...we cannot just come in, set up shop and eventually leave. Rather, we need to strengthen local partners...
Phoenix, Ariz. (PRWEB) June 20, 2013
As the Syrian humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, communities in Syria and neighboring countries are struggling to cope with pressures of large, vulnerable populations. More than 6.8 million people are in need. Peter Howard, Food for the Hungry’s (FH)Emergency Response Director, says building capacity for local organizations to respond is essential.
“One theme keeps rising to the top through our collaboration with indigenous groups: we cannot just come in, set up shop and eventually leave. Rather, we need to strengthen local partners who are trusted, have strong networks and can identify those in greatest need. Long term, these organizations have the greatest ability to make a lasting impact—and FH is there to support them.”
Howard recently visited the region and strategized with FH’s partners to plan ongoing support for displaced people in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
“In my 10 years of international aid work, I’ve found the Syrian crisis to be particularly heartbreaking because great need is juxtaposed with nearby resources that are just out of reach for the vulnerable,” Howard said. “For example, I met a refugee child from a formerly middle class Syrian family who was eating moldy horse feed. The local McDonald’s is only 20 minutes away. This family, like thousands of others, not only lost their home but also their means of income. The crisis is overwhelming host communities.”
The fact that many of the displaced are afraid and will not register their names on lists to get aid amplifies the problem. This type of registration is required for United Nations food distributions. “People fear reprisals for them or their families in Syria if their names are recorded,” Howard said. “They don’t know who to trust. Therefore, trusted, local organizations are uniquely poised to fill this food distribution gap.”
Currently, FH is partnering with local organizations in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to provide food and household items to displaced people and refugees. Additionally, FH is supporting shelter and protection activities for women and children. In collaboration with the Integral Alliance, FH's local partners include the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, Arab Women Today and Manara International.
Donations can be made to support FH’s disaster response work at fh.org/helpsyria.
Founded in 1971, Food for the Hungry provides emergency relief and long-term development programs with operations in more than 20 countries to help the world's most vulnerable people. Learn more by visiting http://www.fh.org. Social connections include http://www.facebook.com/foodforthehungry and http://www.twitter.com/food4thehungry.