Author: Gwen Young, Managing Director, Global Emergency Response Coalition
March 05, 2020
Global Impact serves as the fiscal sponsor for the Global Emergency Response Coalition, a lifesaving humanitarian alliance of leading U.S.-based international aid organizations. When disaster strikes, the Coalition mobilizes to help children and families in urgent need. Gwen Young is the Managing Director of the Global Emergency Response Coalition, bringing over 25 years of experience in international relief and development, working for organizations such as Africare, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, International Rescue Committee, Harvard Institute for International Development, and Médecins Sans Frontières.
Here’s an alarming statistic that will jolt you right out of your seat: Today, 1 in 70 people in the world is caught up in a humanitarian crisis – and will be for an average of nine years. Natural disasters and conflict threaten lives and livelihoods everywhere. Some 70 million people – and counting – have been forced to flee their homes. And tens of millions of children, women and men do not have enough food to eat, nor do they have access to basic health care.
For far too many people in far too many places, crisis is the status quo. The cost to bring relief? The United Nations says it’s somewhere around $26.5 billion.
Against this discouraging backdrop, there’s another harsh reality: Humanitarian need far outpaces the ability of institutions like the U.N. and governments to help.
That’s why leading aid organizations have joined forces to form the Global Emergency Response Coalition (GERC) to pool resources to raise funds and awareness and, in turn, deliver emergency relief even more quickly and efficiently to save lives and help rebuild communities in the aftermath of disaster.
It’s the first coalition of its kind in the United States, and we believe the time is now to change how corporations, foundations and individuals fund humanitarian response. In short, we are simplifying giving: Donations to the Coalition are divided equally among our members. Together we have deep technical experience across multiple sectors such as child protection, emergency shelter, food and cash, medical care, psychosocial support, and water, sanitation, and hygiene. By giving to the Coalition, donors are ensuring a holistic approach to crisis response and investing in the breadth of services urgently needed to save lives and jump-start recovery.
We first tested this in 2017 when an acute hunger crisis threatened more than 20 million people across Africa and the Middle East. The Coalition came together to inspire corporate and individual donors in the U.S. to get involved; thanks to their generosity, we raised more than $4 million in just a few weeks.
With those funds, our members worked tirelessly to expand their support for those most vulnerable to famine and malnutrition, especially infants, pregnant and nursing mothers, and children. For example, in South Sudan, CARE screened more than 3,700 children for malnutrition and established six mobile health sites. In Kenya, Save the Children screened nearly 7,000 children for malnutrition and reached more than 5,000 people with therapeutic treatment supplies at its nutrition centers.
Right now, we’re raising funds to help Syrians experiencing life or death conditions as the nearly 9 year long civil war and resulting humanitarian crisis continues to escalate. Nearly 1 million people have been displaced in northwest Syria over the last three months – that’s almost 11,000 people a day – and they have nowhere left to go. They lack access to basic necessities like food, clean water, shelter, and medical supplies – and freezing winter temperatures are exacerbating the situation. Children are dying and families are out of options. The Coalition is working to deliver the lifesaving assistance they need.
As we’ve entered a new decade, issues like climate change, migration, and political conflict will continue to top foreign policy agendas – but we can’t wait for the politicians to agree on the right solution to the human catastrophes we witness every day. From our collective decades of experience working on the ground in more than 100 countries, we know that our organizations are making a very real difference for countless children and their families, right now. Together, we can do more, and faster – we invite you to join us today. Learn more at globalemergency.org and please donate to our Syria appeal today.