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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 July 2018

Aid organisations facing financial crisis make funding plea at Dubai conference

Global cuts place thousands of refugees at risk 

Palestinians protest outside of the United Nations' offices in Al Nusirat refugee camp in Gaza in January after the White House froze tens of millions of dollars in contributions. Mahmud Hams / AFP
Palestinians protest outside of the United Nations' offices in Al Nusirat refugee camp in Gaza in January after the White House froze tens of millions of dollars in contributions. Mahmud Hams / AFP

Aid organisations are facing financial crisis in their attempts to deliver help to those most in need in the wake of global funding cuts and lack of public confidence.

Calls to support a global campaign by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) were made at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (Dihad) on Monday.

They follow the announcement by US President Donald Trump to withhold more than half the country’s funding commitment to the UN agency.

UNRWA currently provides education to more than 47,000 Palestine refugees, supplementing regular classes with psychosocial support and safety-awareness training.

Speaking at the conference, Pierre Kraehenbuhl, commissioner general of the UNRWA for Palestine refugees in the Near East, said reduced funding was making it harder to reach those most in need.

“In light of our funding crisis we have launched a global campaign to engage many private sectors and foundations,” he said.

“By engaging with related national institutions, we will be in a stronger position to ensure progress in this regard.

“I look to all of our partners for co-operation and support.

“If 525,000 students no longer have access to education, if 3 million patients no longer have access to healthcare and if 1.7 million people no longer receive emergency assistance – we will see a catastrophic rise in insecurity.

“For the moment, our schools and clinics remain open, but this will only last until May so we need a global mobilisation. Our students are awaiting our actions.”

A conference in Rome on March 17 has been announced to tackle the global funding crisis.

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Other established aid organisations are also suffering from a cash crisis following reports of safeguarding issues and exploitation of vulnerable people by a minority of aid workers.

Oxfam risks losing its UK state budget of $47 million in the wake of repeated allegations of staff misconduct in Haiti and Chad, while thousands of pubic donors have withdrawn contributions.

The exhibition is displaying different solutions to help aid organisations make best use of their resources and reach those in the most remote areas.

One of those innovations aiding NGO units to meet the requirements of providing education and healthcare to remote refugee camps is YahClick Wi-Fi, a quick deployable Internet broadband solution provided by Yahsat.

“This spot beam technology is cost effective and easy to install,” said Najat Abdulrahman, executive vice president of Global Strategic Business Development at Yahsat.

“We are about to launch a one stop shop for online education for people in remote or desolate areas where there are no teachers or schools.

“Everyone wants to live in the city, so there is a dire need of teachers and doctors in these remote areas.”

YahClick WiFi offers internet speeds up to 16 Mbps with coverage across the Middle East and Africa.

Installation of the system can take less than 24 hours with data distribution coverage of 250m from the base station.

If required, coverage can also be extended to cover a larger distribution area. The system can also run 24/7 using solar panels or grip power with battery backup.

“Satellite technology to bring broadband internet into refugee camps is helping change these problems by enabling remote learning and healthcare,” Ms Abdulrahman said.

“Once people have this access, they are able to access a whole new world of opportunity.”