As an extension of this work, AI has observed patterns and trends that tip them off to larger problems,
growing refugee flows, and so on.
United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). Based in Washington, DC, USCRI is
best known for its annual survey—the World Refugee Survey—which tallies the numbers of refugees
and internally displaced persons in each crisis around the world. USCRI advocates for the right to
asylum and testifies before Congress to encourage funding for refugee protection and assistance.
They release special reports from time to time. In recent years they have focused on the problem of
warehousing refugees—that is, when refugees end up in isolated and closed camps for far too long,
sometimes generations.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). Based in Boston, Physicians for Human Rights is an American
NGO with a large network of concerned members, including chapters at numerous medical schools.
More than other human rights groups are able to, they apply scientific methods of inquiry to
document problems in crisis zones, for example, reporting on the numbers of unarmed civilians
harmed in Palestine, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Darfur, Zimbabwe, Kosovo, or Rwanda. Along with the ICRC
and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, PHR catalyzed the international movement to ban
landmines, which resulted in the landmine-ban treaty, for which it won the Nobel Peace Prize. PHR has
developed a capacity for applying forensics in war zones, blending archaeology (unearthing graves)
and forensic detective work to human rights documentation. PHR teams, among others, documented
the numbers of people executed, found in mass graves in Kosovo and in Srebrenica, Bosnia.NOTE167
[The world was aware, based on journalist research, that 7,000 men were killed in Srebrenica shortly
after the massacre. PHR forensics research later provided more accurate data, that more than 8,000
had been killed.]
Cultural Survival. Like its British counterpart, Survival International, the Cambridge-Massachusettsbased Cultural Survival strives to protect small minority populations that many would label as ethnic
or tribal. It focuses particularly on indigenous groups that speak unique and endangered languages,
are not well integrated into modern economies, and are ignored or persecuted by the governments
of the countries where they live. Most of Cultural Survival’s work is in the Andes, Amazon forest,
Guatemala, West Africa, and South Pacific islands. It raises money from the public to run centers for
local language and culture documentation and training. It is the operational extension of much of the
academic research done by anthropology departments of universities. Cultural Survival is especially
closely tied to Harvard University’s Department of Anthropology and Museum of Anthropology. Its
journal, the Cultural Survival Quarterly, appears on newsstands across the United States and deals
with themes such as refugees, land-use rights, tourism, and conflict.
Part 3.
NGO Operations
Executive Summary
ƒƒ NGOs use efficient, private, and often ad hoc
logistical systems during emergencies.
ƒƒ NGO operations during emergencies often
face major logistical obstacles, and their
logistical systems reflect the fact that areas of
operation are harsh, violent, resource-poor,
and not conducive to smooth operations.
ƒƒ Logistical systems are required for relief
operations and emergency responses, and
each NGO has a different way of managing
its logistical requirements. When individual
NGOs act without coordinating with other
actors, they may waste energy or efforts.
ƒƒ Most NGOs farm out logistical tasks to the
private sector or rely heavily on government
or military support for major logistical tasks
(air lifts, commodity procurement, etc).
ƒƒ Small NGOs that respond to emergencies are
often the largest victims of not producing or
preparing logistical systems or protocol. By
extending themselves into an emergency,
they often become overwhelmed by the
requirements or responsibilities placed on
them by the international community.
ƒƒ Larger NGOs have, in the past few years,
been extremely diligent in discussing and
testing logistical systems that will span across
agencies and organizations, and that will
make emergency operations more efficient.
ƒƒ Some NGOs do have significant capacity, but
many do not. NGOs vary in logistical capacity,
and for this reason cannot be typified.
ƒƒ The Department of Defense and the UN are
the largest logistical service providers in the
world outside the combined capacity of the
private sector. They frequently assist NGOs in
emergency settings.
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Chapter 15. Logistics
Chapter 15.
NGO Logistics
GOs “do” logistics, but not necessarily in the same way as governments, militaries, or for-profit
companies. NGOs are private, independent actors with limited capacity to keep major logistical
capacities on-board when no emergency operations are required. Although many larger NGOs are
now hiring logistics professionals, technology specialists, and operations support staff, some NGOs
have very little logistical experience or capacity.
The definition of logistics for the purpose of this guidebook is twofold. First, the word can refer to the
practices and activities an organization will use to implement humanitarian assistance programming.
More specifically, however, logistics are the activities that enable an organization to support fieldbased or remote activities during humanitarian emergencies. This can include procurement, shipping,
communications, transportation, safety, material provision, storage, and distribution. A second
definition is more general: the activities and processes of managing relief or development operations.
Logistical activities in emergency settings are critical. Because emergency-affected populations often
depend on external food supply, emergency medicine, communications, or other forms of resource
support, logistics plays a primary role in facilitating the supply of relief material and services quickly
and under harsh conditions.
Although small and large NGOs have completely different ways of managing logistical processes and
tasks, all NGOs face similar requirements and conditions in the field. This means that no matter the
scale of activity, NGO logistics must be coordinated to meet the needs of affected populations urgently
and efficiently while maintaining a fair amount of transparency to donors and other operating agencies.
Because NGOs are not government or military entities they must participate on the private market
in many cases, and must work within a specific set of conditions. Private shipping companies, for
example, may be glad to take an NGO contract for shipping thousands of tons of relief supplies, but may
deny service involving dangerous disaster settings, war zones, or complex humanitarian emergencies
(CHEs). This chapter discusses five topical areas concerning NGO logistics: preemergency logistical
systems, procurement and storage, shipping and transportation, distribution, and management.
Preemergency Logistical Systems and Capacity
Unlike government agencies, the UN, and other entities, NGOs do not normally stockpile logistical
infrastructure or relief materials because the time, place, and type of the next emergency are typically
unknown. Before emergencies hit, NGOs often have minimal logistical infrastructure in place because
regional logistical capacities are often useless and expensive to maintain. Thus, many NGOs maintain
the capability to expand logistical operations quickly and specifically after choosing to respond to
a particular emergency. Conversely, many NGOs specialize in various types of logistical services,
and manage in-house logistical systems that rival private or government sector systems in terms of
efficiency and capacity.
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Many NGOs have developed in-house logistical systems from years of experience operating in
humanitarian emergencies, war zones, and disaster settings. By compiling lessons, NGO staff members
may settle in to routines, patterns, and practices without thinking specifically about defining them as
logistical processes. For example, Relief International (RI) does not have a specific logistical handbook
or series of procedures formally recorded or followed in each emergency to which it responds. It does
have operating procedures and staff expertise in specific areas, and logistical tasks are carried out by
able staff members who know what needs to be done during the initial phases of an emergency. When
an emergency hits, RI staff members use contracts with shipping companies already established for
the movement of material into the affected region, use travel agencies that specialize in hard-to-find
overseas transport for sending staff members to the region, and call on material or commodity donors
RI has worked with in the past for the actual material it will be sending.
Because RI is a relatively small operation, logistics are not necessarily operational feats nor major
challenges at the headquarters level. One of the most important logistical functions provided at HQ is
the management of information and decision-making for program operations in the field. NGO HQs
are typically equipped with multiple telephone lines, fast internet connections, supporting literature
and references for technical programming (water and sanitation, health, construction, and the like).
NGOs often focus on beefing up capacity for emergency operations. Some NGOs will have spare
rooms attached to their main offices for use during emergencies as “war rooms” or overflow space
for increased levels of staffing or volunteers that may help out during an emergency. Relationships
established with shipping, communications, travel and donors before an emergency are all essential
tasks that make emergency logistics more efficient.
NGOs do prepare various types of equipment for emergency deployment. Having cases of
communication equipment, short-term but critical relief supplies, and other tools ready to go with
emergency staff members can simplify some of the logistical tasks for managing initial assessment
or relief operations in an emergency. The contents of a tote case or emergency kit—and thus the
beginning of logistical operations—often include the items in the following table (table 15.1):
Table 15.1 Emergency Logistical Kits
satellite phone (VSAT)
primary emergency medical kit (bandages, ointments,
sanitizers, ORS packets, pain medication, and the like)
maps and language books
laptop with mini printer (for proposals, e-mail), modem
and potential external disk drives
compass and leveler
NGO annual report, operation procedures, and the like
MREs or other foodstuffs for staff
a GPS unit
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
medical manuals/CD-ROM compilations
weather kit (poncho, all-weather blanket, hat,
sunscreen, and so on)
small set of tools
NGO stickers, t-shirts, or other items with NGO
small office supplies
a hand-held technology device (Palm Pilot, IPAQ, and
so on)
Chapter 15. Logistics
handheld and HF radios
VHF units for short-range communications
When NGO employees are dispatched to an emergency from the United States, they’ll have this
minimal equipment ready to help them do their job once in-theater. NGOs also may consider training
activities, contract establishment, and technology systems part of their preemergency logistical
system capacity or capacity-building activities.
Without specifically planning for emergencies, NGOs that are flexible can easily convert routine
operations into emergency response and can rely on solid logistical capacity to ease into relief
activities. Material, equipment, and operating procedures can be translated into emergency capacities
and logistical tools. Trucks, radios, office space, local staff, relationships with local contractors or
companies, road and transport knowledge and structures, and communication systems (inter- and
intraregional) can all be easily turned into logistical tools providing an NGO with a comparative
advantage in emergency response.
Planning stages also are often included in the preemergency phases of an organization’s logistical
activities. Medium-sized and large NGOs often attempt to create a series of policies or standard
operating procedures for emergency response, including logistical systems for various potential
scenarios. CARE and World Vision both have emergency response units that pride themselves on
being able to command large logistical capacities for delivering humanitarian relief in very short
periods. This may include shifting resources from a nearby region, delivering trucks or technical
equipment within a few days, or dispatching program and logistics teams to the affected region.
Procurement and Storage
The procurement process during any emergency is often one of the most important variables that
will lead to either success or failure of a relief operation. Procurement is getting important supplies
to a region that are useful, timely, and appropriate for the affected population. NGOs are effective at
procuring almost all material needed for an effective humanitarian response. For the purposes of this
manual it is useful to highlight two types of procurement: local and international.
Most relief supplies and material in recent emergencies have been procured locally. After an NGO
establishes operations and funding for programs on the ground in the emergency setting, many of
the relief materials are purchased and obtained locally or regionally for market prices (sometimes
inflated). When a natural disaster hits, for example, most building supplies and materials can be
found in nearby areas where the impact has not been as severe. Medical supplies stockpiled by the
affected country’s Ministry of Health and can be tapped for use in extraordinary conditions. Trucks,
as used by both the NGO community and the UN and government agencies, are often rented, leased, or
purchased locally, as are water trucks, generators, local communication equipment, and sometimes
even technology equipment. It is often surprising to NGO personnel and others how many resources
can be found on local markets in an emergency-affected region.
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International procurement is also necessary in humanitarian emergencies. Some emergencies wipe
out a country or region’s food stocks, medical facilities, housing and housing materials, and technical
systems, and thus demand a response that will include replacement of or supplements to these goods.
Technology equipment is often procured outside an emergency-affected area, as are advanced medical
equipment, large quantities of immunizations, special vehicles, land-mine removal equipment, and
food. International procurement comes in a variety of forms. For many NGOs, relationships are
established before any specific emergency with local U.S.- or EU-based companies and organizations
that will donate goods for a worthwhile cause or during an emergency. Pharmaceutical and medical
supply companies are excellent examples of private businesses that seek to offload excess inventory
or soon-to-expire material for a good cause. NGOs frequently arrange shipment of such donations
directly to the region of concern, bypassing any HQ-side storage requirements. Other NGOs keep
stockpiles of relief supplies and materials on the HQ-side (in the United States or EU, primarily) that
are ready for deployment, with an established relationship with a shipping forwarder or shipping
consolidator in a nearby port or airport.
Food is a special case. When a country loses the ability to feed parts or all of its population, it does not
always mean that there is a lack of food. Frequently, political problems or economic failure prevent
food from being produced efficiently or from getting to the right places. Food aid, therefore, is often
challenging to deliver because of the political, economic, or social conditions that gave rise to the
malnutrition or hunger problem. Emergency food relief involves tapping external food sources,
paying extra attention to the logistical processes of delivering food, and taking into consideration the
safety of staff members, security of equipment and food stores, potential food and equipment loss,
chaos, and potential failure of mission.
NGOs also have established relationships with the U.S. and European governments and the UN.
Government agencies like USAID, CIDA, ECHO, and DFID manage food commodity systems that allow
for distributing, diverting, or purchasing large quantities of food for specific emergencies. Instead
of stockpiling, these agencies depend on a global capacity shared among agencies and countries to
call on grain and other food reserves on short notice. NGOs coordinate closely with these agencies in
many cases, and often assisting with assessments and recommendations for the amount and types
of material required. NGOs then pick up the ground-level programming within the affected region by
accepting large shipments or coordinating the distribution to field storage or distribution points.
The diagram in figure 15.1 shows a sample procurement process. When an NGO’s management (at
both field and HQ levels) decides that it is poised to respond to a new emergency, it either mobilizing
a team in the region already (often the case) or dispatches a new team altogether. In either case,
there are two simultaneous tracks of operations. For the field staff, relaying information and setting
groundwork for logistical systems are primary duties. For HQ staff, liaising and coordinating with
large government, military, and UN agencies are primary tasks to get large levels of commodities
moving toward the emergency. Whether as a private shipment or large-scale food shipment, the NGO
will receive the goods and move the material into local storage facilities before distribution. At the
same time, NGO field staff members arrange procurement in-country, obtaining all of the supplies,
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Chapter 15. Logistics
materials, and tools that can be purchased either on the private markets or from other agencies or
organizations in the country or region.
NGOs and other relief agencies frequently depend on contracts with the private sector that determine
the types of equipment and materials that may be needed during an emergency—before it occurs.
Many of these contracts are with companies in the EU or United States and guarantee that the company
will provide specific supplies or services (or both) within 48 hours of request. Building material
companies, communications and technology companies, and shipping and transport companies are
all types of private sector firms that seek relief contracts and business with NGOs and government or
UN agencies during emergencies. The private sector is ideally suited for much of this work because
it can ramp up production quickly, and in the short term can divert considerable resources. For an
NGO, such collaborations permit maintaining attention to life-sensitive engagements when a new
emergency erupts and purchase supplies when needed “just in time” rather than storing materials in
locations “just in case,” which may or may not prove useful.
The humanitarian industry has created a number of warehouses and stockpiles of relief materials
and equipment. They are strategically located in parts of the United States, EU, Africa, and Central
America to help improve response times and buffer material requirements. ReliefWeb/OCHA holds
a central registry of this information but it is a bit difficult to fully gauge what materials are actually
on hand.168 The website lists information about locations and partial levels of material. A map of
publicly available information as of April 2008 regarding emergency stockpile contents and locations
for various humanitarian organizations is available at
Organizations with stockpiles store all sorts of goods including jerry cans, blankets, tents, hoses, and
first-aid supplies and some medications, which are only used in exceptionally severe emergencies.
168 OCHA, “Introduction to the OCHA Central Register,” (accessed June 20, 2009).
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Chapter 15. Logistics
Figure 15.1 Procurement Process
NGO decides
to respond to
Logisticians and program
staff dispatched to
HQ staff initiate
procurement process
HQ staff receive field
data and information,
then craft appeals and
solicitations for relief
NGO field staff relay
needs of EPs
HQ staff coordinate
to receive donated
materials or collaborate
with other agencies for
NGO field staff procure
partial relief materials
from local markets
NGO field staff receive
shipment of relief goods
Material/Supply Inputs
U.S. government
HQ staff initiate shipping
NGO field staff transfer
goods from port to
NGO field staff distribute
goods to program-EPs
Shipping and Transportation
NGOs procure supplies and materials both locally and internationally, and may ship independently or
in collaboration with other NGOs or large agencies. A variety of shipping methods for moving goods
from the point of origin to the point of distribution are used by NGOs in an emergency setting.
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Chapter 15. Logistics
Figure 15.2 Categories of Transportation
long-range materials transport
short-range materials transport
port operations and transfers
river and lake barges
cargo movement and storage
long-range heavy lifting (intraregional)
long-range passenger
short-range cargo (interregional)
short-range passenger
passenger truck
NGOs typically use air and ground transport. Large ocean shipments are often coordinated by
government or UN agencies and then offloaded into NGO management, but NGOs do not own large
ocean-going vessels. Ocean transport is the least expensive method of shipping major quantities of
goods overseas.
In emergency settings, air and ground shipments are often used to deliver first rounds of aid for
immediate needs or for publicity. Shipping services are also hired, but depending on the origin of
goods being shipped, transoceanic transport may take weeks and even months to arrive in the closest
port in the area of concern. For NGOs this means that a heavy reliance on local commodities, regional
commodities and even some air transport is primary, while moving the next level of food aid or relief
supplies and material by ship is secondary. In long-lasting emergencies (like CHEs), ocean shipments
may become routine because the international community has an opportunity to create a supply and
delivery structure.
The range of the types of transportation used in any one supply chain can be numerous. Figure 15.3,
for example, presents a sample 11-stage transportation process that an NGO based in Los Angeles
might use to get a relief item or shipment from its local storage facility to an emergency-affected area.
All times, of course, are variable, and the figure expresses a flow beginning after an item has been
procured. An item could be medical supplies, a computer for NGO field staff, or building materials.
Once goods arrive at port in an emergency-affected region, NGOs depend largely on local staff to
assist in unloading, packing, repackaging, sorting, stacking, and loading the relief materials. An ocean
liner can often be off-loaded in less than a day, and it takes approximately 10 minutes to load a oneton truck, and about two to four hours to load a 20-ton truck.
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Chapter 15. Logistics
Figure 15.3 Transportation Process
Point of origin:
warehouse in Los
Angeles, CA
Trucked to
at Port of Long
Beach, CA
into seafaring
container and
loaded onto
seagoing vessel
In transit
on high seas
2 days
1 day
5 days
1 month
Stored in
facility until
Out of customs,
trucked to local
Processed through
Delivered to
emergency area
time variable
2 to 5 days
3 to 14 days
Repackaged for
smaller truck
loads, trucked to
field operations
For remote
animal packng,
or airdrop of
by hand to EPs
time variabnle
2 to 5 days
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Chapter 15. Logistics
It is useful to know that NGOs depend on private shipping companies, and government, UN,
or military agencies that have substantial logistical capacities for shipping relief and technical
equipment to emergency settings. DOD is by far the largest logistical service provider in many
emergencies because of its incredible
Figure 15.4 Transport heliocopter
transcontinental airlift capacity, its unique
short-range airlift capability, and its ability
to muster technical, communication,
and transportation systems almost
immediately at the onset of an emergency.
It is often challenging for NGOs to work
with DOD because the department does
not involve itself in every emergency
and is restrained by other priorities and
concerns that include force protection and
For in-country operations, NGOs primarily
use trucks, but may also engage lighter
aircraft, and even animal or human
packing. Trucks can carry large loads (up to 30 metric tons), can be leased and cared for on local
markets in most regions around the world, and are versatile. Forklifts, special loading equipment, and
warehousing tools are not always available, but there is often an abundance of inexpensive local labor
that an NGO can use to load and unload relief materials into and out of trucks, ships, warehouses, and
During the peak of an emergency, NGOs will often use any method of transportation available for staff
members and relief materials and equipment to project sites or distribution points. They frequently
hire local taxi vans, small box vans, and even cars at the onset of an emergency. The UN often provides
vehicles for partner NGOs by bringing in bulk shipments of cars directly from the manufacturer
or a vehicle broker (like Bukkehave), arriving a few weeks (at the soonest) after NGOs and other
international emergency management personnel.
NGO logisticians hire fleets of trucks to carry food aid and coordinate or share transportation costs
with other NGOs in the same areas or moving similar equipment. Large trailer trucks can increase
in cost tenfold during an emergency, and depending on the local market, fuel costs can be extremely
high or extremely low. Repairs, both replacement and spare parts, are often priced at incredibly high
rates in the wake of an emergency because of a perception that international staff may be able to pay
more, or because shortages make the goods more valuable.
NGOs have shown a steady demand for collaboration in transportation sectors because this is often
the most expensive and logistically challenging component of a relief operation. Keeping relief
supplies or materials safe and stored properly, shipping them in a timely fashion, and then ensuring
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Chapter 15. Logistics
that the supplies or materials are distributed properly is a difficult, especially when faced with
obstacles such as civil strife, ruined infrastructure,
NGO Highlight: Air Serv International
disease, a shortage of fuel or replacement parts,
and inclement weather.
Air Serv International is operational only
in Africa, but provides services completely
Transportation and shipments by air both local
unique to the humanitarian NGO
and international are significant topics because
community. It is a nonprofit organization
air freight costs can be prohibitively high for
licensed by the U.S. FAA to serve as air
NGOs. Although very few NGOs actually own
transport for humans and cargo. With 10
aircraft, airplanes and air services are used during
owned aircraft and 15 pilots, Air Serv flies
emergencies for personnel and materiel. Of all the
planes with various capacities in different
types and quantities of supplies harvested and
regions. The organization carries all forms
delivered to needy populations during humanitarian
of cargo ranging from humanitarian
emergencies, very little is transported by air. In
supplies (medicines, food, etc) to survey
fact, little trans-Atlantic or transcontinental cargo
personnel and equipment. It depends on
originates outside of emergency-affected regions
leasing agreements to increase its capacity
receiving international assistance. Exceptions often
during periods of high demand. During
exist, but for the most part relief and development
the Mozambique floods in 2000, Air Serv
was the primary personnel and cargo
supplies are purchased, stored, transported, and
transport with more than 25 planes under
delivered within the same region.
its operational management. Most of the
planes were leased or on loan from other
UN-sponsored small and medium-sized aircraft are
relief organizations, companies or religious
typically present in emergency settings to shuttle
agencies in the region.
relief personnel and experts through regions
for assessments and for immediate medicine
deliveries. Medical teams are often the first people
that enter disaster regions, transported with timesensitive or fragile medicines by small aircraft.
NGOs like Air Serv or Mission Aviation Fellowship
(MAF) will provide NGO, UN, government, and
ICRC personnel daily access to sites inaccessible by
roads or waterways.
Air Serv is a spin-off from Mission Aviation
Ministry and is currently moving its HQ to
Virginia from southern California. Founded in
Florida in 1985, Air Serv has a relatively small
operating budget. Most of its asset listings
are valued in terms of aircraft owned. Air
Serv operates in most parts of sub-Saharan
Africa, including the Horn of Africa and
northern parts of West Africa.
For isolated or remote regions unreachable by
trucks, aircraft are used by NGOs to deliver food and supplies, often with the help of military aircraft,
whether helicopters or cargo-drops from cargo planes (see figure 15.4). A range of planes sized from
small Cesnas to larger Buffalo cargo planes are used not only for their flexible take-off and landing
abilities, but also for the range of cargo they can carry. For smaller planes that carry fewer people
and only a limited amount of emergency supplies, NGOs can turn to a few different sources. Air Serv
International is an NGO that specializes in providing air transport during humanitarian emergencies.
The number of aircraft Air Serv operates depends on the size of the demand in each region, and Fast
leasing arrangements can supplement excess in demand if existing capacity is inadequate. Mission
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Chapter 15. Logistics
Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is a U.S.-based agency that owns and operates more than 70 small aircraft
worldwide. They specialize in assisting Christian missions and projects, but service other NGOs when
For heavy-lift transport, the NGO community normally depends on one of four sources for aircraft,
expertise, and funding. First, the UN provides large humanitarian cargo lifts when necessary with
C-130s or IL-75s. The cost is covered by the participating UN agency, with normal backing from
a donor government that has pledged funding for that specific activity. These are somewhat rare,
because most food and material aid in large quantities are transported over ground.
Second, NGOs can use donated aircraft and air-lift services that include cargo space among a shared
transport, an entire airplane, or through contracts established by the NGO itself (often times with
Air Serv). NGOs are often “given” an aircraft for specific time frame and can then use it for general
programming purposes. Air Serv is constantly called on to operate these donated aircraft, because
most NGOs do not have the technical capacity to maintain or operate aircraft.
Third, military forces may offer air transport services to NGOs for personnel and supplies, but this is
extremely rare because militaries are normally tasked with carrying out government policy. Military
logistical and supply capacity is substantial, but normally excludes shared activities with private
actors or entities. Exceptions can be seen in Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia (1999–2001) where
NATO forces established close relations with NGOs and supported NGO activity or more recently
during the 2004 tsunami, the Katrina disaster, and even in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Fourth, NGOs can enlist private-sector services for either renting aircraft or for shipping humanitarian
relief material. Normal cargo services often provide transport of medicines and pharmaceutical
supplies, but at relatively high costs per pound or kilo. During large emergencies, commercial
airliners frequently donate cargo space and seats to NGOs to move material and personnel from their
HQ country to the affected region. During the Balkan crisis Swiss Air provided numerous U.S.- and
EU-based NGOs with seats for personnel and cargo space on international flights for time-sensitive
medicines and other humanitarian goods.
When an NGO or an air-transport specialist like Air Serv (see annex 1) needs aircraft, it can contact a
series of brokers that specialize in maintaining worldwide contacts with private aircraft owners and
companies that in turn manage fleets of aircraft for rental or lease use.
To own an aircraft, however, requires technical capability, established supply and fuel lines,
maintenance personnel, and a place to house it. These are all normally outside an individual NGO’s
budget and capacity.
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Chapter 15. Logistics
Once relief material or equipment arrives in an emergency-affected area, it is put in queue for
distribution.169 Food is stored and then redistributed with quick turnaround times to prevent spoilage
and waste. Medical supplies that require cold-chain management (mainly immunizations) must be
refrigerated, kept on ice, or distributed quickly to target populations. Customs or shipping delays can
result in the expiration or spoilage of relief supplies, meaning the difference between timely delivery
and loss of life. Figure 15.5 presents a simple schematic of the point-to-point process that NGOs
manage during an emergency when delivering relief supplies and materials. The diagram highlights
a few of the challenges that make a seemingly simple transfer of goods from a warehouse or staging
location to a distribution point surprisingly difficult.
By establishing feeding centers and distribution points, and using local health structures or
community leadership as close as possible to food storage locations or access roads or points, NGOs
can distribute needed food and relief supplies to populations in need more efficiently and avoid food
spoilage or damage. For reconstruction or settlement activities, NGOs frequently work and center
their storage capacities in program areas and encourage local inhabitants to participate in selecting
sites and types of materials used.
Figure 15.5 Point-to-Point Supply
Rain, snow, bad roads, civil strife, road blocks, corrupt border
officials, flat tires, no spare truck parts, swollen rivers, land mines,
roadming bandits, malaria, lack of communication equipment or
reception, and other dangers tend to make a distibution process
NGO logisticians are extremely involved in the distribution process. Depending on the type of
distribution, logisticians may provide transportation, security or other services related to moving
and storing materials and supplies. NGO program staff members are normally on the front-lines of
distribution of health materials, food, water or building supplies, and are often trained in a specific
sector. Within smaller NGOs it is harder to differentiate between logisticians and program staff
because they may be the same person. Within larger NGOs, logisticians provide logistical support
169 The term distribution is often used generically to mean any form of program delivery. Delivery could include providing
food aid, medical services, or counseling, or delivering building materials, technical water equipment, or computers
to displaced populations. Distribution, then, really means delivering humanitarian services. It does not necessarily
mean that one is in fact delivering or distributing an actual object.
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Chapter 15. Logistics
services to program staff, and program staff handle the actual the programming or sectoral activities
while serving affected populations.
NGOs often request help from military and government agencies when delivering humanitarian
assistance. Four frequently encountered conditions make outside help essential.
• Extremely dangerous, unstable, or violent areas make military assistance a necessity for the
NGO community. Convoy security, quelling civil strife, crowd control, and generally defending
humanitarian personnel and assets from gangs, combatants, thieves, or violent crowds cannot
be done by NGOs alone. Severe weather or terrain conditions may require the assistance of
technical government or military agencies (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the German aid
agency GTZ). Damaged bridges, destroyed roads, impassable objects, snow, mud, or sand
make ground transportation challenging for NGOs, and technical assistance can make some
of these obstacles passable.
• Most humanitarian assistance NGOs do not have landmine removal capacities and depend on
militaries, UN agencies, or private companies to make suspect areas safe from landmines and
• Harsh and limiting political climates may prevent delivery of humanitarian aid to specific
populations, and international or government engagements may create space for humanitarian
operations to exist. When NGOs find themselves in trouble in a specific country they often
depend on consular or political services offered by U.S. or EU embassies for intervention with
the host government.
Other conditions that NGOs require assistance with surely can arise, but these are four areas—conflict
or violence, weather, landmines, and politics—are recurring themes. Military units in complex
humanitarian emergencies will often receive requests for assistance from NGOs responding to the
same situation, and should understand that NGOs will be unable to perform many of their essential
humanitarian tasks without assistance.
Logistical Management
When NGO decides to respond to an emergency, it must determine a few things immediately: the type
of emergency, which assets it can to mobilize at once, the types of responses it can deploy, and funding
sources. Once these major questions are addressed and a response is deemed adequate, an NGO can
begin logistical planning. Figure 15.6 displays the intimate relationship between an NGO’s HQ and
field offices, the procurement process, and the distribution of the goods to affected populations at the
end of the line.
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Chapter 15. Logistics
Figure 15.6 HQ-Field Relationship
United States
field office
port or
points of
Once on the ground, NGO staff members must establish a working location or space that is safe and
offers shelter from a variety of external conditions.170 Next, they must establish a working relationship
with local community members for translation, needs assessments, transportation, customs, cultural
assistance, and other areas needed to navigate in a foreign country. The following elements typically
move directly into logistical tasks that will either prepare the ground for other incoming NGO staff
members, or enable immediate relief programming.
• Translators and drivers for expat staff members are essential to NGOs in all operations
because they serve not only as guides but also as community anchors, allowing an NGO to
establish a network of local staff members and understand the moods and social structures
of an emergency. Local staff members can expedite customs clearances, contracts, and further
programming needs. They frequently become good friends and advisors to international staff
members, and are a key element of successful NGO programming.
• Warehouses and infrastructure are a necessity if an NGO will be procuring and storing materials
from local or international sources on-site in an emergency-affected location. Logisticians
usually set up contracts with local property owners for warehouse space, office space, and
living quarters for incoming staff members. Warehousing is especially critical, because it
needs to be secure and intact to prevent weather or pest effects on inventory, and located in
a program-efficient area of the emergency-affected region. NGOs traditionally have to follow
a rigid reporting and purchasing process for spending money, but local property owners may
have a different method of doing business. (In dangerous regions or in the informal economy,
written contracts are sought but are often violated by either party in some manner.) This often
makes for a challenging mix of practices that may result in misunderstanding or problems if
a logistician does not act carefully.
170 In CHEs or during war, this is often the most difficult task for NGO staff members. In natural disasters and in extremely
poor areas, finding clean and sanitary living conditions is a challenge.
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• Trucks, fuel, and supplies may be required to move relief supplies, water, building materials,
and equipment to and from locations in the emergency-affected area A truck can transport up
to 30 metric tons, and is relatively cheap to maintain and fuel. Trucks are vital tools, which are
leased rather than purchased about 98 percent of the time. Fleets of trucks can be organized
quickly by NGO logisticians by offering cash payments to the drivers or owners. Fuel supplies
are a constant concern for NGO logisticians, especially in remote areas. Even leased trucks
require replacement parts. The local economy may not have any inventory or the appropriate
supply chain for needed replacement parts. NGO truck tires in rough conditions can last
between 10,000 and 15,000 miles before being replaced. Larger NGOs can take this into
account in inventory supply requests, whereas smaller NGOs may have to operate at the
mercy of the local economy to fix broken vehicles.
• Importing materials frequently requires solid relationships with officials at ports, airports,
and border crossings within the emergency-affected area. Because relief supplies often come
from external sources, NGO staff members must know how to navigate the customs process,
taxing and duties, regulations, and the politics of importing goods. Whether through normal
channels, a military operation, or the black market, logisticians must be able to receive
imported goods and equipment, and then distribute it from the port and into field-based
storage facilities.
• Security for procurement and storage can be precarious in emergency settings because social,
political, and economic structures collapse. High levels of crime, violence, and corruption may
be rampant, requiring extra attention to security for international and local staff members
and for the assets and commodities the NGO is using for its programs. Local security is most
often hired to monitor expat housing compounds, warehouses, car or truck lots, and other
equipment that may be exposed. Large levels of loss may be due to stealing and graft, so
paperwork, inventory, redundancy and trust are all key considerations for logisticians when
hiring local staff members and situating the components of a logistical system.
Advancements are being made in the logistical services front, and some NGOs are adopting new
technologies that make logistics more easily managed. The Microsoft FACTS system, the SUMA
system, and services provided by PICnet focus on providing technology solutions to many of the
normal logistical challenges faced in humanitarian emergencies.171 SUMA is free, and FACTS and
PICnet services require monthly hosting fees.
In addition to online software, many NGOs use off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies to manage their
logistics. Because communication is often the most essential factor of logistical operations, NGO
staff members often use laptops, web-based e-mail, Twitter or blogging, and cell or satellite phones
to coordinate activities and report to HQ. Microsoft Office is used extensively by thousands of NGO
employees worldwide to manage flow of inventory, budgets, personnel, and other operations in the
171 PICnet, Inc. is a Washington, DC–based company that provides technology services to NGOs (
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COTS technology is cheap and efficient for smaller and medium-sized NGOs. For larger NGOs,
specialized software is often developed to manage specific in-house logistical tasks. More on NGO
communications and technology will be covered in chapter 16.
NGO Logistical Priorities
In the face of less than ideal conditions, NGOs must prioritize their activities quickly. For an NGO
logisticians or first responders to an emergency, the priorities could look something like this.
• Get equipment out of the port or airport area and through customs. Exchange currencies and
find a taxi into town. Attempt to connect with other aid agencies, the UN information office or
fellow NGO staffers.
• Find a fixer or local employee that can drive and guide through urban, rural and emergency
settings. Attempt to solidify semipermanent housing or work space and security for all NGO
staff members.
• Establish communication capabilities. If there are no telephones, set up satellite or cellular
phone service and establish contact with HQ or regional office. Use the Internet (via Internet
cafes, UN or other NGO offices, or satellite phone connection) to communicate initial
information, findings, and needs. Coordinate times and places of additional staff member
• Contact or create an NGO coordination body and register with local ministry of health or
other appropriate government body. Work with other NGOs to gather and consolidate data
and knowledge of security and humanitarian conditions.
• Begin liaising with donors and appropriate agencies about perceived needs. Potentially
implement an assessment or survey of specific parts of the emergency-affected area. Find
the area of responsibility (AOR) or area of specialty. Begin writing proposals and liaising with
donors for specific needs of affected populations, individual aid agencies, and other NGOs.
Establish communication lines with HQ about shipments and supply procurement.
• Implement relief programs, including primary health care and immunizations, food aid
distribution, and feeding center establishments.
Priorities may vary considerably, but this list makes it clear that providing relief does not begin
immediately. Staff safety, communication, coordination, and information gathering are all essential
items for an NGO to solidify before operations can move ahead smoothly. Conversely, many NGOs
pride themselves on extremely rapid responses and immediate service provision. MSF, for example,
often equips its staff members with survival equipment and enough medical supply materials to begin
services immediately—without requiring lodging or other major coordination requirements.
UN Logistics
The cluster approach was adopted by the IASC in September 2005 as a “mechanism for interagency
coordination of humanitarian assistance” involving the United Nations and other humanitarian
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partners.172 The Logistics Cluster Working Group is led by the WFP, the so-called Marine Corps of
the UN.173 Additional global partners include IOM (International Organization for Migration), WHO,
UNHCR, UNICEF, OCHA, the UN Joint Logistic Center, UN Population Fund, ICRC, IFRC, World Vision
International, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, and FAO. Logistics Cluster operations
include information sharing, infrastructure assessment, and transportation coordination—serving
as the provider of last resort.
WFP also oversees the UNJLC, which “facilitates and supports the coordination of logistics capabilities
among cooperating humanitarian partners” during large-scale and complex emergencies. UNJLC
supports the Logistics Cluster by providing services that include information management, geographic
information systems (GIS), commodities tracking, prioritized cargo, information compilation from
multiple sources, and information sharing in various formats.174 With a goal of eliminating bottlenecks
and avoiding wasteful competition, UNJLC facilitates movement of relief commodities in emergencyaffected areas. General guidance for global and field-based logistics, targeted at humanitarian
personnel performing assessments or coordinating initial logistics, is available in the Logistics
Operations Guide (LOG, 2007), which is available online.175
Who Are NGO Logisticians?
NGO logisticians are a varied group, often coming from military service. Many logisticians have been
working in the humanitarian assistance field for most of their careers, and many have been trained in
the government or private sector in shipping, trucking, communications, or commodity management.
Many military personnel that have worked with NGOs in the field report that working with logisticians
is easier than working with other NGO staff. Logisticians often speak the same language as military
planners and managers because so much of what military managers do is logistical.
NGO logisticians also serve as security advisors. Because they are responsible for moving material
and keeping it safe, logisticians also have to ensure the right security procedures are being carried
out by NGO staff members. By arranging contracts with local security companies or protection by
military units, logisticians fill a large void for which smaller NGOs may lack the resources. Ex-military
personnel are best suited for this, but all logisticians must take safety and security into consideration
in all stages of planning and implementation.
172 Logistics Cluster, “About UNJLC,” (accessed June 20, 2009).
173 Lt. Gen. (Ret.) John F. Goodman, director of the Center for Excellence in Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Assistance,
speaking to the COCOM surgeons on June 15, 2009.
174 Logistics Cluster, “About the Logistics Cluster,” (accessed June 20, 2009).
175 Logistics Cluster, “Logistics Operation Guide,” (accessed June
20, 2009).
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Conclusion: Differing Logistical Systems
Like any other actor in conflict settings, natural disasters, or resource-poor areas, NGOs place major
emphasis on logistical activities. Whether an NGO classifies its activities as logistical is another matter.
NGO logistics are easily summarized.
• NGOs have extensive logistical capacities.
Executive Summary
They don’t always classify their activities as
such, but at almost all times are managing
ƒƒ NGOs use a vast array of technology and
some form of logistical processes.
communications systems to manage
emergency operations.
• Medium-sized and large NGOs hire
NGOs almost exclusively use commercial offlogisticians. They are often retired
the-shelf (COTS) products that any civilian
military or government service experts
can readily obtain for a minimal outlay.
and are tasked with the responsibility
ƒƒ NGOs implement field programs using
of managing equipment, material, food,
satellite and cell phones, and manage
tools, and personnel during humanitarian
intricate Internet networks designed
emergency responses.
specifically for multisite applications.
• NGO logisticians—in any given day—
ƒƒ Software packages that specifically
handle hundreds of tasks. Dealing
assist NGOs in their work in their early
with contracts, trucks, warehousing,
development, with very few projects
communications, spare parts, staff safety,
reaching scale.
and other conditions, they play a vital role
ƒƒ Although technology is an integral part of
for any NGO that can afford specialized
daily operations for most NGOs, no two
staff members.
NGOs have the same communications and
technology systems.
• NGO logistics are often managed with
ƒƒ Rarely do NGOs use true communications
off-the-shelf technology, laptops, websystems. Most often they use whatever
based e-mail, and paperwork. Much of a
technology is readily available to
logistician’s job is communication, and
communicate from emergency settings, and
normal communication equipment can
the development of systems often depends
on field conditions and operational tempo.
• Coordination with militaries, government,
and UN agencies is essential because
NGOs cannot manage the full spectrum of humanitarian assistance logistics unassisted. They
do not have the capacity to maintain fleets of cargo vessels or use cargo planes on a regular
basis. They must coordinate their activities for security, heavy lifting, and remote access.
• Military personnel often find it difficult to understand NGO logistics because each NGO uses
different logistical management systems. Some NGOs have no protocol whatsoever, but others
have extensive manuals and procedures.
 resource: Logistics Websites
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Chapter 16. Information and Communications
• UNJLC Humanitarian Logistics Association
• Humanitarian Logisitics
• Fritz Institute, Key Parameters in Humanitarian Logistics
• Supply Chain and Logistics Institute
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Chapter 16. Information and Communications
Chapter 16.
NGO Use of Information and Communications Technology
Cynthia Barrigan and Ben Hemingway
nowing NGO communication capabilities and how they collect and use information is essential to
understanding how they operate in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/
DR) emergencies.
Communications are essential during emergencies. NGOs must be able to relay and receive
information about constantly changing conditions, needs, operational challenges, and warnings.
During emergency operations, information is not only extremely valuable but highly perishable.
Timeliness, clarity, and effectiveness of communications are critical when lives are at stake. As a
result, NGOs rely on technology to function and perform well.
Within the international community, the collective technical infrastructure of hardware, software,
and telecommunications is often referred to as information and communications technology or,
more simply, ICT. Many NGOs perceive ICT as an important tool to optimize operations and conduct
information exchanges.
This chapter provides a basic overview of NGO information management techniques and constraints
along with an inventory of ICT tools commonly used by NGOs. Overall, the intent is to bring about an
increased awareness of an NGO’s capacity for using technology to gather and share information and
communicate during an emergency.
Information Management
NGOs are independent entities that manage a variety of programs in emergency settings. They require
a broad base of information to secure appropriate resources and carry out operations in harmony
with many other organizations. They depend on a variety of information:
• weather and geographical conditions
• political, social, and economic developments in a region
• market prices for commodities, transportation, and shipping
• NGO and UN activity
• military activity, plans, or violence
• population activity, numbers, movement, and trends
• internal logistical, security, and planning needs
NGOs collect data from a wide variety of sources including other NGOs, donor units in the field,
military reports, newswires, local government officials, and even victims themselves. Because NGOs
do not normally have the ability to obtain all the data necessary, they have an incentive to join into
NGO associations to rapidly acquire additional information and facilitate information exchanges.
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Chapter 16. Information and Communications
The quantity and complexity of information in many humanitarian operations can be overwhelming.
This can make it difficult for NGO staff to digest, evaluate, and convert information into actionable
data to ensure appropriate logistical, financial, programmatic, and personnel support.
The information a particular NGO seeks depends on its area of focus. A food-aid NGO will need to
know about roads, port and airport operations, commodity prices, warehouse security, and shipment
information. A health-care NGO, in the same emergency, may need to know about population health,
immunization programs, local health-care facilities, mortality rates, medical supply stockpiles, and
so on. And both will likely want the most current information available on factors such as population
movements, epidemics, food aid movement, violence and battles between combating parties,
displacement, weather, and the like.
Information Flow and Decision-Making
When an NGO enters an emergency, it must be able to exchange information internally as well as
externally with the communities and countries involved in coordinating the relief effort. Also vital to
any humanitarian operation is the need to communicate with donor agencies and the media to create
public awareness of the humanitarian needs in a given area.
On arrival, NGOs begin communicating with other NGOs, UN agencies, police, fire rescue, and others
to understand what programs are already being implemented, what areas are being covered, and
what needs still exist. In areas of armed conflict, they seek military reports to obtain security updates,
information about safety zones, seek convoy protection, and request logistical support.
Almost immediately, information begins flowing from the field up to regional or NGO headquarter
offices to provide situational awareness of the location and movement of field staff as well as to
provide information on needs. At the HQ level, NGOs normally post desk officers or program staff
on specific emergencies to serve as the point of contact for field staff members. Field-based program
officers often either report to the field-based management team (or person) or directly to the HQ
desk officer. All communication coming from the field is often sorted through this one desk officer
and then coordinated with appropriate personnel. HQ depends on field staff members to send
updated information, lists of needs and conditions so managers can make the appropriate resource
allocations and decisions regarding effective interventions. Accurate and timely information helps
fine-tune interventions, avoid costly mistakes and inappropriate use of scarce resources. Likewise,
information from HQ also flows down to the field. The HQ office can assist field personnel with research,
procurement, shipping and commodity management, financial management, travel arrangements,
coordination with other NGOs, and donor relations.
Over time, coordination with private and individual in-country donors, private companies, diplomats
and embassies (not donor agencies specifically), armed groups, rebel movements, citizen groups,
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Chapter 16. Information and Communications
civil society organizations (CSOs), and others often take up a large part of an NGO’s communication
Given that communications between HQ and the field can be sporadic and the paramount need for swift
and decisive field-level action, NGO management structures are designed to operate in a decentralized
framework that empowers local decision-making. Country officers or other management personnel
are trusted to act within the scope and capacity of the organization. Field staff armed with recent
news and information, contextual knowledge, and program-specific strategies are believed to be best
equipped to make fast decisions about where to move commodities, where to position personnel,
who to partner with, and which grants to apply for.
As a result, the most critical need for effective information and communication capabilities in the
field. Although NGOs have the ability to communicate and share information with others, they are
selective as to whom they will engage—particularly in an electronic format. Many prefer face-toface interaction, but also use e-mail, telephone, and fax to share information. Some will exchange
information with military units but others will not out of concerns over the perception of real or
perceived impartiality, neutrality, and independence. Preferences will need to be determined in the
field on an NGO by NGO basis.
Application of Information & Communications Technology
A response to a humanitarian aid operation is characterized by a large number of unrelated
organizations descending simultaneously on a given location. To operate safely and successfully carry
out their mission, NGOs not only need to receive information from a wide variety of sources, but also
must provide information to others as well. Ensuring both the internal and the external flow of such
information depends on an NGO’s ICT infrastructure.
Hundreds of NGOs throughout the world focus on emergency relief operations. Most NGOs use some
type of technology to manage information and communications in what are often remote, chaotic,
and unsafe areas. The types of technology used in a relief scenario are generally dictated by the phase
of the emergency, type of mission, remoteness of the location, availability of network infrastructure,
and the internal capacity and capabilities of the NGO to use the technology.
The following general examples of the types of information collected and how information and
communications technologies are applied in the hours, weeks, and months of an NGO’s engagement
in an emergency are representative.176
• At the onset of an emergency, the foremost requirement beyond rescuing and treating survivors
is coordinating the relief effort. Relief organizations are busy conducting assessments and
surveying damage. Descriptive information and pictures about conditions are transmitted to
176 Dipak Basu, Disaster Relief: A Compendium of Learnings from Engagements in Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Iran, Sudan,
Guatemala, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Lebanon (McLean, VA: NetHope, October 2006),
nethope-disaster-relief-white-paper.pdf (accessed December 12, 2009).
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Chapter 16. Information and Communications
headquarters. Local communications capabilities are almost always destroyed, inoperable, or
nonexistent after a disaster strikes, making the need for rapid provisioning of both voice and
data communications is urgent. This stage tends to be characterized by highly individualized,
highly mobile, temporary and transient computing, communications, and alternate sources of
power like solar, battery, and so on.
• In the weeks ahead, as priorities shift from saving lives to preserving lives and additional
personnel and supplies arrive, continuous infrastructure monitoring, disease reporting,
comprehensive assessments, management of relief supplies, personnel security, applying and
reporting donated funds, along with uploading case studies, pictures, and relief reports are all
necessary. This stage tends to be characterized by mobile teams in conjunction with stationary
personnel collecting data and delivering services. These transient and temporary operations
require a combination of mobile solutions along with compact easy-to-set-up and tear-down
computing resources, additional software applications, increased bandwidth capacity, faster
communications, and more substantial power solutions.
• As further progress is made toward reconstruction and development, the focus is on delivering
more services, building infrastructure, establishing warehouses to support supply and food
distribution, water purification, and becoming a part of the community. At this stage, NGOs tend
to operate out of more permanent fixed facilities with an ability to install more robust full-scale
ICT infrastructures and stable and faster broadband communications and power solutions.
Although this description of the phases of a typical emergency scenario is general, the variability in
how these phases evolve and what technology NGOs actually use is tremendous.
Types of Technology NGOs Use
NGOs have been using technology since the earliest international humanitarian emergencies, have
used the same types of equipment as host nations, and have often been on the forefront of technology
when unique or especially challenging requirements have arisen. This continues today as NGOs
become more sophisticated in accessing and leveraging technology and working collaboratively with
other NGOs to achieve enhanced capabilities in specific regions.
NGOs depend on technology that is rugged, reliable, and affordable. Given advancements in private
sector technology development, NGOs have many options and can adopt the latest technology without
having to develop internally or invest heavily in specialized equipment. An example of this is the use
of high-frequency radios (HF), very-high-frequency radios (VHF), laptop and desktop computers, and
cell phones, all of which are readily available worldwide and can be repaired and replaced locally. At
field sites from Afghanistan to Somalia, NGOs rely heavily on local suppliers and expertise to establish,
manage, and repair communications networks and equipment.
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During rapid onset emergencies and responses to resource insecure areas, NGOs bring most of the
equipment needed to be self-sufficient for a limited period. Depending on the level of the emergency
and proximity to cities with active commerce, NGOs may vary the amount of equipment they bring by
procuring locally.
Although some NGOs may use hardware and software similar to the military’s, their equipment
packages do not undergo stringent information assurance review or operate on military-grade
secure networks. NGOs therefore do not have the capacity to keep communications confidential or
secure. Whereas military communications systems are designed to keep information secret, NGO
communication systems are meant simply to work well. Little attention is given to securing data
and information sent over digital or analog lines. NGOs do value the protection of data, of ideas, of
proposal leads or contacts, but typically no major technology systems are in place to keep information
encrypted or secure. Passwords on computers, Internet e-mail accounts, log-in prompts for websites
and e-mail accounts and the like are more common than any other form of information security.
Depending on the type and severity of the emergency, various communications equipment will be
deployed. For smaller NGOs, some communications equipment is prohibitively high in costs, whereas
for larger NGOs, the newest and most advanced equipment can be procured and deployed.
Technology Inventory
NGOs use a broad range of technologies to manage information, conduct operations, and deliver
services (see table 16.1). At the field level, the laptop and HF/VHR radio and satphone or cell phone
are by far the most popular tools during emergency relief efforts. Internally, e-mail through cell and
satellite phones connections is the most common way of exchanging data between HQ and field offices
and is quickly replacing voice communications in even the most dire emergencies.
With the appropriate connectivity, ICT users can communicate point to point (that is, cell phone to
cell phone) or access the Internet to expand their options:
• e-mail
• VOIP applications (such as SKYPE)177
• intranets
• blogs
• social networks
A more in-depth view of how NGOS use some of these technologies provides additional insight into
current practice.
177 VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) is a general term encompassing technologies that deliver voice services through
the Internet rather than over traditional telephone lines or wireless modalities.
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Table 16.1 Technology Inventory
facsimilie (data)
telephone (voice)
radios (voice)
satellite phones (voice-data)
mobile–cell phone (voice-text)
smartphones (voice-text-data)
general office
word processing
information management
census taking
logistics management
information gathering
geographic information systems (GIS)
global positioning system (GPS)
landline telephone
VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal)
NGO staff members carry significant data with them at all times. They also generally use laptops in the
field to record assessment data, findings, survey analysis, and then to write reports or analysis about
humanitarian conditions. Laptops are easily connected to the Internet and data lines with modems or
network cards, and e-mails and documents then sent anywhere. This makes an NGO staff member a
vital part of a global operation and allows different program managers to easily exchange information,
updates, and plans. Laptops are relatively inexpensive, easy to procure, and adaptable to a number of
uses and conditions. They can usually be repaired or purchased in local markets worldwide. With the
exception of officially sanctioned countries, there are generally no problems entering a country with
a laptop and other basic computer equipment. NGO personnel normally do not have difficulty moving
such equipment within or out of an emergency-affected country or region.
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Over the past several years, humanitarian workers have begun using hand-held, personal digital
accessories (PDAs) for data collection, storage, and communication needs. PDAs are inexpensive and
offer relief workers in the field a highly mobile platform for word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail,
and database management. Although they are now quickly evolving to a new level (smartphones),
PDAs are still commonplace in the NGO community.
Radio. Despite advancements in global cellular service and satellite coverage, NGOs rely on legacy
radio technologies to deliver much of the required connectivity. Radio services are extremely efficient
and operational in all but a very few conditions. Radio communications are therefore often one of the
first priorities in setting up communications infrastructure during an emergency.
High-frequency (HF) and very-high-frequency (VHF) radio systems are used extensively by the NGO
community during an emergency. HF radio systems are used for regional and local communication,
often connecting a base camp with refugee camp operations, a regional field office and trucks or
satellite locations. Codan is now the more popular of services for long-range and mobile voice
For shorter range communications, VHF radio systems are used. With line-of-site ranges of up to
approximately 10 to 15 miles, NGO employees can carry small battery operated walkie-talkies. For
extended distances in austere or remote locations, NGOs can extend radio reception with repeaters
and relays that forward or strengthen signals. These are extremely useful during or following natural
disasters, when existing communication infrastructure has typically been destroyed, and for regional
HF and VHF signals are not secure and generally do not enable NGOs to communicate with military
radio systems. Local governments often provide a portion of bandwidth for what is often called amateur
radio or for emergency radio services. Often the UN will set up service stations and then monitor
and regulate which NGOs can use which frequency channels, and in what quantities. Depending on
the type of emergency response efforts, the UN may limit radio frequency use at nighttime to allow
emergency-only communication to have priority.
If the UN or other coordinating body is managing the radio system for the humanitarian community,
which is often the case, the UN and NGO community may use the radio to communicate new dangers,
developments, meeting times, and other announcements along with the daily use of inter-NGO
communications. Normally at least one channel is set aside for general announcement and monitoring
Satellite phones. Satellite phones are now extremely common among the NGO community, typically
used to communicate in emergency settings or austere environments when no other local or
international communication is available. If an NGO employee has a satellite phone, he or she can
establish a voice, data, or even video connection to almost any similar connection on earth. Generally,
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only extremely harsh weather, service failure, or limited line-of-site can restrict the reception of a
satellite phone. Per-minute charges are somewhat high, ranging from $1 to $3 per minute, depending
on the type of data being transmitted (voice versus data, specifically).
Satellite phones are now (late 2009) extremely efficient and lightweight. The Thuraya is about half
a pound and roughly equivalent to the size of a Blackberry. The Thuraya and similarly sized Iridium
phones are used extensively throughout the NGO and UN community. The NGO price for a handset
is about $1,000 and airtime services are available on a prepaid basis, further limiting the barrier to
entry for these technologies. Because they can be used as phones and as data-forwarding devices,
NGOs will use satphones for both voice communications and Internet use. NGO employees will often
draft a series of e-mails while the satphone is offline and then send a burst once connected for short
Satellite phones, unlike laptops or other generic computer equipment, sometimes require local
registration when brought into a country. Many countries make it illegal to import such technology and
will confiscate satphones from NGO staff members at the airport or port. Still, NGO use of satphones
is increasing, and their value to communications systems in the field is extremely high.
Cell–mobile–smart phones. The explosive spread of mobile networks across the world along with
the increased functionality of cell phones and smartphones is offering more opportunities for NGO
use of these mobile devices. A recent survey of 500 NGO workers found that 86 percent are using
mobile technology to do their work. Workers mainly use cell phones for voice, short-message service
(SMS) text messaging but also take advantage of the ability to collect and distribute photos and video
and to collect data. The main benefits described included time savings, the ability to accelerate the
mobilization of resources and extend their reach. Most viewed the cell phone as having a positive
impact on their work. Some called it revolutionary. Seventy-six percent of workers indicated they
would be increasing their use of the cell phone in the future.
A rapid growth in mobile phone networks has been made possible by the proliferation of GSM (Global
System for Mobile communications), now the global standard for mobile communications. According
to the GSM Association, its networks currently cover 219 countries and territories serving more than
3 billion people.
Most cell phones are an inexpensive and efficient alternative to satphones or weak local telephone
infrastructure. Cell phones can often be procured within an emergency setting, or in cities nearby
that NGOs pass through or use as a procurement and travel hub. Cell phones are often cheaper per
minute, less difficult to get, and often have a significant range that covers areas affected by disasters.
With advancements in open source smartphone technology, much of the initial promise of the PDA has
now been passed on to these new more flexible handheld platforms. Smartphones such as the HTC G1
Android phone (Google Phone) and the Apple iPhone have great potential for providing an alwayson, flexible, powerful, and readily available handheld computing and communications platform for
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NGOs. Intense development is ongoing, with particular focus on open source systems, on which NGOs,
universities, and private companies can develop the next generation of humanitarian applications for
mobile use without excessive licensing, deployment, and maintenance costs.
In emergencies, local phone lines typically are destroyed or not reliable. In most cases, NGOs obtain
their communications equipment and capacities from private vendors or organizations dedicated to
offering such services. A number of vendors serve the NGO and humanitarian community.
• A limited liability company (LLC) based in London, Inmarsat was the first and is now one of
the largest providers of mobile satellite communications for individual and corporate use
• The Iridium satellite constellation is a large group of satellites used to provide voice and
data coverage to satellite phones, pagers and integrated transceivers over the earth’s entire
surface. Iridium Satellite LLC owns and operates the constellation and sells equipment and
access to its services (
• Codan Limited is a manufacturer and supplier of communications, metal detection, broadcast
and electronic equipment, headquartered in Adelaide, South Australia (
• The Open Mobile Consortium (OMC) is a thriving community of mobile technologists and
practitioners working to drive open source mobile solutions for more effective and efficient
humanitarian relief and global social development (
In terms of long-term more robust communication strategies that incorporate the use of VSAT
equipment—a type of two-way satellite connection—NGOs are required to work with government
authorities for approval of satellite licenses, customs waivers, and so on. At times, deployment of this
equipment can be significantly delayed or denied by host nations.
Some of the largest advancements in NGO technology have and will continue to be made online. With the
increasing availability of high speed connections and the expansion of mobile-based services, mediarich, real-time data sharing, and voice-data communications will become easier and more reliable.
By connecting to the Internet through satphones, local telephone lines, Internet cafes, or shared UN
or specialized service connections, NGOs can manage e-mail, exchange documents, store data, and
even carry on live communications. In many emergency settings (some famines, rural floods, or fire),
urban area infrastructure remains functional enough to support these avenues of communication.
And when other, more established systems don’t exist, Hotmail, Yahoo!, and other browser-based free
e-mail providers are available to fill the gap.
If a city does not offer Internet connections over local telephone lines, NGOs must either use Internet
cafes (if they exist), satellite connections, or long-distance connections to out-of-region ISPs that may
provide service. In Kosovo, NGOs were using satphone data connections and dialing to Macedonia for
Internet access much of the time until local ISPs cropped up within Kosovo. For most of Burundi’s
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history until 2001, only one ISP existed within Burundi, and service was often down. On the other
end of the spectrum, in Kenya, Sudan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, 3G mobile networks are available
widely and can provide mobile broadband access at affordable rates.
Currently, Internet-based NGO management systems are in the works in a variety of forms. Microsoft
and Google both have large teams developing applications and plug-ins for humanitarian use. Private
sector technology consulting firms have also increasingly recognized the needs and market potential
of the NGO sector. NGOs themselves have also begun to invest more heavily in in-house expertise
and solutions for specific needs within the organization. Many NGOs create their own intranet that
allows staff members to track e-mail, pay, job descriptions, pertinent intraoffice or organizational
communications, and other information. Only a handful of the largest NGOs are using intranets that
are truly functional for field-based employees.
Although NGOs exchange most information and documents by e-mail, an emerging trend using
blogs and online social networking sites to create and exchange content and engage in peer-to-peer
conversations. These tools have also been used by global activists to relay information and pictures
about humanitarian crises when government-controlled internet and telecommunications networks
have been heavily monitored or shut down.
Power Supplies
Power supplies are critical for relief workers and NGO operations. Without power, communications
can’t work.
After a natural disaster or during a complex humanitarian emergency, NGOs are often faced with
a lack of electricity or power sources to keep communications technology running and the lights
and heaters working. Computer equipment and radio and satphone terminals can operate on battery
power for some time but will soon require recharging. For temporary power needs that may exist on
a survey outing or assessment field expedition, NGO staff members may be able to tap the battery
power of their vehicle. With 12 volts of power in many trucks, this is enough to keep a computer,
satphone, or radio system working for hours at a time. With the engine running or turned on in
intervals, the vehicle’s battery can stay charged and capable of powering other devices.
For more permanent operations in areas with no electricity, NGOs need to use generator sets.
Generators are considered a main part of an NGO’s critical infrastructure for establishing and
maintaining communications during an emergency. NGOs often attempt to procure power generators
sets that run on diesel, and set them up near (but not too near because of noise and fumes) to their
field office or facility. Portable generator sets can produce up to 3000 watts. Anything above this is
too large to be considered mobile. Having more than one generator is a good idea for many NGOs
because one is bound to fail. NGOs can normally keep generators running as long as fuel supplies
are stable. Although gas-powered generators are lighter and cleaner, diesel can generally be found in
more places within the developing world.
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Chapter 16. Information and Communications
Over the past decade use of solar panels for back-up power to support 24/7 communications has
increased. As solar technology has improved and cost has declined, solar installations are becoming
more commonplace in rural settings that have no access to a reliable power grid. Solar panels can be
found at hospitals, clinics, police stations, community centers, and NGO offices to provide a constant
supply of power during outages or when generators are
turned off for refuel or repair.
Executive Summary
Challenges in ICT Use
NGOs have varying capacities to use ICT based on costs
and internal expertise. Given the lack of data standards and
technical standardization of telecommunication packages,
exchanging information efficiently is challenging.
ICT Investments
Although nearly all relief NGOs use some form of low-cost,
commercially available technology as an integral part of
daily operations at both the central office and the field level,
very few are in a position to procure, implement, and sustain
more advanced systems on an organization-wide basis.
ƒƒ NGOs have developed security
plans and manuals and have
security officers.
ƒƒ Security for the NGO requires a
perceived impartiality.
ƒƒ The legal basis for protection of
humanitarian workers in conflicts
is contained in the Geneva
Conventions of 1949 and the
related protocol of 1977.
ƒƒ Because NGO personnel do not
enjoy the same protected status
provided to U.S. government
personnel, they must approach
safety and security differently.
ƒƒ NGO personnel are extremely
sensitive in being seen as
instruments of government foreign
policy, even when they might
share the same nationality or even
mission as the military force.
Most of the larger international NGOs tend to use advanced
technology more than their smaller locally based counterparts,
though of course the degree varies considerably even across
the largest organizations. This is in part because NGOs do not
receive grants for infrastructure investment. Donors would
rather see funding spent on direct aid to victims. Therefore,
NGOs are under constant pressure to keep overhead costs
down and generally spend less than 1% to 3% of operating revenues on ICT, which is below that of
government agencies and other industry ICT investments. Underinvestment in ICT is also the result
of decentralization, whereby NGOs often implement only what is necessary to keep field programs
Given inadequate infrastructure, NGOs ultimately depend on other organizations for assistance with
technology and communications. For example, most NGOs are unable to host their own Internet
service in-country and sometimes cannot even manage their own area-wide radio networks.
Assistance from the UN, militaries, private-sector telecommunications companies, and others is
essential. In many cases, smaller NGOs are often stuck when the power goes out, when phone lines
are down, satellite phones don’t work, or local radio systems are inoperable or nonexistent. Without
redundant communication systems such as those of the government or military units, NGOs are
often challenged with changing conditions. This is not always the case, of course, but it can leave an
operation isolated.
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Lack of Standards
Data standards for neither information exchange nor communication equipment within the
humanitarian field have been established. Differences in data, systems, styles, and equipment often
make communication one of the more challenging tasks during an emergency.
Although many forms of communications technology are manufactured to industry specifications and
standards, there is virtually no standardization among NGOs as to what types of ICT they use or how
and when those technologies are used. As noted earlier, every NGO is an independent organization.
ICT technology platforms are often influenced by many factors unrelated to technology, not the least
of which is using affordable or donated systems and equipment.
An ongoing dialogue within the humanitarian community focuses on information management and
coordination practices between agencies. Although debate has been vigorous, little consensus has
emerged on how to actually implement global standards and structures for communications and
information management, especially because NGOs, UN agencies, and the like have vastly different
management structures and capabilities. NGOs are ground-level operators that rely on fast, low-level
staff decision-making, whereas UN and other donor agencies depend on a hierarchical structure of
management with information coming from below and making its way upward for decision-making.
NGOs thrive on the flexibility of using various types of equipment and by not being burdened by
protocol or requirements during complex, changing emergencies. Over the past decade, some
standardization has occurred within some applications. Examples include standard VHF and HF radio
networks for voice traffic and mobile assets. With the emergence and spread of cell phone use and a
heavy reliance on data networks, this gain in interoperability may be short lived. This is not to suggest
that NGOs and other operators in emergencies would not benefit from standardized equipment and
communications platforms, but only that it will be some time before they achieve it.
Conclusion: Emerging Trends for Increased Use of ICT
Although the humanitarian sector has lagged behind other industries in adopting technology, NGOs
are increasingly becoming more sophisticated in their use of technology—particularly wireless
technology such as mobile phones—and are openly collaborating with a range of partners.
To promote the expansion of technology and achieve uniformity of technology packages, some larger
NGOs have formally joined consortiums such as NetHope. This type of organizing allows groups to
pool resources and coordinate requirements in hopes of saving costs and maximizing benefits. Other
NGOs are engaging in variety of partnerships with the private sector, academia, and other NGOs.
In summary, communicating with NGOs during an emergency may be difficult at times. This may
be due to the lack of technology or a reluctance to interact with the military. No assumptions or
generalities can be made about how to communicate with an NGO in any given situation. An approach
and strategy will need to be developed locally and in the context of each emergency.
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Chapter 17. Security
Chapter 17.
NGOs and Security
Gregg M. Nakano, Sarah Arnold, and Lynn Lawry
hose working for NGOs have traditionally enjoyed both international legal protection and immunity
from attack by belligerent parties. Attacks on humanitarian workers have become more frequent
since the 1990s, however. This is attributed to a number of factors, including the increasing number
of humanitarian workers deployed, better data collection, the increasingly unstable environments in
which they work, and the erosion of the perception of neutrality and independence.
NGO rely on impartiality as part of their credibility and security, any effort that gives an appearance
of collaboration or coordination with the military undermines this impartiality and effectively
eliminates a primary source of security.178
NGOs have to define what they mean by impartiality or even neutrality. It is difficult to reconcile
being impartial and especially neutral if the organization supports democracy, social justice and civil
society development, or peace-building initiatives in a country that is at war. It is particularly difficult
if an organization provides aid but also documents abuses or advocates for human rights. This
gives a perception, even if one hires or works with local partners, of not being impartial or neutral.
Furthermore, it is also difficult to claim impartiality if it is obvious that aid is not allocated strictly
on the basis of need but is instead driven by considerations of access, visibility, cost-effectiveness,
agency interests, or expertise.
What NGOs have been advised is to consider the following transparent position:179
• Assistance is provided in response to unmet needs, but is also shaped by mandate, mission,
expertise, capacity, and agreed policies, as well as by the access and acceptance obtained.
• Assistance is provided to all noncombatants regardless of identity, age, gender, political
affiliation, religious conviction, and so on.
• The NGO states openly and otherwise makes clear that it values the basic rights and freedoms
of all individuals, political democracy, and nonviolent ways of resolving conflict.
• The NGO practices neutrality as an operational principle:
ŠŠ It will not take sides and work in the areas of all groups.
ŠŠ It will not comment on the reasons for taking up arms.
ŠŠ It may have an opinion about how the conflict can best be resolved (even if it chooses not
to express it).
ŠŠ It will take a position on the treatment of civilians and noncombatants and the tactics of
war, and will express that position.
178 See Joint Chiefs, Intergovernmental Organization, (accessed June
1, 2009).
179 Koenraad Van Brabant, Operational Security Management in Violent Environments (London: Overseas Development
Institute, 2000), (accessed June 12, 2009).
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Since 1994, 594 deaths of occurred among aid workers; only 10 percent of these were accidental; the
rest were targeted.180 Of the 594, the vast majority (73 percent) were among local staff working for
And although no evidence-based statistics support or refute the notion that cooperation, coordination,,
or association with the military is detrimental to the safety of an NGO, humanitarian aid worker deaths
and kidnappings have gone up sharply with military involvement in FHA since 2001.181
Legal Basis for Protection
The legal basis for protection of humanitarian workers in conflicts is contained in the Geneva
Conventions of 1949 and the related protocol of 1977.182 These treaties describe the category of civilian
noncombatants (which includes local citizens and nationals of countries not party to the conflict) and
outline the rights and obligations of noncombatants during conflict. These include the right to be
treated humanely; to have access to food, water, shelter, medical treatment, and communications; to
be free from violence to life and person, hostage taking, and humiliating or degrading treatment; and
a prohibition against collective punishment or imprisonment.
International humanitarian law provides protection for relief actions, in that parties to a conflict shall
allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief consignments, equipment and personnel
(Additional Protocol I Article 70(2)). Governments or occupying forces may, if they wish, ban a relief
agency from working in their area, as long as the ban is not arbitrary. In addition, international
humanitarian law does require parties to a conflict to respect and protect personnel participating in
relief actions (AP I, Art. 71(2)). The Geneva Conventions also do prohibit combatants from attacking
noncombatants, and do require occupying forces to maintain general order.
Security Environments
When thinking about safety and security, the military divides operating environments into
• permissive environments, in which host country military and law enforcement agencies
have control as well as the intent and capability to assist operations that a unit intends to
180 See Patronus Analytical, “Aid Worker Fatalities Pages,”
fatalities%20main%20page.html (accessed October 15, 2009).
181 Gilbert Burnham, Mani Sheik, Maria Isabel Gutierrez, Paul Bolton, Paul Spiegel, and Michel Thieren, “Deaths Among
Aid Workers,” British Medical Journal 321(2000): 166–68; “2008 Deadliest Year for Aid Workers,”
world-news/2008-deadliest-year-aid-workers-2625018 (accessed June 1, 2009) and
aid%20worker%20fatalities/2004%20to%202007%20Map/2004_to_2007_Map.html (accessed June 1, 2009).
182 ICRC, “Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of
International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977,”
36b/f6c8b9fee14a77fdc125641e0052b079 (accessed June 12, 2009).
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• uncertain environments, in which host government forces, whether opposed to or receptive
to operations a unit intends to conduct, do not have effective control of the territory and
population in the intended operational area; and
• hostile environments, in which hostile forces have control as well as the intent and capability
to effectively oppose or react to the operations a unit intends to conduct.183
These distinctions are based on agreements between the United States and the host nation and help
determine the force protection posture individual units take. A status-of-forces agreement (SOFA),
which provides additional legal protection to service members, will usually be in place for permissive
environments, whereas rules of engagement will delineate appropriate responses for uncertain and
hostile environments.
Humanitarian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) differ
from military forces in that they do not rely on national
authorization to enter another country. Instead, they act on
several beliefs:
• All human beings are born free and equal in dignity
and rights. They are endowed with reason and
conscience and should act towards one another in a
spirit of brotherhood.
• Everyone has the right to a standard of living
adequate for the health and well-being of himself
and of his family, including food, clothing, housing
and medical care and necessary social services, and
the right to security in the event of unemployment,
sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack
of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.184
To protect these values, NGO personnel respond to those in
need anywhere in the world “without distinction of any kind,
such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other
opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other
status.”185 Because NGO personnel do not enjoy the same
protected status provided to U.S. government personnel,
they must approach safety and security differently.
UN Security Phases
1. Precautionary: Exercise caution. All
travel into the area requires advance
2. Restricted movement: Staff and
families remain at home. No travel
into or within the country unless
3. Relocation: Staff and families
are temporarily concentrated or
relocated to specified sites or
locations. Eligible dependants are
relocated outside the country.
4. Emergency programs only. All
staff not directly concerned with
emergency or humanitarian relief
operations or security matters are
relocated outside the country.
5. Evacuation. All remaining staff
leave according to the local UN
security plan.
183 See U.S. Marine Corps, Amphibious Operations in the 21st Century (Quantico, VA: United States Marine Corps, March
pdf (accessed October 15, 2009).
184 See United Nations, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” (accessed
October 15, 2009).
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In general, safety and security risks can be divided into environmental and human threats.
Environmental threats include factors like weather, geographic hazards, wildlife threats, and
prevalence of disease and affect everyone who operates in the region. Environmental risks can
usually reduced by staying healthy (getting proper nutrition, sleep, and exercise) and by avoiding
or managing obvious risks (wearing sunscreen and insect repellent or avoiding intoxicants and
excessive speed while driving).
Human threats can be more challenging and may vary from common theft in peacetime environments
to targeted assassination during times of war. In general, the three strategies for protecting personnel
against human threats are risk avoidance, risk management, and risk reduction.
Risk avoidance removes personnel from the source of danger. This is a common strategy for regional
security officers at U.S. Embassies who ban travel to or recall staff from unstable areas. According to
this strategy, activities and movement are increased or reduced according to perceived local support
or threats. This strategy is focused on the who, the what, and the where of the threat, and thus relies
on a strong and responsive surveillance capability.
Risk Management
Risk management focuses on defeating the impact of potential threats or eliminating them altogether.
This is a more common strategy for military planners who provide armor for vehicles and individuals
as well as weapons to destroy potential attackers. Because conflict is usually taken as a given,
operations will change their offensive and defensive posture rather than location or substance of
their activities. A risk management strategy focuses more on the what and the how of the threat.
Risk reduction focuses on transforming a potential assailant’s perception of an individual or
organization from meddling outsider to “one of us.” In this strategy, the security of personnel is
best ensured when the aid workers are integrated into the local community and valued for their
contributions to local development. Interpersonal relationships with local authorities, partners,
communities, and families become fundamental to accomplishing the NGO’s humanitarian missions.
This strategy focuses on neutralizing the why of the threat and often allows NGOs to work in areas
that military planners would consider uncertain or hostile.
Of course, no single approach will work for all situations, and humanitarian personnel rely on a
combination of strategies to safely conduct their operations. To manage the threats and challenges,
NGOs are encouraged to assess their readiness to deploy to or remain in an unstable environment
with questions such as these that follow:
• Do you have an adequate understanding of the context in which you operate?
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• Do you have a clear sense of your mission and of the position you want to adopt and the role
you want to play in your environment?
• Is your plan based on a systematic threat and risk assessment, and do you regularly review
this assessment?
• Is it supported by clear policies that spell out responsibilities of the agency and of individual
• Do you consider program choices and implementation approaches from a security point of
• Do staff understand the rational behind your standard operating procedures?
• Are staff disciplined about the observance of these procedures?
• Have your staff been given guidance and preparedness training for incident survival?
• Do you have crisis management guidelines for different incident scenarios?
• Do you feel that the news of security incidents, also from others operating in your environment,
reaches you quickly most of the time?
• Do you feel that you as security manager have the required skill and competence to discharge
that responsibility?186
Although aid personnel strive to provide humanitarian assistance even as the level of violence escalates,
there are limits to how long personnel remain safely in the midst of conflict. The determination of
whether to remain or evacuate is a complex balance of humanitarian need, resources, expertise,
reputation within the region, and leadership personalities that is managed in most of the larger NGOs
by a dedicated security section. For areas or countries of persistent conflict, the NGO may assign a
dedicated security officer or team to evaluate changing local threats and risks.
Often NGO security officers have military or police backgrounds and will have access to a wide
variety of information sources and assessment tools. In addition to working with organizations
like Interaction’s Security Advisory Group (SAG), NGO security officers will stay abreast of the local
military and police briefings. NGO security officers do not normally have access to classified material,
but many times they do have more timely and granular information because of their access to reports
directly from the field. And though NGO personnel will watch for changes in UN security phases they
normally reserve the right to make independent determinations on whether to remain or stay.
Those who chose to remain in country as the number of threats and level of risk increases must make
the choices between how they balance risk management against risk reduction. The responsibility
of each aid worker is to understand the host culture and behave in a manner respectful of cultural
norms while remaining vigilant to any changes to the environment that may pose a threat to personal
safety. These threats may include and aren’t limited to theft, assault, violent conflict and acts of terror,
vehicle targeting, and natural phenomena. Safety and security risks are an unavoidable aspect of
humanitarian service. Lack of infrastructure and limitations of local institutions exacerbate these
risks. It is not possible to eliminate all risks associated with these missions, but it is possible to
manage them.
186 Van Brabant, Operational Security Management in Violent Environments, p. 311.
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Humanitarian Space
Civilian aid organizations often strive to defend their humanitarian space, by which they mean their
ability to deliver assistance to populations in need without compromise by military or political forces.
Many NGOs feel strongly that their access to local populations requires independence from armed
forces, including peacekeeping and U.S. forces.
Whether on the battlefield or in the ungoverned spaces of an internal state conflict, a need remains to
provide food, water, shelter and protection to noncombatants. The Geneva Convention (IV), Protection
of Civilian Persons in Time of War, states this:
Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have
laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any
other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction
founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.187
Where the Geneva Conventions are observed, the wounded and sick should be collected and cared for
by an impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The
ICRC’s mission is, on the basis of the Geneva Conventions and protocols, to protect and assist victims
of armed conflict and those affected by internal disturbances or tension.
In complex humanitarian emergencies where the armed combatants do not honor their responsibilities
and block the provision of humanitarian assistance to those in need, it becomes more challenging for
NGOs to provide life-sustaining services without injury or loss of life.
Thus, when warring parties fail to respect the humanitarian purpose of interventions, “the attempt
to provide assistance in situations of conflict may potentially render civilians more vulnerable to
attack, or may on occasion bring unintended advantage to one or more of the warring parties.”188
This presents additional challenges to the humanitarian community who are committed to achieving
“defined levels of service for people affected by calamity or armed conflict, and to promote the
observance of fundamental humanitarian principles.”189 To continue to provide assistance even when
the armed parties have abdicated their responsibilities under the Law of Land Warfare (FM 27-10),
NGOs must resort to ensuring their own protection a variety of ways.
Information Gathering, Analysis, and Dissemination
NGOs that act on humanitarian principles and strive not to be or perceived as being instruments of
government foreign policy can be viewed as a target or threat by power brokers in the region. In
187 ICRC, “Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949,” www.
188IFRC, The SPHERE Project, p. 18.
189 Ibid., p. 16.
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assessing the potential threat humanitarian programs might present, NGOs should ask themselves
several questions:190
• Can the national origin of your agency, your source of funding, or the way you operate (such
as in the areas of certain actors only or under the umbrella of a peacekeeping force that is
not perceived as neutral) cause you to be perceived as being associated with certain political
interests or certain groups that are actors in the conflict?
• Can certain public statements of your agency be construed as indicating a hidden political
• Can your programs be perceived as strengthening the war economy or the political economy
of somebody’s enemy?
• Are you undermining someone else’s power base?
Once an assessment of the programmatic impact on the existing stakeholder relationships, NGOs need
to examine the more concrete sources of risk. This can include asking questions like the following:
• Do your programs put you in the path of military operations?
• Are your operations too close to potential political or military targets?
• Can your entry and exit routes be affected?
• Do your programs put you in areas that are important to the war economy or the illegal trade
transactions that are a part of it?
• Do you have lootable resources in residences, offices, warehouses, programs, and the like?
• Do your program activities take you into high crime areas?
• If abuses and atrocities are committed can you be seen as an undesirable witness?
Site Selection and Facilities Management
Answers to these questions will drive the selection of the NGO’s operating base and field offices.
Physical spaces should be conducive to a secure and productive work environment yet provide
access to workers, beneficiaries, and colleagues and preventing intrusion and attack by undesirable
individuals. Over the years of operating in uncertain and hostile environments, the NGO community
has designed checklists, to assist security officers in site selection.191 These can include a variety of
• Do you know at least one of your neighbors?
• Do any NGO colleagues live in your area?
• Do you live on a two-way paved and well-maintained street?
• Do you live on a dead-end street?
• Are there several roads into or out of the neighborhood?
• Is your street a high-traffic or pedestrian route?
190 Van Brabant, Operational Security Management in Violent Environments, p. 40–41.
191InterAction, Suggested Guidance for Implementing InterAction’s Minimum Operating Security Standards (MOSS), www. (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Is there a history of crime in your neighborhood?
Are the streets well lighted at night?
Is there a major transportation station across the street or near your house?
Is there a fire station within a 5-minute drive of your home?
Is there a police station in your neighborhood?
Are there any host government officials or ministers living in your area?
Are you located near a university, opposition party office, or newspaper?
• Are all gates and doors kept locked and keys in your control?
• Do you have a means to control access to your residence?
• Do you employ trained guards?
• Are guards’ duties clearly defined and understood?
• Is your residence enclosed by a solid perimeter wall?
• Are there any trees, poles, or outbuildings close to the walls?
• Is the compound kept free of brush and debris?
• Are the premises and stairwells well lighted?
• Do you have a dog?
• Are doors made of solid core (wood or metal) construction?
• Are exterior locks cylinder type?
• Are doors equipped with deadbolt locks?
• Are all locks securely mounted?
• Can all exterior doors—terrace, porch, balcony, basement—be securely locked?
• Are there windows or soft door panels that when broken gain access to locks?
• Does anyone besides your immediate family have keys to your residence?
• Are unused doors permanently secured?
• Do you hide a main door spare key under a mat or flower pot nearby?
• Do you have a peephole, video monitor, or interview grille at main door?
• Are padlocks locked in place when doors are unlocked?
• Are padlock hasps securely installed so that screws cannot be removed?
• Are all first-floor windows protected with grilles?
• Are any window grilles hinged so as to be opened from inside?
• Are unused windows permanently secured and sealed?
• Are all windows securely mounted?
• Will breaking the glass give access to window locks?
• Are sliding glass doors secured with a track lock?
• Can upper story windows be easily accessed?
• Do any windows offer view of main entrance or street?
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• Is there a lockable, secure room to which you can retreat from danger?
• Are tools and equipment kept in a secure place?
• Do you keep your cash and valuables in a secure place?
• Do you have a list of serial numbers for valuable appliances (VCR, stereo, TV)?
• Do you maintain a property inventory?
• Are valuables properly described or photographed?
• Are valuables on display in common areas of the residence?
• Do you receive mail or deliveries at home?
• Have you developed procedures and guidance for family or workers in the event of break-in
or burglary?
• Have you posted the emergency contact information of police, fire, hospital, and so on?
• Does your residence have an evacuation plan and outside meeting point?
• Have you checked the references and health history of your domestic workers?
Security equipment
• Are fire extinguishers located around the residence?
• Has the fire fighting equipment been inspected or charged in the last year?
• Do all residents and workers know how to use fire fighting equipment?
• Are smoke detectors installed throughout the residence?
• Are batteries tested and changed regularly?
• Do you have a cell phone or handheld radio and spare batteries in the bedroom?
• Have you installed caller identification?
• Have you installed an alarm system?
• Do you shred all personal documents before discarding?
Serious consideration needs to be given to whether to highlight or downplay an NGO’s presence in
country. In general, where humanitarian space and the neutrality of NGO personnel are respected, the
more likely the location of the headquarters will be openly advertised.
Personal safety starts with the individual aid worker. Because NGO personnel must work in very
dynamic and semi-autonomous situations with few resources and little backup, they require a high
level of initiative, resourcefulness, maturity and judgment. Successful missions require workers to
adjust their habits and lifestyles to minimize exposure to risks.
The SPHERE code of conduct states NGO personnel “will endeavor to respect the culture, structure, and
customs of the communities and countries we are working in.”192 To accomplish this, NGO personnel
will adjust their physical appearance, living arrangements, modes of travel, venues for entertainment,
accountability, and sources of companionship to the expectations of the local population. In addition
192IFRC, The SPHERE Project, p. 318.
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to being a beneficial, nonthreatening member of society, the acceptance strategy requires personnel
to establish and maintain broad-based relationships and to sustain inclusive contacts with multiple
authorities and powerbrokers while maintaining an image that is both respectful and respected.193
Unlike a military force, which commands respect through force of arms, humanitarian workers can
rely only on their reputation, which may take years to build and be destroyed in an instant. As a result,
NGO personnel are extremely sensitive with being seen as instruments of government foreign policy,
even when they might share the same nationality or even mission as the military force.
Appropriate technology, procedures, and training are necessary for clear, coordinated, and effective
external and internal communications systems. Communications provide some unique challenges to
NGOs that military personnel are unlikely to wrestle with, however.
NGOs strive to provide assistance based on need rather than race, religion, political affiliation, or
ability to pay. To avoid the perception of favoritism and operate in a neutral manner, NGO do not
normally use any encryption devices and operate with the understanding that the local government
will likely be monitoring all their communications. Because NGOs may provide assistance to all parties
in the conflict, they will be exposed to sensitive information that could be used to assist the political
or military objectives of either side. This requires that information be recorded and transmitted in a
way that reduces rather than fuels conflict.
Although modern communications equipment is essential for the NGO headquarters to remain in
contact with field offices or mobile teams, the equipment might make NGO personnel a target of
crime in areas where the technology is not commonly available. A satellite phone, which provides
an NGO team global coverage, might represent the ability to tip the balance of power in a conflict.
The same might apply for a vehicle outfitted with a communication suite of HF, UHF, or VHF radios.
In some areas, simply carrying a cell phone or radio could be viewed as a threat by those who would
like to keep their activities concealed. Thus even as NGO personnel must maintain communication
between themselves and higher headquarters, they must be careful to select equipment that will not
increase the risk to themselves or the mission.
NGO communications specialists thus have an enormously challenging job of selecting equipment
that will allow reliable communication without raising the NGO’s profile or risk to aid personnel
working unarmed in areas of high risk. Security officers must educate and train NGO personnel as to
what should and cannot be transmitted by radio, cell phone, or e-mail. And, as noted earlier, it is the
responsibility of individual NGO personnel to practice and master their respective communication
193 Van Brabant, Operational Security Management in Violent Environments, p. 60.
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Reliable transportation is essential for NGO operations, but also poses the greatest risk of accidents,
assault, injury, and death for aid workers. “At least half of all security incidents occur during travel.”194
To minimize these risks, adequate resources for proper vehicle selection, maintenance, driver
employment, protective equipment, and procedures all are necessary.
Vehicle selection is perhaps the most critical first step. Understanding the environmental conditions
of travel, the availability of fuel, parts, and trained mechanics will extend the lifespan of a vehicle.
However, the NGO must balance the need for a completely reliable low mileage vehicle against raising
the risk of becoming a target of carjacking in areas of conflict or crime. It is critical to follow a vehicle
maintenance schedule, especially when operating in rough terrain or extreme climate conditions.
Perhaps the second most important transportation safety factor is ensuring that drivers are properly
trained and in the correct frame of mind when behind the wheel. Familiarizing personnel with the
unique characteristics of environment will reduce surprise caused by sharing the road with animals,
pushcarts, or unmarked sections of the under construction. Driving while tired or with the added
stress in a conflict area can increase the chance of an accident for even the safest driver.
Sometimes NGOs mitigate these risks by hiring local drivers. Besides the basic requirements of a valid
drivers license, driving experience, good eyesight, and maturity, the driver should have technical
competence with the vehicle in question. The driver will have influence which routes are taken, how
check points are negotiated, and over time become a de facto representative of the organization. The
added benefit of having someone who knows their way around thus comes with its own risks.
A driver from a disenfranchised group, whether religious, ethnic, racial, or caste, may engender
prejudice against the NGO. The driver might also be part of a group intent on stealing the vehicle or
committing a crime against the NGO. Background checks are useful but not always effective in areas
without a criminal justice system or where people use many different personal names.
Reporting and Responding to Security Incidents
Incident report data analysis and dissemination is critical to project management and decisionmaking, not only for an individual NGO, but also for all the other organizations involved in providing
assistance in the same area. Patterns, trends, and events in the local culture and environment
contribute to appropriate planning, training, and allocation of resources. If this is done openly and
inclusively, developing a common operating picture can benefit to the host government, the military,
and NGOs alike. That said, levels of information sharing will differ depending on the relationship with
the reporting organization.
194 Ibid., p. 113.
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Chapter 17. Security
Internally, there needs to be a incident report mechanism that immediately alerts all other members
of the NGO of all environmental and mission changes with safety and security implications. This is
usually the most important and difficult task because it depends on individual team members to
record and share information that may not seem important or particularly useful at the time.
At a minimum, the report should normally include who is reporting, what happened, where it
happened, when it happened, who was involved, what the impact is on those affected, who perpetrated
the incident, a summary of the current situation, and whether any problems arose, actions were
proposed or taken, or decisions or actions requested of headquarters.195
In high tempo or stress environments, events such as looting a store or destroying a bridge may
happen so frequently that they reset the threshold for a critical event. Thus, though it is important
for NGO personnel to comprehensively understand the local environment, key actors, and pulse of
daily life, becoming too familiar with violence and destruction can breed complacency about an everincreasing threat level.
Other challenges to information sharing are compounded when members of a team have different
experience levels or rotate on a regular basis. Without knowing the character and temperament of
colleagues or respecting and trusting their judgment, the group dynamics of the team rapidly break
down, opening information gaps that can lead to accidents or attacks.
Sometimes local staff are not privy to certain information or are excluded from team meetings. This
can erode trust and have fatal results given that the local staff often have a better understanding
of the social undercurrents that can in turn affect the safety and security of the NGO’s personnel
or operations. Sometimes the field office may withhold information from headquarters in fear that
headquarters might curtail operations, making a proper analysis of the need to evacuate difficult.
Thus the planning and training before deployment and refresher training throughout the operation
are critical to the long-term success of any operation.
Security Planning
Security planning is an ongoing process that continually refines and reassesses the threat
environment. By establishing and enforcing policies and procedures and providing guidance for
possible contingencies NGOs can reduce the most obvious risks and mitigate the worst effects of
accidents and attacks.
Before the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, many NGOs operated in violent environments without
developing a strong organizational culture of safety and security.196 Many times, aid personnel
relied on the immunity provided by humanitarian space and did not view themselves as party to
the conflict. A series of factors including, intermingling of NGO and U.S. government programming,
195 Ibid., pp. 240–41.
196 Ibid., p. 9.
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Chapter 17. Security
specific targeting of NGO staff for kidnapping and execution by violent extremist groups, and the shift
in U.S. military policy to begin engaging directly
in reconstruction and stabilization activities all
Executive Summary
served in increase the risks of injury and death for
ƒƒ NGOs and military should not work against
NGO personnel.
each other in humanitarian emergencies
if they want to maximize their utility and
As a result, the many of the NGOs who remained in
Afghanistan and Iraq have built more formal safety
ƒƒ Each has a role that is complementary—not
and security systems to meet the new threats.
detrimental or contrary—to the other.
These changes include adding safety and security
ƒƒ Past examples of military-NGO collaboration
measures to grant proposals and providing safety
have shown that NGOs and the military can
and security education and training courses
for deploying personnel. Perhaps one of the
ƒƒ Some, but not all NGOs, will work,
coordinate, or interface with the military.
most important changes has been an increased
recruitment of professional security officers with
formal military, police, or intelligence experience.
NGOs and Security Officers
Large NGOs such as CARE, Save the Children, and World Vision have full-time security officers
and a small security department. They provide advice on field safety and security issues, conduct
assessments for field offices, and are responsible for policy and procedure. Many of these departments
are supplemented by contractors with varying security experience for short- and long-term field
Although large NGOs have a headquarters security staff, headquarters itself often doesn’t have
control over all aspects of field safety and security. Field security staff may view directives as advisory,
subject to interpretation. An established command structure, as found in the military is not present
in NGOs.
Each NGO country office usually has someone within senior management staff responsible for safety
and security, but this individual is usually part of the logistics, administrative, or operations division,
and not a dedicated security officer. Security officers are brought in to assist if the need arises.
Some organizations are moving toward having security focal points in each of the field office that
would report to the country office. Safety and security are not the primary functions of the field office,
however, and personnel in these focal points tend to be local or national staff.
Medium-sized NGOs may or may not have security staff. Security is usually assigned to someone as a
secondary duty, typically someone overseeing program management. Small NGOs may have someone
with an interest in security with past military or law enforcement experience, but typically have no
established security functions.
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Chapter 18. The Military
Security Coordination in the Field
The face of NGO security may change in the future with USAID calling for standardization of security
policies and procedures for funded NGOs. InterAction, an organization that represents U.S. NGO
interests, has called for minimum operating standards for security, as well.
Currently, coordination efforts follow one of three models:
• funded bodies, such as ANSO in Afghanistan, which serves the entire humanitarian community
in a location;
• ad hoc, which is a cooperative effort staffed by security officers working in a location, usually
larger NGOs in high threat environments; or
• the United Nations, which dictates policy and procedures.
Although previously perceived by the military as lax about security, NGOs since the 1990s have
created a plethora of security protocols, manuals, and guidelines to reflect the nature of what they
do. Manuals, protocols, papers, and further reading can be found on all aspects of NGO security at a
number of online resources.
 resource: Security-Related Reading
• Security manuals
• Papers, reports and studies
• InterAction
• European Commission Humanitarian Aid Development Office
• International Security Assistance Force
• NGO Security Blogspot
• Koenraad Van Brabant, Operational Security Management in Violent Environments, Good
Practice Review #8 (London: Overseas Development Institute, 2000)
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Chapter 18. The Military
Chapter 18.
NGOs and the Military
GOs and military units each play essential roles in humanitarian emergencies. Both are able
providers of humanitarian assistance in some of the worst places on earth, and millions of people
worldwide have benefited from humanitarian services provided by either NGOs or militaries or both.
History of NGO and Military Interaction
In the 1990s, international NGOs and the world militaries worked collaboratively in Somalia, Bosnia,
northern Iraq, Albania, and Kosovo, after the Indian Ocean tsunami, and in Pakistan, to name a few.197
Issues, however, arose when U.S. military forces
Figure 18.1 Coordinating Mechanisms
became a belligerent to the conflicts in Afghanistan
and Iraq and had a new mission of foreign
humanitarian assistance (FHA) that included the
term heart and minds as a way to describe providing
aid.198 Most NGOs avoid close affiliation with any
military, preferring to remain autonomous and
impartial in how they distribute aid. As noted in
chapter 17, because NGOs rely on impartiality as
part of their credibility, any appearance of working
body or
with the military strips away this impartiality and is
thus in some measure counterproductive.199
And though no evidence-based statistics support or
refute the notion that cooperation, coordination, or
association with the military is detrimental to the
safety of an NGO, humanitarian aid worker deaths
and kidnappings have gone up sharply with military
involvement in FHA since 2001.200
The long-held views of both the humanitarian aid community and the military have hindered
discussions and collaboration. The word coordinate continues to hinder or stop effective
197 See Joint Chiefs, Interorganizational Coordination, (accessed
June 1, 2009).
198 See Department of Defense, “Instruction: Stability Operations,”
pdf; Joint Chiefs, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, (accessed June 1,
2009); Joint Chiefs, Interorganizational Coordination, (accessed
June 1, 2009); Chris Seiple, The U.S. Military/NGO Relationship in Humanitarian Interventions (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army
War College, Peacekeeping Institute/Center for Strategic Leadership, 1996).
199 See Joint Chiefs, Interorganizational Coordination, (accessed
June 1, 2009).
200 Burnham et al., “Deaths Among Aid Workers;” “2008 Deadliest Year for Aid Workers,” (accessed June 1, 2009),
worker%20fatalities/2004%20to%202007%20Map/2004_to_2007_Map.html (accessed June 1, 2009).
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Chapter 18. The Military
communication and dialogue. Complicating the dialogue are the differing definitions of the word that
the military and NGOs use. It is not uncommon to hear the military state that they are required by
doctrine to coordinate with NGOs nor to hear NGOs say that they not coordinate or be coordinated by
the military. In fact, the UN and NGOs define the term as meeting or talking and sharing information,
whereas the military uses it to mean command and control of a given situation.
Furthermore, the military use the phrase functional interdependence to mean that one organization
relies on another to attain the objective.201 Again, and though the end may be the same, NGOs do not
necessarily have the same objective as the military when it comes to a village.
As described in publication JP 3-08, this interdependence can form a strong and potentially lasting
bond between agencies, departments, and organizations. A good example is when NGOs effectively
conducted relief operations in Somalia and the early evolutions in the Balkans in the 1990s with
the security provided by the armed forces of the United States. Another type of interdependence
is called resource interdependence, and is based on one organization providing certain capabilities
that another lacks and can include resources such as manpower, logistics, training augmentation,
communication, and financial backing.
In DODD 3000.05, the following instruction is given:
Integrated civilian and military efforts are key to successful stability operations. Whether
conducting or supporting stability operations, the Department of Defense shall be prepared to
work closely with relevant U.S. Departments and Agencies, foreign governments and security
forces, global and regional international organizations (hereafter referred to as “International
Organizations”), U.S. and foreign nongovernmental organizations (hereafter referred to as
“NGOs”), and private sector individuals and for-profit companies (hereafter referred to as
“Private Sector”).202
“Be prepared to work closely with” is interpreted by many in the military as coordination. Even
publications JP 3-08 and JP 3-29 use the terms cooperate and coordinate inconsistently, leaving
interpretation to commanders on the ground.203
What all DOD documents state unequivocally, however, is within the context of DOD involvement, that
interagency coordination occurs between elements of DOD and engaged U.S. government agencies
to achieve an objective. But it is USAID that plays a major role in U.S. foreign assistance policy and a
principal role in interagency coordination. The Department of State must ask DOD by an EXECSEC
memo to participate in a disaster. Coordination is then with USAID204, DART, and the response
201 See Joint Chiefs, Interorganizational Coordination, chap. 1: 1–10:
(accessed June 1, 2009).
202 See Department of Defense, “Instruction: Stability Operations,”
pdf (accessed June 1, 2009).
203 For further details on coordination and relationships with NGOs and IGOs, see Joint Chiefs, Interorganizational
Coordination, (accessed Jun 1, 2009).
204 USAID and OFDA rely on host nation request for assistance
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Chapter 18. The Military
management team. Furthermore, DOD instructions also state that “the extent to which specific NGOs
are willing to cooperate with the military can thus vary considerably.”205
Coordinating NGOs and Military
Coordinating and integrating efforts in a disaster between NGOs and the military should not be
equated to the command and control of a military operation.206 Military operations depend on a
command structure that is often quite different from that of civilian organizations and may present
challenges to both groups. NGOs do not operate within military or governmental hierarchies. It is best
to identify a military liaison within the NGO community to manage efforts.207
Larger NGOs will often have a military liaison staff member to manage military interface (see figure
18.1, sample A). World Vision, CARE, CRS, and other large NGOs will often employ specialists or retired
military personnel to assist in managing relations and activities that require interface with U.S. or
other military entities. These are important positions, because language and operational differences
between NGO and militaries are often overwhelming for all parties involved. An NGO staff person
who understands how to work with military personnel will make a working relationship much more
productive and feasible.
This is not to say that having a military expert or liaison expert on an NGO’s staff is required. It is in
fact not common, and more than likely an NGO will depend on an NGO coordinating body or regional
association in the affected area or region to provide some framework or order to relationships
between the military and the NGO community (see figure 18.1, sample B).
Coordinating with NGOs
When military or government personnel coordinate or communicate with NGO representatives, they
should understand that NGO staff members are a part of a larger organization but with a specific,
sometimes autonomous and essential job function. When identifying who to refer to as the point
person, special attention should be given to the type of coordination needed, the sector that this
coordination will concern, and the scale of operation. To identify the appropriate person to coordinate
with, these points may help:
• Type. Do identify with NGO staff members what types of things you’ll need to coordinate.
Refugee movement? Water supply? Air transport? This will give you an idea of what NGO staff
type and level you’ll need to be coordinating with.
205 See Department of Defense, “Instruction: Stability Operations,”
pdf; Joint Chiefs, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, (accessed June
1, 2009).
206 See Joint Chiefs, Interorganizational Coordination, (accessed
June 1, 2009).
207 See Department of Defense, “Instruction: Stability Operations,” II-30,
pdf/300005p.pdf; Joint Chiefs, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance,
(accessed June 1, 2009).
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Chapter 18. The Military
• Sector. Do identify with NGO staff members the sector or area of service provision you’ll need
to coordinate within. Medical and health service sector coordination will require working
with different NGO personnel than refugee protection or transportation coordination would.
• Scale. For smaller coordination activities, military staff members may find it most useful and
efficient to coordinate with lower-level NGO program officers and staff members dealing
with specific tasks. For larger scale activities, NGOs will often appoint a military liaison
staff member or office, or work with the UN to do establish either a CMOC or coordination
mechanism like this.
In many cases, NGOs will allow USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) to serve
as the broker for humanitarian coordination between the military and the NGO community. OFDA
is often respected as a government agency and has resources to expend when operating in an
emergency. Military officers have often given preference to dealing with one government agency
rather than numerous independent NGOs. OFDA is not a direct representative for NGOs to the
military or other entities, but OFDA staff members often secure places at coordination tables for NGO
personnel, and in many instances advocate for them to be included or supported. OFDA funds many
NGO activities during emergencies and can use its government and donor status combined with its
existing relationship with military units to ensure that NGO needs, requests, and ideas are heard at
the table. NGO-military relationships are now improving because of a good history of operational
contact (now well over 10 years), and because both communities have taken lessons from failures
and successes in the last decade.
NGOs and military units both have significant incentives to coordinate and collaborate. As implied,
NGOs need many things from the military: logistical assistance, communications, intelligence,
and protection among them. The military, too, has found it valuable to coordinate with NGOs for
understanding ground-level activity, to manage population movements, assistance projects,
and general humanitarian activities. Both groups—whether or not originally desired—find that
coordination is essential.
For more formal coordination, various organizational forums—humanitarian operations centers
(HOCs), civilian military operations centers (CMOCs), on-site operations coordination centers
(OSOCCs), and humanitarian affairs centers (HACs)—have been formed in Haiti, Somalia and
Rwanda, Albania, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to officially organize activities among the many
organizations involved in humanitarian operations. For NGOs, these are places to liaise with UN and
military operations staff members and to learn about pertinent political and military developments.
For UN and donor agencies, they are a place to obtain ground-level information from NGOs and military
units. Although not always extremely successful in coordinating humanitarian activities, such forums
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have been successful at developing an overall picture of the humanitarian crisis and coordinating
funding, donor activity, and logistical and military operational support for such activities.
If a situation does not lend itself to face-to-face contact, the UN’s ReliefWeb Internet site is a useful
hub for humanitarian exchange and information on complex emergencies and natural disasters.
Several online resources are particularly valuable for the detailed information they offer on how best
to interface with NGOs in conflict settings or nonconflict settings.
• Interagency Standing Committee, “Civil Military Relationship in Complex Emergencies” (2004)
• InterAction, “Interaction Guidelines of Civil-Military Relationships” (2007)
• UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance: “Guidelines” (2005)
Where to Coordinate with NGOs
NGOs can almost always be approached in person, by telephone, or by e-mail. In the field, NGO
personnel can be spoken to directly and are often very friendly. Coordination centers or NGO association
headquarters are valuable places to contact NGOs during a disaster. When no one physical location is
designated, most NGO employees will be able to indicate where, when, or how they coordinate among
themselves. Military personnel are also often guided to the NGO coordination body, which will typically
have contact information for member NGOs, can indicate what NGOs are doing in the region, and can
identify which NGOs are active in specific sectors. Military personnel or NGO outsiders can request
the names and contact information for specific country directors, program officers, logistics officers,
and other NGO staff. Program officers may be involved with numerous projects. Additionally, smaller
NGOs often assign one person multiple tasks, so that, for example, a communications officer might
also be a logistician or program specialist. Language barriers are not uncommon given the nature of
humanitarian assistance, so it always pays to know at least a few greetings in a few languages and to
be scrupulously polite in all circumstances.
• Humanitarian information centers (HICs). The UN often sets up humanitarian information
centers that also serve as central coordination points. Many times NGOs are either required
or voluntarily register with an HIC to keep updated on meetings, regional news, and
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Chapter 18. The Military
developments. HICs are normally located in central activity areas, often close to UN offices or
where the international community stakes out an unofficial headquarters.
• Civil-military operations centers (CMOCs) or humanitarian operations centers (HOCs). HOCs
are often established as the official coordinating center between NGOs, the UN, governments,
IOs, and the military.
• On-site operations coordination centers (OSOCC). The term OSOCC was used in Rwanda,
and essentially fulfilled the same role as the HOCs did in Somalia. It was a place for official
coordination between NGOs, the UN, donors, other IOs, and the military.
• The Internet. Relief Web, HICs, and are good starting points.
How NGOs and the Military Relate
Many countries authorize their militaries to respond to international humanitarian crises. NGOs can
respond to any they choose if they have the resources and capabilities. The U.S. and EU militaries are
most commonly found in larger-scale humanitarian emergencies when specific strategic or political
interests are involved—the Balkans, Afghanistan, Somalia, and so on. U.S. Department of Defense
efforts are guided by specific directives and doctrine that establish what types of humanitarian
assistance can and should be deployed under specific circumstances.208 In countries affected by an
emergency, the national military forces are often mobilized to maintain order and to assist in relief
efforts, reconstruction, transport, communications, and coordination efforts.
NGOs respond to almost all international humanitarian emergencies regardless of the possible
associated political or strategic value. Because they often depend on donor funding, NGOs are often
strapped by the priorities, strategies, funding cycles, and preferences of the donor agencies and
countries. NGOs of concern in this manual, mostly western-based international relief organizations,
often use their own capacity and resources during the initial stages of an emergency and can act
independently of any donor for a time before needing to seek support from outside donors or agencies.
NGOs are extremely operational, requiring little logistical support or supporting bureaucracy in
making decisions.
Because both NGOs and the military act as humanitarian actors, each can relate to a specific mission
or objectives, and focus on a target when coordinating or communicating. Although an objective, or
method for achieving that objective, may be different for NGOs and militaries, understanding that
there is one is often enough to start dialogue between the two entities.
NGOs and military units share geography and space. Each serve in settings that are victim to major
disequilibrium of the political, social, or economic status quo (sometimes all three). Somalia, Haiti,
208 See Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Doctrine for Civil-Military Operations, JP 3-57 (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff,
2003),; The NATO Civil-Military Co-operation CIMIC Doctrine,
AJP-09 (Brussels: North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 2003),; Joint Task Force
Commander’s Handbook for Peace Operations, JWP 3-50 (Fort Monroe, VA: Joint Warfighting Center, 1997), www. These and other pertinent doctrines explain or outline military
intervention policies, response triggers, and types of responses authorized (
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Chapter 18. The Military
Afghanistan, and Albania are examples of complex humanitarian crises that are largely man-made
and not ideal for any type of mission. Such conditions are difficult to work in, and NGOs and militaries
have adapted with different management structures, culture, and protocol. A military staff person may
wear camouflage and an NGO person street clothing, but both are experiencing abnormal conditions
under stress, fatigue, danger, and possibly depression or disgust. Although motivated for different
reasons, each person or entity share the difficulty of being in a complex emergency setting.
NGOs and militaries share the goal of changing a current condition. Military operations—whether
with humanitarian intentions or not—are often devoted to changing a specific condition, power,
or problem. Militaries are becoming more involved in complex humanitarian emergencies and
humanitarian action because population health and humanitarian conditions are important to the
political side of operations or to establishing conditions for the departure of military forces (peace).
NGOs, however, are devoted solely to changing humanitarian conditions. Both NGOs and militaries
understand that their objectives may be different, but that movement is important.
NGOs and military units both provide extremely valuable services during humanitarian emergencies
and neither can replace the other completely. NGOs are nimble, quick, efficient, and focused on
displaced populations (DP). They target their operations on ensuring that DP needs are met. Military
units are forceful, capable and, supported by large organizational and physical infrastructure that can
be used in a variety of ways.
With more exposure to each other, many NGO personnel and military personnel are now somewhat
comfortable with military humanitarian interventions and coordination with military units, or simply
better understand each other’s comfort zones and limits.
Over the last decade, experiences suggest that NGOs and militaries can operate together but that
challenges still exist. During the Kosovo crisis in 1999, NATO forces and NGOs worked closely together
in many instances. Still, communication and expectations became skewed. A Watson Institute paper
titled NATO and Humanitarian Action in the Kosovo Crisis suggested two themes.209 First, despite
coordination efforts and extensive collaboration, NGOs often became frustrated with the idle capacity
that military commanders left on reserve for emergency or contingency action. NGO managers
thought it strange that thousands of troops and large logistical supply stores were left unused for
long periods while NGOs were short staffed and the needs of the displaced were high. Second, NGO
and military culture clashed, even in coordination settings. NGOs often wanted to make sure of a
distinct line between military operations and NGO relief activities. At the time, NGOs felt intimidated
or frustrated over the way military personnel operated.
For their part, some aid organizations sought to place a certain distance between themselves
and the military. One reported a sharp exchange at a briefing for a senior KFOR officer.
209 Larry Minear, Ted Van Baarda, and Marc Sommers, “NATO and Humanitarian Action in the Kosovo Crisis,” Occasional
Paper #36 (Providence, RI: Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies and the Humanitarian Law
Consultancy, 2000).
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Chapter 18. The Military
“Gentlemen,” said an NGO official with provocation aforethought, “I’m not in your chain of
command.” “Then you’re out of control,” shot back one of the officers. “No, I’m a humanitarian
professional.” That difference in viewpoint was reconfirmed in day-to-day experience.
“Nobody can tell an NGO what to do,” lamented a KFOR official.210
There is still much to learn in both the NGO and military communities, but experience thus far indicates
that relationships are becoming easier to manage, and that ways to manage these relationships are
well-known. NGOs and militaries play critical roles in humanitarian emergencies, different roles, but
both critical.
How NGOs Perceive the Military
The Kosovo example is a good one of the civil-military relationship in the 1990s and perhaps today.
Although not always extremely apparent, some (but not all) NGO personnel have many feelings
about the military: disdain, nervousness (around weapons, camouflage, saluting), ignorance (which
often leads to nervousness or disdain), previous bad experiences (Kent State University, Somalia), or
philosophical opposition. Regardless of the possible cause of ill feelings, cultural differences between
NGOs and the military are significant. Because NGOs exist solely to deliver humanitarian assistance,
many feel that they have a mandate for leading the charge in disasters. NGOs have learned, however,
that they cannot take on large-scale disasters alone.
No official poll had tabulated NGO personnel feelings about working with or the place of militaries
in humanitarian emergency responses. In numerous field cases, articles, and personal accounts,
NGO staff members have displayed an array of emotions and feelings about military humanitarian
interventions. Included here are some themes that often arise within the humanitarian community,
but that are not necessarily true or representative.
• Militaries are designed for fighting or defending, not for implementing humanitarian
assistance operations.
• Primary military motives are antihumanitarian and political.
• Aid is conditional given that militaries are designed as combat organizations.211
• Military personnel have no humanitarian training and little ability to understand the needs
of the displaced.
• Militaries pay too much attention to force protection and self-preservation to make them
truly humanitarian agents.
• Militaries have rigid and inflexible management structures that make coordinating with other
organizations and responding to highly dynamic humanitarian conditions difficult.
210 Dennis Gallagher, Michel Moussalli, and David Bosco, Civilian and Military Means of Providing and Supporting
Humanitarian Assistance during Conflict: A Comparative Analysis (Washington, DC: Refugee Policy Group, 1997), pp.
211 See Department of Defense, “Instruction: Stability Operations,”
pdf; Joint Chiefs, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, (accessed June
1, 2009).
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Almost all these points are false. Such sentiments that can be found in various NGO personnel ranks
and in vocalized sentiment in NGO-military coordination meetings, but are mostly generalizations
and uneducated statements. Militaries now have extensive training facilities and programs dedicated
to readying military personnel for a variety of situations. They are today extremely able, sensitive,
and efficient in implementing humanitarian operations.
Civil-Military Cooperation Lessons Learned
In northern Iraq in the early 1990s (Operation Provide Comfort), NGOs found it necessary to create
a coordinating mechanism. At no time had military forces been so involved in international relief
activities, nor had there been such a need to coordinate so many NGOs, donors, and IOs in the same
region. NGOs formed the NGO Coordinating Committee for Northern Iraq (NCCNI), which then
served as the NGO Emergency Coordinating Body shown in figure 18.2. It was the foundation for
communications with a diverse set of donors, military units, government agencies, refugee and IDP
councils, and IOs all in some way participating in HAOs.
Figure 18.2 NGO Emergency Coordinating Body for Iraq, early 1990s
NGOs will
often create a
body during
an emergency
to coordinate
their activities
and consolidate
points of
contact for
other entities
within an HAO.
In late spring of 1999 in Kosovo, NGOs and NATO military officers spent considerable time coordinating
and informing each other of various developments, needs, or experiences. For general coordination
meetings, first daily and later weekly, NGOs would send representatives to meet with the various
KFOR commanders or officers at specific locations, often hosted by UNHCR, UNDP or other larger
agencies. Depending on the sector of military activity and the style or host of the meeting, NATO
officers would give updates on de-mining activities, equipment or troop movements, violence or
violent occurrences, and descriptions of safe areas, security protocol, and other issues relating to the
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Chapter 18. The Military
movement and safety of IO and NGO personnel in specific areas. NGOs and IO personnel would also
normally share their individual project developments, challenges, questions, plans, and vision.
A number of lessons about NGOs have been learned:
• NGOs are generally capable organizations but lack communication and logistical capacities.
• NGOs are civilian organizations that do not fall into a military-style command structure.
• NGOs prefer to keep their programs, activities, and image as independent as possible.
• NGOs can work effectively and efficiently during an emergency, often with a comparative
advantage in specific sectors or regions.
• Routine and informal meetings between the NGO community, UN agencies, and the military
can cut through a lot of stress, tension, and misunderstanding.212
The military has taken note of the last of these lessons. Since the success in northern Iraq of Operation
Provide Comfort and for ongoing coordination purposes, U.S. military doctrine now provides for the
creation of civilian-military operation centers, or CMOCs. CMOCs are now a standard platform of
interaction between the U.S. military and the humanitarian community in emergencies, emphasizing
coordination activities before and during humanitarian emergencies between military units and
specific NGOs and humanitarian agencies active in certain emergencies.213 CMOCs are valuable
entities and have enjoyed large NGO support in many emergencies since 1991, and aim to provide
coordination and support services to NGOs and other humanitarian organizations. NATO supports
civil-military cooperation centers (CIMICs) that serve the same end as U.S. CMOCs.214
NGOs have in turn learned a great deal about the military, particularly operational lessons.
• Military units can provide unprecedented and unequalled logistical and communication
services for the humanitarian assistance community (military or not).
• Military units normally have a monopoly on the use of force and normally are the only
equipped entities capable of providing safe zones and stability in conflict regions.
• During humanitarian emergencies, personnel in both the military and NGO camps are pressed
to assist displaced in the best way possible.
• Although the military may speak a different cultural or operational language, alleviating
suffering and providing stability in emergency settings are goals of both communities.215
There have been other successful military run information-coordination centers in Afghanistan,
Kuwait, and Indonesia. A humanitarian operations center, also called a civil-military operations
212 Conclusions supported by Seiple, The U.S. Military/NGO Relationship, pp. 40–43, and others, including Aal, Davidson,
Hayes, and Landond (see sources).
213 See Joint Chiefs, Interorganizational Coordination, (accessed
June 1, 2009).
214 For a general discussion of NGO and military coordination in emergencies, see Lisa Witzig Davidson, Margaret
Daly Hayes, James J. Landon, Humanitarian and Peace Operations: NGOs and the Military in the Interagency Process
(Washington, DC: NDU Press Book, 1996). Chapters 3 and 4 cover successes and failures of NGO-military interaction.
215 See Minear, Van Baarda, and Sommers, “NATO and Humanitarian Action in the Kosovo Crisis.” For a thorough
discussion of the difference in cultures between the NGO community and the military, see pp. 57–73.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 18. The Military
center, run by the U.S. military, was indispensable in Kuwait during the 2003 Iraq invasion.216
Although coordination met with resistance from NGOs in the early stages of the war, ultimately
more than 80 NGOs, the UN, and the military met within this center and worked together. Having a
neutral and media-free space for close interaction and discussion allowed civil and military actors
to consult without having to fight the usual issues of ownership and control. At the HOC-Kuwait,
humanitarian information was collected and shared. The vast preponderance of cooperation and
collaboration, interestingly, occurred informally over coffee after daily briefings. Lessons learned
from this productive experience have been invaluable in easing the often times contentious civilmilitary relationship. Themes that recurred over the years are notable, and include simply agreeing
on common definitions of important terms and avoiding use of confusing acronyms and potentially
offensive phrases.217 NGOs, for example, agreed to avoid using the term belligerent, and the military
agreed not to call the NGOs force multipliers.
Pulled together, the various resources, skills, and capacities of both the NGO and military communities
can create a viable and thorough humanitarian response to even extremely large emergencies.
Successes in parts of the Middle East, the Balkans, East Africa, the Caribbean, and more recent natural
disasters demonstrate this. When NGO and military personnel communicate closely and attempt to
understand how the other works and what the other’s needs are, operations can run extremely well.
Working with the military does not necessarily mean sacrificing impartiality or transparency, and
often the benefits of working with the military far outweigh the costs. NGOs have found that they too
must heed some major lessons to make working with militaries more effective and efficient. Despite
continuing to work to alleviate suffering and remain impartial, many NGOs feel that close collaboration
with the military would compromise their impartiality, security, or humanitarian image. Many NGO
personnel feel as if military objectives, goals, systems, and organizational direction are puzzling or
not integrated with humanitarian principles. This situation is changing, but many NGO personnel
still argue that militaries have little or no role in humanitarian assistance. Although the number of
people who hold these opinions seems to be diminishing, it is still an important facet for military and
government representatives to keep in mind when dealing with a diverse NGO staff body.
Interdependence in Emergencies
Regardless of personality, culture or even systems clashing, NGOs and militaries are interdependent
in many humanitarian emergencies. They are not the only actors, but are linked more closely together
than with any other entity because of their focus on operational assistance. Scale, type, and intent
may be different, but NGOs and militaries often help each other maximize utility. In a study completed
in 1997, the Refugee Policy Group came up with a series of conclusions about comparative NGOmilitary advantages.
216See U.S. Army After Action Report. Copies available by contacting LTC James C Brown, at [email protected]
217 A. Mack, “The Humanitarian Operation Center, Kuwait: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003,” International Peacekeeping
11, no. 4 (Winter 2004), pp. 683–96.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 18. The Military
• NGOs can obtain and manage humanitarian supplies faster and more efficiently than the
military can. With more in-depth understanding of what displaced persons need during
emergencies, NGOs are best suited to procure the right types of supplies.
• NGOs are more efficient in providing medical care and supplies to displaced persons than
militaries are. Militaries are often focused only on providing medical services to combatants
and military personnel. Although the military does have more in-patient capabilities, NGOs
use local medical infrastructure more efficiently and do not undermine local infrastructure.
• NGOs are better at tapping local resources, feedback, and capacity. With staff members
immersed in local populations, NGOs can absorb information faster than militaries can, often
because militaries are isolated by force protection requirements.
• NGOs are better at managing refugee camps and providing water and sanitation services
because of their close relationships with UNHCR. NGO staff members are also often trained or
specialized in various aspects of camp management.218
Militaries, too, have various comparative advantages. Without the military in many instances, NGOs
would have been unable to provide humanitarian services or less efficient in their programming.
• Militaries have a monopoly on security and the use of force. When a population is affected by
conflict, external, noncombatant militaries can provide security for humanitarian operations,
displaced persons, and both NGO and UN staff and infrastructure. NGOs, with strict neutrality
and noncombatant policies and lack of capacity, cannot.
• Militaries can provide extensive intelligence information about population movements,
security conditions, road, river and bridge conditions, and other information pertinent to
conducting humanitarian operations. NGOs do not have satellites, intelligence analysts, or
other capacities to collect and digest complex and intricate information.
• Militaries have by far the largest airlift capacity globally. Aside from the private sector, the
combined load capacity of which is much greater than even the U.S. military, the US military
is the largest single organization that can lift humanitarian supplies and materials in almost
every condition and in very short notice. NGOs do use aircraft, but normally sporadically and
in the worst scenarios for minimal periods.
• Militaries have distinct advantages in large-scale communications infrastructure and
communications capacities. NGOs often depend on communication capacities from militaries
or UN agencies (or both) because large satellite stations, bandwidth, and other regional or
global communications are not available at reasonable costs for NGOs.
• Militaries can respond to maritime and/or chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high
yield explosives (CBRNE) emergencies. NGOs have almost no capacity.219
218 For a full discussion of military and NGO comparative advantages, see Gallagher, Moussalli, and Bosco, Civilian and
Military Means, pp. 8–11.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 18. The Military
Conclusion: Who Leads the Way in Humanitarian Emergencies?
Chris Seiple’s study of four military operations that placed NGOs and military units into substantial
contact is still one of the more valuable texts in understanding the interaction and challenges that arise
from NGO-military collaboration. NGOs and military units operating in humanitarian emergencies
share many goals, and should work together to make humanitarian operations efficient. In Seiple’s
case studies, detail is given that explains the intricacies of how NGO-U.S. military interaction worked
well and not so well. Major themes were discerned: the results are perceived differently, and this
difference is what may stand out as the largest operational and thematic difference between the two
sectors. For NGOs, relief activities are part of a continuum of humanitarian service. HAOs are part
of bringing a society to independent development, health, and empowerment, and the relief phase
is only the introduction to longer-term development strategies. For the military, long interventions
are dangerous, costly, and inefficient, and are not appropriate to the nature and mission of a military
body. Militaries, whether self-perceived as such or not, are vital elements to humanitarian operations
but must create an appropriate exit strategy and realize that NGOs are often in it for the long haul. To
conclude, Seiple leaves a strong statement for contemplation:
The military can never be in charge. If it is in charge, it inevitably diminishes the humanitarian
effort and, ironically, prevents its own departure. However, if the military conceives of its role
from the beginning as a means to a declared political end, and acts to support civilian efforts,
then civilians will remain responsible for the overall strategy and for the end-state that results.
If the exigencies of military action are allowed to dominate, however, one of two things will
happen: 1) the military will leave too quickly because it is afraid of getting involved in nationbuilding; or 2) the military will stay too long (because no one else can do it, the military will
take on the task of nation-building). Ultimately, decisive socio-political results are the realm
of the NGOs, other IOs and indigenous authorities. Logically, theirs is the dominant role, and
the larger responsibility.220
The military and NGOs nevertheless should not assume mutual understanding, because cultural
differences can be subtle as well as profound. Within medical ethics, distinct and characteristic lines
in the sand can determine how the military or an NGO may respond on the ground. NGOs understand
that the military, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, must provide treatment to combatants
but not necessarily extend that care to civilians. Furthermore, military hospitals are established to
treat combat-wounded soldiers and combatants rather than for civilians to receive treatment. Kosovo,
Afghanistan, and Iraq saw military hospitals flooded by civilians seeking care. At the same time, NGOs
were inundated with members of local host communities (some whom possibly combatants, such as
the Hutu militia in Rwanda) requesting care in refugee and IDP camps. Under such circumstances,
NGOs have decided that care must be given to all. Efforts have been made not only to assist in refugee
camps, but also in local communities that may be hosting millions of refugees.
220Seiple, The U.S. Military/NGO Relationship, p. 14.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 18. The Military
NGOs and military units have a special relationship in emergency settings. Unlike almost any other
actors in the field, both NGOs and militaries are almost fully operational. NGOs and the U.S. military are
now also familiar with one another. In major operations, NGOs and the military have worked together
and in coordination to maximize advantages, reduce confusion and parallel programs, and enhance
the ability of both entities to work more efficiency. This has led to more familiar understandings
between NGO and military sectors, but major technical gaps and large thematic differences still
exist between NGO and military methods of operating in emergency settings. This is not surprising,
but the relevance of attempting to understand these differences has never been more pertinent. In
Chris Seiple’s work, it is suggested that “old mindsets” of both the NGO and military communities are
“rarely appropriate” in today’s responses to humanitarian emergencies.221 Both need to adopt new
methods of working together:
The NGOs, for example, must comprehend the crying need for a comprehensive and integrated
response, even if this sometimes requires subjugating their charter for the good of the overall
effort. On the other hand, a linear military mindset is also insufficient. With no two crises
exactly the same, the only way to address any given situation is to use a conceptual checklist
only as a reference point, and to be fully prepared to throw it away if it does not work.
Humanitarian intervention is not a matter of “X” amount of input, for “Y” amount of days, to
achieve the definable and finite “Z”.222
When NGOs and U.S. military units have met in the field, the experiences have ranged from positive to
extremely difficult or frustrating for both sides. Military attitudes often hold that NGOs are whimsical,
small, and lacking of capacity to act in a cohesive or independent manner. NGOs look at the military
as cumbersome, risk-averse, and restricted by its geo-political policies or force protection needs.
When working within a humanitarian emergency, it often appears that the military and NGOs speak
different languages and have widely varying and potentially incompatible missions, capacities, and
knowledge. This is not necessarily true, and opinions are changing on both sides.
 resource: Relevant DOD Civil–Military Documents
• Military Support for Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) Operations,
“Instruction: Stability Operations, no. 3000.05” (September 2009)
• Stability Operations. FM 3-07 (October 2008)
• Interagency, Intergovernmental Organization, and Nongovernmental Organization Coordination
During Joint Operations, vol. I, JP 3-08 (March 2006)
222 Ibid, p. 5.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 18. The Military
• Interagency, Intergovernmental Organization, and Nongovernmental Organization Coordination
During Joint Operations, vol. II, JP 3-08 (March 2006)
• Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, JP 3-29 (March 2009)
• Civil-Military Operations, JP 3-57 (July 2008)
• Civil Affairs Operations, Field Manual No. 3-05.40 (September 2006)
 resource: Selected Civil–Military Resources
• Global Health NGO Database and Tools
• Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine (CDHAM)
• Interagency Standing Committee. Civil Military Relationship in Complex Emergencies (June
• Interaction. “Guidelines for Relationships Between U.S. Armed Forces and Non-Governmental
Humanitarian Organizations in Hostile or Potentially Hostile Environments”
• United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance: “Policy, Guidelines
and Related Documents”
• Guidelines on the Use of Military and Civil Defence Assets to Support United Nations Humanitarian
Activities in Complex Emergencies (March 2003)
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Chapter 18. The Military
• Use of Military or Armed Escorts for Humanitarian Convoys (September 14, 2001)
• “General guidance for interaction between United Nations personnel and military and civilian
representatives of the occupying power in Iraq” (May 8, 2003)
• “Relationships with military forces in Afghanistan—Guidelines for UNAMA area coordinators
and other UN personnel” (2002)
• “Guidance on Use of Military Aircraft for UN Humanitarian Operations during the Current
Conflict in Afghanistan IMTF” (November 7, 2001)
 resource: Selected Civil-Military References
Aall, Pamela, Daniel Miltenberger, and Thomas G. Weiss. Guide to IGOs, NGOs and the Military in Peace
and Relief Operations (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2000).
“Civil Military Relations.” Comparative Democratization Project. Stanford University, http://democracy.
Center for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. CMO/CIMIC Reference Library for the
Civilian and Military Practitioner. CD-Rom compilation (Bethesda, MD: CDHAM),
The Cuny Center. Greater Efficiency in Humanitarian Assistance Operations. (Arlington, VA: The Cuny
Center, 2002).
Danieli, Yael, ed. Sharing the Front Line and the Back Hills: Peacekeepers, Humanitarian Aid Workers &
the Media in the Midst of Crisis (Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing, 2002).
Davidson, Lisa Witzig, Margaret Daly Hayes, and James J. Landon. Humanitarian and Peace Operations:
NGOs and the Military in the Interagency Process (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press,
Gallagher, Dennis, Michel Moussalli, and David Bosco. “Civilian and Military Means of Providing and
Supporting Humanitarian Assistance during Conflict: A Comparative Analysis” (Washington, DC:
Refugee Policy Group, March 1997).
Joint Chiefs of Staff. Joint Doctrine for Civil-Military Operations, JP 3-57 (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs
of Staff, 2003).
Interagency, Intergovernmental Organization, and Nongovernmental Organization Coordination
during Joint Operations, vol. I, JP 3-08 (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2006), www.js.pentagon.
Interagency, Intergovernmental Organization, and Nongovernmental Organization Coordination
during Joint Operations, vol. II, JP 3-08 (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2006),
Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, JP 3-29 (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2009),
Mack, A. “The Humanitarian Operation Center, Kuwait: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003.” International
Peacekeeping 11(4): 683–96.
Minear, Larry, Ted van Baarda, and Marc Sommers. “NATO and Humanitarian Action in the Kosovo
Crisis.” Watson Institute Occasional Paper #36 (Providence, RI: Brown University, 2000).
Seiple, Chris. The U.S. Military/NGO Relationship in Humanitarian Intervention (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army
War College, 1996).
U.S. Department of the Army. Civil Affairs Operations. Field Manual No. 3-05.40 (Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of the Army, Headquarters, September 29, 2006),
U.S. Department of Defense. “Instruction: Stability Operations, no. 3000.05” (Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Defense, September 16, 2009),
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Part 4.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Annex 1.
Selected NGOs
Academy for Educational Development
1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009-5721, USA
t: 202-884-8000
f: 202-884-8400
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, Pacific
Education, health, microfinance
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $335,035,631
Revenue source breakdown
Studies and projects: $328,642,824
Investments: $2,059,824
Restricted contributions: $4,332,983
Expenses breakdown
Program services: $328,642,824
Management and administration: $26,278,020
Program development: $7,039,294
Total expenses: $325,617,629
AED is a nonprofit organization working globally to improve education, health, civil society and
economic development—the foundation of thriving societies. In collaboration with local and national
partners, AED fosters sustainable results through practical, comprehensive approaches to social and
economic challenges. AED implements more than 250 programs serving people in all 50 U.S. states
and more than 150 countries.
Vision and Mission
AED envisions a world in which all individuals have the opportunity to reach their full potential and
contribute to the well-being of their family, community, country, and world. AED’s mission is to make
a positive difference in people’s lives by working in partnership to create and implement innovative
solutions to critical social and economic problems.
Action Against Hunger (USA)
247 West 37th Street, 10th Fl., New York, NY 10018, USA
t: 212-967-7800, Toll free: 877-777-1420
f: 212-967-5480
e: [email protected]
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Middle East
Food distribution and nutrition, health, water and sanitation
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $26,263,060
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $2,445,543
Grants (U.S. government): $5,218,910
Grants (non-U.S. government): $18,525,269
Interest: $39,127
Other: $34,211
Program services: $18,696,553
Supporting services (management and general): $2,168,593
Supporting services (fundraising): $239,660
Total expenses: $21,104,806
Action Against Hunger-USA is part of the ACF International Network (ACF-IN), an agency established
specifically to combat global hunger. Recognized as a world leader in the fight against hunger and
malnutrition, the ACF International Network has pursued its vision of a world without hunger for
nearly three decades, combating hunger in emergency situations of conflict, natural disaster, and
chronic food insecurity.
The mission of Action Against Hunger is to save lives by eliminating hunger through the prevention,
detection, and treatment of malnutrition, especially during and after emergency situations of conflict,
war and natural disaster. From crisis to sustainability, we tackle the underlying causes of malnutrition
and its effects by using our expertise in nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, health and
advocacy. By integrating our programs with local and national systems we further ensure that shortterm interventions become long-term solutions.
ActionAid International (USA)
1420 K Street NW, Ste. 900, Washington,
DC 20005, USA
t: 202-835-1240
e: [email protected]
Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe
Education, emergency response, food distribution and nutrition, gender, health
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $4,646,079
Revenue source breakdown
Grants: $4,242,005
Contributions: $390,518
Other: $13,556
Program expenses: $3,833,843
Fundraising: $287,441
General and administrative: $387,906
Total expenses: $4,509,190
ActionAid fights poverty by helping the world’s poorest people speak to the world’s most powerful.
ActionAid helps people take control of their own lives. So they can tell their leaders what needs to
change, and see it happen. This is the most effective way to end their poverty for good.
Mission and Vision
ActionAid’s mission is to work with poor and marginalized people to eradicate poverty by overcoming
the injustice and inequality that cause it. A world without poverty in which every person can exercise
his or her right to a life of dignity.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency International
12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904, USA
t: 800-424-2372
Africa, Caribbean, Central America, East Asia, Europe, South America, South Asia,
South Pacific
Education, emergency response, food distribution and nutrition, health, microfinance
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $143,936,174
Program services: $134,670,342
Management and general: $4,855,217
Fundraising: $1,179,711
Total expenses: $140, 705,270
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is a global humanitarian organization of the Seventhday Adventist Church that demonstrates God’s love and compassion.
Mission and Vision
ADRA works with people in poverty and distress to create positive change and justness through
empowering partnerships and responsible action. ADRA is a professional, learning and efficient
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
network that embodies integrity and transparency. ADRA reaches across boundaries empowering
and speaking out for the at-risk and forgotten to achieve measurable, documented and durable
changes in lives and society.
African Medical & Research Foundation
4 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036, USA
t: 212-768-2440
f: 212-786-4230
e: [email protected]
Disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS, information and communication, nutrition,
policy research and analysis, population and family planning, refugees and displacement
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $44,074
Revenue source breakdown
Grants—restricted: $39,569
Grants—unrestricted: $1,320
Other income: $2,761
Net financing income: $424
AMREF’s mission is to empower disadvantaged people of Africa to improve their lives and health
by: strengthening local capabilities through training and education; delivering clinical and surgical
outreach to remote rural areas where services do not exist; investigating and evaluating innovative
methods of preventive and curative health-care delivery through operational research; promoting
the use of identified, best practices in solving health problems; and working with government
ministries of health to jointly solve long-term health problems. AMREF is committed to the principle
that sustainable health development can only be effected by building and supporting indigenous
capabilities. Over 95 percent of AMREF’s staff is African.
African Methodist Episcopal Service and Development Agency (AME-SADA)
1134 11th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
t: 202-371-8722
f: 202-371-0981
e: [email protected]
Haiti, South Africa
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Education and nutrition, population and family planning, public policy and advocacy, rural
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $1,899,227
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions and grants: $1,535,634
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $282,857
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $1,224
Other revenue: $79,512
Service and Development Agency, Inc., the international humanitarian relief and development agency
of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, is committed to helping people help themselves, providing
essential assistance to those in need through health, education and micro-enterprise programs;
because we are our brother’s keeper.
440 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
t: 202-462-3614
f: 202-387-1034
e: [email protected]
Emergency response, environment, food distribution and nutrition, gender, health, microfinance,
orphans and vulnerable children, water and sanitation
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $50,599,293
Revenue source breakdown
Foundations/Trusts: $1,351,400
Grants: $7,545,233
Special events: $819,820
CFC: $198,439
Donations: $8,980,098
Governments: $26,917,238
Investment and other: $4,787,065
Program services: $45,949,508
Support services: $4,279,269
Total expenses: $50,228,777
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Africare helps Africa. A leader among private, charitable U.S. organizations assisting Africa, Africare
is also the oldest and largest African-American led organization in the field — and Africa is Africare’s
Mission and Vision
Africare works to improve the quality of life in Africa. Africare works in partnership with African
communities to promote health and productivity. Africare places communities at the center of
development—in the belief that only through strong communities can Africa feed itself, develop and
manage its natural resources, provide adequate education and vocational training, address people’s
needs for health care and disease prevention, achieve economic well-being and live in peace.
Aga Khan Foundation (USA)
1825 K Street NW, Ste. 901, Washington, DC 20006, USA
t: 202-293-2537
f: 202-785-1752
Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America
Education, food distribution and nutrition, health, shelter, water and sanitation
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $253,700,000
Revenue source breakdown
Grants and donations: $196,600,000
Investments: $52,000,000
Properties: $3,400,000
Other: $1,700,000
Program services: $120,100,000
Administration: $20,900,000
Properties: $21,.900,000
Other: $22,100,000
Total expenses: $184,900,000
The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is a nondenominational, international development agency
established in 1967 by His Highness the Aga Khan. Its mission is to develop and promote creative
solutions to problems that impede social development, primarily in Asia and East Africa. Created
as a private, nonprofit foundation under Swiss law, it has branches and independent affiliates in 15
countries. It is a modern vehicle for traditional philanthropy in the Ismaili Muslim community under
the leadership of the Aga Khan.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Aid to Artisans
1030 New Britain Avenue, Ste. 102, West Hartford, CT 06110, USA
t: 860-756-5550
f: 860-756-5558
e: [email protected]
Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Georgia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos,
Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Oman, Peru, Romania, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan, Vietnam
Product development, business training, market access, small grants
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $5,548,133
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions and grants: $3,340,487
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $1,868,102
Dividends and interest from securities: $24,009
Other revenue: $315,535
Aid to Artisans, a nonprofit organization, offers practical assistance to artisan groups worldwide,
working in partnerships to foster artistic traditions, cultural vitality, improved livelihoods and
community well-being. Through collaboration in product development, business skills training and
development of new markets, Aid to Artisans provides sustainable economic and social benefits for
craftspeople in an environmentally sensitive and culturally respectful manner.
Air Serv International
410 Rosedale Court, Ste. 190, Warrenton, VA 20186, USA
t: 540-428-2323
f: 540-428-2326
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia Middle East
Emergency response
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $29,106,984
Program services: $24,007,407
Management and general: $4,320,580
Fundraising: $410,132
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Total expenses: $28,738,119
In times of war and natural disaster, the world’s most respected humanitarian relief and development
agencies and organizations rely on Air Serv International. Whenever ground transportation is
impossible due to destroyed, damaged or nonexistent infrastructure, Air Serv planes provide vital
access for humanitarian aid organizations.
Our flights save lives and bring hope to a suffering world.
Air Serv International is a not-for-profit aviation organization that supports humanitarian programs
Alliance for Peacebuilding
1320 19th Street NW, Ste. 410, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-822-2047
f: 202-822-2049
e: [email protected]
Collaboration for conflict prevention—Meetings and seminars among civil society and government
agencies to coordinate initiatives in conflict environments. Peace gaming—A program designed
to help civilian and military actors determine appropriate actions to foster peace and stability in
preconflict, conflict, or transitional environments. International Peace and Prosperity Project—A
pilot program designed to prevent impending conflict in Guinea-Bissau through collaborative,
holistic action. Publications and collaborative communications initiatives to inform peace building
organizations about best practices and to inform policy makers about effective options to end
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $652,715
Revenue source breakdown
Government contributions: $648,719
Dividends and interest from securities: $1,129
Other revenue: $2,867
To build sustainable peace and security worldwide. Goals: Initiate, develop and support collaborative
action among governmental, nongovernmental, and intergovernmental organizations to prevent
and resolve destructive conflicts. Build understanding of and support for peace building policies
and programs among leaders in government, business, media, philanthropy, religion, and other
sectors of civil society. Increase the effectiveness of the peace building field by developing networks,
disseminating best practices, and enhancing organizational capacities and professional skills.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Alliance to End Hunger
50 F Street NW, Ste. 500 Washington, DC 20001, USA
t: 202-639-9400
f: 202-639-9401
e: [email protected]
Agriculture, food, nutrition, food service, free food distribution programs
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $498,076
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $496,076
Other revenue: $2,000
The Alliance to End Hunger engages diverse institutions in building the public and political will to end
hunger, in our country and around the world. They do so by building strategic partnerships to create
a world free of hunger. They build political commitment to ensure that leaders do what it takes to
end hunger. They also support the International Alliance Against Hunger to build global connections
to achieve the United Nations first Millennium Development Goal of cutting the number of hungry
people in half by 2015.
America’s Development Foundation
101 North Union Street, Ste. 200, Alexandria,
VA 22314, USA
t: 703-836-2717
f: 703-836-3379
e: [email protected] (Michael D. Miller, president)
Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Middle East
Food distribution and nutrition
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $17,728,673
Revenue source breakdown
Government contributions: $17,573,499
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $58,685
Other revenue: $96,489
America’s Development Foundation is dedicated to assisting the international development of
democracy. Guided by the belief that a vibrant civil society is the indispensable foundation of
democracy, ADF works in partnership with communities and NGOs committed to building civil
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
societies. ADF conducts programs that provide targeted technical assistance, training and grants to
enhance the institutional development of various stakeholders and to support program activities in
social, economic and civil society development. ADF has experience in supporting program activities
in over thirty countries in Eastern and Central Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the
Caribbean, and Central America.
American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA
t: 215-241-7000
f: 215-241-7275
e: [email protected]
Angola, Bosnia, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Israel,
Jordan, Korea, Kosovo, Laos, Lebanon, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, North Korea, Palestine, Peru,
Somalia, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, Zimbabwe
Agriculture, strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, policy research
and analysis, public policy and advocacy, refugees and displacement, rural development
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $40,379,497
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $35,876,100
Investments: $3,515,694
Government grants: $189,092
Other: $798,612
AFSC upholds the principle of meeting human needs without regard to politics, religion or nationality.
It promotes self-help and independence, and the improvement of people’s physical, economic and
social well-being, out of Quaker concern for reconciliation and the relief of suffering. AFSC focuses on
promoting mutual understanding of people.
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA
t: 212-687-6200
e: [email protected]
Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria,
Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Gaza,
Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Herzegovina, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania,
Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Oman, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Rwanda,
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan,
Venezuela, West Bank, Yemen, Yugoslavia
Strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, policy research and analysis,
refugees and displacement, shelter/housing, social development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $271,751,473
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions to donor advised funds: $540,000
Direct public support: $142,621,563
Indirect public support: $98,469,806
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $317,220
Dividends and interest from securities: $4,963,877
AJJDC works on behalf of the American Jewish community in over 50 countries outside of North
America. The mission includes the rescue, relief and reconstruction of Jewish communities worldwide.
Through its International Development Program, AJJDC conducts development and disaster relief
activities on a nonsectarian basis.
American Jewish World Service
1001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Ste. 1200, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-379-4300
f: 202-379-4310
Africa, sub-Saharan, East Asia and Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean
Agriculture, strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, economic growth and
development, education, HIV/AIDS
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $30,929,024
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $29,948,675
Investments: $562,861
Other: $417,488
American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is an international development organization dedicated to
alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race,
religion or nationality. Motivated by Judaism’s imperative to pursue economic and social justice,
AJWS helps people in Africa, Asia and the Americas realize their basic human rights by empowering
grassroots nongovernmental organizations. Through grant making, volunteer service, advocacy and
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
education, AJWS works to build civil society, foster sustainable development and promote human
dignity for all people.
American Near East Refugee Aid
1522 K Street NW, Ste. 600 Washington, DC 20005, USA
t: 202-842-2766
e: [email protected]
Gaza, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, West Bank
Agriculture, disaster and emergency relief, education, rural development, social development, urban
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $75,819,792
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $45,053,122
Other: $15,595,643
American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) reduces poverty and relieves suffering, thereby improving
the lives of people in the Middle East.
American Red Cross International Services
National Headquarters, 2025 E Street NW, Washington, DC
20006, USA
t: 800-733-2767
Africa, Americas, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin American and Caribbean,
Middle East and North Africa, North America, South Asia
Disaster services, international development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $3,183,957,741
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $534,243,563
Indirect public support: $141,700,450
Government contributions (grants): $51,312,673
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $2,320,598,168
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $1,524,365
Dividends and interest from securities: $82,876,801
Net rental income: $2,649,023
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Net gain from sales of assets: $7,780,322
Special events and activities: $36,923,476
Other revenue: $4,348,900
American Red Cross focuses its relief and development efforts in six core programmatic areas:
emergency preparedness and response, primary health care, food programming, organization
development, tracing and Red Cross messages, and dissemination of International Humanitarian
American Refugee Committee
430 Oak Grove Street, Ste. 204, Minneapolis, MN 55403, USA
t: 612-872-7060, 800-875-7060
f: 612-607-6499
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia, Europe
Agriculture, strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS,
information and communication, population and family planning, public policy and advocacy,
refugees and displacement, shelter/housing
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $29,355,469
Revenue source breakdown
U.S. government grants: $17,802,803
UN grants: $5,297,669
Foreign government grants: $26,367
Private support contributions: $2,965,091
Interest: $35,311
Micro-credit interest and fees: $645,847
Other: $538,531
Net assets released from restrictions: $2,043,850
Expenses $28,740,497
International programs: $26,022,935
General and administrative: $2,164,510
Fundraising: $553,052
ARC works with its partners and constituencies to provide opportunities and expertise to refugees,
displaced people and host communities. We help people survive conflict and crisis and rebuild lives of
dignity, health, security and self-sufficiency. ARC is committed to the delivery of programs that ensure
measurable quality and lasting impact for the people we serve.
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
AmeriCares, 88 Hamilton Avenue, Stamford, CT 06902, USA
t: 800-486-4357
Africa, Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East, North
Disaster response, humanitarian policy and practice, strategic impact
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $892,993,784
Revenue source breakdown
Public support
Cash contributions: $48,508,608
Securities contributions: $796,905
Donated medical and disaster supplies: $839,059,248
Contributed services and facilities: $2,358,204
Interest and dividend income: $2,867,348
Net gain on sale of securities: $321,467
Unrealized loss on securities: $1,293,882
Other: $305,439
Change in value of split interest agreements: $70,447
Expenses $1,006,460,693
Program related expenses: $18,956,716
Grants and awards: $979,046,503
Management and general: $3,194,309
Fundraising: $5,263,165
AmeriCares is a nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization, which provides
immediate response to emergency medical needs—and supports long-term humanitarian assistance
programs-— for people around the world, irrespective of race, creed or political persuasion.
Amigos de las Américas
5618 Star Lane Houston, TX 77057, USA
t: 713-782-5290, 800-231-7796
f: 713-782-9267
e: [email protected]
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Latin America and Caribbean
Education, rural development, shelter/housing, social development
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $3,048,800
Revenue source breakdown
Volunteer contributions: $2,359,273
Other contributions: $394,601
Special events: $203,435
Interest and other income: $58,852
Net unrealized gains on investments: $28,615
Net realized gains on investments: $4,024
Expenses $2,922,966
Operating programs: $2,383,585
General and administrative: $118,595
Fundraising: $420,787
Amigos de las Américas builds partnerships to empower young leaders, advance community
development and strengthen multicultural understanding in the Americas
Amnesty International
5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001, USA
t: 212-807-8400
f: 212-627-1451
e: [email protected]
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Pacific
Other, human rights
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $44,556,686
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $43,198,034 (97 percent)
Other: $1,358,652 (3 percent)
We are people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Our purpose is to
protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We investigate and expose
abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world.
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
We received the Nobel Peace Prize for our life-saving work. With more than 2.2 million supporters,
activists and volunteers in over 150 countries, and complete independence from government,
corporate or national interests, we work to protect human rights worldwide. Our vision is of a world
in which every person—regardless of race, religion, gender, or ethnicity—enjoys all of the human
rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights
Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team
2502 Lindley Terrace Rockville MD 20850, USA
t: 301-738-7122
f: 301-738-7123
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin American and Caribbean, Middle East
Agriculture, disaster and emergency relief, education, gender equality, rural development, social
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $2,126,936
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $2,007,641
Indirect public support: $6,878
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $7,314
Sales of inventory: $35,103
AMURT aims to help improve the quality of life for poor and under-privileged people of the world and
to assist the victims of natural and man-made disasters. AMURT offers assistance which encourages
and enables people to develop themselves, harnessing their own resources for securing the basic
necessities of life and gaining greater socio-economic independence.
Its community development projects provide funds and technical assistance for irrigation, food
cooperatives, reforestation, medical care and road construction. Food and agricultural projects assist
experimental farms and nurseries, and work to focus attention on increased agriculture opportunities
to counterbalance growing urban migration and depleting food source production.
Baptist World Alliance
405 North Washington Street Falls Church, VA 22046, USA
t: 703-790-8980
f: 703-893-5160
e: [email protected]
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus,
Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia,
Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia,
Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt,
El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea,
Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan,
Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi,
Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines,
Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa,
Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine,
United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Agriculture, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS, information and communication,
nutrition, rural development, shelter/housing, social development
Annual Revenue (FY 2007): $4,230,257
Baptist World Aid (BWAid) works through Baptist communities around the world, mitigating suffering
and providing long-range help for persons in need regardless of religion, nationality, tribe or class.
BWAid also helps poor people avoid situations of famine and malnourishment and improve their
capacity for self-help and wage earning.
11 East 44th Street, Ste. 1600, New York, NY 10017, USA
t: 212-808-5615
f: 212-808-0203
Africa—Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Liberia, Sierra Leonne; Asia—Bangladesh, Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Health, education, microfinance, human rights, social development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $6,009,945
Revenue source breakdown
Public contributions: $6,007,149
Investments: $2,796
BRAC USA seeks to improve the well being of the poorest in Africa and Asia, particularly its women and
children. To do so, BRAC USA will support BRAC in its work to build scalable, sustainable institutions
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
that, over time, are indigenously led to create wealth for the poor, promote health and social
development and advance education and entrepreneurship. BRAC’s vision of success is to increase
its visibility in the United States, harness the power of its friends, and ensure that it mobilizes at least
US$250 million in support of new BRAC organizations in Africa and Asia to unleash the potential of
millions of poor households to create better futures for themselves and communities.
Bread for the World
50 F Street NW, Ste. 500, Washington, DC 20001, USA
t: 202-639-9400, 800-82-BREAD
f: 202-639-9401
e: [email protected]
Agriculture, HIV/AIDS, public policy and advocacy, rural development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $5,256,750
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions and membership: $4,117,640
Church and denominational support: $920,515
Other income: $81,146
Investment income: $137,449
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger
at home and abroad.
Bread for the World Institute
50 F Street NW, Ste. 500, Washington, DC 20001, USA
t: 202-639-9400, 800-82-BREAD
f: 202-639-9401
e: [email protected]
Agriculture, strengthening civil society, policy research and analysis, rural development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $4,130,946
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $3,079,868
Foundation grants: $613,799
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Conferences and special events: $257,676
Other income (loss): $41,186
Investment income: $138,417
Bread for the World Institute provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. The Institute
educates its advocacy network, opinion leaders, policy makers and the public about hunger in the
United States and abroad. We believe that a well educated and motivated U.S. constituency who care
for hungry people will ultimately change the politics of hunger. Bread for the World Institute helps
U.S. citizens tell the story of hungry people in their communities and see the connections we all have
to hungry people around the world. We know that empowering people with information and a clear
sense of the policy choices facing U.S. decision-makers will result in real progress toward ending
hunger. Bread for the World Institute (BFWI) is the research and educational partner of Bread for
the World. BFWI generates studies on hunger issues and vital educational resources. Look through
our resources, become informed, and learn how to be a force that will improve the lives of hungry
Brother’s Brother Foundation
1200 Galveston Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15233, USA
t: 412-321-3160
f: 412-321-3325
e: [email protected]
Armenia, Belize, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala,
Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Iraq, Jamaica, Mali, Moldova, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Papua
New Guinea, Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Street Lucia, Uganda,
Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam
Agriculture, disaster and emergency relief, education
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $331,025,239
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $329,701,348
Indirect public support: $125,433
Government contributions: $342,929
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $608,207
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $48,244
Dividends and interest from securities: $190,127
Other income: $8,951
Our mission is to promote international health and education through efficient and effective
distribution of donated pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, textbooks, educational supplies, food,
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clothing, seed and other resources. The BBF motto, “connecting people’s resources with people’s
needs” is accomplished through gift-in-kind contributions that are distributed upon request and
identification of need within less developed and developing countries in partnership with US-based
and in-country NGOs. BBF assists people without regard to race, creed, religion, or politics.
B’nai B’rith International
2020 K Street NW, 7th Fl., Washington, DC 20006, USA
t: 202-857-6600, 888-388-4224
e: [email protected]
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia,
Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece,
Guatemala, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico,
Moldova, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru,
Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine,
United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela
Strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, information and communication,
membership services, nutrition, policy research and analysis, public policy and advocacy, shelter/
housing, social development, urban development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $25,526
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions and other support: $16,829
Member dues: $1,873
Camp revenues: $3,614
Other program revenues: $1,210
Investment income: $2,000
B’nai B’rith is an international Jewish organization committed to the security and continuity of the
Jewish people and the State of Israel, defending human rights, combating anti-Semitism, bigotry
and ignorance, and providing service to the community on the broadest principles of humanity. Its
mission is to unite persons of the Jewish faith and to enhance Jewish identity through strengthening
Jewish family life and the education and training of youth, broad-based services for the benefit of
senior citizens, and advocacy and action on behalf of Jews throughout the world.
Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC)
1700 Connecticut Ave NW, 3rd Fl., Washington, DC 20009, USA
t: 202-558-6958
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
f: 623-321-7076
e: [email protected]
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $336,951
Revenue source breakdown
Interest income: $2,535
Grants: $231,000
Contributions: $103,415
Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) advocates on behalf of victims of armed conflict,
working to ensure they receive recognition and assistance from warring parties. CIVIC persuaded
the US Congress to establish programs for war victims in Afghanistan and Iraq, guides victims to
assistance, brings the human cost of war to the attention of policymakers and the public, and is
advocating a new global standard of conduct that warring parties should help where they have hurt.
In 2005, CIVIC’s founder Marla Ruzicka was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber while advocating for
families injured and killed in the crossfire. CIVIC honors her legacy and strives to sustain her vision.
151 Ellis Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
t: 404-681-2552
e: [email protected]
Agriculture, strengthening of civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS,
information and communication, nutrition, policy research and analysis, population and family
planning, public policy and advocacy, rural development, shelter/housing, urban development
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $655,481,000
Revenue source breakdown
Public support: $63,299,000
Temporarily restricted: $39,237,000
Addition to endowment : $2,204,000
Care international: $137,603,000
Interest and dividends on restricted net assets: $8,002,000
Net assets released from restrictions: $37,345,000
Satisfaction of program restrictions: $37,345,000
U.S. government: $298,028,000
Host governments: 26,470,000
Others: $71,783,000
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Interest and dividends on unrestricted net assets: $4,412,000
Rent and miscellaneous: $4,443,000
Expenses $645,623,000
Personnel costs: $166,336,000
Professional services: $25,045,000
Equipment: $12,236,000
Materials and services: $140,972,000
Travel and transportation: $51,468,000
Occupancy: $17,545,000
Financing/depn/misc: $28,219,000
Grants/subgrants: $118,645,000
Agcommodities/ciks: $85,157,000
CARE International’s mission is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the
world. Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and experiences, we promote innovative
solutions and are advocates for global responsibility. We facilitate lasting change by: strengthening
capacity for self help; providing economic opportunity; delivering relief in emergencies; influencing
policy decisions at all levels; and addressing discrimination in all its forms. Guided by the aspirations
of local communities, we pursue our mission with both excellence and compassion because the people
whom we serve deserve nothing less.
Catholic Medical Mission Board
10 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011-5765
t: 212-242-7757, 800-678-5659
f: 212-807-9161
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East
Disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS, nutrition
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $161,402,078
Revenue source breakdown
Donated goods and services: $148,154,045
Cash contributions: $12,762,808
Income from dividends, interest and
Sales of investments : $485,225
Global aid: $143,280,642
Fundraising and administration: $6,358,138
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Total allocations: $149,638,780
Founded in 1928 and rooted in the healing ministry of Jesus, Catholic Medical Mission Board works
collaboratively to provide quality health-care programs and services, without discrimination, to
people in need around the world.
Catholic Relief Services
228 W. Lexington Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-3413, USA
t: 888-277-7575
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin American and Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, United States
Agriculture, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, public policy and
advocacy, refugees and displacement, rural development, shelter/housing, social development,
strengthening civil society
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $558,416,000
Revenue source breakdown
Operating Revenue
Private donor, foundation and corporate contributions: $171,466,000
Donated agricultural, other commodities and ocean freight: $148,946,000
Cash grants from USG: $204,022,000
All Other Support: $33,982,000
Operating expenses
Agriculture: $94,023,000
Education: $45,413,000
Emergency: $205,010,000
Small enterprise: $12,437,000
Health: $45,234,000
HIV/AIDS: $113,685,000
Peace and justice: $22,265,000
Welfare: $23,290,000
Program services: $561,357,000
Management and general: $12,548,000
Public awareness: $5,752,000
Fundraising: $17,380,000
Totals: $597,037,000
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) carries out relief and development programs in more than 100
countries and territories around the world. Founded in 1943, CRS is the official international relief and
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
development organization of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). CRS provides
assistance on the basis of need, regardless of nationality, race or religion. CRS responds to victims of
natural and human-made disasters; provides assistance to the poor to alleviate their immediate needs;
supports self-help programs that involve communities in their own development; helps people restore
and preserve their dignity and realize their potential; and helps educate Americans to fulfill their moral
responsibilities to alleviate human suffering, remove its causes and promote social justice.
Center for International Health and Cooperation
850 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA
t: 212-636-6294
f: 212-636-7060
Education, human rights, information and communication, public policy and advocacy
The Center for International Health and Cooperation (CIHC) was founded in 1992 to promote healing
and peace in countries shattered by war, ethnic violence or natural disasters. The CIHC, in all its
activities, emphasizes that health and humanitarian endeavors can provide common ground for
initiating dialogue, understanding and cooperation among people and nations. The CIHC promotes
the concept that health, human rights and humanitarian issues should be central, not peripheral
concerns in foreign policy debates. The CIHC tries to identify fundamental needs, and use its talents,
contacts, and resources to define practical solutions. With offices in New York, Geneva, London and
Dublin, and now affiliated, through its Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA), with
Fordham University, it has concentrated on four areas of expertise: Education, Publications, Symposia
and Field Operations.
Center for Health and Gender Equity
1317 F Street NW, Ste. 400, Washington, DC 20004 USA
t: 202-393-5930
f: 202-393-5937
e: [email protected]
Family planning, HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, health sector reform
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $1,378,263
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $1,365,172
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $13,091
CHANGE is a U.S.-based NGO focused on the effects of U.S. international policies on the health and
rights of women, girls, and other vulnerable populations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We
believe that every individual has the right to basic information, technologies, and services needed
to enjoy a health and safe sexual and reproductive life free from coercion and preventable illness.
Our overarching goal therefore is to ensure that US international policies and programs promote
sexual and reproductive rights through effective, evidence-based approaches to prevention and
treatment of critical reproductive and sexual health concerns, and through increased funding for
critical programs.
Centre for Development and Population Activities
1133 21st Street NW, Ste. 800, Washington, DC 20036 USA
t: 202-667-1142
f: 202-332-4496
Africa, Asia, Middle East, North America
Education, HIV/AIDS, information and communication, nutrition, population and family planning,
public policy and advocacy, strengthening civil society
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $17,416,821
Revenue source breakdown
Foundations, multilateral and other: $4,270,300
U.S. government grants and contracts: $12,558,785
Contributions: $125,476
Investment income: $461,153
Other revenue: $1,107
Expenses $17,232,607
Program services: $12,966,106
Management and general: $3,982,149
Fundraising: $284,352
The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) is a women-focused nonprofit
international development organization founded in 1975. CEDPA’s mission is to empower women at
all levels of society to be full partners in development. Toward this end, CEDPA’s strategies include
building the capacities of development institutions and networks; mobilizing women’s advocacy and
participation at the policy level; linking reproductive health services and women’s empowerment;
and making youth an integral part of the development agenda. All CEDPA activities are designed
to advance gender equity. HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention activities are integrated into all
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
CHF International
8601 Georgia Avenue, Ste. 800, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
t: 301-587-4700
f: 301-587-7315
Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Sudan, Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines,
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Georgia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Colombia, Haiti, Honduras,
Mexico, Peru, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen.
Economic development, emergency response and transition, health, governance, urban development,
infrastructure and housing
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $416,137,529
Revenue source breakdown
Grants: $346,039,570
Contracts: $4,296,915
In-kind contributions: $16,323,291
Interest and investment income: $10,048,801
Contributed services and goods: $39,202,495
CHF International’s mission is to be a catalyst for long-lasting positive change in low- and moderateincome communities around the world, helping them to improve their social, economic and
environmental conditions.
Christian Blind Mission USA
PO Box 19000, 450 East Park Avenue, Greenville, SC 29601, USA
t: 864-239-0065
f: 864-239-0069
e: [email protected]
Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African
Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech
Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt,
El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Haiti,
Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho,
Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia,
Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine,
Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Slovakia,
Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga,
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Trinidad & Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam,
Zambia, Zimbabwe
Capacity strengthening, health, human rights, microfinance/microenterprise, public policy and
advocacy, trade
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $54,798,677
Revenue source breakdown
Cash contributions: $1,610,462
Investment income: $99,369
Gift-in-kind contributions: $51,786,420
Misc. Revenues: $1,302,426
CBM (Christian Blind Mission) is the oldest and largest ministry with the primary purpose of improving
the quality of life for the blind and disabled living in the world’s most disadvantaged societies. They
provide preventative, medical, rehabilitative and educational services to millions of people each
year. CBM supports more than 1,000 projects in 113 countries, and their aid is available to all people
regardless of religion, nationality, race, or gender. CBM’s goal is to find, rescue, and rehabilitate these
forgotten people—giving children hope, taking whole families and communities out of grinding
poverty, and building bridges between them and their communities.
ChildFund International
2821 Emerywood Parkway, Richmond VA 23294, USA
t: 800-776-6767
e: [email protected]
Africa sub-Saharan, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean,
Middle East and North Africa, North America, South Asia, Afghanistan, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia,
Brazil, Chad, Dominica, East Timor, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, India,
Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Mozambique, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Street
Vincent, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, United States of America, Vietnam, Zambia
Strengthening civil society, cultural preservation, disaster and emergency relief, education, gender
& diversity, HIV/AIDS, human rights, information and communication, nutrition, refugees and
displacement, shelter/housing, social development
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $229,809,289
Revenue source breakdown
Sponsorships: $172,319,808
Contributions: $28,218,505
Grants: $27,021,698
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Other revenue: $2,249,278
Too many of the world’s children suffer the debilitating effects of poverty and violence. Children have
the right to experience life with as much joy and hope as humanly possible. Christian Children’s Fund
creates an environment of hope and respect for deprived, excluded and vulnerable children of all
cultures and beliefs in which they have opportunities to achieve their full potential, and provides
practical tools for positive change - to children, families and communities.
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
2850 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560, USA
t: 800-55-CRWRC (27972), 616-241-1691
e: [email protected], Andrew Ryskamp (Director)
Africa sub-Saharan, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean,
Middle East and North Africa, North America, South Asia
Agriculture, strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, environment,
energy and natural, gender and diversity, HIV/AIDS, human rights, information and communication,
nutrition, poverty, public policy and advocacy, rural development, urban development
Annual Revenue (FY 2008): $37,980,440 (combined U.S. and Canada)
Revenue source breakdown
Churches and individuals: $20,477,216
Government grants: $2,489,765
Other grants: $14,231,164
Investments & other income: $782,295
CRWRC envisions a world where people experience and extend Christ’s compassion and live together
in hope as God’s community. CRWRC’s mission flows from this vision. CRWRC’s mission is to engage
God’s people in redeeming resources and developing gifts in collaborative activities of love, mercy,
justice, and compassion.
Church World Service
Main Offices
28606 Phillips Street, P.O. Box 968 Elkhart, IN 46515, USA
t: 574-264-3102; 800-297-1516
f: 574-262-0966
e: [email protected]
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Africa, Asia and Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin American and Caribbean, Middle East, North
Agriculture, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS, information and communication,
nutrition, policy research and analysis, public policy and advocacy, refugees and displacement, rural
development, shelter/housing, social development, strengthening civil society
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $71,743,894
Revenue source breakdown
Community/public appeals: $29,853,353
Us government support: $25,458,107
Member communions: $10,174,369
Donated materials: $3,779,123
Investments and other income: $2,478,942
Refugee resettlement and assistance: $26,631,305
Disaster relief and recovery: $13,772,488
Social and economic development: $9,049,468
Fund raising and information: $9,019,135
U.S. hunger and development: $5,442,397
Administration: $3,266,774
Education and advocacy: $2,627,960
Mission relationships and witness: $1,207,286
Church World Service works with partners to eradicate hunger and poverty and promote peace and
justice among the world’s most vulnerable people. Founded in 1946, CWS works with partners to
meet disaster relief and recovery needs, facilitate sustainable social and economic development,
provide assistance and resettlement services to refugees, and help address the root causes of poverty.
CWS is the humanitarian agency of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations that serves
to provide nonsectarian relief and development programs for people in need.
Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs
1828 L Street NW, Ste. 710, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-296-3920
f: 202-296-3948
e: [email protected]
Belarus, Moldova, Mozambique, Russia, Ukraine, Zimbabwe
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $10,957,125
Revenue source breakdown
Federal grant income: $9,229,306
Non-federal grant income: $683,719
Interest income: $34,692
Other income: $85,917
In-kind contributions: $923,491
Subcontractor matching contributions: $964,513
The Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs is a nonprofit group dedicated to stimulating international
growth and development. CNFA works with US companies, entrepreneurs, farm groups, business
alliances and other organizations to create lasting and effective opportunities in international
Communications Consortium
Media Center
401 Ninth St NW, Ste. 450,
Washington DC 20004-2142, USA
t: 202-326-8700
f: 202-682-2154
e: [email protected]
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $3,572,525
Direct public support: $3,501,663
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $44,818
Other revenue: $26,044
Our overarching mission is to develop communications strategies for policy change on a cluster of
misses related to equality, fairness, global population and development, children, families, work and
healthy communities.
Concern America
P.O. Box 1790 Santa Ana, CA 92702, USA
t: 714-953-8575
f: 714-953-1242
e: [email protected]
Africa, North and South America
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Agriculture, education, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, refugees and displacement, rural development,
strengthening civil society
Annual revenue (FY 2005): $1,088,979
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $100,868
Indirect public support: $2,556
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $1,628
Dividends and interest from securities: $501
Sales of inventory: $72,006
Other revenue: $3,600
Concern America is a small nonprofit, nonsectarian, nongovernmental development and refugee
aid organization that partners with materially poor communities living in impoverished regions of
“developing” countries or in refuge outside of their homeland. The organization’s main objective
is to provide training and technical assistance. Concern America trains local populations in health,
education, agriculture, and/or appropriate technology.
CONCERN Worldwide US Inc.
104 East 40th Street, Ste. 903, New York, NY 10016, USA
t: 212-557-8000
f: 212-557-8004
Africa, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East and
North Africa, South Asia
Agriculture, development education, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS, nutrition,
rural development, shelter/housing, strengthening civil society
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $11,343,517
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions & nongovernment grants: $2,791,131
Support from concern worldwide: $1,266,097
Government grants: $6,089,499
Special events—net: $1,181,608
Investment income: $15,182
Expenses $10,285,140
Program activities: $9,372,650
General and administrative: $457,593
Fundraising: $454,897
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
CONCERN Worldwide is a nondenominational, humanitarian organization dedicated to the relief,
assistance and advancement of people in need in less developed areas of the world while concentrating
on the poorest people in its 30 countries of operation throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Established in 1968 in response to the Biafra Famine, CONCERN believes in a world where no one
lives in poverty, fear or oppression; where all have access to a decent standard of living and the
opportunities and choices essential to a long, healthy and creative life; where everyone is treated
with dignity and respect.
Congressional Hunger Center
Hall of the States Building, 400 North Capitol Street NW, Ste. G100, Washington, DC
20001, USA
t: 202-547-7022
f: 202-547-7575
Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Peru, Uganda
Agriculture, strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, policy research
and analysis, rural development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $3,166,203
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $545,644
Government contributions (grants): $2,524,243
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $96,316
The Congressional Hunger Center (CHC) is a bi-partisan, nonprofit organization founded by
Congressman Tony Hall and former Congressman Bill Emerson in 1993. Its mission is to lead, speak,
and act on behalf of the hungry, the poor, and the victims of humanitarian crisis, both domestic and
international. The Center accomplishes this mission through leadership development programs to
establish a new generation of citizens committed to ending hunger in their communities, their nations,
and across the globe. CHC works in partnership with other grassroots organizations to inform policy
makers in Washington, DC, about hunger and humanitarian need in America and overseas.
Counterpart International, Inc
2345 Crystal Drive, Ste. 301, Arlington, VA 22202, USA
t: 703-236-1200
f: 703-412-5035
e: [email protected]
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, France, Georgia,
Germany, Guinea, Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, New Zealand, Papua
New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, Samoa, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Ukraine,
Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zimbabwe
Agriculture, strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS,
information and communication, nutrition, population and family planning, public policy and
advocacy, refugees and displacement, rural development, shelter/housing, social development,
urban development
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $109,408,937
Revenue source breakdown
U.S. government grants: $23,936,521
Nonfederal grants 1,445,366
Contributions 230,238 451,036
Contributed services and materials 83,030,830
Investment income (32,149)
Miscellaneous income 798,131
Building a just world through service and partnership.
yy To continue building on our thirty-six years of experience as a leading multidimensional organization
delivering integrated development programs to individuals, their communities and their nations.
yy Counterpart helps local communities of societies in transition build their own institutions to
manage their own resources for their own social, environmental, economic, health and educational
advancement. In so doing, Counterpart brings local solutions to global problems.
yy Counterpart is flexible, responsive, agile, and quick off the mark, and brings these qualities to its
global multidimensional integrated development programs.
yy Counterpart brings these same qualities to its humanitarian assistance, disaster-response and food
security programs where its logistical capability can track a single bottle of medication among a
million from a manufacturer in the U.S. or Europe to a remote clinic in Kazakhstan.
yy Counterpart has a demonstrated ease in adapting to diverse cultures—from Polynesians in Samoa
and Uzbeks on the Silk Road in Samarkand to Africans in Zimbabwe.
yy Counterpart has special expertise in island nations and the Former Soviet Union.
Danish Demining Group
Borgergade 10, 3rd Fl., 1300 Copenhagen K
t: +45 3373 5000
f: +45 3332 8448
e: [email protected]
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Middle East, Africa
Land mine removal and aid
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $95,300
Danish Demining Group (DDG) was established in 1997 as an independent organization. It has since
merged with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) in order to create a Humanitarian Mine Action unit
within the organization, hence benefiting from synergies in cooperation but not being limited at the
same. The vision of Danish Demining Group is to be the preferred strategic and operational partner
working to reduce t-he humanitarian and socio-economic threats caused by landmines and Explosive
Remnants of War (ERW).
Direct Relief International
27 S. La Patera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93117, USA
t: 805-964-4767
f: 805-681-4838
Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Eastern and Central Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle
Disaster and emergency relief
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $244,399,000
Revenue source breakdown
Public support from cash and securities: $40,740,000
Donated goods and services: $201,823,000
Investment revenues: $1,776,000
Expenses $156,861,000
Program expenses: $154,659,000
Supporting services: $2,202,000
The mission of Direct Relief International is to provide appropriate ongoing medical assistance to
health institutions and projects worldwide which serve the poor and victims of natural and civil
disasters, without regard to political affiliation, religious belief, ethnic identity or ability to pay.
Doctors of the World, Inc.
See Health Right International
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO)
17391 Durrance Road North, Fort Myers, FL 33917, USA
t: 239-543-3246
f: 239-543-5317
e: [email protected]
Agriculture, education and training, networking, problem solving
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $2,959,129
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $2,386,869
Gift annuities: $48,416
Sale of merchandise: $343,321
Interest and dividends: $57,936
Net realized and unrealized gains ($32,924)
Other: $155,511
ECHO exists for one major reason, to help those working internationally with the poor be more
effective, especially in the area of agriculture! We are a technical support organization helping
community development organizations and workers do what they do...better.
Episcopal Relief and Development
815 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA
t: 800-334-7626 ext. 5129
f: 212-687-5302
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin American and the Caribbean, North America
Agriculture, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, refugees and
displacement, rural development, shelter/housing, social development
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $22,680,525
Revenue source breakdown:
Contributions, bequests, grants and other: $17,831,415
Investment return: $3,585,721
Grant—dfms: $200,000
Contributed services: $1,063,389
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Expenses $22,933,984
Food security: $2,261,377
Primary health: $4,476,027
Emergency relief and rebuilding 12,523,280
Fundraising: $1,784,214
Administration: $1,889,086
Episcopal Relief & Development is a major response of the Episcopal Church to God’s call to serve
Christ in all persons, to love our neighbors, and to respect the dignity of every human being. Episcopal
Relief & Development raises, receives, and disburses money and other resources for the relief of
human suffering. Episcopal Relief & Development provides emergency relief in times of disaster; it
assists in the rehabilitation of lives, property, and organizations; it initiates and joins in partnership
with those who identify and address root causes of suffering; and it supports and extends the social
ministry of the church.
Ethiopian Community Development Council
901 South Highland Street, Arlington, VA 22204, USA
t: 703-685-0510
f: 703-685-0529
e: [email protected]
Education, HIV/AIDS, public policy and advocacy, refugees and displacement, shelter/housing,
social development
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $11,763,593
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions to donor advised funds: $3,612,801
Indirect public support: $287,220
Government contributions (grants): $7,340,168
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $360,249
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $63,631
Net rental income: $231,308
The Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc. (ECDC) is a nonprofit, community-based
organization. ECDC was established in 1983 by concerned community leaders to respond to the
needs of a growing Ethiopian community in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. While initially
concentrating on that community, ECDC has from its inception been serving immigrants and refugees
from diverse cultural backgrounds while maintaining a focus on the African community. ECDC’s
mission is to resettle refugees; promote cultural, educational and socio-economic development
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
programs in the immigrant and refugee community in the United States; and conduct humanitarian
and socio-economic development programs in the Horn of Africa. ECDC provides a wide range of
programs at the local, regional and national levels, including economic development, public education
and advocacy, refugee resettlement, and culturally and linguistically appropriate social services.
Family Care International
588 Broadway, Ste. 503, New York, NY 10012, USA
t: 212-941-5300
f: 212-941-5563
e: [email protected]
Africa, Latin America and Caribbean
Maternal health, global sexual and reproductive health, youth health and rights, HIV/AIDS, genderbased violence
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $10,489,843
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $7,560,017
Government contributions (grants): $2,573,257
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $91,671
Dividends and interest from securities: $5,831
Other revenue: $20,561
FCI is dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safer around the world. We work to:
yy Ensure access to quality maternal and newborn health care;
yy Help women and girls to prevent and manage unintended pregnancy;
yy Promote the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people and other underserved
yy Reduce the spread of HIV, especially among women and young people
Floresta USA, Inc
4903 Morena Blvd, Ste. 1215, San Diego, CA 92117, USA
t: 858-274-3718 toll-free: 800-633-5319
f: 858-274-3728
e: [email protected]
Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico
Agriculture, education, rural development
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $1,476,973
Revenue source breakdown
General donations: $1,463,656
Interest and dividend income: $13,317
Floresta, a Christian nonprofit organization, reverses deforestation and poverty in the world, by
transforming the lives of the rural poor. We plant, we teach, we create enterprise, and we share the
Florida Association of Volunteer Action
in the Caribbean and the Americas
7220 NW 36th Street, Ste. 608 Miami, Fl 33166, USA
t: 305-470-5070
f: 305-470-5060
e: [email protected]
Capacity strengthening, disaster and emergency relief, economic growth and development,
education, health, HIV/AIDS, sustainable development, training
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $3,270,435
Revenue source breakdown
State: $1,632,350
Federal: $119,938
Private: $1,518,147
FAVACA promotes social and economic development in the Caribbean and the Americas through
volunteer service.
Food for the Hungry
1224 E. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034-1102
t: 480-998-3100, 800-248-6437
Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East, North America
Agriculture, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS, information and communication,
refugees and displacement, rural development, urban development
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $73,209,557
Revenue source breakdown
Government grants: $21,825,870
Government donated commodities: $12,070,823
Private gifts-in-kind: $18,943,217
Investment income: $295,717
Change in value of trusts and annuities: $576
Other income: $163,599
Expenses $74,707,655
Grants to food for the hungry international: $39,042,258
Gifts-in-kind to other organizations: $18,593,569
Other programs: $8,598,291
Information and education: $596,200
Fundraising: $4,719,322
General and administrative: $3,158,015
Food for the Hungry is meeting physical and spiritual hungers in 26 countries worldwide through
programs such as child sponsorship, food production, water and sanitation, health care, agriculture,
relief and church development.
Freedom from Hunger
1644 Da Vinci Court Davis, CA 95618, USA
t: 530-758-6200 ext. 1042
f: 530-758-6241
e: [email protected]
Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia,
Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Philippines, Togo, Uganda
Strengthening civil society, education, HIV/AIDS, population and family planning, rural
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $7,769,574
Revenue source breakdown
Individuals and planned gifts: $4,123,301
Corporate and foundation grants and gifts 2,854,046
Public sector/NGOs/other sources 705,938
Contributed in-kind materials and services 177,465
Net assets released from restrictions 67,835
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Other income (investment and miscellaneous) (159,011)
Freedom from Hunger brings innovative and sustainable self-help solutions to the fight against
chronic hunger and poverty. Together with local partners, we equip families with resources they need
to build futures of health, hope and dignity.
Friends of Liberia
4300 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20011, USA
t: 202-545-0139
e: [email protected]
Disaster and emergency relief, education, membership services
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $48,702
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $46,103
Investment income: $2,599
FOL is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that seeks to positively affect Liberia by supporting
education, social, economic and humanitarian programs and through advocacy
Friends of the World Food Program
1819 L Street NW, Ste. 900, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-530-1694, 866-929-1694
f: 202-530 1698
e: [email protected]
Africa sub-Saharan, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean,
Middle East and North Africa, South Asia
Disaster and emergency relief, HIV/AIDS, information and communication, nutrition, public policy
and advocacy, refugees and displacement
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $13,006,689
Revenue source breakdown
Donations: $12,808,860
Special events: $81,741
Interest income: $113,261
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Investment income: $2,427
Honorarium: $400
Expenses $10,944,130
Grants to UN world food program: $9,161,951
Other program expenses: $988,002
General and administrative: $270,868
Fundraising: $523,491
Friends of the World Food Program is dedicated to building support for the United Nations World Food
Program (WFP) and other hunger relief efforts. WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization.
Every year, WFP feeds an average of 90 million people, two-thirds of them children, in 80 countries.
Our mission is to increase awareness about global hunger issues; mobilize support for hunger relief
programs and activities; and generate resources for WFP operations and other activities that alleviate
Gifts In Kind International
333 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA
t: 703-836-2121
f: 877-798-3192
Africa sub-Saharan, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean,
North America, South Asia
Disaster and emergency relief, education, information and communication, shelter/housing
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $597,440,830
Revenue source breakdown
Product inventory and equipment contributions: $590,383,288
Administrative fees: $3,466,459
Contributions: $2,219,963
Donated services: $694,444
Registration fees: $631,626
Interest and other income: $45,050
Expenses $628,267,653
Product distribution program: $620,309,745
Product distribution program: $6,704,331
Management and general: $1,060,159
Marketing and fundraising: $193,418
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Gifts In Kind International is dedicated to linking product donors’ resources to enhance, empower,
and restore the lives of people and communities in need.
Giving Children Hope
8332 Commonwealth Avenue, Buena Park, CA 90621, USA
t: 714-523-4454
f: 714-523-4474
e: [email protected]
Bangladesh, Bosnia, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq,
Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, South Africa,
South Korea, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Children and youth, disaster and emergency relief, economic growth and development, food aid,
logistics, nutrition, partnership, poverty, procurement, reconstruction, USAID
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $32,582,974
Revenue source breakdown
Cash: $1,716,442
In-kind donation: $30,711,012
Other: $155,520
Giving Children Hope is a faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating poverty
(domestically and abroad) through disaster relief, health and community development, vocational
training and advocacy.
Global Health Council
1111 19th Street NW, Ste. 1120, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-833-5900
f: 202-833-0075
e: [email protected]
HIV/AIDS, membership services, population and family planning, public policy and advocacy
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $6,862,263
Revenue source breakdown
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Grants & cooperative agreements: $4,725,970
Membership: $639,240
Conference revenue:$487,406
Event sponsorship & contributions: $446,835
Investment & other revenue: $210,520
Contracts: $167,439
Publication sales: $17,392
In-kind donations: $167,461
Expenses $6,523,520
Policy, research and advocacy: $2,022,134
Membership resources: $2,925,798
Fundraising: $437,669
Operations: $1,137,919
The Global Health Council’s mission is to promote better health around the world by assisting all
who work for improvement and equity in global health to secure the information and resources they
need to work effectively. Toward this end, we will serve our members through our work in advocacy,
building alliances, and communicating experiences and best practices.
Global Links
4809 Penn Avenue, 2nd Fl., Pittsburgh, PA 15224, USA
t: 412-361-3424
f: 412-361-4950
e: [email protected]
Latin America and Caribbean
Health sector
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $4,290,692
Revenue source breakdown
Donated materials and supplies: $2,441,884
Donated pharmaceuticals: $4,071,319
Materials and supplies contributed to other organizations: ($3,138,029)
Contributions and support: $524,729
Grant income: $208,124
Management fees: $84,764
Miscellaneous sales and other: $26,367
Special events: $3,783
In-kind contributions: $7,093
Interest and dividends: $58,644
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Net unrealized appreciation of investments: $2,014
Expenses $4,204,261
Materials, supplies and equipment shipped: $2,606,460
Pharmaceuticals shipped: $933,290
Personnel and other operating expenses: $230,099
Shipping costs: $94,083
Warehouse expenses: $72,465
Travel and conference expenses: $13,125
Equipment repair expenses: $9,715
Management and general: $173,133
Fundraising: $71,891
Global Links is dedicated to recycling surplus medical supplies and equipment, for use by health-care
institutions in developing countries. To achieve this mission, Global Links collects batch and single
item supplies and equipment that are still valuable but are no longer in demand in the United States
due to procedural excess, technological change, regulatory requirements, or production overage, and
distributes them to selected health-care facilities in developing countries.
Global Resource Services
2870 Peachtree Road, #229, Atlanta, GA 30305 USA
t: 888-854-5250
e: [email protected]
Asia and the Pacific, North America
Disaster response, humanitarian policy and practice, strategic impact
Our mission is to go to regions challenged by conflict, looking beyond charity to find real solutions
where peace and security are in jeopardy. This mission is driven by an end vision of reconciliation.
Relationships, respect and reconciliation are the common threads that empower our cause.
41 Union Square, Ste. 1027, New York, NY 10003, USA
t: 212-831-7420
f: 646-496-9186
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, Middle East
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $44,273,990
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Revenue source breakdown
Grant income from governments, trusts or other grant making institutions: $36,639,151
Donations-in-kind: $7,634,839
Expenses $62,239,267
Overseas relief and development: $58,640,807
Support and administration: $3,598,460
GOAL works towards ensuring that those poorest and most vulnerable in our world, and / or those
who are affected by humanitarian crises, have access to the fundamental needs and rights of life,
that is, to food, water, shelter, medical attention and primary education. It is non denominational,
nongovernmental and non political.
Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
15810 Indianola Drive, Rockville, MD 20855, USA
t: 800-741-0186
e: [email protected]
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $28,479,450
Revenue source breakdown
Membership dues: $14,975,685
Grants from government agencies: $10,465,066
Contributions: $639,370
Program services fees: $1,463,677
Investment and other: $587,950
Rental: $297,232
Legacies and bequests: $50,470
Goodwill Industries will enhance the quality and dignity of life for individuals, families and
communities on a global basis, through the power of work, by eliminating barriers to opportunity for
people with special needs, and by facilitating empowerment, self-help, and service through dedicated,
autonomous local organizations.
Habitat for Humanity International
Operational HQ 121 Habitat Street, Americus, GA
31709 USA
t: 800-422-4828
f: 229-924-0577
e: [email protected]
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Botswana,
Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt,
El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India,
Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar,
Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua,
Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia,
Samoa, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand,
Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam,
Zambia, Zimbabwe
Conflict, disaster and emergency relief
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $249,401,167
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $188,692,549
Donations in-kind: $16,520,127
Government grants: $20,074,439
Other income: $24,114,052
Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with God and people everywhere, from all walks of life, to
develop communities with people in need by building and renovating houses so that there are decent
houses in decent communities in which every person can experience God’s love and can live and
grow into all that God intends. The ultimate goal of Habitat for Humanity International is to eliminate
poverty housing and homelessness from the face of the earth by building adequate and basic housing.
Furthermore, all of our words and actions are for the ultimate purpose of putting shelter on the hearts
and minds of people in such a powerful way that poverty housing and homelessness become socially,
politically and religiously unacceptable in our nations and the world. While many organizations provide
immediate relief and temporary shelter to victims of disasters or conflicts, Habitat for Humanity
International is among the few that address the need to provide permanent housing solutions to
families that are seeking to rebuild their lives. The Disaster Response Office also provides support and
informational resources to mitigate and prepare for future threats in disaster-prone areas.
Handicap International USA
6930 Carroll Avenue, Ste. 240, Takoma Park, MD 20912-4468, USA
t: 301-891-2138
f: 301-891-9193
e: [email protected]
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Russian Federation (incl. North Caucasus),Uzbekistan, Albania, Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
France, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Burkina Faso,
Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, El
Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Democratic Republic
of Congo, Rwanda, Somaliland, Sudan3, Madagascar, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian
Territories, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Bangladesh,
India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, China, North Korea
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $1,367,209
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $1,361,945
Investments: $5,227
Other: $37
Handicap International works to improve the living conditions of people living in disabling situations
in post-conflict and low income countries around the world. They work with local partners to develop
programs in health and rehabilitation and social and economic integration. They work with local
authorities to clear landmines and other war debris and to prevent mine-related accidents through
education. They respond fast and effectively to natural and civil disasters in order to limit serious
and permanent injuries and to assist survivors’ recovery and reintegration. They advocate for the
universal recognition of the rights of the disabled through national planning and advocacy.
Hands on Disaster Response
P.O. Box 546, Carlisle MA, 01741, USA
t: 781-570-9412
f: 586-314-2999
e: [email protected]
Disaster and emergency relief
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $502,947
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $502,947
Hands On Worldwide, DBA Hands On Disaster Response, is a US-based, volunteer-driven, 501(c)3
certified NGO dedicated to timely disaster response and relief, with a mission to apply volunteer
resources to aid survivors of natural disasters. It was founded by a group of people who came together
in Thailand to help the survivors of the December 26, 2004 tsunami. HODR has since responded to 9
natural disasters around the world.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
HealthRight International (was Doctors of the World-USA)
80 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038, USA
t: 212-226-9890
f: 212-226-7026
e: [email protected]
Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Russia, Ukraine, United States, Vietnam
Agriculture, health, HIV/AIDS, human rights, nutrition, refugees and displacement
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $5,198,578
Revenue source breakdown
United States government: $1,445,115
International organizations: $70,395
Foundations and corporations: $2,343,236
Individuals: $371,629
In-kind medical / legal services: $624,568
Special events (net of expenses): $298,271
Other income: $45,364
HealthRight International is a global health and human rights organization working to build lasting
access to health for excluded communities. We work closely with communities and establish local
partnerships to deliver health services. At the same time, we provide training and equipment and
improve systems to enable our partners to deliver services on their own. Our goal is to build lasting
access to health, thereby helping to protect and fulfill the rights of excluded communities.Our projects
address health and social crises made worse by human rights violations, with a particular focus and
expertise on:
yy HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria, including the rights of people living with these diseases to care, and
protection from stigma and discrimination
yy Women’s health, including women’s right to safe and effective maternal reproductive health care, as
well as equal access to information and quality health services.
yy The health and welfare of orphans and other at-risk children and youth, whose wellbeing is
endangered when they lack supportive families or are institutionalized.
yy Care and support for survivors of human rights violations such as torture, trafficking, and domestic
and gender-based violence.
Heart to Heart International
401 South Clairborne, Ste. 302, Olathe, KS 66062, USA
t: 913-764-5200
f: 913-764-0809
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China,
Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Gambia, Gaza, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana,
Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mexico,
Moldova, Montenegro, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Papua New Guinea,
Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand,
Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Agriculture, disaster and emergency relief, education, nutrition
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $119,191,271
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $118,853,212
Indirect public support: $45,103
Government contributions (grants): $200,000
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $175,234
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $10,742
Dividends and interest from securities: $1,127
Sales of assets: $2,578
Sales of inventory: $1,904
Heart to Heart International is a global humanitarian organization that inspires, empowers and
mobilizes the individual to serve the needs of the poor in their community and around the world.
Heart to Heart accomplishes this mission through partnerships that promote health, alleviate hunger,
deliver resources, education and hope, and provide opportunities for meaningful service.
Heartland Alliance
208 S. LaSalle Street, Ste. 1818, Chicago, IL 60604, USA
t: 312-660-1300
f: 312-660-1500
Guatemala, Haiti, United States
Refugees and displacement
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $53,380,652
Revenue source breakdown
Grants and contracts: $38,220,547
Contributions: $8,594,285
Program service fees and third-party revenue: $3,683,264
Rental and related revenue: $1,868,323
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
United Way: $640,568
Miscellaneous income: $373,664
Heartland Alliance’s mission is to advance the human rights and respond to the human needs of
endangered populations—particularly the poor, the isolated, and the displaced -through the provision
of comprehensive and respectful services and the promotion of permanent solutions leading to a
more just global society.
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
333 Seventh Avenue, 16th Fl., New York, NY 10001-5004, USA
t: 212-967-4100
f: 212-967-4483
Argentina, Austria, Colombia, Israel, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Ukraine
Strengthening civil society, education, information and communication, membership services, policy
research and analysis, public policy and advocacy, refugees and displacement
HIAS is the international migration arm of the organized American Jewish community. It is dedicated
to rescuing persecuted and oppressed people around the world and delivering them to countries of
safe haven. HIAS helps tens of thousands of refugees annually reunite with their families and resettle
in the United States. It also advocates for fair and just policies affecting refugees and immigrants.
Since its founding in 1881, the agency has assisted more than four million people around the world.
Heifer International
1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202, USA
t: 800-422-0474
f: 501-907-2902
e: [email protected]
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico,
Nicaragua, Peru, United States, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda,
Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Albania, Armenia, Estonia, Georgia,
Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine,
Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri
Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam
Agriculture, education, rural development
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $130,863,266
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Revenue source breakdown
Individuals: $82,836,447
Foundation and corporate grants: $17,797,404
Business and organizations: $16,096,181
Congregations: $11,254,241
Government support: $523,453
Educational programs: $1,046,906
Other: $1,308,633
Heifer International, working in partnership with others, alleviates hunger, poverty and environmental
degradation by helping families to become self-reliant for food and income. Heifer development work
provides animals, training and technical assistance to low-income families in 48 countries and 15
states. Heifer provides more than 25 kinds of food and income-producing animals, as well as intensive
training in animal husbandry, community development and environmentally sound, sustainable
agricultural methods.
Helen Keller International
352 Park Avenue South, 12th Fl., New York, NY 10010, USA
t: 212-532-0544, 877/KELLER-4 (877-535-5374)
f: 212-532-6014
e: [email protected]
Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of
Congo, Guinea, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal,
Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, United States of America,
Vietnam, Zimbabwe
Education, nutrition
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $90,999,651
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations: $18,662,314
Grants from U.S. government agencies: $11,016,090
Gifts in kind: $60,318,950
Program revenue: $35,940
Legacies and trusts: $769,770
Dividends, interest and miscellaneous income: $242,394
Gain on investments: $45,807
The mission of Helen Keller International is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and
disadvantaged. We combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition. Our vision is to strive to be the
most scientifically competent organization in improving vision and nutrition throughout the world.
Hesperian Foundation
1919 Addison Street, Ste. 304, Berkeley CA 94704, USA
t: 510-845-1447, 888-729-1796
f: 510-845-0539
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East, North America
Children and youth, education, health, HIV/AIDS
Holt International Children’s Services
P.O. Box 2880, 1195 City View, Eugene, OR 97402, USA
t: 541-687-2202
f: 541-683-6175
e: [email protected]
China, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Korea, Mexico, Mongolia, North Korea, Oman, Philippines, Romania,
Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam
HIV/AIDS, public policy and advocacy, social development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $19,178,415
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $8,019,714
Indirect public support: $109,087
Government contributions (grants): $782,935
Program service revenues, including government fees and contracts: $9,680,672
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $119,034
Dividends and interest from securities: $112,292
Sales of assets: $152,957
Special events: $177,248
Sales of inventory: $7,711
Other revenue: $16,765
Holt International Children’s Services is dedicated to carrying out God’s plan for every child to
have a permanent loving home through family preservation, in-country adoption, and international
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Humane Society International
2100 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA
t: 202-452-1100
Programs worldwide, offices in Asia, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, UK, United
Developing trade capacity building programs, helping to humanely control companion animal
populations, advocating the humane care, transport and slaughter for farm animals, bringing
veterinary care to companion and working animals, stemming the illegal trade in wildlife, protecting
endangered species and marine mammals and their habitats, educating children and adults and
providing training for animal protection organizations and governmental and international
agencies, influencing international laws and policies to effect global change, conducting international
campaigns to reduce animal suffering caused by various activities
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $2,528,080
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $2,281,184
Indirect public support: $40,044
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $135
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $45,175
Other revenue: $161,542
Humane Society International’s (HSI) purpose is to work with national and jurisdictional governments,
international treaty and trade agreement representatives, and humane organizations to find practical,
culturally sensitive, and long-term solutions to common animal welfare problems. Disasters highlight
the important relationship between people and their animals. HSI participates in international
disaster relief to reduce the suffering of all victims, including a recognition that people’s welfare
and livelihood often depend on their animals. As the international arm of the Humane Society of the
United States, HSI collaborates with local, regional and international organizations concerned about
the living conditions and welfare of companion and farm animals as well as wildlife. HSI promotes
local capacity building activities to counter illegal trade in wildlife, threats to endangered species,
slaughter of marine mammals, and the use of animals in research and testing.
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Fl., New York, NY 10118-3299, USA
t: 212-290-4700
f: 212-736-1300
e: [email protected]
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Pacific
Human rights advocacy
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $39,807,458
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $31,525,574 (%)
Investments: $7,956,612 (20 percent)
Other: $325,272 (1 percent)
Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. We
stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect
people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice. We investigate and
expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable. We challenge governments and those
who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. We enlist the
public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.
The Hunger Project
5 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003, USA
t: 212-251-9100
f: 212-532-9785
Africa, Latin America, South Asia
Agriculture, HIV/AIDS, information and communication, policy research and analysis, public policy
and advocacy, rural development, social development, strengthening of education civil society
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $13,602,409
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $13,022,749
Investment income: $269,647
Foreign currency gains and other: $310,013
Expenses $10,653,632
Education and advocacy: $1,495,938
Africa: $4,323,388
Asia: $2,165,986
Latin America: $592,281
Management and general: $1,418,545
Fundraising: $657,494
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
The Hunger Project is a strategic organization and global movement committed to the sustainable
end of world hunger. In Africa, Asia and Latin America, we empower local people to create lasting
society-wide progress in health, education, nutrition and family incomes.
Information Management and Mine Action Programs
1400 16th Street NW, Ste. 210, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 703-403-0427
f: 202-483-9312
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East, North America
Humanitarian information management, landmine impact survey, information management system
for mine action, landmine and unexploded ordnance safety training
iMMAP coordinates, supports, and implements humanitarian information management activities and
landmine–unexploded ordnance (UXO) surveys in postconflict and developing countries around the
world. iMMAP’s work in the field forms the basis for setting priorities for humanitarian relief and
development, economic recovery, landmine clearance and victim assistance.
INMED Partnerships for Children
20110 Ashbrook Place, Ste. 260, Ashburn, VA 20147, USA
t: 703-729-4951
f: 703-858-7253
e: [email protected]
Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America
Disaster and emergency relief, education, nutrition, social development, strengthening civil society
Annual Revenue (FY 2007): $11,430,959
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $10,268,410
Government contributions (grants): $1,038,096
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $116,977
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $249
Other revenue: $7,277
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
INMED’s mission is to strengthen families and communities, working as a catalyst to improve health
and create an environment that enables children to reach their full potential.
Inside NGO
1828 L Street NW, Ste. 300, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-684-3680
e: [email protected]
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $1,259,646
Revenue source breakdown
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $1,074,542
Membership dues and assessments: $95,006
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $90,098
InsideNGO’s mission is to strengthen the financial management of the international development
nonprofit community by sharing knowledge, improving professional skills, acting as a resource for
information exchange, and working as an advocate on behalf of the community.
Institute for Sustainable Communities
535 Stone Cutters Way, Montpelier, VT 05602, USA
t: 802-229-2900
f: 802-229-2919
e: [email protected]
Europe, Central Asia, North America
Agriculture, capacity strengthening,, disaster and emergency relief, environment, energy and natural,
food security, HIV/AIDS, media, policy research and analysis, rural development, strengthening civil
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $11,370,638
Revenue source breakdown
Individuals: $85,808
U.S. government: $7,898,708
Private foundations: $1,710,111
Donated services: 1,474,116
Contract income: 187,450
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Other income: $14,445
Expenses $10,297,216
Central and Eastern Europe: $1,608,381
Eurasia: $6,912,676
Special projects: $283,615
Fundraising: $59,513
Administration: $1,433,031
The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) is a nonprofit organization that helps communities in
existing and emerging democracies solve problems while building a better future for themselves and
the world. We give communities—and the organizations that support them—the training, technical
assistance, and grants they need to solve their own problems and shape their own destiny long after
our work with them is finished.
Institute of Cultural Affairs
555 René-Lévesque Blvd. West, Ste. 500, Montréal, Québec H2Z 1B1 CA
t: 514-875-7111
f: 514-287-9687
e: [email protected]
Australia, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, Herzegovina,
India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, South
Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Agriculture, strengthening civil society, education, rural development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $347,116
Revenue source breakdown
Membership dues: $35,432
Individual/family support: $83,783
Relocation program: $75,000
Institutional support: $133,569
Fiscal sponsorship: $13,462
Working gifts program: $4,494
Others: $1,376
ICA’s mission is to promote social innovation through participation and community-building. It
achieves this through research, training and demonstration that empower the human factor in the
development process. The Institute functions as a federation of nonprofit, nationally autonomous
units in 29 nations, including the United States. ICA staff work with partner organizations and program
associates to implement projects and provide consulting services in the following areas: civil society
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
development, capacity building, institutional development, training of trainers and facilitators,
conference design and facilitation, project design and implementation, and program monitoring and
InterAction: American Council for Voluntary International Action
1400 16th Street NW, Ste. 210, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-667-8227
e: [email protected]
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $5,407,345
Revenue source breakdown
Grants from U.S. government: $1,690,066
Foundation awards: $1,544,785
Member contributions: $102,695
Membership dues: $1,555,880
Publications: $228,654
Forum, meetings and workshops: $185,415
Interest and investment income: $76,148
Other income: $23,702
Expenses $4,916,753
Member services: $1,261,598
Federal and nonfederal awards: $2,499,972
Legislative activities: $167,066
General and administrative: $860,917
Fundraising: $127,200
InterAction is the largest coalition of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
focused on the world’s poor and most vulnerable people.
International Aid
17011 Hickory Street, Spring Lake, MI 49456-9712, USA
t: 616-846.7490
f: 616-846.3842
e: [email protected]
Ghana, Honduras, Korea, Kosovo, North Korea, Oman, Philippines, Romania
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS, nutrition
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $83,451,015
Revenue source breakdown
Gifts-in-kind: $69,145,723
Monetary contributions: $8,495,489
Distribution service fees: $2,710,571
Medical equipment services revenue: $1,154,228
Missionary service fees: $371,496
Reimbursements: $418,117
Contributed services: $542,710
Government grants: $309,648
Interest income: $160,892
Other: $142,141
Expenses $81,145,579
Relief: $61,014,230
Missionary resources: $8,250,701
Health and development: 9,663,056
General and administrative: $1,096,233
Fundraising: $1,121,359
International Aid is a Christian relief and development agency that responds to Biblical Mandates
by providing and supporting solutions in health care worldwide. International Aid is committed to a
comprehensive approach to health in developing countries by embracing both preventive and curative
care as complementary in improving the health of populations through the provision of training,
material resources, and logistical and financial support.
International Catholic Migration Commission
Rue Varembé 1 Case postale 96 1211, Genève 20, Switzerland
t: + 41 0 22 919 10 20
f: + 41 0 22 919 10 48
e: [email protected]
Albania, Belgium, Bosnia, Colombia, Congo, Croatia, East Timor, Eritrea, Herzegovina, India,
Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, Pakistan, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Thailand,
Togo, Turkey, United States of America, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe
Disaster and emergency relief, education, public policy and advocacy, refugees and displacement,
shelter/housing, social development
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $19,908,000
Revenue source breakdown
U.S. government grants: $7,923,000
UN institutions: $5,188,000
European commission: $907,000
Other grants and contributions: $3,002,000
Administrative support and management fees: $2,888,000
The International Catholic Migration Commission serves and protects the needs of uprooted people,
refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants, with operations in 30 countries of the world,
including Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey. ICMC advocates for durable solutions
and rights-based policies directly and through a worldwide network of 172 member organizations.
ICMC’s expertise and core programming consists of refugee resettlement, return and reintegration,
local integration, work with extremely vulnerable individuals, counter-trafficking and rescue, NGO
capacity-building, technical cooperation and government institution-building, emergency response
and advocacy. Today migration has become a present and pressing reality that deeply affects societies
in developed and developing countries, in wealth and in poverty. While the global economy facilitates,
and to some extent provokes new migration movements, the political process in many parts of the
world tends to react with strategies that are both defensive and protective. ICMC firmly believes that
migrants are agents of the future and that migration must be measured for the benefits it offers to
communities and states, as well as to the migrants themselves. ICMC will, therefore, continue to serve
the needs of uprooted people, regardless of faith, race, nationality or ethnic origin, giving priority to
the most vulnerable and marginalized amongst them.
ICMC will continue to contribute: to protecting lives and those who are persecuted; to strengthening
legal systems that provide protection, stimulate integration and foster overall equality; to helping
develop and manage sustainable solutions; to working for greater respect for fundamental human
rights, including the legitimate demand for a life in dignity; to developing communities and overall
quality of life to help provide people with options other than migration; to nurturing intercultural
dialogue, especially inter-religious dialogue; and to building a better understanding of migration, as
well as to bring about a shift in the collective social conscience. ICMC is hopeful that this approach,
based on respect for the migrant as an individual and as valued member of society, will contribute to
a culture of global solidarity with a greater sense of empathy and commitment.
International Center for Religion and Diplomacy
1156 15th Street NW, Ste. 910, Washington, DC 20005, USA
t: 202-331-9404
f: 202-872-9137
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Serves as a bridge between religion and politics in support of peacemaking, deploys inter-religious
action teams to trouble spots where conflict threatens or has already erupted, trains religious leaders
and laity in the tasks of peacemaking, provides feedback to theologians and clergy on interpretations
of their teachings that may be contributing to strife and misunderstanding
The mission of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD)is to address identitybased conflicts that exceed the reach of traditional diplomacy by incorporating religion as part of the
International Center for Research on Women
1120 20th Street NW, Ste. 500 North, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-797-0007
f: 202-797-0020
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin American and the Caribbean, Middle East
Agriculture, HIV/AIDS, information and communication, population and family planning, public
policy and advocacy
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $9,847,934
Revenue source breakdown
Foundation and other donations: $798,703
Investment income and unrealized gain: $497,329
Other revenue: $138,957
Net assets released from donor restrictions: $8,412,945
Expenses $8,970,153
Health and development: $3,608,926
Social and economic development: $1,547,985
Policy, communications and other programs: $1,571,627
Total program services: $6,728,538
General and administrative: $1,822,500
Fundraising: $419,115
To improve the lives of women in poverty, advance women’s equality and human rights, and contribute
to the broader economic and social well-being. ICRW accomplishes this, in partnership with others,
through research, capacity building and advocacy on issues affecting women’s economic, health and
social status in low and middle income countries.
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
International Crisis Group
420 Lexington Avenue, Ste. 2640, New York, NY 10170, USA
t: 212-813-0820
f: 212-813-0825
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $20,477,569
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $20,175,260
Investment income: $272,309
Expenses $13,045,671
Africa program: $2,591,008
Asia program: $2,000,107
Europe program: $1,007,945
Middle East/North Africa program: $1,369,213
Latin America program: $451,412
Partner share income: $8,061,386
Advocacy: $3,279,052
Administration: $1,705,233
The International Crisis Group (ICG) is an independent, nonprofit, multinational organization, with
over 100 staff members on five continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level
advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.
International Foundation for Electoral Systems
1101 15th Street NW, Third Fl., Washington, DC 20005, USA
t: 202-350-6700
f: 202-452-0804
e: [email protected]
Africa sub-Saharan, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East and North
Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia/Nagorno-Karabakh, Bangladesh,
Burundi, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan,
Palestine, Philippines, Sudan, Ukraine, Yemen
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $58,990,822
Revenue source breakdown
Federal awards: $53,161,687
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Non-federal awards and private grants: $5,602,943
Investment income: $117,438
Contributions: $91,594
Gain on disposal of property and equipment: $17,160
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems is an independent, nongovernmental organization
providing professional support to electoral democracy. Through field work, applied research and
advocacy, we strive to promote citizen participation, transparency, and accountability in political life
and civil society.
International Fund for Animal Welfare
290 Summer Street, Yarmouth Port, MA 02675, USA
t: 508-744-2000, 800-932-4329
f: 508-744-2009
e: [email protected]
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $111,067
Revenue source breakdown
Supporter contributions: $80,423
Bequests: $24,459
Other income: $6,185
The International Fund for Animal Welfare works to improve animal welfare, prevent animal cruelty
and abuse, protect wildlife and provide animal rescue around the world. From stopping the elephant
ivory trade, to ending the Canadian seal hunt and saving the whales from extinction, IFAW works to
create solutions that benefit both animals and people.
International Housing Coalition
10 G Street NE, Ste. 710, Washington, DC 20002, USA
t: 202-408-8506
f: 202-248-5099
e: [email protected]
Africa sub-Saharan, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean,
Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia
Capacity strengthening, governance, media, microfinance/microenterprise, partnership, policy
research and analysis, public policy and advocacy, reconstruction, rehabilitation/vocational service,
shelter/housing, urban development
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
The International Housing Coalition (IHC) was organized by the National Association of REALTORS
(NAR), the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI)
to promote the goal of “HOUSING FOR ALL” as an essential element to ending poverty worldwide.
Recognizing the worldwide housing problem and the lack of priority being given to housing issues,
the IHC was organized for the purpose of restoring housing to a position of importance and priority
on the world development agenda.
International Institute of Rural Reconstruction
40 Exchange Place, Ste. 1111, New York, NY 10005 USA
t: 212-880-9147
f: 212-880-9148
e: [email protected], [email protected]
Africa, Asia, Latin America
Agriculture, HIV/AIDS, information and communication, nutrition, population and family planning,
rural development, strengthening civil society, education
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $3,264,695
Revenue source breakdown
Foundations: $893,390
Corporations: $3,340
Individuals: $176,370
Governments: $734,493
Training courses: $647,406
Workshops: $172,407
Technical assistance: $343,202
Study programs: $44,454
Use of campus facilities: $87,482
Publication sales: $20,693
Others: $141,458
Expenses $3,251,914
Learning community: $1,566,318
Education and training: $908,824
Publication and communication: $243,908
Management and general: $413,241
Fundraising: $119,623
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
IIRR’s mission is to: work with the poor and their communities as their partner, enabling them
to improve their lives and achieve their full potential; learn and document from our work both
practical and innovative solutions to the challenges facing the poor, their communities and the
natural environment; share our learning and field-based experience through education, training
and communication; and join with partners in global development to promote and achieve equality,
justice and peace for all.
International Medical Corps
1919 Santa Monica Boulevard, Ste. 400, Santa Monica, CA 90404, USA
t: 310-826-7800
f: 310-442-6622
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East
Disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, population and family planning,
shelter/housing, strengthening civil society
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $102,201,023
Revenue source breakdown
Contracts and grant support: $55,879,518
Contributions: $3,449,736
Donated medical supplies: $42,301,919
Donated medical services: $468,900
Interest and dividend income: $95,755
Realized and unrealized gain on investments: $5,195
Expenses $99,344,956
Africa: $39,422,523
Asia: $23,010,579
Caucasus: $3,561,421
Middle East: $23,357,484
United States: $1,459,912
Program management and evaluation: $2,821,718
Management and general administration: $5,471,714
Fundraising: $239,605
International Medical Corps (IMC) is a global humanitarian nonprofit organization dedicated to saving
lives and relieving suffering through health-care training and medical relief programs. Established
in 1984 by volunteer United States doctors and nurses, IMC is a private, voluntary, nonpolitical,
nonsectarian organization. Its mission is to improve quality of life through health interventions and
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
related activities that build local capacity in areas worldwide where few organizations dare to serve.
By offering training and health care to local populations and medical assistance to people at highest
risk, and with the flexibility to respond rapidly to emergency situations, IMC rehabilitates devastated
health-care systems and helps bring them back to self-reliance.
International Orthodox Christian Charities
110 West Road, Ste. 360 Baltimore, MD 21204 USA
t: 410-243-9820
f: 410-243-9824
e: [email protected]
Albania, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lebanon, Romania, Russia, West Bank
Agriculture, strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS,
nutrition, refugees and displacement, rural development, shelter/housing, social development,
urban development
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $43,036,602
Revenue source breakdown
Federal: $6,776,175
International agencies: $1,302,188
In-kinds: $27,365,392
Orthodox Church institutions: $3,534,890
Individual: $2,496,246
Foundations: $288,416
Metropolitan committee events: $592,633
Micro-credit loan collections: $544,070
CFC/United Way: $201,320
Other: $69,433
International Orthodox Christian Charities, Inc. (IOCC) was established by the Standing Conference
of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) as an official humanitarian aid agency of
Orthodox Christians to work in cooperation with the Orthodox Churches worldwide. The Mission of
IOCC is to respond to the call of our Lord Jesus Christ, to minister to those who are suffering and are
in need throughout the world, sharing with them God’s gifts of food, shelter, economic self-sufficiency
and hope. In carrying out this mission, IOCC assumes the highest professional standards and renders
itself fully accountable to the public and its donors. Assistance is provided solely on the basis of
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
International Reading Association
444 North Capitol Street NW Ste. 523, Washington, DC 20001 USA
t: 202-624-8800
f: 202-624-8826
e: [email protected]
Education, information and communication, public policy and advocacy
The International Reading Association seeks to promote high levels of literacy for all by improving
the reading process and teaching techniques; serving as a clearinghouse for the dissemination of
reading research through conferences, journals, and other publications; and actively encouraging the
lifetime reading habit.
International Relief and Development
1621 North Kent Street, Fourth Fl., Arlington, VA 22209 USA
t: 703-248-0161
f: 703-248-0194
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East
Agriculture, strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS,
information and communication, public policy and advocacy, refugees and displacement, rural
development, shelter/housing, social development, urban development
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $130,519,252
Contract and grant revenue: $91,058,649
Contributed goods: $39,148,099
Contributions: $231,502
Interest income: $81,002
Expenses $130,516,613
Economic development/civil society: $60,705,136
Health: $34,399,383
Special projects: $9,765,298
Relief: $13,342,702
Food security: $2,123,476
Infrastructure: $2,873,304
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Management and general: $7,065,244
Fundraising: $242,070
IRD seeks to reduce the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable groups by providing them with the
tools and/or resources needed to become self-reliant. IRD’s strategic goal is to match our technical and
management strength with public and private donor grant and in-kind resources in the implementation
of cost-effective programs for the world’s most vulnerable groups, primarily refugee and displaced
populations (particularly women, children, and the elderly), as well as other vulnerable groups.
International Relief Teams
4560 Alvarado Canyon Road, Ste. 2G, San Diego, CA 92120-4309 USA
t: 619-284-7979
f: 619-284-7938
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America, South America
Education, health
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $26,969,975
Revenue source breakdown
Public contributions: $758,572
Grants: $111,869
Gifts in kind: $25,773,230
Fundraising special events: $247,466
Investment income: $67,079
Expenses breakdown
Program services: $26,603,785
Supporting services: $376,382
Total expenses: $26,980,167
Mission International Relief Team alleviates human suffering by providing health services and
humanitarian assistance to victims of disaster, neglect and profound poverty worldwide.
International Rescue Committee
122 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10168-1289 USA
t: 212-551-3000
f: 212-551-3179
e: [email protected]
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Africa, Asia, Caucasus, Middle East, Near East, South America
Camp coordination and management, education, food distribution and nutrition, health, protection,
water and sanitation
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $250,712
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $55,914
Grants and contracts: $185,630
Contributed goods and services: $4,749
Loan administration fees and other: $1,325
Investment return used for operations: $3,094
Expenses breakdown
Program services: $216,059
Supporting services: $23,111
Total expenses: $239,170
One of the first to respond, one of the last to leAvenue For 75 years, the International Rescue Committee
has been a leader in humanitarian relief. We mobilize quickly, bringing sustained support to regions
torn apart by violence and deprivation. We provide a fresh start in the United States for refugees. And
we advocate tirelessly on behalf of the displaced, addressing the root causes of violence and standing
up for the world’s most vulnerable populations.
International Social Service—United States of America Branch, Inc.
200 E. Lexington Street Ste. 1700 Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
t: 443-451-1200
f: 443-451-1220
e: [email protected]
Africa sub-Saharan, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean,
Middle East and North Africa, North America, South Asia, worldwide
Children and youth, strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, gender
& diversity, health, human rights, information and communication, policy research and analysis,
public policy and advocacy, refugees and displacement, volunteer/students abroad
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $1,117,137
Revenue source breakdown
Foundations and agencies: $85,930
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Individuals and corporations: $8,750
In-kind contributions: $24,000
Services provided
U.S. government: $704,569
State governments: $199,732
Other: $80,384
Other revenue: $13,772
International Social Service-united States of America Branch, Inc., (ISS-USA) is an international social
work agency. Its Geneva-based General Secretariat serves as the hub for a worldwide network of
more than 150 national units in countries spanning all continents. Our professional case managers
help agencies and individuals resolve social work problems that cross national borders. We envision
a world in which children are protected and flourish, and individuals and families are supported
and assisted to overcome difficulties resulting from forced or voluntary migration, humanitarian
disasters, human rights crises and conflict situations.
To improve the lives of children, adults and families affected by migration, and international and
humanitarian crises by providing high quality social services, promoting advances in service and
knowledge, and advocating for laws and policies that guarantee their rights and ensure their
International Youth Foundation
32 South Street, Ste. 500, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
t: 410-951-1500
f: 410-347-1188
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Middle East, North America, South America
Education, food distribution and nutrition, health, water and sanitation
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $23,479,245
Revenue source breakdown
Grants and contributions: $22,164,126
Investment income: $1,297,823
Other income: $17,296
Expenses breakdown
Programs: $18,728,856
Fundraising: $213,200
General and administrative: $3,228,257
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Total expenses: $22,170,313
To positively impact the greatest number of young people, in as many places as possible, in the shortest
amount of time, with programs that are effective, and sustainable.
857 Maude Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA
t: 650-962-0123
e: [email protected]
Africa sub-Saharan, East Asia and Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean,
South Asia, Southeast Asia
Education, health
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $8,672,046
Revenue source breakdown
Support: $8,706,368
Revenue: $34,322
Expenses breakdown
Program services: $8,832,604
Supporting services: $1,224,131
Total expenses: $10,056,735
Interplast—the first humanitarian organization to provide free reconstructive surgery for children
and adults with clefts, disabling burns and hand injuries—has provided 68,000 life-changing
surgeries for those who have no other access to care. Working in underserved regions of 16 countries
throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America, Interplast teaches, empowers and partners with volunteers
and overseas medical professionals so every child living in poverty has free access to the safest and
highest quality care—now and in the future.
Islamic Relief USA
6131 Orangethorpe Ave Ste 450 Buena Park, CA 90620, USA
t: 714-676-1300, 888-479-4968
f: 714-676-1301
e: [email protected]
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Cambodia, Chad, Chechnya, China,
Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Malawi, Mali, Morocco,
Niger, Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Turkey, Yemen
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Education and training, water and sanitation, income generation, orphan support, health and
nutrition, emergency relief
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $60,615,725
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $372,186
Special event: $40,882,847
In-kind contributions: $60,611,813
Interest and dividends: $2,746
Unrealized gain on investments: $423
Other income: $743
Islamic Relief strives to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide regardless of
color, race, religion, or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic
Relief aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish
sustainable local development projects allowing communities to better help themselves.
Jesuit Refugee Service USA
1016 16th Street NW, Ste. 500, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-462 - 0400
f: 202-328 - 9212
e: [email protected]
Asia and Pacific, Easter Africa, Europe, Grands Lacs, Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia,
Southern Africa, Western Africa
Education, food distribution and nutrition, health, protection, shelter, water and sanitation
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $2,229,048
Revenue source breakdown
US Jesuit assistancy: $290,000
Contracts: $1,167,112
Gifts: $485,419
Investments: $272,534
Other: $13,983
Expenses breakdown
Advocacy: $192,162
Detention chaplaincy and education program in South Sudan: $1,064,798
JRS International: $725,483
Supporting services: $280,262
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Total expenses: $2,262,705
JRS has a threefold mission of accompaniment, service and advocacy on behalf of refugees and
forcibly displaced persons. With a priority to working wherever the needs of forcibly displaced people
are urgent and unattended by others, JRS offers a human and pastoral service to the refugees and
displaced people and to the communities which host them through a wide variety of rehabilitation
and relief activities. JRS advocates the cause of the forcibly displaced and facilitates the response of
local churches, Jesuit institutions and other communities and organizations to the needs of refugees.
Joint Aid Management
900 19th street NW, Ste. 400 Washington DC20006, USA
t: 202-380 3566
f: 202-380 3627
Nutrition, water, HIV/AIDS, orphans and vulnerable children, agriculture, emergency relief
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $14,351,838
Revenue source breakdown
Private contributions: $10,060,785
Gifts in kind (GIK): $914,580
Grants & contracts: $2,820,675
Other income: $555,798
To help Africa help itself by contributing toward the alleviation of poverty through sustainable aid
programs that express the compassionate heart of God. Joint Aid Management (JAM) is a nonprofit,
Christian, international humanitarian relief and development organization with 25 years of experience
in sustainable development.
Keystone Human Services International
124 Pine Street Harrisburg, PA, 17101, USA
t: 717-232-7509, Toll-Free 888-377-6504
f: 717-232-4597
e: [email protected]
North America, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Russia
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $93,905,417
Revenue source breakdown
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
County programs: $53,071,765
State revenues: $17,861,997
Federal grants/awards: $5,623,061
Service fees: $6,955,163
Health choices: $6,201,344
Grants: $2,425,700
Investment income, including unrealized gains/losses: $509,377
Contributions: $27,002
Special events: $128,523
Other: $943,716
Keystone Human Services is a family of nonprofit organizations working together to serve the
community. Keystone is committed to creating an environment where all people can grow, make
choices, and be valued and contributing members of society. Keystone provides comprehensive
community-based services for children, young people, adults and families in the areas of intellectual
disabilities (mental retardation), autism, mental health, early intervention and children and
family services. Keystone serves individuals and families in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and
Connecticut. Keystone Human Services is also engaged in initiatives in Russia and Moldova.
Korean American Sharing Movement
7004 Little River Turnpike, Ste. O, Annandale, VA 22003, USA
t: 703-867-0846
f: 703-354-0427
e: [email protected]
Iraq, Korea, North Korea, South Korea, United States
Children and youth, refugees and displacement
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $74,404
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $11,348
Indirect public support: $1,730
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $61,214
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $112
KASM serves as an outlet for Korean-American communities to help those in need, both in the United
States and abroad, as well as to lay the cornerstone for the future through youth and other education
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Latter Day Saint Charities
50 East North Temple Street, Fl., 7, Salt Lake City, UT 84150, USA
t: 801-240-1201
e: [email protected]
Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize,
Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Congo, Croatia, Czech Republic,
Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia,
Fiji, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Herzegovina, Honduras, Hungary,
India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos,
Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique,
Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru,
Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri
Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tibet, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Uganda,
Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe
Agriculture, disaster and emergency relief, education
Latter-day Saint Charities is a voluntary organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, regardless of faith or nationality. Latter-day Saint Charities provides life-sustaining
resources to people in emergencies, helps strengthen families to become self-reliant, and offers
opportunities for giving service. Unique in its support structure, Latter-day Saint Charities has
access to the developed resources of the church, which include food production and processing, grain
storage, vocational rehabilitation and employment, donated used clothing and social services. Latterday Saint Charities works both independently and in cooperation with other charitable relief and
development organizations (international and indigenous) in meeting the relief and self-reliance
needs of deprived populations.
Life for Relief and Development
17300 W 10 Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075, USA
t: 248-424-7493
f: 248-424-8325
e: [email protected]
Middle East, Africa
Health, education, water and sanitation, disaster relief
Annual revenue (FY 2004): $10,632,092
Revenue source breakdown
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Contributions: $10,631,667 (>99 percent)
Investments: $435 (<1 percent)
Life for Relief and Development (LIFE) is a nonprofit organization deeply rooted in the belief that
saving lives should be a priority of all mankind. For this reason, we are dedicated to alleviating human
suffering regardless of race, color, religion, or cultural background. LIFE works to provide assistance
to people across the globe by offering humanitarian services such as health care and education, as
well as catering to casualties of social and economic turmoil, victims of hunger, natural disasters, war,
and other catastrophes.
Lutheran World Relief
700 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230, USA
t: 410-230-2800
f: 410-230-2882
e: [email protected]
Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Pacific
Microfinance, health, water and sanitation, disaster response
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $34,633,123
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $31,114,901 (90 percent)
Government grants: $3,441,126 (10 percent)
Other: $77,096 (<1 percent)
Every day in 35 countries, Lutheran World Relief works to combat the causes of poverty and the
dignity it robs from people’s lives. We advocate for Fair Trade that helps farming families and artisans
earn a better income. We teach people to better care for themselves, their communities and the
environment. We teach people how to be less vulnerable to natural disasters. We advocate with and
for them for policy change that more fairly represents them. We counsel them after manmade and
natural disasters, and help them recover with material aid. We do all of this exclusively with partners
from the communities we serve.
Management Sciences for Health
784 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
t: 617-250-9500
f: 617-250-9090
e: [email protected]
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Pacific
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $169,746,036
Revenue source breakdown
Government grants: $169,416,011 (99.8 percent)
Investments: $330,025 (<1 percent)
MSH works collaboratively with health-care policymakers, managers, providers, and consumers to
help close the gap between what is known about public health problems and what is done to solve
them. MSH seeks to increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of health services by
improving management systems, promoting access to services, and influencing public policy.
MAP International
2200 Glynco Parkway, Brunswick, GA 31525-6800
t: 800-225-8550
Africa, Asia and Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $253,926,754
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $250,074,183 (98 percent)
Government grants: $199,868 (<1 percent)
Investments: $372,802 (<1 percent)
Other: $3,279,901 (1 percent)
MAP International promotes the total health of people living in the world’s poorest communities by
partnering in the provision of Essential Medicines, the promotion of Community Health Development,
and prevention and mitigation of disease, disaster and other health threats.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders)
Rue de Lausanne 78, CP 116-1211, Geneva 21, Switzerland
t: +41 (22) 849.84
f: +41 (22) 849.84.04
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Pacific
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $891,038
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $862,052 (97 percent)
Other: $28,986 (3 percent)
MSF is an independent humanitarian medical aid agency committed to two objectives: providing
medial aid wherever needed, regardless of race, religion, politics or sex and raising awareness of the
plight of the people we help.
Medical Care Development International
8401 Colesville Road, Ste. 425, Silver Spring, MD, 20910, USA
t: 301-562-1920
f: 301-562-1921
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia and Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Caribbean
Health, gender, water and sanitation
Annual revenue (FY 2005): $30,634,630
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $38,951 (<1 percent)
Government grants: $23,883,524 (78 percent)
Investments: $385,170 (1 percent)
Other: $6,326,985 (20 percent)
The mission of MCDI is to enhance the well-being of peoples and communities in developing nations
through superior technical assistance in health and socio-economic development. We will seek to
empower families with the knowledge and behavior needed to improve infant and child survival
and maternal health and care. We develop and disseminate tools, mechanisms and strategies that
improve access and management of sustainable levels of health-care services. We work with a full
spectrum of organizations, from grassroots community groups to multilateral donor institutions, to
enable continuing and progressive improvement in the quantity and quality of care available and
affordable to the neediest people on earth, and seek to enhance their financial ability to benefit from
these improvements.
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Medical Teams International
14150 SW Milton Court, Tigard, OR 97224, USA
t: 503-624-1000
f: 503-624-1001
e: [email protected]
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific
Health, disaster response
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $92,605,022
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $88,746,484 (95.5 percent)
Government grants: $167,525 (.5 percent)
Other: $3,736,013 (4 percent)
The mission of Medical Teams International is to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by
disaster, conflict and poverty around the world. We seek to achieve our vision by:
yy Addressing root causes and effects of poverty and poor health.
yy Increasing and improving access to sustainable, quality health care.
yy Providing emergency preparedness, relief, and rehabilitation in disasters.
yy Supporting local partners through training and cash resources to implement holistic programs.
yy Contributing high quality essential medicines and medical supplies to partners and projects.
yy Enabling volunteers and partners to use their skills, exchange knowledge and advocate on behalf
of the poor.
Mental Disability Rights International
1156 15th Street NW, Ste. 1001, Washington, DC 20005, USA
t: 202-296-0800
f: 202-728-3053
e: [email protected]
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific
Disability advocacy
Annual revenue (FY 2007):$891,044
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $795,381
Indirect public support: $1,696
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Government contributions (grants): $84,546
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $9,421
Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) is dedicated to promoting the human rights and full
participation in society of people with mental disabilities worldwide.
Mercy Corps
Dept. W, 3015 SW 1st Avenue, Portland, OR 97201, USA
t: 800-292-3355
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific
Education, health, microfinance, gender, food distribution/nutrition, water and sanitation
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $197,361,387
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $71,144,239 (36 percent)
Government grants: $85,297,654 (43 percent)
Other: $40,919,494 (21 percent)
Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure,
productive and just communities. Mercy Corps works amid disasters, conflicts, chronic poverty and
instability to unleash the potential of people who can win against nearly impossible odds.
Mercy-USA for Aid and Development, Inc.
44450 Pinetree Drive, Ste. 201, Plymouth, MI 48170, USA
t: 734-454-0011
f: 734-454-0303
e: [email protected]
Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Pacific
Water and sanitation, food distribution/nutrition, health, education
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $2,295,486
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $2,075,135 (90 percent)
Government grants: $146,147 (6 percent)
Investments: $74,204 (4 percent)
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Mercy-USA for Aid and Development (M-USA) is dedicated to alleviating human suffering and
supporting individuals and their communities in their efforts to become more self-sufficient. Founded
in 1986, M-USA is a nonprofit relief and development organization. Our projects focus on improving
health and promoting economic and educational growth around the world.
Minnesota International Health Volunteers
122 West Franklin Avenue, Ste. 510, Minneapolis, MN 55404, USA
t: 612-871-3759
f: 612-230-3257
North America, Africa
Gender, health, food distribution/nutrition
Annual Revenue (FY 2007): $1,267,699
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $112,765 (9 percent)
Government Grants: $373,424 (29 percent)
Investments: $1,254 (1 percent)
Other: $780,256 (61 percent)
Mission and Summary
To improve the health of women, children and their communities around the world. Vision We envision
a world in which communities are organized to improve their own health. MIHV will be recognized as
a center of excellence for community organized health care. In our work, we will be seen as a trusted
partner who honors the strengths and assets of the communities with whom we work.
Mobility International USA
132 E. Broadway, Ste. 343, Eugene, OR 97401, USA
t: 541-343-1284
f: 541-343-6812
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific
Advocacy for those with disabilities
Annual revenue (fy2007): $1,394,775
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $385,210
Government contributions (grants): $942,000
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $23,549
Dividends and interest from securities: $32,916
Special events: $10,440
Other revenue: $660
Mission and Summary
To empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through
international exchange and international development. Mobility International USA is a national
nonprofit organization based in Eugene, Oregon and was co-founded in 1981 by Susan Sygall and
Barbara Williams. MIUSA is a cross-disability organization serving those with cognitive, hearing,
learning, psychiatric, physical, systemic, vision and other disabilities.
National Association of Social Workers
750 First Street NE, Ste. 700, Washington, DC 20002, USA
t: 202-408-8600
North America
Advancement of social work practice, advocacy, continuing education, ethics
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $2,415,467
Revenue source breakdown
Grants & contracts: $641,495 (26.56 percent)
Contributions: $1,444,589 (59.81 percent)
Investment income: $327,211 (13.55 percent)
Other: $2,172 (0.09 percent)
NASW addresses its mission by advancing the professional knowledge base with the publication of
scholarly journals, textbooks and practice guides; formulation and advocacy of sound public policy;
enforcement of its professional Code of Ethics; developing professional capacity through its credentials
and continuing education programs; and establishing standards for social work practice.
NASW is a membership organization that seeks to enhance the effective functioning and well being
of individuals, families and communities through its work and through its advocacy. NASW also
promotes, develops and protects the practice of social work and social workers.
National Council of Negro Women
633 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
t: 202-737-0120
f: 202-737-0476
e: [email protected]
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
North America, Africa
Research, Advocacy, health, education, economic empowerment services
Annual revenue (FY 2006): 6,533,894
Revenue source breakdown
Grants and contracts: $2,716,690
Contributions: $2,112,865
Membership dues 523,354
Rent revenue 717,658
In-kind donations 422,328
Miscellaneous 40,999
NCNW is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune, a child
of slave parents, distinguished educator and government consultant. With a mission to lead, develop
and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities, NCNW
addresses issues of human welfare and rights through public education, community service and
National Peace Corps Association
1900 L Street NW, Ste. 404, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Disaster and emergency relief, education, information and communication,
membership services, public policy and advocacy
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $1,334,962
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $387,139
Grants: $307,041
Membership: $213,594
Advertising: $226,943
Earned income:$120,146
Donated goods and services: $80,097
The NPCA is a national network of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), former Peace Corps staff,
and friends of the Peace Corps community that continues to work for world peace, understanding,
and well-being, with an emphasis on bringing the world back home. Our goals are: educate the public
about other countries and cultures; support the network of Peace Corps alumni and groups; promote
domestic and international community service; advance policies and programs consistent with
the Peace Corps experience; ensure the continued success of the Peace Corps; mobilize the Peace
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Corps community to make a significant contribution toward world peace; and strengthen the NPCA’s
financial capacity to achieve its mission.
National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190-5362, USA
t: 800-822-9919
Agriculture, environment, energy and natural, millennium development goals, poverty, sustainable
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $88,102
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions from individuals: $48,129
Contributions from foundations and corporations: $16,436
Publications: $22,248
Other: $1,289
The mission of the National Wildlife Federation (NFW), the nation’s largest environmental education
and advocacy organization, is to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. NWF
recognizes that to truly conserve our planet’s land, water and wildlife, we must consider natural
resources and the realities of development, poverty and other challenges from a global perspective.
Through NWF’s U.S.- based activism, and team outreach across the globe NWF is educating, inspiring
and mobilizing grassroots activists to conserve their world for people and wildlife and to help achieve
sustainable development worldwide.
Near East Foundation
90 Broad Street, 15th Fl., New York, NY 10004, USA
t: 212-425-2205
f: 212-425-2350
Europe, Africa, Middle East
Water and sanitation, food distribution/nutrition, health
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $5,969,486
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $1,892,250 (31 percent)
Government grants: $1,293,475 (21 percent)
Investments: $13,786 (2 percent)
Other: $2,769,975 (46 percent)
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Conflict, poverty and climate change afflict many communities in northern Africa and the Middle
East; for some, they threaten their very survival. Such communities in peril include newly formed
settlements of refugees—Iraqis in Jordan and Darfurians in central Sudan—and villages isolated
by their environment—Berbers in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains and Egyptian farmers relocated
from the Nile Delta to the desert near the Aswan Dam. The Near East Foundation, founded in 1915,
identifies such communities and mobilizes them into grassroots civil society organizations that find
homegrown solutions to community problems. These health committees, parent-teacher councils and
farmers associations—advised by NEF—launch programs that precede any government intervention
and outlast outside assistance. Local and national authorities often adopt NEF’s community-based
programs as development models.
The ONE Campaign
1400 Eye Street NW, Ste. 601, Washington, DC 20005, USA
t: 202-552-4990
Health, extreme poverty
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $16,985,374
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $16,866,457
Membership dues and assessments: $1,881
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $117,036
Note: Donations to ONE go directly to our awareness raising and advocacy campaign. ONE does not
conduct relief and development work in poor countries.
ONE is Americans of all beliefs and every walk of life - united as ONE - to help make poverty history.
We are a campaign of over 2.4 million people and growing from all 50 states and over 100 of America’s
most well-known and respected nonprofit, advocacy and humanitarian organizations. As ONE, we are
raising public awareness about the issues of global poverty, hunger, disease and efforts to fight such
problems in the world’s poorest countries. As ONE, we are asking our leaders to do more to fight
the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. ONE believes that allocating more of the U.S.
budget toward providing basic needs like health, education, clean water and food would transform
the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the world’s poorest countries.
ONE is nonpartisan; there’s only one side in the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty.
Working on the ground in communities, colleges and churches across the United States, ONE members
both educate and ask America’s leaders to increase efforts to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty,
from the U.S. budget and presidential elections to specific legislation on debt cancellation, increasing
effective international assistance, making trade fair, and fighting corruption. Everyone can join the
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
fight. The goal of ending poverty may seem lofty, but it is within our reach if we take action together
as one. You can start now by joining the ONE Campaign and pledging your voice to the fight against
extreme poverty and global AIDS.
Operation USA
3617 Hayden Avenue, Ste. A, Culver City, CA 90232, USA
t: 310-838-3455
f: 310-838-3477
e: [email protected]
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific
Disaster response
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $21,937,368
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $21,730,817 (99 percent)
Investments: $204,559 (<1 percent)
Other: $1,992 (<1 percent)
Operation USA helps communities alleviate the effects of disasters, disease and endemic poverty
throughout the world by providing privately-funded relief, reconstruction and development aid.
We provide material and financial assistance to grassroots organizations that promote sustainable
development, leadership and capacity building, income generating activities, provide education and
health services, and advocate on behalf of vulnerable people.
Opportunity International
2122 York Road, Ste. 150, Oak Brook, IL 60523, USA
t: 630-642-4100
f: 630-645-1458
e: [email protected]
Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Pacific, Africa
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $128,074,353
Revenue source breakdown
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Direct public support: $58,761,307
Government contributions (grants): $1,340,504
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $69,782,571
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $896,689
Dividends and interest from securities: $140,606
Sales of assets: $41,484
Our mission is to provide opportunities for people in chronic poverty to transform their lives. Our
strategy is to create jobs, stimulate small businesses, and strengthen communities among the poor.
Our method is to work through indigenous partner organizations that provide small business loans,
other financial services, training, and counsel. Our commitment is motivated by Jesus Christ’s call to
serve the poor. Our core values are respect, commitment to the poor, integrity, and stewardship.
Oxfam America
226 Causeway Street, 5th Fl., Boston, MA 02114, USA
t: 800-776-9326
f: 617-728-2594
e: [email protected]
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, Asia
Gender, microfinance, protection
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $68,303,000
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $64,291,000 (94 percent)
Investments: $3,744,000 (5 percent)
Other: $268,000 (1 percent)
Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions
to poverty, hunger, and injustice. Together with individuals and local groups in more than 120
countries, Oxfam saves lives, helps people overcome poverty, and fights for social justice. We are an
affiliate of Oxfam International.
1200 18th Street NW, Ste. 350, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-466-5666
f: 202-466-5669
e: [email protected]
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Pacific
Health, microfinance
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $79,883,452
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $30,139 (<1 percent)
Government Grants: $78,982,969 (99 percent)
Investments: $378,186 (<1 percent)
Other: $492,158 (<1 percent)
To build empowered communities, effective governments and responsible private institutions that
give people an opportunity for a better life. We do this by strengthening the capacity of organizations
and institutions to be good service providers, represent their stakeholders, network with others
for learning and knowledge sharing, and advocate for social, economic and environmental justice.
Interdependence, responsible stewardship, inclusion of vulnerable groups, and respect for local
ownership and knowledge are core values across all of our programs.
Pan American Development Foundation
1889 F Street NW, 2nd Fl., Washington, DC 20006, USA
t: 202-458-3969
f: 202-458-6316
e: [email protected]
Latin America and Caribbean
Microfinance, health, disaster response
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $40,577,173
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $5,049,510 (12 percent)
Government Grants: $33,602,561 (83 percent)
Other: $1,925,102 (5 percent)
The Pan American Development Foundation empowers disadvantaged people and communities in
Latin America and the Caribbean to achieve sustainable economic and social progress, strengthen
their communities and civil society, and prepare for and respond to natural disasters and other
humanitarian crises, thereby advancing the principles of the Organization of the American States.
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1455 NW Leary Way, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
t: 206-285-3500
f: 206-285-6619
e: [email protected]
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific
Health, gender
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $130,267,329
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $99,451,027 (76 percent)
Government grants: $28,200,820 (22 percent)
Investments: $2,615,482 (2 percent)
To improve the health of people around the world by advancing technologies, strengthening systems,
and encouraging healthy behaviors. We meet the complex health needs of an expanding world
with this multipronged approach that moves solutions from innovation to impact: supporting new
ideas through inception, development, and testing; paving the way for introduction in low-resource
countries; and working with governments and communities to integrate and expand the most
successful ideas.
Pathfinder International
9 Galen Street, Ste. 217, Watertown, MA 02472, USA
t: 617-924-7200
f: 617-924-3833
Africa, Asia and Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Middle East
Health, gender
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $107,939,887
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $18,667,669 (17 percent)
Government grants: $89,011,594 (82 percent)
Investments: $260,624 (1 percent)
Pathfinder International believes that reproductive health is a basic human right. When parents can
choose the timing of pregnancies and the size of their families, women’s lives are improved and children
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grow up healthier. Pathfinder International provides women, men, and adolescents throughout the
developing world with access to quality family planning and reproductive health information and
services. Pathfinder works to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS, to provide care to women suffering from
the complications of unsafe abortion, and to advocate for sound reproductive health policies.
PCI-Media Impact
777 United Nations Plaza, 5th Fl., New York,
NY 10017, USA
t: 212-687-3366
f: 212-661-4188
e: [email protected]
Asia and Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $997,994
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions and grants: $869,219 (87 percent)
Investments: $62,945 (6 percent)
Other: $65,830 (7 percent)
Improve health, promote human rights and bring social advancement through the use of creative
Perkins International
175 North Beacon Street, Watertown, MA 02472, USA
t: 617-924-3434
e: [email protected]
Asia, Africa, North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East
Advocacy, education
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $58,599,514
Revenue source breakdown
Tuition: $27,970,511 (47.7 percent)
Investment income: $2,733,045 (4.7 percent)
Sale of materials for the blind: $5,883,807 (10.0 percent)
Unrestricted contributions: $3,502,816 (6.0 percent)
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Net assets released from restriction: $2,939,239 (5.0 percent)
Library services: $2,354,208 (4.0 percent)
Government grants and resources: $1,958,319 (3.3 percent)
Private grants and resources: $1,434,393 (2.4 percent)
Unrestricted gifts and legacies: $639,232 (1.1 percent)
Other private resources: $774,313 (1.3 percent)
Other government grants and resources*: $1,746,223 (3.0 percent)
Other non-operating resources: $6,309,185 (10.8 percent)
Income from outside trusts: $354,223 (0.7 percent)
Perkins International is committed to providing education and services that build productive,
meaningful lives for children and adults around the world who are blind, deaf blind or visually
impaired with or without other disabilities.
Physicians for Human Rights
2 Arrow Street, Ste. 301, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
t: 617-301-4200
f: 617-301-4250
Latin America and Caribbean, Africa
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $4,173,452
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $928,265 (22 percent)
Government grants: $2,919,349 (70 percent)
Investments: $227,211 (5 percent)
Other: $98,627 (3 percent)
Physicians for Human Rights mobilizes health professionals to advance health, dignity, and justice and
promotes the right to health for all. Harnessing the specialized skills, rigor, and passion of doctors,
nurses, public health specialists, and scientists, PHR investigates human rights abuses and works to
stop them.
Physicians for Peace
229 W. Bute Street, Ste. 200, Norfolk, VA 23510, USA
t: 757-625-7569
f: 757-625-7680
e: [email protected]
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Africa, Asia and Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Latin America and Caribbean
Health, education
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $23,043,257
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $21,066,304 (91 percent)
Investments: $1,529,627 (7 percent)
Other: $447,326 (2 percent)
The developing world carries 90 percent of the global disease burden yet has only 10 percent of
the medical resources, according to the United Nations Foundation. Physicians for Peace provides
medical education and training, clinical care, and donated medical supplies to developing countries
with unmet needs and scarce resources.
Physicians for Peace holds no religious or political affiliations, showing compassion and respect
to members of all nations. Physicians for Peace fully embraces the United Nations Millennium
Development Goals to meet the needs of the world’s poorest by 2015 and advance international
Plan USA
1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW, 11th Fl., Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-223-8325
e: [email protected]
Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Pacific, Europe
Food distribution/nutrition, education, health
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $51,791,532
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $30,299,095 (58.5 percent)
Government grants: $19,123,690 (37 percent)
Investments: $1,626,181 (3 percent)
Other: $742,566 (1.5 percent)
Plan is a child-centered organization. We work at the grassroots level with the active participation
of children, their families and their communities. We involve children in all aspects of our programs.
Projects are planned, implemented, and their results are evaluated at the level of the child. Families
and communities contribute as much as they can of their time, labor, and their funds—a value that can
amount to more than half of project costs. Designing programs at the level of the child, we can better
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see the complex web of causes and effects that impact a child’s life, and respond with programs in five
interrelated areas—Growing Up Healthy, Learning, Habitat, Livelihood, and Building Relationships.
Population Action International
1300 19th Street NW Ste. 200, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-557-3400
f: 202-728-4177
e: [email protected]
Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Pacific, Europe
Health, gender
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $4,882,976
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions and grants: $4,130,009 (84.5 percent)
Investments: $735,105 (15 percent)
Other: $17,862 (.5 percent)
Population Action International (PAI) is an independent policy advocacy group working to strengthen
political and financial support worldwide for population programs grounded in individual rights.
Founded in 1965, PAI is a private, nonprofit group and accepts no government funds.
Population Action International works to improve individual well-being and preserve global
resources by mobilizing political and financial support for population, family planning and reproductive
health policies and programs.
Population Communication International
1250 E Walnut St., Ste. 220 Pasadena, CA 91106 USA
t: 626-793-4750
f: 626-793-4791
e: [email protected]
Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand
Population and family planning, public policy and advocacy
Population Communication was established in 1977 to assist governments in developing quality
family planning and women’s reproductive health programs, and to determine the most efficient path
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to achieving population stabilization. Population Communication conveys population messages to
national leaders, and actively explores solutions to the population problem. Population Communication
develops television and motion picture screenplays with family planning and population themes,
informs doctors about the latest contraceptive techniques and obtains support for population
stabilization policies from heads of government. Population Communication also develops child
survival projects, studies the link between population and the environment, and promotes programs
that improve the status of women. Population Communication supports immigration reform.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Hunger Program
100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202-1396, USA
t: 888-728-7228, 502-569-5000
f: 502-569-8005
e: [email protected]
Africa sub-Saharan, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean,
Middle East and North Africa, Afghanistan, Albania, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia,
Bosnia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan,
Kenya, Korea, Kosovo, Lebanon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar,
Nepal, Nicaragua, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Rwanda,
Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Korea, Sudan, Thailand, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Disaster and emergency relief, HIV/AIDS, membership services, public policy and advocacy, refugees
and displacement
Annual revenue (FY 2006): 85,976,231
Revenue source breakdown
Basic mission support
Shared mission support: $11,567,671
Directed mission support: $4,300,998
Churchwide special offerings
Christmas joy: $4,987,578
One Great Hour of sharing: $8,245,099
Peacemaking: $1,177,333
Pentecost: $863,861
Witness: $32,465
ER specific appeals
Emergency and disaster relief: $3,783,911
Additional giving offering, ECO: $6,763,268
Mission initiative Joining Hearts and Hands: $1,715,355
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Special missionary support: $353,292
Hunger: $514,417
Theological Education Fund: $1,888,936
Additional forms of giving
Presbyterian Women: $1,024,381
Bequests and annuities: $1,228,305
Other gifts: $19,932
Validated mission support: $215,246
Grants from outside foundations: $2,751,174
Interest and dividends
PC(USA) restricted endowment funds: $7,201,177
PC(USA) unrestricted endowment funds: $8,049,365
Presbyterian Mission program fund: $368,333
Outside trusts: $1,353,691
Jinishian fund: $2,015,821
Short-term investments: $2,297,509
Partner churches and other: $651,060
Hubbard Press: $45,000
Sales curriculum: $2,676,332
Sales program services and MEP: $7,706,775
Sales resources: $1,976,353
Other income: $201,593
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Hunger Program are two organizationally specific programs
existing as part of the Worldwide Ministries of the Presbyterian Church (USA) whose mission is: To
empower the church, in each place, to share transforming power with all people through partnership
and mutuality with the worldwide body of Christ.
Project HOPE
255 Carter Hall Lane, Millwood, VA 22646, USA
t: 800-544-4673
e: [email protected]
Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Pacific
Health, education
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $182,602
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $167,082 (91,5 percent)
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Government grants: $11,245 (6 percent)
Other: $4,275 (2.5 percent)
Project HOPE is unique among international organizations in that we have always worked across the
health spectrum in a wide variety of settings—from the family and community levels to the tertiary
care level—training traditional birth attendants and community health volunteers where resources
are limited and cardiac surgeons and biomedical engineers where technology is appropriate. Though
the challenges have evolved, Project HOPE remains as committed as ever to addressing the world’s
new health threats by playing a leadership role—forging new alliances among those on the frontlines
of health and together seek new solutions.
To achieve sustainable advances in health care around the world by implementing health education
programs and providing humanitarian assistance in areas of need.
Proliteracy Worldwide
1320 Jamesville Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
t: 315-422-9121
f: 315-422-9121
e: [email protected]
Africa sub-Saharan, East Asia and Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East and North
Africa, South Asia, Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China,
Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador,
Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Lesotho,
Liberia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda,
West Bank, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Economic growth and development, education, environment, energy and natural, gender & diversity,
health, HIV/AIDS, human rights, peacebuilding, peacekeeping
Annual revenue (FY 2006):
ProLiteracy Worldwide is represented in 51 developing countries as well as in the United States
and serves more than 350,000 adult new learners around the world each year. Its purpose is to
sponsor educational programs and services to empower adults and their families by assisting them
to acquire the literacy practices and skills they need to function more effectively in their daily lives
and participate in the transformation of their societies. Its publishing division, New Readers Press,
produces and distributes approximately 500 titles of adult educational books and materials to literacy
organizations, schools, libraries, and other institutions nationwide. New Readers Press also publishes
News for You, a weekly newspaper for adult new readers, which is read by 90,000 adult learners.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Refugees International
2001 S Street NW, Ste. 700, Washington, DC 20009, USA
t: 202-828-0110
f: 202-828-0819
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia and Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East
Water and sanitation, food distribution/nutrition, shelter, health, camp coordination and
management, gender, education, protection
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $3,203,762
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions and grants: $3,139,838 (98 percent)
Investments: $45,769 (1.5 percent)
Other: $18,155 (.5 percent)
Refugees International generates lifesaving humanitarian assistance and protection for displaced
people around the world and works to end the conditions that create displacement.
Relief International
1575 Westwood Blvd., Ste. 200, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA
t: 800-573-3332
f: 310-478-1212
e: [email protected]
Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa
Health, education, shelter, protection, food distribution/nutrition
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $19,309,300
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $15,674,830 (81 percent)
Government grants: $3,586,423 (18.5 percent)
Other: $6,839 (<1 percent)
Notes: posted an investment loss of: $41,238
Relief International, (RI) is a humanitarian nonprofit agency that provides emergency relief,
rehabilitation, development assistance, and program services to vulnerable communities worldwide.
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
RI is solely dedicated to reducing human suffering and is nonpolitical and nonsectarian in its mission.
RI’s mission is to
yy Serve the needs of the most vulnerable—particularly women and children, victims of natural
disasters & civil conflicts, and the poor—with a specific focus on neglected groups and cases.
yy Provide holistic, multisectoral, sustainable, and pro-poor programs that bridge emergency relief
and long-term development at the grassroots level.
yy Empower communities by building capacity and by maximizing local resources in both program
design and implementation.
yy Promote self-reliance, peaceful coexistence, and reintegration of marginalized communities.
yy Protect lives from physical injury or death or psychological trauma where present.
yy Uphold the highest professional norms in program delivery, including accountability to beneficiaries
and donors alike.
Resolve Uganda
211 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
t: 202-548-2517
f: 202-548-2518
e: [email protected]
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $94,830
Revenue source breakdown
Member organizations: $32,700 (34 percent)
Grants: $15,000 (16 percent)
Private contributions: $47,070 (49 percent)
Interest: $60 (1 percent)
Statement of purpose: Resolve Uganda works to get U.S. political leaders to take the steps that will
permanently end the war in northern Uganda. To advance its mission to permanently end the war in
northern Uganda, Resolve Uganda utilizes three primary program areas:
yy Research and reporting: resolve Uganda conducts field research and consults with partners in
Uganda to develop policy reports and its advocacy agenda.
yy Grassroots mobilization: resolve Uganda organizes thousands of supporters across the country to
participate in local and national advocacy campaigns (see attached report on 2008 Lobby Days for
Northern Uganda).
yy Education of policymakers: resolve Uganda conducts media outreach, holds events and meets
directly with policymakers in Washington, DC, to influence U.S. policy (see attached press release).
750 First Street NE, Ste. 1040, Washington, DC 20002, USA
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
t: 202-783-7100
f: 202-783-2818
e: [email protected]
Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom
Public policy and advocacy
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $436,019
Revenue source breakdown
Grants and contributions: $425,479
Special events: $6,755
Royalties: $6,819
Other income: $387
Begun in 1980, the purpose of RESULTS is to create the political will to end hunger and the worst
aspects of poverty, and to heal the break between people and government. Against the background of
silent indifference toward our elected officials, the voices of committed citizens can make an enormous
difference. Working with its international RESULTS partners in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan,
Mexico and the UK, RESULTS has had a widespread impact in creating the political will to end hunger
and poverty by beginning a movement for the health and well-being of children everywhere.
Salvation Army World Service Office
615 Slaters Lane, P.O. Box 1428, Alexandria, VA 22313, USA
t: 703-684-5528
f: 703-684-5536
e: [email protected]
Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Georgia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan,
Paraguay, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Disaster response, gender equality
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $36,121,571
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $33,261,395
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $751,579
Dividends and interests from securities: $42,530
Other: $2,066
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Support and strengthen the Salvation Army’s efforts to work hand in hand with communities to improve
the health, economics, and spiritual conditions of the poor throughout the world. The Salvation Army
World Service Office provides financial and technical assistance to the international Salvation Army
in support of its work in a variety of programs including education, health services, relief and disaster
services, and community development. It also assists The Salvation Army in developing communitybased initiatives that address the underlying causes of poverty in developing countries.
Save the Children
54 Wilton Road, Westport, CT 06880, USA
t: 800-728-3843 (8:00AM - 5:00PM EDT)
e: [email protected]
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East, Asia, Africa
Education, health, protection, food distribution/nutrition
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $356,240,000
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $158,819,000 (45 percent)
Government grants: $111,114,000 (31 percent)
Other: $86,307,000 (24 percent)
Save the Children is the leading independent organization creating real and lasting change for
children in need in the United States and around the world. It is a member of the International Save
the Children Alliance, comprising 28 national Save the Children organizations working in more than
110 countries to ensure the well-being of children.
SEVA Foundation
1786 Fifth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710, USA
t: 877-764-7382
f: 510-845-7410
e: [email protected]
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Asia and Pacific, Africa
Health, education
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $5,386,000
Revenue source breakdown
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Contributions: $3,987,337 (74 percent)
Government grants: $106,640 (2 percent)
Investments: $413,160 (8 percent)
Other: $878,863 (16 percent)
Our programs serve people who have been economically, politically, or otherwise marginalized.
We change our program approach to relate to their culture and circumstances, reaching out in
very different ways, for example, to nomads in Tibet, women in Tanzania, or indigenous Mayans in
Guatemala. Our aim is to build a bridge of compassion between our donors and the people we serve—
people around the world who have the fewest resources. Seva embraces an expanded concept of
health, recognizing that spiritual and cultural renewal, economic self-sufficiency, and basic civil and
human rights are as important to well-being as medical care. Seva’s programs foster self-reliance
and aim to reduce dependence on outside assistance. In the communities where we work, we share
skills and technology appropriate for local conditions, assist local decision-making, and help launch
projects that will become financially self-sufficient. This transfer of knowledge enables communities
to care for their own, now and into the future. We form long-term partnerships with those we serve.
By developing close relationships with local organizations and community leaders, we build trust,
mutual respect and cultural understanding. We honor the ability of communities to define their own
solutions to the challenges they face.
SHARE Foundation
598 Bosworth Street #1, San Francisco, CA 94131, USA
t: 415-239-2595
f: 415-239-0785
e: [email protected]
Latin America and Caribbean, specifically El Salvador
Health, education, gender
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $816,431
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $343,965 (42 percent)
Government grants: $308,878 (38 percent)
Other: $163,516 (20 percent)
Focusing on El Salvador, SHARE works to: forge community-to-community links between North
Americans, faith communities, Salvadorans in the United States, and economically marginalized
Salvadoran communities; assist communities working for human rights, civil liberties, sustainable
environments, dignified lives, and freedom from want; advocate for the inclusion of the economically
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
marginalized in conversations and decisions involving their economic future; and improve economic,
educational, and human rights of women.
Society for International Development
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, Ste. 720, Washington, DC 20009, USA
t: 202-884-8590
e: [email protected]
Agriculture, education, gender & diversity, governance, health, HIV/AIDS, information and
communication, peacebuilding, public policy and advocacy, rural development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $452,347
Revenue source breakdown
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $275,650
Membership dues and assessments: $171,832
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $4,865
The Society for International Development (SID), a not-for-profit founded in Washington, DC in
1957, is a global forum of individuals and institutions concerned with sustainable economic, social,
and political development. Today, SID has members in 125 countries and over 65 local chapters
worldwide -with the largest chapter in Washington, DC SID operates with a holistic, multidisciplinary,
and multisectoral approach to development. Taking full advantage of its location in the policy capital
of the international development community, SID-Washington is the most active chapter worldwide
and is often referred to as the flagship of the organization.
Solar Cookers International
1919 21st Street #101, Sacramento, CA 95811, USA
t: 916-455-4499
f: 916-455-4498
e: [email protected]
Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe
Education, Public policy and advocacy, refugees and displacement
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $855,846
Revenue source breakdown
Gifts: $675,299
Grants: $74,577
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Other: $8,977
Interest: $3,233
The mission of Solar Cookers International is to assist communities to use the power of the sun to
cook food and pasteurize water for the benefit of people and environments.
Stop Hunger Now
2501 Clark Avenue, Ste. 301, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA
t: 888-501-8440
f: 919-839-8971
e: [email protected]
North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Pacific
Health, food distribution/nutrition
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $8,271,730
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $8,253,014
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $15,913
Dividends and interest from securities: $803
Sales of assets: $2,000
Established in 1998, Stop Hunger Now is a 501 (c) 3 nongovernmental relief organization that
coordinates food and medical aid projects across the globe. Our mission is to provide the maximum
amount of food and life saving aid to the maximum number of the most poor and hungry throughout
the world in the most rapid, efficient and effective manner. Stop Hunger Now provides direct food
relief in crisis areas and in areas where chronic hunger and malnutrition exists. Our innovative model
of developing international partnerships, as well as working with indigenous organizations, has
created a responsive, timely method of distributing needed resources.
Support Group to Democracy
To encourage and support the people of Cuba in their efforts to establish a democratic society by
helping the dissident movement inside Cuba with humanitarian aid. The organization has provided
over 150,000 pounds of food and medication to the Cuban people, mainly to political prisoners, expolitical prisoners and their families, democracy activists, and members of fraternal and religious
groups, through nongovernment channels. The aid has been distributed to the general population
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
through almost two hundred independent groups within the island. GAD has established distribution
centers for the humanitarian aid in over 170 Cuban municipalities, supplying medications, clothing,
medical equipment, and informational materials of a nonsectarian nature promoting human rights,
technical training, family relations, and other moral and ethical values.
Transparency International - USA
1023 15th Street NW, Ste. 300, Washington, DC 20005, USA
t: 202-589-1616
f: 202-589-1512
e: [email protected]
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $1,786,512
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $642,521
Bequest: $1,107,700
Investment income: $13,227
In-kind contributions: $23,064
Net assets released from donor restrictions: $19,944
For those who work to improve the lives of the poor around the world, corruption perpetually threatens
to undo their efforts. Development assistance donors, humanitarian assistance organizations, and
philanthropists all recognize that corruption is not only a cause of poverty but also a “cancer” on their
work. It is the single greatest barrier to aid effectiveness. Corruption raises the costs of education,
nutrition, clean water, and health care, often denying citizens access to these essential public services.
Corruption impedes investment, undermines economic growth and denies citizens the benefits of
open markets and global trade. When government is for sale, it destroys public trust in democratic
institutions and destabilizes societies with serious implications for peace and security worldwide.
Trickle Up Program
104 W 27th Street, 12th Fl., New York, NY 10001-6210, USA
t: 212-255-9980, 866-246-9980
f: 212-255-9974
e: [email protected]
Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia,
Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger,
Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda
Agriculture, strengthening civil society, disaster and emergency relief, education, HIV/AIDS, refugees
and displacement, rural development, urban development
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $4,336,277
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $2,875,660
Government grants and contracts: $490,163
Donated services and materials: $47,017
Fundraising event income: $817,714
Interest income - operating accounts: $4,258
Appropriation from board designated endowment: $70,742
Other income: $30,723
The mission of the Trickle Up Program is to help the lowest income people worldwide take the first
step up, out of poverty, by providing conditional seed capital and business training essential for the
launch of a microenterprise. This proven social and economic empowerment model is implemented
in partnership with local agencies.
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 2nd Fl., Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-347-3507
f: 202-347-7177
Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific
Refugees, immigrants
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $19,330,475
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $1,446,688 (7.5 percent)
Government grants: $16,905,312 (87.5 percent)
Investments: $97,757 (.5 percent)
Other: $880,718 (4.5 percent)
To address the needs and rights of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide by advancing
fair and humane public policy, facilitating and providing direct professional services, and promoting
the full participation of migrants in community life.
U.S. Committee for UNDP
PO Box 65345, Washington, DC, 20035, USA
t: 202-558-7104
f: 202-558-7105
e: [email protected]
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia
Water and sanitation, food distribution/nutrition, health, gender, microfinance, education
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $1,455,359
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $1,451,023 (99.5 percent)
Investments: $4,336 (.5 percent)
UNDP-USA strives to educate Americans about UNDP’s crucial role in international development,
provide a forum to discuss how America can best provide support and leadership to the UN
Development system, and coordinate that support. We do this by:
yy Educating the policy community about the importance of UNDP to achieving American development
objectives, the value of UNDP partnerships, specific ways America can support UNDP.
yy Building partnerships between UNDP and corporate leaders with an interest in international
yy Engaging individual American citizens who wish to support UNDP.
U.S. Fund for UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)
125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038, USA
t: 800-486-4233
Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East
Water and sanitation, food distribution/nutrition, health, education
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $372,131,340
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $362,919,865 (97.5 percent)
Investments: $5,884,771 (1.5 percent)
Other: $3,326,704 (1 percent)
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF was founded in 1947 to support the work of the United Nations Children’s
Fund (UNICEF) by raising funds for its programs and increasing awareness of the challenges facing
the world’s children. The oldest of 37 national committees for UNICEF worldwide, we are part of
a global movement to save, protect and improve children’s lives. In cooperation with governments
and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), UNICEF helps develop community-based programs
to promote health and immunization programs, basic education, nutrition, safe water supply and
sanitation services, and continues to provide emergency relief as needed.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
U.S. Institute for Peace
1200 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
t: 202-457-1700
f: 202-429-6063
e: [email protected]
North America
Peace studies and conflict resolution
The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan, national institution established
and funded by Congress. Its goals are to help: prevent and resolve violent international conflicts,
promote postconflict stability and development, and increase conflict management capacity, tools,
and intellectual capital worldwide. USIP does this by empowering others with knowledge, skills, and
resources, as well as by directly engaging in peacebuilding efforts around the globe.
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
689 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139-3302, USA
t: 617-868-6600
f: 617-868-7102
e: [email protected]
North America, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Caribbean
Water and sanitation, environmental and economic justice, rights in humanitarian crisis
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $18,372,194
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $778,503 (4 percent)
Investments: $14,406,655 (79 percent)
Other: $3,187,036 (17 percent)
The UUUSC advances human rights and social justice around the world, partnering with those who
confront unjust power structures and mobilizing to challenge oppressive policies.
United Methodist Committee on Relief
475 Riverside Drive, Room 330, New York, NY 10115, USA
t: 800-554-8583
e: [email protected]
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Africa, Asia, Middle Ease, Latin America and Caribbean
Health, camp coordination and management, food distribution/nutrition
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $68,498,812
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $24,886,832 (36 percent)
Government grants: $36,675,726 (54 percent)
Investments: $5,163,271 (7 percent)
Other: $1,772,983 (3 percent)
UMCOR is the humanitarian relief and development agency of the United Methodist Church, a worldwide
denomination. Compelled by Christ, UMCOR responds to natural or human made disasters—those
interruptions of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community’s ability to recover on its own.
UMCOR’s mission is to alleviate human suffering. We provide practical, proactive support to the most
vulnerable survivors of chronic or temporary emergencies due to natural or civil causes.
United States Association for UNHCR
1775 K Street NW Ste. 290, Washington, DC 20006, USA
t: 202-296-1115
f: 202-296-1081
e: [email protected]
North America
Camp coordination and management
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $6,627,944
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $2,946,616 (44 percent)
Government grants: $3,660,331 (55.5 percent)
Investments: $20,997 (0.5 percent)
Established by concerned American citizens, USA for UNHCR, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization,
builds support in the United States for the humanitarian work of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Our mission is to inform Americans about the plight of refugees and advocate for their protection. We
want to give individual Americans, frustrated by the growing refugee crisis and their own inability
to do something to help, a way to put action behind their words. UNHCR provides protection, shelter,
emergency food, water, medical care and other life-saving assistance to over 19 million people
worldwide, who have been forced to flee their homes due to war and persecution. When possible,
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
UNHCR helps refugees and other displaced people return to their homes voluntarily, safely, and with
dignity. When return is not possible, the agency assists with local integration, or resettlement to a
third country.
United Way International
701 North Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA 22314-2045, USA
t: 703 519 0092
f: 703 519 0097
e: [email protected]
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $34,800,602
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $32,914,083
Fees: $1,152,637
Investment income: $622,254
World Assembly: $25,000
Donated services: $85,548
Other income: $1,080
UWI helps build the capacity of communities, outside the US, to help themselves and improve the
quality of life for their people. UWI provides leadership in the voluntary sector, connecting those
who have time, talent and treasure with those who need these resources. In addition, we validate the
quality and legitimacy of community building efforts.
Veterans for America
1025 Vermont Avenue NW, 7th Fl., Washington, DC
20005, USA
t: 202-483-9222
f: 202-483-9312
e: [email protected]
North America, Central America, Asia
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 1. Selected NGOs
Veterans for America is an advocacy and humanitarian organization. The primary mission of VFA
is to ensure that our country meets the needs of service members and veterans who have served
in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). VFA focuses specifically
on the signature wounds these conflicts: psychological traumas and traumatic brain injuries. VFA
concentrates much of its attention on the needs of those who are currently serving in the military
since the majority of those who have seen combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are still in the military and
under the care of the Department of Defense.
Veterans Support Foundation
(Formerly Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund)
8605 Cameron Street, Ste. 400, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
t: 800-882-1316 ext 126
e: [email protected]
North America
Veterans’ advocacy
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $685,761
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $420,636 (61 percent)
Government grants: $171,284 (25 percent)
Other: $101,232 (14 percent)
Notes: Posted an investment loss of: $7,391
The Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund is a 501 (c) (3) Nonprofit humanitarian and educational
organization founded to improve the quality of life for deserving veterans and their families. The
Fund’s office is located in Silver Spring, Maryland. The main objectives of the fund are to: help
fund non profit organizations in support of veteran related projects throughout the United States;
assist disabled veterans and their qualifying dependents and family members; assist and provide
transitional and permanent housing for homeless and at risk veterans; enrich the lives of all veterans
and their families. Established in 1991, the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund was founded by and
for veterans. The Fund is committed to serving today’s needy veterans and their families by awarding
grants to organizations that address essential housing, education and medical needs.
Volunteer Association for Bangladesh
122 Taxter Road, P.O. Box 234 Irvington, NY 10533, USA
t: 914-591-8635
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Annex 1. Selected NGOs
e: [email protected]
VAB strives for quality education and training and a better life for underprivileged youth of rural
Bangladesh. To fulfill this mission, VAB undertakes the following activities in Bangladesh: promoting
quality secondary education, improving educational facilities in poor areas, promoting computer
literacy and training, and supporting higher education of underprivileged meritorious students.
Water Aid America
232 Madison Avenue, Ste. 1202, New York, NY 10016, USA
t: 212-683-0430
f: 212-683-0293
Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal,
Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Uganda, Zambia
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $2,726,893
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions, foundations and corporations: $2,303,913
Contributions, individuals and others: $207,382
Contributed services, materials and facilities: $15,402
Special events (net of expenses): $130,722
Investment income: $69,474
WaterAid’s mission is to improve poor people’s lives by enabling them to gain access to safe water,
sanitation and hygiene education. Its vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and
sanitation. WaterAid is the world’s leading champion of safe water, effective sanitation, and hygiene
promotion. We aim to help one million people gain access to water and 1.5 million gain access to
sanitation every year.
Winrock International
1621 North Kent Street, Ste. 1200, Arlington, VA 22209, USA
t: 703-525-9430
f: 703-525-1744
e: [email protected]
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Latin America and Caribbean, North America, Europe, Asia, Africa
Gender, environmental
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $61,810,515
Revenue source breakdown
Government grants: $55,049,436 (89 percent)
Investments: $6,752,126 (10.9 percent)
Other: $8,953 (~0.1 percent)
Winrock International is a nonprofit organization that works with people in the United States and
around the world to increase economic opportunity, sustain natural resources, and protect the
Women for Women International
4455 Connecticut Avenue NW, Ste. 200, Washington, DC 20008, USA
t: 202-737-7705
f: 202-737-7709
e: [email protected]
Middle East, Europe, Africa
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $19,098,654
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $10,986,618(57.5 percent)
Government grants: $6,079,096 (32 percent)
Other: $2,032,940 (10.5 percent)
Women for Women International mobilizes women to change their lives by bringing a holistic
approach to addressing the unique needs of women in conflict and post-conflict environments.
We begin by working with women who may have lost everything in conflict and often have nowhere
else to turn. Participation in our one-year program launches women on a journey from victim to
survivor to active citizen. We identify services to support graduates of the program as they continue
to strive for greater social, economic and political participation in their communities.
Women Thrive Worldwide (aka Women’s Edge Coalition)
1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, Ste. 600, Washington, DC 20009, USA
t: 202-884-8396
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f: 202-884-8366
Gender equality, international development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $1,485,412
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $1,464,702
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $1,400
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $14,850
Other revenue: $4,460
Women’s EDGE is a coalition of individuals and nonprofit organizations from around the world
working to increase U.S. assistance to women and girls in developing countries and to ensure that
complex international trade agreements do not harm people living in poor developing countries.
Some of Women’s EDGE member organizations include CARE, the Christian Children’s Fund, Save the
Children and Oxfam America.
Women’s Environment and Development Organization
355 Lexington Avenue, 3rd Fl., New York, NY 10017, USA
t: 212-973-0325
f: 212-973-0335
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America
Economic and social justice, gender and governance, sustainable development
Annual revenue (FY2007): $1,852,843
Revenue source breakdown
Direct public support: $927,147
Government contributions (grants): $853,502
Program service revenue, including government fees and contracts: $63,753
Interest on savings and temporary cash investments: $10,280
Dividends and interest from securities: $60
Other revenue: $5,022
WEDO is an international organization that advocates for women’s equality in global policy. It seeks
to empower women as decision-makers to achieve economic, social and gender justice, a healthy,
peaceful planet and human rights for all. Through the organization’s program areas—gender and
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governance, sustainable development, economic and social justice, and U.S. global policy—WEDO
emphasizes women’s critical role in social, economic and political spheres.
World Cocoa Foundation
1411 K Street NW, Ste. 1300, Washington, DC 20005, USA
t: 202-737-7870
f: 202-737-7832
e: [email protected]
Bolivia, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru,
Philippines, Trinidad & Tobago, United States of America, Vietnam
Agriculture, economic growth and development, sustainable development
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) promotes a sustainable cocoa economy through economic and
social development and environmental conservation in cocoa growing communities.
World Concern
19303 Fremont Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98133, USA
t: 800-755-5022
f: 206-546-7269
e: [email protected]
Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Caribbean
Gender, education, water and sanitation, food distribution/nutrition, health, disaster response
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $59,575,000
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $12,089,000 (20 percent)
Government grants: $4,024,000 (7 percent)
Other: $43,462,000 (73 percent)
World Concern is a nonprofit Christian humanitarian organization providing disaster response and
community development programs to the world’s poor in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Our help is
extended without regard to race, religion, ethnicity or gender. We believe that life is full of promise—
that no place is too difficult and no person too hopeless to reach.
Our mission is to provide life, opportunity and hope to suffering people around the world. Motivated
by our love of Christ, we bring hope and reconciliation to those we serve, so they may in turn share
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with others. Empowering women with children is one of our specialties… World Concern works
closely with local communities to eliminate core causes of poverty, with an emphasis on livelihood
training, literacy and education; access to clean water, food and health care; disaster assistance; and
special initiatives. Our goal is to reach 7 million people by 2010.
World Conference of Religions for Peace
777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA
t: 212-687-2163
f: 212-983-0098
e: [email protected]
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $4,503,770
Revenue source breakdown
Grants: $2,560,056
Contributions: $1,847,869
Interest/dividends: $104,110
Religions for Peace is the largest international coalition of representatives from the world’s great
religions dedicated to promoting peace. Respecting religious differences while celebrating our
common humanity, Religions for Peace is active on every continent and in some of the most troubled
areas of the world, creating multireligious partnerships to confront our most dire issues: stopping
war, ending poverty, and protecting the earth.
Religious communities are the largest and best-organized civil institutions in the world, claiming
the allegiance of billions across race, class, and national divides. These communities have particular
cultural understandings, infrastructures, and resources to get help where it is needed most.
Founded in 1970, Religions for Peace enables these communities to unleash their enormous potential
for common action. Some of Religions for Peace’s recent successes include building a new climate
of reconciliation in Iraq; mediating dialogue among warring factions in Sierra Leone; organizing an
international network of religious women’s organizations; and establishing an extraordinary program
to assist the millions of children affected by Africa’s AIDS pandemic, the Hope for African Children
World Education
44 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210, USA
t: 617-482-9485
f: 617-482-0617
e: [email protected]
Angola, Benin, Burkina, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt , Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Malawi,
Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, Zambia,
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Zimbabwe, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand,
Russia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama
Education, microenterprise development, health, HIV/AIDS
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $30,877,621
Revenue source breakdown
—Private support revenue
Unrestricted contributions: $23,290
Restricted contributions and grants: $7,394,222
Interest and dividends: $17,784
—Governmental programs
USAID: $10,384,280
Other U.S. government: $1,768,058
Commonwealth of Massachusetts: $836,755
—Government-custodian funds
USAID: $9,879,113
Other: $574,119
Total support and revenue 30,877,621
World Education is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the poor through
economic and social development programs. World Education contributes to individual growth,
strengthens the capacity of local partner institutions, and catalyzes community and national
development. It is known for its work in education in the workplace, microenterprise development,
and integrated literacy and health programs, including HIV and AIDS education, prevention, and care.
World Emergency Relief
2270 Camino Vida Roble, Ste. K, Carlsbad, CA 92011, USA
t: 760-930-8001
f: 760-930-9085
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia, Latin American and Caribbean, Europe, North America
Education, other (coordinates gifts-in-kind, disaster response)
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $50,882,448
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $2,980,403(6 percent)
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Government grants: $3,550
Investments: $4,830
Other: $47,561,414 (93 percent)
World Emergency Relief’s (WER) vision is to give children all over the world a living chance by
addressing their practical, emotional, spiritual and economic needs, as well as the needs of their
families and communities
World Hope International
1906 Gus Kaplan, Alexandria, LA 71301, USA
t: 888-466-4673
Europe, Asia/Pacific, Oceania, Africa, North America, Latin America and Caribbean
Education, microfinance, HIV/AIDS, rural development, antitrafficking
Annual revenue (FY 2006): $12,152,231
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $9,600,340 (79 percent)
Government grants: $836,702 (7 percent)
Investments: $62,468 (0.5 percent)
Other: $1,652,721 (13.5 percent)
World Hope International is a faith based relief and development organization alleviating suffering
and injustice through education, enterprise and community health.
World Learning
Kipling Road, PO Box 676 Brattleboro, VT 05302-0676, USA
t: 802-257-7751, Toll free within the US: 800-257-7751
f: 802-258-3248
e: [email protected]
Albania, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria,
Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Gaza,
Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel,
Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, Russia,
Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, Uruguay, West Bank, Zimbabwe
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Strengthening civil society, education, HIV/AIDS, public policy and advocacy, refugees and
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $97,127,716
Revenue source breakdown
Net tuition and program fees: $40,148,146 (41.3 percent)
Grants and contracts: $49,850,982 (51.3 percent)
Long-term investment: $2,006,467 (2.1 percent)
Private gifts and pledges: $3,376,025 (3.5 percent)
Auxiliary services: $1,143,436 (1.2 percent)
Other revenue: $602,660 (0.6 percent)
To enable participants to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to contribute effectively
to international understanding and global development.
World Neighbors
4127 NW 122nd Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73120, USA
t: 405-752-9700, Toll free 800-242-6387
f: 405-752-9393
Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal
Agriculture, capacity strengthening, environment, energy and natural, gender and diversity, health
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $9,920,043
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $6,223,839
Special Events 276,709
Direct overseas grants: $2,088,524
Investment income: $813,479
Net investment gains: $497,385
Other income: $70,983
World Neighbors is an international development organization striving to eliminate hunger, poverty
and disease in the poorest, most isolated rural villages in Asia, Africa and Latin America. World
Neighbors invests in people and their communities by training and inspiring them to create their own
life-changing solutions through programs in agriculture, literacy, water, health and environmental
protection. Since 1951, more than 25 million people in 45 countries have transformed their lives with
the support of World Neighbors. World Neighbors does not give away food or material aid. World
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Neighbors takes a big-picture, integrated approach focusing on the entire community rather than on
one issue.
World Rehabilitation Fund
16 E. 40th Street, Ste. 704, New York, NY 10016, USA
t: 212-532-6000
e: [email protected]
Asia (Cambodia), Middle East (Lebanon), Africa (Sierra Leone)
Rehabilitation for victims of land mines
Annual revenue (FY 2004): $1,330,978
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $458,936 (34 percent)
Government grants: $872,042 (66 percent)
Mission and Summary
The mission of the World Rehabilitation Fund, Inc. (WRF) is to improve the quality of life for
people with disabilities throughout the world, especially in war torn and developing countries. We
develop programs which empower people with disabilities to improve their skills and knowledge of
rehabilitation utilizing practitioners in the area of medical, psychosocial, and economic reintegration.
The World Rehabilitation Fund aims to give help and hope to people around the world who have
disabilities or are working to improve the lives of those who do.
World Relief
7 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
t: 443-451-1900 or 800-535-5433
e: [email protected]
Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, Eastern Europe, North America
Disaster response, child development, maternal and child health, AIDS, agriculture, microfinance,
refugee care, immigrant services, trafficking victim protection
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $57,867,073
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $23,058,183 (40 percent)
Government grants: $24,597,581 (42 percent)
Investments: $1,176,360 (2 percent)
Other: $3,473,637 (6 percent)
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World Relief works with local evangelical churches to bring relief to suffering people in the name
of Christ. Together, World Relief and partner churches are saving lives and restoring hope through
ministries that address poverty, disease, hunger, persecution and the effects of war and disasters.
We meet suffering people’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs—showing them that the Church
cares because Jesus loves them.
World Resources Institute
10 G Street NE, Ste. 800, Washington, DC 20002, USA
t: 202-729-7600
f: 202-729-7610
Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Gabon,
Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mali, Netherlands, Panama,
Peru, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Venezuela, Vietnam
Agriculture, capacity strengthening, strengthening civil society, environment, energy and natural,
governance, information and communication, millennium development goals, participation,
partnership, policy research and analysis, poverty
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $26,429,000
Revenue source breakdown
Grants/Contributions: $20,355,000
Federal Grants: $3,156,000
Support from Endowment Income/Publications/Others: $2,918,000
The World Resources Institute’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect
earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future
generations. WRI’s goals are to
yy reverse rapid degradation of ecosystems and assure their capacity to provide humans with needed
goods and services,
yy guarantee public access to information and decisions regarding natural resources and the
yy protect the global climate system from further harm due to emissions of greenhouse gases and help
humanity and the natural world adapt to unavoidable climate change, and
yy harness markets and enterprise to expand economic opportunity and protect the environment.
World Society for the Protection of Animals - USA
Lincoln Plaza 89 South Street, Ste. 201, Boston, MA 02111 USA
t: 800-883-9772
f: 617-737-4404
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e: [email protected]
Agriculture, economic growth and development, food aid, millennium development goals, sustainable
Annual revenue (FY 2008): $7,073,076
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions and Membership: $6,596,963
Bequests: $427,026
Income: $49,087
WSPA (pronounced wis-pa) aims to promote the protection of animals, to prevent cruelty to animals,
and to relieve animal suffering in every part of the world. WSPA aims to promote humane education
programs to encourage respect for animals and responsible stewardship, and laws and enforcement
structures to provide legal protection for animals.
World Vision
P.O. Box 9716, Dept. W, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716, USA
t: 888-511-6548
e: [email protected]
Eastern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Middle East
Child sponsorship, international relief and rehabilitation, international community development
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $957,000,000
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $427,000,000 (45 percent)
Government grants: $220,000,000 (23 percent)
Other: $310,000,000 (32 percent)
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families
and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and
World Wildlife Fund
1250 24th Street NW, P.O. Box 97180, Washington, DC 20090, USA
t: 202-293-4800
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Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, North America
Environmental conservation
Annual revenue (FY 2007): $160,800,000
Revenue source breakdown
Contributions: $94,872,000 (59 percent)
Government grants: $27,336,000 (17 percent)
Other: $38,592,000 (24 percent)
WWF’s mission is the conservation of nature. Using the best available scientific knowledge and
advancing that knowledge where we can, we work to preserve the diversity and abundance of life
on Earth and the health of ecological systems by protecting natural areas and wild populations of
plants and animals, including endangered species; promoting sustainable approaches to the use of
renewable natural resources; and promoting more efficient use of resources and energy and the
maximum reduction of pollution. We are committed to reversing the degradation of our planet’s
natural environment and to building a future in which human needs are met in harmony with nature.
We recognize the critical relevance of human numbers, poverty and consumption patterns to meeting
these goals.
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Annex 2.
Selected Humanitarian Resources
NGO, UN, government, and private sector personnel involved in humanitarian assistance activities
use the Internet for many information needs. This annex presents a series of annotations for websites
most used by NGO personnel and others before, during, and after emergencies. This list is not inclusive,
but attempts to highlight many of the very popular resources. Not all websites noted within the text
of the book are repeated here.
General News and Information
• Alertnet by Reuters
Provides listings of emergency and humanitarian-oriented news from Reuters wires and
other organizations. NGOs can subscribe to specific channels by requesting a username and
• Cable News Network
Provides humanitarian personnel with up-to-date news and information on many events
worldwide. Often used for monitoring political conditions
• International Committee of the Red Cross
Provides comprehensive information, resources, and news on ICRC activities worldwide.
• International Crisis Group (ICG)
Publishes periodically on international conflict. Leading think tank. Extremely thorough and indepth, with all reports free to the public.
• Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)
Provides ground-level reporting and analysis of humanitarian, conflict and disaster conditions
daily on various regions of Africa and Central Asia. Part of OCHA, all stories published online.
Some published in French.
• New York Times
Provides extensive news and analysis online on many international emergencies and political
conditions important to humanitarian workers.
• ReliefWeb
Largest humanitarian portal. Features updated news and information on emergencies directly
from hundreds of contributing NGOs, UN agencies and government aid agencies.
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Technical Conditions, Updates, and Sectoral Interest
• Disaster News Network
Tells the story of disaster response and suggests appropriate ways the public can help survivors.
Facilitates information sharing among disaster responders and connects disaster survivors
with those who are able to assist them. Covers related special topics such as preparedness and
mitigation, public violence, environmental hazards, and terrorist disasters.
• Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS)
Provides near real-time alerts about natural disasters around the world and tools to facilitate
response coordination, including media monitoring, map catalogues, and Virtual On-Site
Operations Coordination Centre.
• Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters
Dedicated to providing data on over 12,000 disasters. Normal users include national governments,
NGOs, UN agencies and academic institutions. U.S. NGOs with OFDA funding are required to
submit mortality and nutrition data to this group.
• Global Early Warning System (GLEWS)
Major animal diseases, including zoonoses. Builds on added value of combining and coordinating
alert mechanisms of FAO, OIE and WHO for the international community and stakeholders to
assist in prediction, prevention and control of animal disease threats, including zoonoses. Shares
information, epidemiological analysis and contributes to joint field missions to assess and control
the outbreak.
• Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network (GOARN)
Aims to combat the international spread of outbreaks among humans, ensure that appropriate
technical assistance reaches affected states rapidly, and contributes to long-term epidemic
preparedness and capacity building.
• Health Library for Disasters (PAHO/WHO)
Comprehensive electronic information resource on public health for emergency preparedness
and response and complex emergencies.
• Humanitarian Information Centres and Partners (HIC)
Forum where the humanitarian community can share and access information resources in order
to improve the planning and delivery of humanitarian assistance. Serves as a focal point for data
collection, analysis and dissemination in support of the provision of humanitarian assistance,
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developing and supporting data standards. Facilitator for initiatives and activities related to
information management in the field, particularly in collaboration between other humanitarian
actors in support of existing coordination structures. Advocate for a culture of informationsharing in the humanitarian community, generating awareness of good practice and making it
possible for agencies to develop common standards and practices in the field.
• Humanitarian Practice Network
Independent forum for humanitarians to share and disseminate information, analysis and
experience, They publish specialist resources for practitioners and policy makers and facilitate
debate through regular events and their Online Exchange discussion forum.
Source for INCORE’s information on activities, publications and events.
• International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch (IERHB/CDC)
Brings public health and epidemiologic principles to the aid of populations affected by complex
humanitarian emergencies.
• Minorities at Risk Project
University-based research project that monitors and analyzes the status and conflicts of politically
active communal groups in all countries with a population of at least 500,000. Designed to
provide information in a standardized format that aids comparative research and contributes to
the understanding of conflicts involving relevant groups.
• Natural Hazards Center
A national and international clearinghouse of knowledge concerning the social science and policy
aspects of disasters. Collects and shares research and experience related to preparedness for,
response to, recovery from, and mitigation of disasters, emphasizing the link between hazards
mitigation and sustainability to both producers and users of research and knowledge on extreme
• Pan American Health Organization
Disasters and Humanitarian Assistance. Provides information and technical assistance regarding
disaster response and humanitarian assistance for 35 member governments in Western
Hemisphere. WHO Regional office.
• Carter Center
Provides information and news on conflict and mediation efforts. Good analysis and advocacy on
specific conflicts. Often used for gauging future peace accords or humanitarian access capabilities.
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• Forum on Early Warning and Response (FEWER)
Provides information on humanitarian conditions and conflict early warning and conflict
prevention. Global coalition of nongovernmental and governmental agencies and academic
institutions working to promote coordinated responses to violent conflict.
• Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS)
Major source of information for NGO personnel managing early warning activities and potential
trouble-spot monitoring. Supported by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
• The Sphere Project
A handbook, broad process of collaboration, and expression of commitment to quality and
accountability. Develops humanitarian charter and minimum standards in disaster response.
• WHO Health Action in Crises
Provides early warning, disaster, and emergency information. Sponsored and hosted by World
Health Organization (WHO).
• UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
Unmatched web resources. Provides news and updates on refugee and IDP conditions globally,
and information about funding priorities, advancements, resources, and manuals.
• World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM)
Specialized discussion list and website.
NGO Associations223
• Business Humanitarian Forum
Forum for businesses and humanitarian organizations to communicate, liaise and coordinate
• Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI)
Devoted to explaining appropriate giving, and to coordinating gift campaigns. Not specifically
useful for NGO personnel seeking emergency-related information.
• InterAction
223 For specific NGO websites, see annex 1 or (accessed November 10, 2009).
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Consortium of U.S.-based humanitarian organizations. Site used for membership information
and appeals information.
• International Aid and Trade
Puts on trade shows. Provides information on shows, exhibits, attendees, and show supporters.
• International Council of Voluntary Associations (ICVA)
Worldwide network of NGOs and nonprofits.
• Institute of Global Communications
Telecommunications association, offering web hosting services to nonprofit groups, individuals,
and small companies.
Consortium of European-based NGOs, similar to InterAction.
NGO Employment Sites
• Reliefweb Humanitarian Vacancies
• InterAction Employment Pages
• OneWorld Global Jobs
• Career Center
• International Jobs Center
• International Civil Service Commission (UN)
• General:
• General:
Logistics Resources
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• UNJLC Humanitarian Logistics Association
• Humanitarian Logisitics
• Fritz Institute Key Parameters in Humanitarian Logistics
• Supply Chain and Logistics Institute
Assistance and Disaster Relief Training Organizations
• H.E.L.P.
• InterWorks
• Karl Kübel Institute for Development Education
• RedR
Aid and Disaster Journals
• Bulletin of the World Health Organization
• The Journal of Disaster Studies, Policy and Management
• Forced Migration Review
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• Humanitarian Review
• Internet Journal of Rescue and Disaster Medicine
• Journal of Humanitarian Assistance
• Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
• Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
• The British Medical Journal
• The Humanitarian Practice Network
• The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. World Disaster Report: Focus
on Recovery (2001)
• The Lancet
• The U.S. Committee for Refugees Annual World Refugee Survey
• Journal of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Survey Instruments and Assessment Tools
• OXFAM Assessment Tools
• IASC Health Cluster Rapid Assessment Tools
• FAO and Emergencies
• UN Disaster Assessment Portal
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• Methodology for Rapid Humanitarian Assessment
• Health Action in Crises
UN Agencies
• Department for Economic and Social Affairs
• Food And Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
• International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
• Official WEB Site Locator for the United Nations
• UN Standing Committee on Nutrition
• UN Development Programme (UNDP)
• UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
• UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
• UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
• UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
• United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
• United Nations Home Page
• WHO Regional Office for Europe
• WHO Health Action in Crises
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• World Food Program (WFP)
• United Nations Joint Logistics Center (UNJLC)
• World Health Organization (WHO)
USAID and U.S. State Department Information
• Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)
• USAID Field Operations Guide (FOG)
• USAID Sub-Saharan Africa Bureau
• Contact Information for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
• U.S. State Department
• U.S. State Department List of Bureaus and Offices
• U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Civil-Military Resources
• Global Health NGO Database and Tools
• Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine (CDHAM)
• Interagency Standing Committee. Civil Military Relationship in Complex Emergencies (June 2004)
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• Interaction. “Guidelines for Relationships Between U.S. Armed Forces and Non-Governmental
Humanitarian Organizations in Hostile or Potentially Hostile Environments”
• United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance: “Policy, Guidelines and
Related Documents”
• Guidelines on the Use of Military and Civil Defence Assets to Support United Nations Humanitarian
Activities in Complex Emergencies (March 2003)
• Use of Military or Armed Escorts for Humanitarian Convoys (September 14, 2001)
• “General guidance for interaction between United Nations personnel and military and civilian
representatives of the occupying power in Iraq” (May 8, 2003)
• “Relationships with military forces in Afghanistan—Guidelines for UNAMA area coordinators and
other UN personnel” (2002)
• “Guidance on Use of Military Aircraft for UN Humanitarian Operations during the Current Conflict
in Afghanistan IMTF” (November 7, 2001)
NGO Health-Related Resources
• Emergency Library Kit (ELK)
• National Center for Disaster Medicine & Public Health
• The Nation’s Health: “Public health leaders using social media to convey emergencies: New tools a
boon” (August 2009)
• World Health Organization. Guidelines for Drug Donations (1999)
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Annex 2. Humanitarian Resources
NGO Security
• Security manuals
• Papers, reports and studies
• InterAction
• European Commission Humanitarian Aid Development Office
• International Security Assistance Force
• NGO Security Blogspot
• Koenraad Van Brabant, Operational Security Management in Violent Environments, Good Practice
Review #8 (London: Overseas Development Institute, 2000)
• Global Health NGO Database and Tools
• Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine (CDHAM)
• Military Health System,
• Federal Emergency Management Agency
• U.S. Army
• U.S. Navy
• U.S. Air Force
• U.S. Marines
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Annex 3. Humanitarian Publications
• U.S. Department of Defense
• U.S. Department of State
• U.S. Department of Agriculture
• U.S. Agency for International Development
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Annex 3. Humanitarian Publications
Annex 3.
Selected Humanitarian Publications
The following publications are extracted from the literature to provide a wide array of references to
aid in understanding the NGO sector and humanitarian assistance community. This list is abbreviated
and by no means comprehensive. It focuses on providing those publications still available today and
does not include conference report publications.
Aall, Pamela, Lt. Col. Daniel Miltenberger, and Thomas G. Weiss. Guide to IGOs, NGOs, and the Military
in Peace and Relief Operations (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2000).
Anderson, Mary B., and Peter Woodrow. Rising from the Ashes: Development Strategies in Times of
Disaster (Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner, 1998).
Bennet, Jon. Meeting Needs: NGO Coordination in Practice (London: Earthscan and ICVA, 1995).
Black, Maggie. A Cause for Our Times: Oxfam the First 50 Years (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
Boli, John, and George M. Thomas. Constructing World Culture: International Nongovernmental
Organizations since 1875 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995).
Byman, Daniel, Ian Lesser, Bruce Pirnie, Cheryl Benard, and Matthew Waxman. Strengthening the
Partnership: Improving Military Coordination with Relief Agencies and Allies in Humanitarian Operations
(Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 2000)
Cuny, Frederick C. Disasters and Development (Dallas, TX: Intertect Press, 1994)
Dollar, David, and Lant Pritchett. Assessing Aid: What Works, What Doesn’t and Why (Washington, DC:
World Bank Policy Research Report, 1998)
Edwards, Michael, and David Hulme. Nongovernmental Organizations- Performance and Accountability:
Beyond the Magic Bullet (London: Save the Children and Earthscan, 1998).
Hampton, Janie, ed. Internally Displaced People: A Global Survey (London: Earthscan, 1998).
Hancock, Graham. Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige and Corruption of the International Aid Business
(New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989).
Hoy, Paula. Players and Issues in International Aid (Herndon, VA: Kumarian Press, 1998).
InterAction. InterAction Membership Directory, 2000—2001 (Washington, DC: InterAction, 2000).
InterAction. Global Work: Guide to Volunteer, Internship and Fellowship Opportunities (Washington,
DC: InterAction Press, 2000).
Levenstein, Aaron. Escape to Freedom: The Story of the International Rescue Committee (Westport, CT:
Greenwood Press, 1983).
Meyer, Carrie. The Economics and Politics of NGOs in Latin America (Westport, CT: Praeger Press,
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Annex 3. Humanitarian Publications
Macrae, Joanna, and Anthony Zwi, eds. War and Hunger: Rethinking International Responses to Complex
Emergencies (London: Zed Books, 1994).
Malena, Carmen. Working with NGOs: A Practical Guide to Operational Collaboration Between the
World Bank and Nongovernmental Organizations (Washington, DC: World Bank Operations Policy
Department, 1995).
Minear, Larry, and Thomas Weiss. Mercy Under Fire: War and the Global Humanitarian Community
(Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995).
Natsios, Andrew. U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Westport, Conn: Praeger,
Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. Foreign Operations Guide for Disaster Assessment and
Response, version 3.0 (FOG) (Washington, DC: USAID/BHR, 1999).
———. OFDA Annual Reports (Washington, DC: USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Response)
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Development Assistance Committee.
Civilian and Military Means of Providing and Supporting Humanitarian Assistance during Conflict:
Comparative Advantages and Costs (Paris: OECD, 1998).
Pirnie, Bruce. Civilians and Soldiers: Achieving Better Coordination (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1998).
Salomon, Lester. “The Rise of the Non-Profit Sector.” Foreign Affairs 73, no. 4 (July-August, 1994).
Scott, Colin, Larry Minear, and Thomas Weiss. The News Media, Civil War, and Humanitarian Action
(Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1996).
Seiple, Chris. The U.S. Military/NGO Relationship in Humanitarian Interventions (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army
War College, 1996).
Shawcross, William. Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlord and a World of Endless Conflict (New
York: Simon and Schuster, 2000).
Sogge, David, ed. Compassion and Calculation: The Business of Private Foreign Aid (London: Pluto
Press, 1996).
Sphere Project. The Sphere Project: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response
(Geneva and Oxford: Oxfam Publishing, 2000).
Suzuki, Naoki. Inside NGOs (London: Intermediate Technology Publications, 1998).
Tarp, Finn, ed. Foreign Aid and Development: Lessons Learned and Directions for the Future (London:
Routledge, 2000).
Tvedt, Terje. Angels of Mercy or Development Diplomats (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1998).
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Handbook for Emergencies, 2nd ed. (Geneva: UNHCR,
Vaux, Tony. The Selfish Altruist: Relief Work in Famine and War (Sterling, VA: EarthScan, 2001).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 4. Code of Conduct
Weiss, Thomas, and Cindy Collins. Humanitarian Challenges and Intervention: World Politics and the
Dilemmas of Help, 2nd ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000).
Willetts, Peter. The Conscience of the World: The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in the UN
System (Washington, DC: Brookings Institute, 1996).
Wood, Adrian, Raymond Apthorpe, and John Borton. Evaluating International Humanitarian Action:
Reflections from Practitioners (London: Zed Books, 2001).
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Annex 4. Code of Conduct
Annex 4.
Code of Conduct
Principles of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGHAs/NGOs in
Disaster Response Programs (1994)224
1. The humanitarian imperative comes first. The right to receive humanitarian assistance, and
to offer it, is a fundamental humanitarian principle which should be enjoyed by all citizens of all
countries. As members of the international community, we recognize our obligation to provide
humanitarian assistance wherever it is needed. Hence the need for unimpeded access to affected
populations is of fundamental importance in exercising that responsibility. The prime motivation
of our response to disaster is to alleviate human suffering amongst those least able to withstand
the stress caused by disaster. When we give humanitarian aid it is not a partisan or political act and
should not be viewed as such.
2. Aid is given regardless of the race, creed or nationality of the recipients and without adverse
distinction of any kind. Aid priorities are calculated on the basis of need alone. Wherever
possible, we will base the provision of relief aid upon a thorough assessment of the needs of the
disaster victims and the local capacities already in place to meet those needs. Within the entirety of
our programs, we will reflect considerations of proportionality. Human suffering must be alleviated
whenever it is found; life is as precious in one part of a country as another. Thus, our provision of aid
will reflect the degree of suffering it seeks to alleviate. In implementing this approach, we recognize
the crucial role played by women in disaster prone communities and will ensure that this role is
supported, not diminished, by our aid programs. The implementation of such a universal, impartial
and independent policy can only be effective if we and our partners have access to the necessary
resources to provide for such equitable relief, and have equal access to all disaster victims.
3. Aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint. Humanitarian
aid will be given according to the need of individuals, families and communities. Notwithstanding the
right of [nongovernmental humanitarian agencies] NGHAs to espouse particular political or religious
opinions, we affirm that assistance will not be dependent on the adherence of t he recipients to
those opinions. We will not tie the promise, delivery or distribution of assistance to the embracing or
acceptance of a particular political or religious creed.
4. We shall endeavor not to act as instruments of government foreign policy. NGHAs are
agencies which act independently from governments. We therefore formulate our own policies and
implementation strategies and do not seek to implement the policy of any government, except in so far
as it coincides with our own independent policy. We will never knowingly - or through negligence - allow
ourselves, or our employees, to be used to gather information of a political, military or economically
sensitive nature for governments or other bodies that may serve purposes other than those which are
strictly humanitarian, nor will we act as instruments of foreign policy of donor governments. We will
224 See ICRC/International Federation, “The Code of Conduct,”
(accessed May 30, 2009).
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Annex 4. Code of Conduct
use the assistance we receive to respond to needs and this assistance should not be driven by the need
to dispose of donor commodity surpluses, nor by the political interest of any particular donor. We
value and promote the voluntary giving of labour and finances by concerned individuals to support
our work and recognise the independence of action promoted by such voluntary motivation. In order
to protect our independence we will seek to avoid dependence upon a single funding source.
5. We shall respect culture and custom. We will endeavor to respect the culture, structures and
customs of the communities and countries we are working in.
6. We shall attempt to build disaster response on local capacities. All people and communities
—even in disaster—possess capacities as well as vulnerabilities. Where possible, we will strengthen
these capacities by employing local staff, purchasing local materials and trading with local companies.
Where possible, we will work through local NGHAs as partners in planning and implementation, and
co-operate with local government structures where appropriate. We will place a high priority on the
proper co-ordination of our emergency responses. This is best done within the countries concerned
by those most directly involved in the relief operations, and should include representatives of the
relevant UN bodies.
7. Ways shall be found to involve program beneficiaries in the management of relief aid.
Disaster response assistance should never be imposed upon the beneficiaries. Effective relief and
lasting rehabilitation can best be achieved where the intended beneficiaries are involved in the design,
management and implementation of the assistance program. We will strive to achieve full community
participation in our relief and rehabilitation programs.
8. Relief aid must strive to reduce future vulnerabilities to disaster as well as meeting basic
needs. All relief actions affect the prospects for long term development, either in a positive or a
negative fashion. Recognizing this, we will strive to implement relief programs which actively reduce
the beneficiaries’ vulnerability to future disasters and help create sustainable lifestyles. We will pay
particular attention to environmental concerns in the design and management of relief programs. We
will also endeavor to minimize the negative impact of humanitarian assistance, seeking to avoid long
term beneficiary dependence upon external aid.
9. We hold ourselves accountable to both those we seek to assist and those from whom we
accept resources. We often act as an institutional link in the partnership between those who wish
to assist and those who need assistance during disasters. We therefore hold ourselves accountable to
both constituencies. All our dealings with donors and beneficiaries shall reflect an attitude of openness
and transparency. We recognize the need to report on our activities, both from a financial perspective
and the perspective of effectiveness. We recognize the obligation to ensure appropriate monitoring
of aid distributions and to carry out regular assessments of the impact of disaster assistance. We
will also seek to report, in an open fashion, upon the impact of our work, and the factors limiting
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Annex 5. U.S. Government Humanitarian Aid
or enhancing that impact. Our programs will be based upon high standards of professionalism and
expertise in order to minimize the wasting of valuable resources.
10. In our information, publicity and advertising activities, we shall recognize disaster victims
as dignified humans, not hopeless objects. Respect for the disaster victim as an equal partner
in action should never be lost. In our public information we shall portray an objective image of the
disaster situation where the capacities and aspirations of disaster victims are highlighted, and not
just their vulnerabilities and fears. While we will co-operate with the media in order to enhance
public response, we will not allow external or internal demands for publicity to take precedence over
the principle of maximizing overall relief assistance. We will avoid competing with other disaster
response agencies for media coverage in situations where such coverage may be to the detriment of
the service provided to the beneficiaries or to the security of our staff or the beneficiaries.
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Annex 5. U.S. Government Humanitarian Aid
Annex 5.
How the U.S. Government Provides Humanitarian Aid
Taken directly from the USAID website, this annex describes in detail how USAID and OFDA formulate
and implement humanitarian assistance activities.225
Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is the office within USAID responsible
for providing non-food humanitarian assistance in response to international crises and disasters. The
USAID Administrator is designated as the President’s Special Coordinator for International Disaster
Assistance and USAID/OFDA assists in the coordination of this assistance. USAID/OFDA is part of the
Bureau for Humanitarian Response (USAID/BHR), along with the Office of Food For Peace (USAID/
FFP), the Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI), the Office of Private and Voluntary Cooperation
(USAID/PVC), and the Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (USAID/ASHA). USAID/
OFDA recently reorganized into three divisions, under the management of the Office of the Director.
The Disaster Response and Mitigation (DRM) division is responsible for coordinating with other
organizations for the provision of relief supplies and humanitarian assistance. DRM also devises,
coordinates, and implements program strategies for the application of science and technology to
prevention, mitigation, and national and international preparedness initiatives for a variety of natural
and man-made disaster situations. The Operations Division (OPS) develops and manages logistical,
operational, and technical support for disaster responses. OPS maintains readiness to respond to
emergencies through several mechanisms, including managing several Search and Rescue (SAR)
Teams, the Ground Operations Team (GO Team), field Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DART),
and Washington Response Management Teams (RMT). The Program Support (PS) division provides
programmatic and administrative support, including budget/financial services, procurement planning,
contract/grant administration, general administrative support, and communication support for both
USAID/OFDA Washington, DC and its field offices….
…USAID/OFDA/DRM provides humanitarian assistance in response to a declaration of a foreign
disaster made by the U.S. Ambassador or the U.S. Department of State. Once an event or situation
is determined to require U.S. Government (USG) assistance, USAID/OFDA can immediately provide
up to $25,000 to the U.S. Embassy or USAID Mission to purchase relief supplies locally or give a
contribution to a relief organization in the affected country. USAID/OFDA also can send its own relief
commodities, such as plastic sheeting, blankets, tents, and water purification units, from one of its
five stockpiles located in Italy, Guam, Honduras, and the United States. Increasingly, USAID/OFDA
deploys short or long-term field personnel to countries where disasters are occurring or threaten to
occur, and in some cases, dispatches a DART.
The largest percentage of USAID/OFDA’s assistance goes to relief and rehabilitation project grants
managed by Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs),
225 USAID, “Disaster Assistance,” (accessed
November 11, 2009).
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Annex 5. U.S. Government Humanitarian Aid
and International Organizations (IOs). Relief projects include airlifting relief supplies to affected
populations in remote locations, managing primary health care and supplementary feeding centers,
and providing shelter materials to disaster evacuees and displaced persons. A rehabilitation project
might immunize dislocated populations against disease, provide seeds and tools to farmers who
have been affected by disasters, or drill wells or rehabilitate water systems in drought-stricken
countries. USAID/OFDA carefully monitors the organizations implementing these projects to ensure
that resources are used wisely and to determine if the project needs to be adapted to changing
The goal of each project is to meet the humanitarian needs of the affected population, with the aim
of returning the population to self-sufficiency. The “notwithstanding” clause of Section 491 of the
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 states that no statutory or regulatory requirements shall restrict
USAID/OFDA’s ability to respond to the needs of disaster victims in a timely fashion. USAID/OFDA
follows the standard USAID procedures for routine procurements, but utilizes expedited or modified
procedures when necessary to achieve its disaster response objectives. The first principle in disaster
response accountability is to ensure that appropriate assistance gets to the neediest victims in time to
minimize death and suffering. Procurement and accounting procedures may be expedited, but must
include effective systems of internal control.
Not all of USAID/OFDA’s assistance goes to providing aid in response to disasters. USAID/OFDA’s
mitigation staff oversees a portfolio of projects designed to reduce the impact of disasters on victims
and economic assets in disaster-prone countries. Over the last several years, USAID/OFDA has invested
in a number of programs in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Pan American
Health Organization (PAHO), the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, the World Environment Center,
and other offices within USAID. These programs not only enhance a country’s capacity to manage its
own disasters and hazards, but also promote the transfer of technology, goods, and services between
the U.S. and the host country. USAID/OFDA mitigation-related programs range from investing in
drought early-warning systems that can possibly head off a famine to training local relief workers to
manage the response to a disaster more effectively. USAID/OFDA is increasingly investing in programs
designed to prevent, mitigate, prepare, and plan for complex emergencies, which are more the result
of human actions than acts of nature.
Other U.S. Government Offices Providing Foreign Humanitarian Assistance
USAID/OFDA is not the only office within the USG that provides humanitarian aid to foreign countries.
USAID/FFP is responsible for administering the USG’s foreign food aid programs, under U.S. Public
Law (P.L.) 480 Titles II and III. Title II emergency food aid programs are targeted to vulnerable
populations suffering from food insecurity as a result of natural disasters, civil conflict, or other
crises. Title II emergency food aid is provided without repayment requirements, whereas Title III
food aid is provided as a bilateral loan program to countries in need of assistance. USAID/OTI is the
office within USAID responsible for providing assistance to countries that are in a stage of transition
from crisis to recovery. Its assistance is designed to facilitate the transition to peace and democracy
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Annex 6. Red Cross and Red Crescent 354
by aiding in the demobilization of combatants or developing democratic governance structures
within the country. Other parts of USAID, such as the regional bureaus, provide foreign development
aid, which often complements humanitarian relief programs or can be regarded as disaster recovery
assistance. Countries that have achieved sustainable development are less likely to require massive
USG humanitarian assistance.
Three of the biggest providers of USG humanitarian assistance are the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA), the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (State/PRM)
and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office for Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs (DOD/PK/
HA). USDA works closely with USAID/FFP in allocating surplus food commodities to developing
countries, under the Section 416(b) program of the Agricultural Act of 1949. This food aid is often
used for emergency feeding programs in countries experiencing food shortages due to drought or
civil strife. In other countries, local currency proceeds from the sale of Section 416(b) food aid is used
in support of disaster assistance projects. State/PRM provides multilateral grants to international
relief organizations in response to refugee emergency appeals and contributes to the regular
program budgets of organizations such as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). DOD/
PK/HA coordinates the utilization of DOD assets for humanitarian assistance overseas. In addition,
DOD works closely with USAID/OFDA and the U.S. Department of State to coordinate the Denton
Program, a program that transports humanitarian goods on a space available basis, using U.S. military
transportation. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also provide
technical assistance in response to disasters and potential hazards overseas.
Table A5.1 USAID/OFDA Top Five Programs FY1990–2000
Program Length
Former Yugoslavia*
complex emergency
complex emergency
complex emergency
complex emergency
complex emergency
9 years
14 years
12 years
12 years
9 years
Total Funding
* Accumulated funding for programs in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and SerbiaMontenegro.
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Annex 6. Red Cross and Red Crescent 355
Annex 6.
Red Cross and Red Crescent Systems Explained
Steven Hansch
he Red Cross movement accounts for a large portion of the system of civilian aid agencies, but has
a special status, in part because of its relationship with governments. It derives its international
legal mandate from governments from the Geneva Conventions. In addition, the individual Red Cross
and Red Crescent societies operating at a country level are established under national law.
The term movement refers to both the 186 national societies and to the two entities, the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red
Crescent (IFRC), that span the globe. Most national societies mobilize thousands or tens of thousands
of volunteers each year, a characteristic that sets the Red Cross movement apart from the UN and
other humanitarian assistance organizations. The many parts of the movement comes together
roughly every four years in the International Red Cross Conference.
The ICRC and IFRC both work closely with national societies in emergencies. As shown in table A6.1
below, national societies (one per country) are divided between those in wealthier, donor countries,
and those that are in emergency-prone poorer countries.
Table A6.1 National Red Cross Society Types
Donor Societies
Recipient Societies
Organization type
unique legal status
association of
national societies
example: American
Red Cross,
established by U.S.
one per country
Main focus
works around
protects and offers
disasters, refugees,
assistance to
and epidemics
civilians in conflict
zones, promotes
humanitarian law and
Geneva Conventions
support the ICRC and in principle the lead
IFRC and give directly agency for disaster
to countries in need. readiness, mitigation,
and response in most
developing countries
capitol cities
2009 budget
$1.13 billion
$200 million
example: American
example: Indian Red
Red Cross: $3.7 billion Cross $55 million
capitol cities
The core humanitarian principles of impartiality, and independence that are today pervasive across
a wide range of aid agencies were originally crafted as the fundamental principles of the Red Cross
movement. They are seen as critical to the identity and effectiveness of agencies in this movement.
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Annex 6. Red Cross and Red Crescent 356
ICRC: International Committee of the Red Cross
The ICRC, which is based in Geneva, is established by international convention and promotes
adherence to the Geneva Conventions in war zones. It is also the lead agency in developing advances
to international humanitarian law and principles.
To assist people affected by armed conflict, the ICRC speaks with all parties to a conflict. It supports
the efforts of arms carriers to respect international humanitarian law or other fundamental rules
protecting persons in situations of violence. The ICRC also visits prisoners of war and security detainees
and registers them to prevent disappearances. In addition, the ICRC works with authorities to ensure
that people deprived of their liberty are treated humanely and according to recognized international
standards, which forbid torture and other forms of abuse. The ICRC has one of the largest budgets
(over $1 billion a year) of any agency devoted entirely to helping in humanitarian crises.
In short, its mandate includes the following elements:
Try to ensure civilians not taking part in hostilities are spared and protected.
Visit prisoners of war and security detainees.
Transmit messages to and reunite family members separated by armed conflict.
Help find missing persons.
Offer or facilitate access to basic health care services.
Provide urgently needed food, safe drinking water, sanitation and shelter.
Promote respect for international humanitarian law.
Monitor compliance with and contribute to developing international humanitarian law.
Help reduce the impact of mines and explosive remnants of war on people.
Support National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to prepare for and respond to armed
conflict and other situations of violence.
As a private Swiss organization, the ICRC, with a mandate given by states in the Geneva Conventions,
receives funding directly from governments. The U.S. Department of State, for example, gives the ICRC
a sum, earmarked by Congress, for use each year for its worldwide operations. With this funding, the
ICRC is more directly engaged in implementing field programs than other international organization
funded through state channels are. The ICRC’s relief assistance is perhaps the most comprehensive
of any implementing agency, including food aid, nutrition, water supply, medical and surgical care,
shelter, and care for livestock. Unlike the World Food Programme (WFP), the ICRC not only procures
food but also distributes it directly to populations affected by emergencies.
In the 1980s, the ICRC catalyzed an international movement to view landmines as a violation of the
laws of war because the mines kill civilians at least as often as they kill armed combatants. Most
ICRC expatriate staff used to be Swiss, but today include many nationalities, including Americans. The
American Red Cross sometimes sends U.S. delegates to ICRC operations overseas.
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Annex 6. Red Cross and Red Crescent 357
The ICRC does not participate in coordinating forums such as the UN cluster system, in the same
ways that other NGOs do. Because it is not an NGO, it is not a member of NGO associations, though
it often attends meetings. Because of its strict adherence to its principles of neutrality, impartiality
and confidentiality, it must avoid the appearance of signing on to coalition efforts. Thus, although
it will meet one-on-one with militaries, including the U.S. military or peacekeeping forces, it avoids
those forums that give the appearance of joint efforts where NGOs, militaries, and governments may
have struck joint strategies. The ICRC always has maintained both the fact and the appearance of
independence of action, in order to gain access to vulnerable populations on each side in a war.
The ICRC has dramatically grown its Washington, DC staff in recent years to more than two dozen
persons today. Its purpose is largely to liaison with other U.S. organizations, including the federal
government and the military. The ICRC also has a delegation at the United Nations in New York.
Contact information for the North American delegation
International Committee of the Red Cross
Regional Delegation for United States and Canada
1100 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
[email protected]
IFRC: Federation of Societies
The association of the various Red Cross agencies is the International Federation of Red Cross and
Red Crescent Societies, also often referred to as the Federation. Based in Geneva, it was previously
named the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and depends on its members for most of its
resources, staff, and overseas work. In effect, its value is in facilitating the contributions from various
members to each country affected by crisis. The Geneva hub conducts assessments and surveillance
for all its members, and is increasingly playing a lead role in creating standardized health and food
aid responses.
The federation engages in a wide array of activities, mirroring the many needs its members confront
in different parts of the globe. These include the following:
• providing technical support, emergency kits, and financial resources to national societies;
• proposing ways for donor societies to contribute within specific technical sectors to the needs
of societies in poorer countries prone to emergencies;
• organizing and managing refugee camps;
• promoting humanitarian diplomacy, such as where access to the most vulnerable have been
politically restricted, as in Burma and Zimbabwe;
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Annex 6. Red Cross and Red Crescent 358
• taking the lead in creating and promoting a new body of international disaster response law
(IDRL) and related rules and principles;
• transporting and delivering food aid to mitigate famine;
• providing global leadership in the development of humanitarian aid codes, standards,
evaluations, and technical guidelines;
• promoting prevention, preparedness, and mitigation for natural disasters, including local
stores for readiness;
• coordinating rebuilding and economic reconstruction after wars and natural disasters;
• promoting primary health care and first aid throughout the developing world, including the
operationalization of standards for integrated management of childhood illness;
• planning for and responding to deadly pandemics;
• acting proactively to help national societies tackle threats posed by climate change, including
floods, desertification, and disappearing island states;
• offering catalytic support for and at times hosting global initiatives for the whole NGO
community, such as SPHERE (minimum standards used by NGOs in crises), the Steering
Committee for Humanitarian Response (a consortia of consortia), and the ProVention
Consortium (dedicated to disaster risk reduction); and
• facilitating communication among national societies.
The Federation responds to natural disasters and promotes disaster mitigation and risk reduction
more than any other network. Within the cluster approach” for humanitarian aid responsibilities, and
with the family of UN agencies, the IFRC has the lead role for shelter after disasters, manages refugee
camp aid, and helps reconstruct health systems after conflicts have ended. The IFRC was originally
created by donor governments to address pandemics, and today remains very involved in influenza
pandemic preparedness. The ICRC and IFRC cooperate in their response to any given crisis through
their Sevilla Agreement. The IFRC has in recent years partnered increasingly with the UN World Food
Programme, such as in responding to food shortages in East Africa.
Contact Information for the Secretariat
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
PO Box 372,CH-1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland
T: 41-22-730-4222
F: 41-22-733-0395
E: [email protected]
Contact Information for the Secretariat New York Delegation to the UN
International Federation
800 Second Avenue, Suite 355, 3rd Fl.,
New York, NY 10017 USA
T: 212-338-0161
F: 212-338-9832
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Annex 6. Red Cross and Red Crescent 359
National Societies
The Red Cross movement requires that each nation have no more than one Red Cross or Red Crescent
society, and that the determination be made by the government of that country. That national society
represents the entire country, just as the American Red Cross is the only national society in the United
States. Any country can establish its society to be either a Red Cross or a Red Crescent society. Red
Crescent societies differ in the emblem they display, but not in their mission and modes of operation,
and are full members of the international Red Cross movement. Many countries with large Muslim
populations have chosen to name their society Red Cross given that the original Red Cross emblem
was based on the flag of Switzerland rather than any religious symbol. China, Nigeria, and Indonesia
each have huge Islamic populations but adopted the Red Cross rather than the Red Crescent.
In most countries, the national Red Cross society has a closer relationship with its government, and its
military, than other NGOs do. The Red Cross in many developing countries is not particularly effective.
As in the United States, many Red Cross societies also become involved in managing blood supplies.
Frequently, therefore, local Red Cross societies play a critical role as the channels for international
assistance from donor Red Cross societies.
The Canadian Red Cross, with an annual budget of over $350 million, is active in responding to
disasters in Canada, but is also generous in providing aid internationally. Within a few days of the
2010 Haitian earthquake, the Canadian Red Cross had raised almost $50 million for assistance. As
well, the Canadian government collaborated with the Canadian and Norwegian societies to set up a
medical field hospital in Port au Prince only a few days after the quake.
The Haitian National Red Cross Society also worked closely with many other Red Cross societies as
well as the Federation and ICRC in the life-saving responses.
The Red Cross Society of China, founded in 1904, leapt in prominence after the deadly 2008 Sichuan
earthquake, for which it raised more than $200 million, an unprecedented sum for a nonprofit in
China. In recent years the Red Cross Society of China has become a frequent donor to other crises,
including Cambodia, Kenya, and Thailand. Chinese citizens donated hundreds of thousands of dollars
through their Red Cross Society in the days after the Haitian earthquake. The first search and rescue
team to arrive in Haiti immediately after the quake came from China.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is the national Red Cross society in the United States, founded by Clara Barton
in 1881 and first chartered by Congress in 1900. It is a charitable organization, not a government
The main share of its work is domestic: it shelters, feeds, and provides emotional support to victims
of disasters, supplies nearly of the nation’s blood, and supports military members and their families.
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Annex 6. Red Cross and Red Crescent 360
The American Red Cross’s annual budget of over $3 billion—which does not include the tens of
thousands of work hours contributed by community volunteers—is primarily expended on needs
within the United States.
However, its international services branch does respond to disasters and address long-term
humanitarian needs overseas, but the resources for this tend to be irregular or clumpy. In other words,
more than other NGOs, the American Red Cross receives enormous contributions for the occasional
vhigh-visibility crisis (Hurricane Mitch in 1998, Kosovo in 1999, Afghanistan 2002, the tsunami in
2004, and Haiti in 2009). It receives less than many other U.S. NGOs, however, for majority of other
crises occurring around the world each year. The American Red Cross received and spent roughly
$600 million in assistance for the 2004 Asian—Indian Ocean—tsunami, a sum that greatly exceeded
its budget for all other parts of the world and crises combined. Alone among U.S. NGOs because of
its size, the American Red Cross has the advantage of counterparts — other Red Cross societies — in
each country overseas with which it can work. This gives it more options for how it may respond in
any given emergency. Sometimes the American Red Cross responses by seconding staff to another
element of the Movement, or goods, or funding. Sometimes it works largely through the Federation
and at other times does not. Beyond major disasters, the American Red Cross has also worked with
grants from USAID, the Department of State, USDA, PEPFAR, foundations, and other institutional
funders to manage local projects in many developing countries.
In its other aid programs, the American Red Cross, like other international NGOs, has delivered valuable
programs in the areas of disease prevention (malaria and HIV/AIDS), water supply, livelihoods, and
disaster risk reduction. From time to time, it has also acted as a leader in the interagency community
organizing open conferences for many NGOs to come together to share technical lessons about
improving aid.
One massive effort it led, working with partners such as the Federation, WHO and UNICEF, is the
Measles Initiative, which reduced measles deaths in children under five by 78% globally between
2000 and 2008, averting more than 4 million childhood deaths.
Red Cross Myths
Red Cross Myth 1. The Red Cross emblem is meant to be a religious symbol
The Red Cross (a plus + sign against a white background) was chosen by the founders of the movement
precisely to be neutral, to imply no race, creed, nationality, or religion. It is based on the national flag
and symbol of Switzerland, a country that had demonstrated neutrality over many centuries. It was
not meant to be a reference to the Christian cross, though at times uninformed people suspect that
it might be. The Red Crescent emblem was offered as an alternative in a diplomatic conference in
1929, after which many countries adopted it. In 2005, the governments involved in the 1949 Geneva
Conventions added another emblem (through additional protocol III), the red crystal, following which
the Israeli society, the Magen David Adom joined the movement.
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Annex 6. Red Cross and Red Crescent 361
Red Cross Myth 2. International humanitarian law applies only to uniformed combatants.
International humanitarian law (IHL) specifically addresses wars and combatants, but is intended
to be binding on all parties to any major conflicts, including rebel groups and irregular militia. The
Geneva Conventions also specify that civilian populations cannot be targeted in wartime, and go on
to confer protections on aid agencies working in conflict zones. The ICRC works actively to apprise all
military forces to respect the obligations imposed by the Geneva Conventions.
Red Cross Myth 3. There is only one international Red Cross agency.
Often news reporters speak about the International Red Cross as if there were an agency with this
name, which there is not. There is indeed a Red Cross movement—the alliance of different Red Cross
agencies. But there are two international Red Cross bodies, both of which are based in Geneva, but in
different offices, under different administrations, and with separate budgets and programs. The Swiss
National Red Cross Society, which is also is based in Switzerland, though in Berne, also sometimes
provides international aid. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is the lead agency
spoken about by the press in war zones, whereas the International Federation of Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the organization that more often takes the lead in refugee camps, natural
disasters, and epidemics.
Red Cross Myth 4. The Federation helps only in natural disasters.
Whereas the ICRC works inside war zones, the IFRC frequently works around them, including
displaced persons camps and in postconflict reconstruction. The Federation helps national societies
address any humanitarian threats.
Red Cross Myth 5. The Red Cross gets involved only after crises.
The Federation, perhaps more than any other organization in the world, emphasizes disaster reduction
through prevention, preparedness, and mitigation. ICRC works in the worst war zones, but also will
step in if serious needs are unmet and offer its services based on the statutes of the movement. Again,
the ICRC tries to address the root causes of conflict by bringing scholarly and diplomatic attention to
the spread of arms; it publishes journals that act as forums for scholarly analysis of the application of
humanitarian principles to emerging problems, such as chemical weapons, biological weapons, the
spread of small arms, and landmines.226
Red Cross Myth 6. ICRC’s policy of confidentiality supports human rights violators.
The ICRC policy to not reveal information it finds in its site visits (for example, to prisons) is at times
criticized by NGOs. It is argued that ICRC either is cowardly and uncaring or lacks a sense of outrage
and stands too fastidiously on its bureaucratic rules.
Organizations like NGOs are free to criticize governments for human rights and IHL violations; the
system works effectively because these groups can complement the ICRC. Meanwhile, if the ICRC
Robert Mathews and Timothy McCormack, “The Influence of Humanitarian Principles in the
Negotiation of Arms Control Treaties,” International Review of the Red Cross 81, no. 837 (1999),
p. 331.
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Annex 6. Red Cross and Red Crescent 362
did not strictly adhere to its confidentiality policy, it would not be invited into countries and into
prisons, and there would be no observation to protect prisoners. Moreover, ICRC discretion has its
limits, and the ICRC reserves the right to speak out, publish findings, or stop its work in exceptional
cases. For example, if a detaining authority issues excerpts from a confidential reports without the
ICRC’s consent, the ICRC reserves the right to publish the entire report to prevent any inaccurate
or incomplete interpretations of observations and recommendations. Likewise, if it’s clear that
a confidential approach isn’t working, for example, because a government or rebel group simply
refuses to take concerns seriously, the ICRC can and will take action by expressing concerns publicly.
The decision to speak out is never taken lightly but it is important to remember that confidentiality
is not unconditional.
Red Cross Myth 7. The American Red Cross is like other any other U.S. Nonprofits.
The American Red Cross is distinct from other U.S. aid agencies in various regards. For one, it was
chartered by Congress. Most other NGOs working internationally—CARE, Catholic Relief Services,
World Vision, and hundreds of others (see annex 1)—are registered with the U.S. government but
have no assigned mission. Because it was established by Congress, the American Red Cross is meant
to be national, representing all the American people, in a politically nonpartisan way.
Second, the American Red Cross is itself a system: a system of chapters across the United States,
each with it own board, governance, fundraising, and authorities. The national headquarters, based
in Washington, DC, which leads on international aid issues, works closely with its various chapters,
which are largely organized around metropolitan areas.
Third, more than other nonprofits, the American Red Cross builds volunteerism throughout its
structure. Not only are part-time aid workers and their board of governors volunteers, but volunteers
are also matched to decision-making managers across the organization.
Fourth, the American Red Cross shares sole rights with the U.S. military for use of the emblem in its
advertising, as established by Congress.
Fifth, the American Red Cross has a privileged relationship with the U.S. government which frequently
looks to it as a lead agency, recommending the public to donate to it, whereas otherwise silent about
advocating donations to other specific NGOs. Last, because of its automatic network with other Red
Cross entities, the American Red Cross is in a special position for fundraising and mounting programs.
For example, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. government turned to the American Red Cross
to help mount brand new aid efforts to the breakaway states in the Caucasus and central Asia, because
although no U.S. NGOs had much experience in working in any of them, the American Red Cross at
least had counterpart Red Cross and Red Crescent societies that it could immediately work through.
As another example, whatever the crisis in the world, the press gives top coverage to the ICRC or some
Red Cross entity, and Americans accordingly donate more to the American Red Cross.
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Red Cross Myth 8. The ICRC picks and chooses which wars to work in.
In many of the very worse conflicts, even when other NGOs have to flee for security concerns, the ICRC
typically comes in. Every NGO, including the American Red Cross, has latitude to decide on its own
which crises it wants to become involved with. The statutes of the ICRC do not allow an option. The
ICRC is mandated to work in any and all war zones where it is needed for as long as it is needed. The
ICRC stays in the worst crises even when other agencies have pulled out, including Somalia in 1991
and Rwanda in early 1994. The ICRC pulls out only when conditions do not permit the organization
to reach the populations in need, for example, when three unarmed staff members were executed in
Burundi in 1995 and six in Chechnya in 1996. Similarly, after an ICRC relief plane was shot down en
route to Biafra, Nigeria, in 1968, the ICRC also temporarily withdrew its staff.
Red Cross Myth 9. The ICRC is the author of the Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions were written and are amended collectively by governments (states). Thus,
the U.S. Department of State has a direct say in what has been added, or will be added or edited
in them. The ICRC, which derives its mandate from the Geneva Conventions, and has a lead role in
interpreting and promoting knowledge about them, is not a signatory. However, it is very involved
in thinking, researching, and writing about the conventions and what might be added. Thus it does
influence evolving debates about them.
Red Cross Myth 10. The Red Cross defends war criminals in Guantanamo.
Worldwide, ICRC visits 500,000 prisoners of war and civilian internees every year to assess detention
conditions and procedural safeguards, and to help restore contacts among separated family members.
The ICRC has, since 2002, made many regular trips to visit persons held at the Guantanamo Bay Naval
Station on the island of Cuba. The ICRC maintains a confidential dialogue with U.S. authorities on the
treatment and conditions there as well as on legal frameworks, and it facilitates contacts between
detainees and their families. The ICRC does not act as a legal representative of detainees nor engage
in court cases. ICRC findings from Guantanamo referred to in the press were not given to the press by
the ICRC but by U.S. government or other sources.
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Annex 7.
Key United Nations Agencies
Steven Hansch and Grey Frandsen
ozens of UN agencies participate in some form of humanitarian assistance each year. And in
those emergencies that the UN responds to, there are a handful of dominating agencies that play
essential roles in managing international emergency response efforts. Two of them, UNHCR and WFP,
are important to NGOs because they pass large sums of resources on to NGOs. Others, such as WHO
and OCHA are important for coordinating activities and giving NGOs key technical guidance.
Below are brief profiles of each of the larger UN agencies most often encountered in emergency
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees grew, in 1951, out of the International Refugee Organization
(IRO), which the General Assembly had established in 1946. Over the decades its scope of activities
grew, from an original focus on legal support to European asylum-seekers, to a full-service aid agency
working in every part of the world, wherever there are refugees.
Whereas UNHCR grew into a manager of large relief programs in the 1980s, in the 1990s, it faced the
responsibility of negotiating and planning mass return. It helped to arrange the repatriation of some
ten million refugees during the 1990s. UNHCR works largely through its NGO partners, approximately
300 of them.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Of all the UN agencies, UNICEF behaves the most like an NGO. If it were not in fact a UN body, it would
be listed in this publication as if it were a large, ubiquitous humanitarian NGO. It has an advantage
over other UN agencies in being present in virtually every emergency affected area; unlike UNHCR,
its work precedes emergencies and comes after emergencies and unlike WFP it does not only work in
areas of food shortages. More than any other UN body, it is operational, working close to the ground
mobilizing health, hygiene, nutrition and education for women and, through women, children.
For UNICEF, emergencies take up a small portion of its portfolio, roughly 10 percent, and because
UNICEF has such a wide range of technical capabilities, it responds to displaced population (DP)
needs with programs that are quite different from one crisis to the next. Sometimes it focuses on
food security—a major element of its work in southern Sudan, for example. In Kosovo, it led the
humanitarian community in providing education and warnings about landmine hazards. In northern
Kenya, it drilled and maintained wells to provide water to Somali refugees. In Zaire, it managed centers
for abandoned or “unaccompanied” Rwandan refugee children. Increasingly, UNICEF has tried to
systematize the rapid re-establishment of education as an essential emergency service, and bring
more resources to the recovery of children, including remedial services for psychosocial trauma.
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In refugee crises, UNICEF often works under UNHCR’s coordination, helping out in a particular sector,
shoulder to shoulder with NGOs. In other crises, it can sometimes play more of a lead role, as in
southern Sudan, where UNICEF manages the UN umbrella aid effort for internally displaced and
famine victims known formally as Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS).
UNICEF was created by the UN General Assembly (government representatives) in 1946 to focus both
on the needs of children and their mothers. Like other specialized agencies, it does not receive a budget
from the UN Secretariat, but derives its income from voluntary contributions from governments. Just
as the ICRC is guided by the Geneva Conventions, UNICEF is guided by the Convention of the Rights of
the Child (CRC), which entered into force in September 1990.
One of the oldest and best known of all annual reports is UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children, which
NGOs look to as a source of data about immunization coverage, malnutrition and other health trends
in developing countries. UNICEF’s 8,000 staff also promote the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative
BFHI, The Education for All (EFA) principles,227 research on drug use and new vaccines, such as the
Children’s Vaccine Initiative, and is increasingly involved in human rights promotion.
World Food Program (WFP)
The World Food Program began as an experiment, promoted by the Kennedy administration, and
working initially under the Food and Agriculture Organization, another UN agency. But after the
1974 World Food Summit, donors committed to the WFP idea more fully, and the program grew
throughout the 1960s. WFP has always received significant food donations from the U.S. government
(as appropriated under Title II of the Food for Peace account of Public Law 480).
For most of its history, WFP staff saw it as primarily a development agency, using food to support
economic challenges of developing countries. In the 1990s, however, WFP was pulled into more and
more responses to disasters, conflicts and protracted refugee operations, where refugees needed food
in large volumes year after year. Today, the larger share of WFP’s food budget goes to humanitarian
Headquartered in Rome, WFP tracks the shipments of international donations of food aid, and in
some cases buys local foods with cash given to it. In almost all cases, it hands food over to counterpart
organizations, such as international NGOs, or local groups such as the Red Cross for distribution.
World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization works by supporting other agencies with the best technical information
available. It staffs world medical experts who publish and disseminate guidelines and epidemiologic
analyses about crises. There are several parts of WHO that are relevant in emergencies, including the
Emergency and Humanitarian Assistance (EHA) division, the nutrition division, which looks as part
of its work at malnutrition in refugee camps, and the Emerging Infections Division, which works with
227 Crafted in the World Conference on Education for All, Jomtien, Thailand, 1990.
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EHA to find ways to ensure surveillance of explosive and growing epidemic diseases that often occur
in failed states and conflict zones.
UN Office for the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
OCHA is an office of the UN Secretariat, not a stand-alone operational agency. It is the mechanism by
which the UN secretary-general and UN teams can ensure that someone is monitoring all emergencies,
from wars to refugee flight to natural disasters.
The buck stops here.
OCHA was created in the aftermath of the poor UN response after the Iraq/Gulf war of 1991—when
millions of refugees sought assistance north to Turkey and east to Iran. Originally it was called the
Department for Humanitarian Affairs (DHA). The feeling of governments in 1992 was that no one
point in the UN had the responsibility to watch over all EPs, that there was no place where the buck
stopped. OCHA is that place now, but lacks much capability on its own; it accomplishes its work
primarily by getting resources for other UN agencies to act.
Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (IASC)
OCHA convenes and chairs a forum in which each of the independent UN agencies meet to determine
who is doing what and what gaps need to be addressed, collectively or by different agencies with a lead
opportunity. The IASC meets regularly, not only during large crises, in New York and Geneva, and allows
NGOs to interface with representatives from WHO, WFP, UNHCR, and other key agencies, including the
ICRC. NGOs tend to be represented at IASC meetings through their NGO-association representatives,
from InterAction, Voice and the NGO Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response.
Less well known is the ECHA, the Executive Committee for Humanitarian Affairs within the UN
Secretariat, which OCHA also chairs, of senior experts within the UN Secretariat departments in New
York. Similarly, another group meets regularly in Geneva and New York among the representatives of
the various embassies to the UN, that is, among government officials interested in sharing information
about humanitarian aid: the Humanitarian Liaison Group.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
In most countries, UNDP has the responsibility to mange the joint UN office for all aid, and to make
sense of the work of other UN agencies. Often, OCHA will colocate within UNDP’s office. The official
resident representative for the UN in most countries is the head of the UNDP office there.
Originally, UNDP’s orientation in emergencies was to serve as the lead agency for natural disaster
prevention and reconstruction. Increasingly, UNDP is trying to also become a leader in preventing
and reconstructing civil society and governance, putting human rights and democracy at the top of its
priorities for assistance. UNDP attempts to track all manner of human development, human security,
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Annex 7. Key UN Agencies
income disparities, access to water, vaccines, enterprise training, education, and intellectual property
rights.228 UNDP is based in New York and works closely with the UN Secretariat.
United Nations Joint Logistics Center (UNJLC)
The United Nations Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC) was born out of the humanitarian response to the
1996 Eastern Zaire crisis, which demanded intensified coordination and pooling of logistics assets
among UNHCR, WFP, and UNICEF. UNJLC was institutionalized in March 2002 and housed in Rome;
it has had large scale humanitarian operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Sudan, Uganda, Indian
Ocean Tsunami Response, Pakistan Earthquake Response, Bangladesh floods response, Lebanon,
and DRC. Staff members in UNJLC are seconded from WFP, UNHCR, UNICEF, as well as direct hire
personnel. UNJLC facilitates and supports the coordination of logistics capabilities among cooperating
humanitarian agencies, and complements and supports the global and field Logistics Clusters, using
Logistics Information Management, mapping, customs, commodity tracking tools, and services.
Myths about Humanitarian UN Agencies
Myth 1. UN secretary-general manages all UN agencies.
The secretary-general of the UN has direct management control over the UN Secretariat offices in
New York and Geneva but limited practical authority over the various UN agencies, such as UNHCR
and WFP, which have their own directors and supervisory boards made up of representatives of
governments, including the United States. Of the UN groups mentioned here, only OCHA falls under
the direct authority and management of the secretary-general.
In each new large emergency, the secretary-general does make an important decision to designate
one UN entity as the lead humanitarian agency for that crisis. The default, if no special responsibility
is assigned, is UNDP, headquartered in New York, which is supposed to maintain the general UN
representation in each country and also have responsibility for working with each government to
provide disaster preparedness.
Myth 2. UN Engagement in emergencies is primarily via peacekeeping troops.
Much attention is given to those situations in which armed UN peacekeeping troops deploy to a zone
of conflict. Most UN forces, however, work in areas where there is no active conflict; their purpose,
after all, being to prevent the possibility of conflict. In contrast, UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, and OCHA are
involved in many hundreds of live, active humanitarian emergencies every year, the majority of which
do not involve peacekeeping.
Myth 3. UN deployment in crises defies or circumvents U.S. interests.
The U.S. government gets its way in a large proportion of UN deliberations about how and where
UN capabilities will be put to use. In those circumstances where the United States wants a large UN
deployment, there usually will be. In most refugee crises and natural disasters, the United States
wants UN involvement, and criticizes the UN when it is slow off the mark.
228UNDP, Human Development Report 2001 (New York: United Nations Development Program, 2001).
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In fact, most of the work of UNHCR and WFP in providing aid to refugee communities, aid that grew
quickly in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, was aid for people fleeing countries that were
either communist or at war with communists, and the United States wanted the aid as a symbol of
opposition to the Soviet Union’s influence, to call attention to the failures and human rights abuses
that came with Soviet involvement. Since the early 1990s, after Russia abandoned communism, U.S.
and European donors to the UN redirected the same UN agencies to now contain refugee flows, for
example, to assist displaced populations inside Bosnia and Kosovo and prevent large numbers of
people from trying to flee to other developed countries.
Myth 4. UN involvement in emergencies bails out autocratic states.
Many Americans complain that humanitarian aid creates the preconditions for future emergencies,
by helping dictators or by bailing out incompetent and corrupt governments, who then create everworsening conditions for their own people. In some instances this is true, and aid has the unintended
effect of stabilizing countries that might benefit from civil resistance. But it’s also true in as many
instances that humanitarian aid brings embarrassment to governments who looked weak in the light
that assistance from other countries was needed.
Very little humanitarian aid (disaster relief, food aid, health care) from the United States is delivered
by the governments of the affected country; most passes through NGOs and the Red Cross. That’s true
of aid the UN manages also: UNHCR works largely through NGOs, not governments.
Myth 5. UN aid to crisis areas fosters long-term dependency.
Humanitarian aid can sometimes support EPs in the same refugee camp for years or even decades.
Some refugees stayed for 10 years in large camps in Malawi, Honduras, and Thailand. Refugees from
Burma, Tibet, and Afghanistan have stayed for more than 20 years in some cases. But humanitarian
aid does not tend to include such great incentives that it discourages anyone from entrepreneurial
efforts. In most cases, refugees become self-reliant.
Myth 6. UNHCR gives assistance directly to refugees.
Like many agencies, UNHCR takes credit for all the activities it funds or that occur under its aegis. But,
except for legal services, UNHCR delegates most assistance delivery to partner groups; it devolves
actual direct contact with refugees to NGOs.
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Christophe Fournier, International President of MSF, delivered a speech to a Conference in Rheindahlen 7-8
December 2009 organised by NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC). ARRC led NATO’s International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan from May 2006 to February 2007 and has also been involved in IFOR and
KFOR operations in Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo as well as in operations in Iraq. The stated purpose of the
conference - which beside NATO and the UK Armed Forces brought together representatives from the diplomatic
world, the UN and NGOs, the media, academia and the EU - was to examine best working practices on the integration
of civilian and military efforts to achieve Unity of Purpose in Hybrid Operations.
In his speech, Christophe Fournier explains why MSF can never be part of a “militaryhumanitarian coalition”,
the importance to make a clear distinction between impartial humanitarian actors such as MSF and other more
partisan aid actors, and finally the harmful consequences on the local population when this distinction is blurred.
This conference was an opportunity to clarify that we, MSF, don’t believe in a unity of purpose, we believe in a
mutual understanding with all warring parties that allows for the deployment of impartial aid operations in order
to contain the devastations of war.
NATO Speech – Rheindalen, Germany. 8 December 2009.
Outside of humanitarian circles, it’s not often that I am invited to speak before a room full of people
who share with MSF one rather rare feature. You and I may have the only jobs in the world that require
going towards conflict, not running in the other direction. And while NATO may have participated
in a few wars over the past decades, we have been to all of them. The big crisis like Kosovo, Sierra
Leone, Afghanistan, Darfur and Angola, and invisible conflicts like today in Central African Republic
or the Naxalite insurrection in India. So we have that in common. For the rest, we are probably more
different than appearances make some people to believe.
I am going to start by doing something very humanitarian. I am going to make myself vulnerable. You
represent such a massive amount of firepower and I am but a simple doctor and aid worker. Please
allow me to say that this should make me feel very vulnerable.
I am not at all nervous about that, because of the warmness of your welcome but also because, as a
humanitarian, I am used to be vulnerable. And very used to people we try to help who are far, far more
vulnerable than MSF could ever be. Interestingly, it is the vulnerability of being humanitarian that
provides us with protection. For MSF, this is a vulnerability rooted in our being armed with nothing
more than our stethoscopes, our medicines and bandages and the commitment to deliver urgent
medical services based solely on need.
People across cultures recognize in our vulnerability the human compassion which drives the medical
act and they trust us. When that trust is established, even the well-armed fighters who watch our
every move trust us. They have faith in the doctors and nurses bumping up and down those long,
dusty roads to reach people in crisis. They entrust their health and their loved ones to our skilled
personnel. That trust lies at the core of MSF’s humanitarian project. That trust is an important theme
of what I’m about to say.
So I am not nervous about being vulnerable. I am nervous about the undermining of that trust. I am
nervous about the “unity of purpose” you consider so crucial to the achievement of your objectives.
This is a “unity of purpose” MSF believes is harmful to this trust. It casts doubt upon our integrity as
humanitarians because people may doubt our motives or our objectives. That is why I am nervous,
and that is what I would like to talk about today.
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Annex 8. MSF Speach to NATO
Médecins sans Frontières delivers medical and humanitarian aid in over 60 countries. We’re quite
busy. For example, in 2008 we did:
- Almost 9 million outpatient consultations, over 300,000 hospitalizations
- Over 47,000 surgical operations - Treated 212,000 children for severe acute malnutrition.
- [When cholera exploded in the cities and towns of Zimbabwe MSF managed staggering 75 percent of the
over 100,000 cases.]
These are significant numbers for a non-governmental organization, especially in our eyes because
we know the people and patients behind those numbers. Yet still I can tell you as president of MSF that
I am not happy with these results. I am not happy that in Somalia our programmes are dwarfed by the
massive needs of those war-ravaged communities. I am not happy that we struggle to be meaningfully
operational in key conflicts like Darfur, Pakistan and Iraq. And I am particularly not happy that the
needs of tens of thousands of sick, malnourished or wounded Afghans continue to require urgent
humanitarian relief that we are unable to deliver.
Prior to the murder of five colleagues in Baghdis in 2004 MSF had worked continuously in Afghanistan
since 1980. In the year 2000s we were running activities in Afghanistan in half of the provinces.
Today, circumstances force us to be much less present. We have recently opened two programmes,
one in a hospital in the East of Kabul and another in Laskargah, the capital of Helmand Province.
There are many factors explaining our limitations in Afghanistan. One of those factors is this concept
for the title of this conference: Unity of Purpose.
Before going further I want to reassure you that MSF is neither pacifist nor antimilitary. That may
sound strange for an organization that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a decade ago, but we are
not pro-peace. We do not stand in judgment of either your objectives or those of your enemies. We
stand, MSF and NATO, in the same volatile geographic location, so we must deal with the reality of our
coexistence in the tight and tense corridors of war. While we will never have a common understanding,
we need to improve our mutual understanding in order to be clear about our different motivations,
responsibilities, strategies, and purposes.
1. Our purpose is to limit the devastations of war.
I’ve talked many times with our Afghanistan mission team and it seems that at every encounter
between MSF and NATO (most of them good, productive encounters) the NATO representatives say
something at the end like “at least we share a common goal.” It seemingly doesn’t matter whether
this is with your local commanders in the field or with policy makers in Brussels. “At least we share a
common goal”: What does that mean? I can assure you it leaves all of us at MSF with a profound sense
of being misunderstood.
Confused and manipulated as it has become (and I’ll come back to that), we believe the humanitarian
project is a fairly simple one and very limited one. Our goal is to help people survive the devastations
of war. That means finding and caring for those most in need – those caught in the crisis of conflict
who are suffering illness, wounds, hunger, grief, and fear. We respond by delivering aid that saves
lives and alleviates suffering here and now.
As I said, our ambition is a limited one. Our purpose is not to bring war to an end. Nor is it
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Annex 8. MSF Speach to NATO
humanitarian to build state and government legitimacy or to strengthen governmental structures. It’s
not to promote democracy or capitalism or women’s rights. Not to defend human rights or save the
environment. Nor does humanitarian action involve the work of economic development, post-conflict
reconstruction, or the establishment of functioning health systems. Again, it is about saving lives and
alleviating suffering in the immediate term. This marks a fundamental difference between our two
ways of thinking. What you do in Afghanistan today is for the Afghanistan of tomorrow. What we do
in Afghanistan today is for today. We heal people for the sake of healing people.
All of these other activities (reconstruct the country, promote democracy, etc) might be worthy of
praise. They may even be exactly the sort of activities that NATO and NATO countries should be
promoting in Afghanistan. But they are goals and activities which fall outside of humanitarian ones.
Related? Yes. But outside. More importantly, when humanitarian goals and activities are lumped
together with this larger, broader and more future-oriented agenda, the direct result is confusion
and even contradiction. The indirect result is that civilians in conflict do not receive the assistance to
which they have a right.
I want to urge that you do not confuse MSF’s position today with any sense of moral judgment or
superiority. We do not believe humanitarian objectives are more noble than military ones in a place
like Afghanistan. I can assure you we have no opinion on the legitimacy of NATO spending the next
100 years in Afghanistan. Or leaving tomorrow. Or, it should be clear, of the Taleban regaining control
of the State. In other words, we are not on your side. We are not on any side. That is the principle of
neutrality. We neither support nor oppose parties to a conflict, regardless the justice or brutality of
their actions. This is the reverse of your position.
2. In order to be accepted by all belligerents, we are committed to a policy of neutrality and
Humanitarian aid must address human beings regardless their side with regard to the frontlines
or warring parties; no matter their race, religion, ethnicity or allegiance. That is the principle of
impartiality. It constitutes the sine qua non of humanitarian action. The duty of impartiality comes
to humanitarian organizations from the Geneva Conventions, which bestows certain rights and
protections upon “an impartial humanitarian body”. Impartiality means MSF must have access to all
civilian populations, in order to identify and treat those most in need. Obviously, decisions of where
and how to intervene is thus based on our own independent assessment of health needs. Just as
obviously, it cannot be based on the need for stabilization, reconstruction, state-building, winning
hearts and minds, force protection, or winning support in publics back home.
As a soft target, to have access requires us to be accepted not just by local communities but by
all armed parties in the conflict area: national governments, armed oppositions movements,
international forces, private security forces, criminal gangs, and so on. These parties must recognize
MSF as a neutral health actor providing useful services. That means life-saving assistance with no
ulterior agenda.
Actual impartiality and neutrality are of course important, but MSF must equally safeguard the
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Annex 8. MSF Speach to NATO
perception of these principles. Here is why independence – and the perception of it – is so important.
Can you imagine MSF convincing the Taleban of our neutrality if our operations were funded by your
governments? For that matter, can you imagine the reverse? A health organization working in London
or New York or Copenhagen and funded by the Taleban? I am guessing your governments would be
more than just suspicious, and would take serious measures against such an organization. So you
see the difficulties of MSF gaining acceptance in today’s Afghanistan. That is the reason for our strict
independence from the Western governments, especially those who are a party to the conflict. That
includes financial, logistical and operational independence as well as an independence of purpose.
3. The very idea of a “humanitarian war” or “military-humanitarian coalition” is in total
contradiction with the core idea and the modus operandi of the humanitarian enterprise.
The challenges to acceptance and access begin at the macro level, at the level of the intervention itself.
The involvement of the military in aid delivery is nothing new. It has long been a standard component
of counterinsurgency strategies. And we see it in response to natural disasters such as the December
2004 tsunami. Yet there is a growing change towards something loosely labelled “humanitarian war”.
This concept became more distinct with the NATO intervention in the rebellious Serbian Province of
Any interventions must ultimately be based upon threats to international peace and security. In
Kosovo, though, the public discourse shifted, with an emphasis upon the foreign military invasion as
having a humanitarian goal, like a response to people’s suffering. Troops were primarily portrayed
as care givers to the massive numbers of refugees fleeing Serbia. For MSF, “humanitarian war” is a
dangerous corruption of the humanitarian ideal. It supports the view that the use of violence is a
legitimate way to deliver humanitarian assistance. It also confuses two profoundly distinct human
[This bellicose “humanitarian” intervention marks a curious reversal of history. The original intent
of the humanitarian project was to “civilize war” – through the distinction between combatants and
non-combatants. Now we have come to waging “wars for civilization”.] Although humanitarian actors
such as MSF are not opposed to war, we are strongly committed to non-violent modes of action in the
delivery of aid. “Shoot to feed” or “shoot to heal” is abhorrent to our modus operandi.
We well understand the need for countries or organizations such as NATO to obtain popular support
and political consensus for an overseas intervention, especially going to war. In this matter, the
humanitarian rhetoric can be quite useful, as it puts forward a moral appeal of near universal value.
In the end, though, portraying military interventions as humanitarian creates a continuity between
two opposites. On one end, the impartial provision of urgent health and humanitarian services. On the
other end, the policies of regime change, foreign occupation, pacification, state building and violence.
Such a continuity undercuts trust.
4. Being accepted by all belligerents tends to be more difficult in conflicts where UN or western
troops are involved.
At the country level, in a place such as Afghanistan, the challenges to acceptance and access are as plain
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Annex 8. MSF Speach to NATO
as the noses of our faces. Contrary to a common knowledge, our experience shows that acceptance
by all belligerents tends to be more difficult where UN or western troops are involved in the fighting.
One-sided assistance means one-sided access. Afghanistan today is a good example of this difficulty.
The breach of trust in Afghanistan comes from the fact that our organization originates from the
very same countries that decide upon, finance and furnish the troops you command. In short, if you
except the battle dress, we look like you. Our claim to act independently from our countries of origin,
who are so politically and militarily-engaged, is naturally met with strong scepticism by local actors,
especially by those hostile to the international intervention.
This lack of trust is all the stronger when UN and/or western militaries claim to use military
force in furtherance of “humanitarian” goals, thereby unilaterally pronouncing a unity of purpose
between humanitarian NGOs and intervention/occupation forces. In 2001 no less than Colin Powell
proclaimed “NGOs are such a force multiplier for us, such an important part of our combat team.” Even
more unhelpful, humanitarians have been labelled as sources of information. It should be obvious to
you in the military that if we are part of your team, if we are on your side, if we are providing you
with information, if we are advancing towards the same goals as you, then we fall directly into the
crosshairs of the other side. It’s nothing personal, but we can’t afford this sort of unity.
Looking more at the community level, in places like Afghanistan the actions of our fellow NGOs
reinforce the confusion of roles and purposes I’ve just described. The aid system is very diverse.
The vast majority of aid agencies have broader objectives than limiting the devastation of war. Often
announcing themselves as humanitarian, they are actually geared towards supporting peace, good
governance, justice, sustainable development, gender equality, and so on. In Afghanistan, many are
sponsored by belligerent parties to the conflict. That means they are funded by governments whose
aid policies openly declare that such financing is in direct furtherance of their foreign policy objectives.
Within this framework, it is easy to understand the perception that aid agencies contribute to the
international war effort and state building policies of one side and one side only. In Afghanistan,
what we see is that the massive resources of the aid system, both UN and NGO, support the Afghan
government and the objectives of the Western intervention forces. Looked at critically, the aid system
in Afghanistan operates as an implementing partner of your counter-insurgency, pacification and
state-building policies.
It’s not just the NGOs and the UN. Non-aid actors such as the military have spent enormous resources
on the delivery of aid. Essentially, you have portrayed yourselves as somehow part of this humanitarian
project. Again, we do not judge your course of action, but there are consequences.
Crucially, beyond our concern for the integrity of humanitarianism, there is a pragmatic issue: the
negative consequences on the local population. The moment the humanitarian project becomes
militarized, either in terms of its modus operandi or its public perception, is the moment when the
humanitarian project becomes a military target.
That militarization of, say, a specific hospital or healthcare programme may be a matter of fact. For
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Annex 8. MSF Speach to NATO
instance when your armed teams provide security or care itself. Or that militarization of a specific
hospital or healthcare programme may be a matter of perception because of the way it is done in
other locations. Either way, the results are potentially lethal. So whether or not this targeting is
legitimate doesn’t matter. The point is that when some schools or health facilities or aid convoys
become militarised by one side, they all become potential targets by the other side. No humanitarian
NGO can work under such conditions.
In Afghanistan this dangerous phenomenon has been illustrated on many occasions. ISAF protection
of health personnel and facilities has contributed to turning the latter into a battle ground with armed
opposition groups. The result is that patients who need of care are afraid to go to these facilities. They
fear an attack on the facility. They also fear retribution (retaliation) for having used these services.
In too many communities, people are hence left with the impossible choice of watching a child suffer
without treatment or risking a night visit from the armed opposition.
For MSF, negotiation, not firepower, is the key to security in our health facilities and our access
to people who need urgent help. That is why our policy is to enforce a “gun free zone” within our
premises and vehicles; and to obtain from all belligerents a commitment to recognize MSF health
structures, ambulances, offices and homes as “demilitarized sanctuaries” and thereby off-limits from
combat, police, and intelligence operations.
5. The partiality of the UN and the aid system toward NATO/OER/GoA and the direct involvement
of military unit in aid operations are not condemnable per se as long as they do not jeopardize
population access to essential services.
You’ve heard that we oppose the notion of “humanitarian war.” And you’ve heard that we are critical
of placing aid in service to military objectives. It may surprise you, then, that we have no principled
objection to military units delivering aid as part of the war effort. We don’t have any principled
objection to aid being part of hearts and minds campaigns or of UNAMA and aid agencies supporting
the Afghan government.
But we would like to underscore two points. First, aid efforts undertaken to assist counter­insurgency
strategies or build the state cannot be impartial because they are not based with an exclusive eye
upon need. Such aid should not be attached to the term “humanitarian”. Second, and most importantly,
counter-insurgency and state-building aid policies have a poor record of meeting the vital needs of
civilians in a conflict situation such as Afghanistan.
Aid doesn’t go to those most in need because it is directed by other priorities. For example, the military
and political priorities of the Afghan government and its allies do not cover much of the country
today. In Kabul itself the level of public and internationally supported primary health care facilities is
highly insufficient. Why? Because while the population of Kabul has quadrupled since 2001, it is not
considered a priority in terms of counter-insurgency.
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Annex 8. MSF Speach to NATO
Given their partisan stance on one side of the conflict, and given their funding by NATO countries,
most aid agencies are considered de facto targets by armed opposition groups in Afghanistan today.
It does not matter that their aid is vitally needed by local communities. In the end, since 2006 and the
expansion of hostilities to much of the country, the majority of Afghan population lie out of reach to
aid providers. That is the consequence of this perception that we all share the same unified purpose.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you for this important opportunity to exchange views on the
distinct roles and functions of our organizations. I could understand MSF’s position is perhaps unfair
to you, as this speech is more of a monologue. We welcome a dialogue between our organizations.
And I invite you to talk with Arjan Hehenkamp, one of our senior operational directors, and myself.
Before sitting down, though, I’d like to be clear on a few points.
First, I want to reaffirm the need for impartial aid operators to be allowed to act independently from
the government, NATO, UN, OEF as well as AOG security agenda
Second, to reiterate our call on all warring parties and aid actors to ensure the neutrality of functioning
health facilities. This implies: - -Implementation and respect for a gun-free policy within health premises;
-An abstention of the use of force against demilitarized health or humanitarian structures, vehicles
and premises. -A commitment not to arrest or seek information from patients during their stay in our facilities.
Third, we don’t want to oppose the “virtue” of a humanitarian aid driven by impartiality to the
“cynicism” of aid driven by counter-insurgency and state building imperatives. We just want to
underline that we measure aid by humanitarian standard. That standard is whether aid meets the
vital needs of those civilians most in need, across the entire country, and not whether aid meets other
Fourth, to underline the importance in NATO public discourse and its modes of deployment to
maintain an explicit distinction between two types of aid actors – partisan deliverers of relief and
impartial humanitarian actors.
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Annex 8. MSF Speach to NATO
Finally, I’d like to read you a paragraph from US Army, Joint Publication 3 – 57. The paragraph explains
“Civil-Military Operations” and reads: “The activities of a commander that establish, maintain,
influence, or exploit relations between military forces, governmental and [civilian NGOs] … and
the civilian populace in a friendly, neutral or hostile operational area in order to facilitate military
operations, to consolidate and achieve US objectives.”
I hope my presentation leaves you with a much better grasp of why such words leave me nervous.
They leave all of us in MSF nervous. This mutual understanding is important to us. While MSF may
not believe in a unity of purpose, we think that the more recently promoted unity of understanding
would be closer to the reality than the unity of purpose idea. Yes, a common, or better said a mutual
understanding with all warring parties that allows for the deployment of impartial aid operations in
order to contain the devastations of war is what we are looking for. Thank you.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 8. MSF Speach to NATO
This publication has been produced with a variety of sources and material collected over the past five
years. Listed are publications used for or referenced in this guidebook and interviews conducted in
person, by e-mail, or by telephone.
Publications include materials also cited in the footnotes. Some citing is sparse because little
information was available for various publications found online or in old libraries. Many more
publications were referred to and/or read during the production of this publication, but these are
some of the most pertinent.
Interviews and personal resources include approximately fifty individuals both named and not
named who contributed in some fashion to this publication. This is not an inclusive list but does
include those who played a major role.
Titles are included for individuals interviewed or communicated with but not listed by name. Many
dates are specific. Others are more general, indicating several interviews or communications over
that period.
Aal, Pamela, Daniel Miltenberger, Thomas G. Weiss. Guide to IGOs, NGOs and the Military in Peace and
Relief Operations (Washington, DC: USIP, 2000).
Auf der Heide, Erik. Disaster and Response: Principles of Preparation and Preparedness (St. Louis: CV
Mosby, 1989),
Brès, P. L. J. Public Health Action in Emergencies Caused by Epidemics (Geneva: WHO–OMS, 1986).
Burnell, Peter. Foreign Aid in a Changing World (Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1997).
Chege, Sam. “Donors Shift More Aid to NGOs.” United Nations Department of Public Information. June,
Center for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. “CMO/CIMIC Reference Library for
the Civilian and Military Practitioner.” CD-Rom (New Orleans: Center for Disaster Management and
Humanitarian Assistance ).
Cuny, Frederick C. Disasters and Development (Dallas, TX: Intertect Press, 1994).
The Cuny Center. Greater Efficiency in Humanitarian Assistance Operations (Arlington VA: The Cuny
Center, 2002).
Davidson, Lisa Witzig, Margaret Daly Hayes, and James J. Landon. Humanitarian and Peace Operations:
NGOs and the Military in the Interagency Process (Washington, DC: NDU Press Book, December 1996).
Hoy, Paula. Players and Issues in International Aid (Sterling, VA: Kumarian Press, 1998).
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 9. Sources
International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “Humanitarian Principles of
Joint Chiefs of Staff. Joint Doctrine for Civil-Military Operations, JP 3-57 (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs
of Staff, 2003).
Mathews, Robert and Timothy McCormack. “The Influence of Humanitarian Principles in the
Negotiation of Arms Control Treaties.” International Review of the Red Cross, 1999.
Maynard, Kimberly. Healing Communities in Conflict: International Assistance in Complex Emergencies.
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1999).
Minear, Larry, Ted Van Baarda, and Marc Sommers. “NATO and Humanitarian Action in the Kosovo
Crisis.” Occasional Paper #36 (Providence, RI: Thomas J Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies
and the Humanitarian Law Consultancy, 2000).
NATO. NATO Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) Doctrine, AJP-09 (Brussels: North Atlantic Treaty
Organization, 2003).
Natsios, Andrew. U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Humanitarian Relief in
Complex Emergencies (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997).
OCHA. “Affected Populations in the Great Lakes Region” (Nairobi: OCHA Great Lakes Regional Office,
April 2001).
Refugee Policy Group. “Civilian and Military Means of Providing and Supporting Humanitarian
Assistance during Conflict: A Comparative Analysis” (Washington, DC: Refugee Policy Group, 1997).
Seiple, Chris. The US Military/NGO Relationship in Humanitarian Intervention (Carlisle, PA: U.S Army
War College, Peacekeeping Institute, Center for Strategic Leadership, 1996).
Shawcross, William. The Quality of Mercy (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984).
The Sphere Project.
UN Development Program. Human Development Report 2001 (New York: UNDP, 2001).
UN Food and Agricultural Organization. FAO’s Emergency Activities: Technical Handbook Series (New
York: FAO, 2004).
UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “Burundian Refugees Return Home Despite Clashes.” UNHCR
Press Release. April 8, 2002.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees. UNHCR Handbook for Emergencies (Geneva: UNHCR, 2000)
———. Water Manual for Refugee Situations (Geneva: UNHCR, 1992).
UNICEF. Technical Notes: Special Considerations for Programming in Unstable Situations (New York:
UNICEF, 2000).
U.S. Agency for International Development. Factsheets.
A Guide to NGOs for the Military
Annex 9. Sources
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