News and blog
All the latest updates on our charity work from around the world.
Concern Worldwide’s communications officer, Michaela Conine, returned to her native Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan as part of our emergency response team. Here, she reflects on her experience as an aid worker in her homeland.
Growing up and living in the Philippines most of my life, typhoons were not new to me. They torment us about 22 times a year, some worse than others, but somehow we’ve almost always managed to get by on our own. We are a resilient country, and usually well-prepared to take on natural disasters like storms and the occasional earthquake. No one and nothing could have prepared the Philippines for Haiyan.
Small-scale fishermen are among the poorest people in rural areas. Before Haiyan hit, most were already living day-to-day. With their boats now destroyed, they’re left with nothing. It is now our goal to get some 1,000 boats back on the water so they can start to earn a living again.
On the island of Igbon, we set out to validate some of the data we’d collected on damaged and missing boats. We started a programme to repair or replace small fishing boats damaged by the storm. About 60 percent of the country’s population lives by the sea, so fishing is a huge source of income and food for many communities.
Three years after the conflict in Syria, many people are still in urgent need of food, water and shelter. Concern Worldwide has already reached 100,000 people with aid, and we're hoping to help a total of 250,000 people.
Water supply systems in Syria have been destroyed or severely damaged, causing a rise in waterborne diseases. We are working to improve water quantity and quality and reduce diseases by:
- Providing generators to re-start water pumping stations
- Providing chlorine to make water safe
- Destroying sand-fly breeding sites to reduce cases of diseases such as leishmaniasis
We have been able to provide clean water to families like Nazar's. He said:
In the past we had a huge problem with the water. It wasn’t available. A lot of people in the town tried to find water themselves by digging boreholes in their gardens. These boreholes were very close to the sewage network and people started getting sick.
Now, the situation is much better. We get enough clean water because of the generator provided by Concern. I do want to thank Concern for coming to this town and for the generator and providing us with clean water.
Lebanon, one of the smallest countries in the region, has shouldered the biggest burden of the humanitarian crisis. It is struggling to cope with immense economic and social pressures. Refugees are living in makeshift camps where they lack clean water and sanitation. We're helping by:
- Converting unused buildings into family housing so that vulnerable Syrians have safe, rent-free places to live
- Providing Syrian families with water and giving out water purification tablets
- Building latrines and sewage systems
- Drilling boreholes to provide water for the local Lebanese population as well as Syrian refugees
Achievements so far
We have received funding from the Disasters Emergency Committee as well as from our generous donors. Our work isn't over yet though; there's a lot more to be done.
You can help
Concern’s team in South Sudan is closely monitoring the humanitarian situation after recent violence in many parts of the country. Our head office is in Juba, where there has been heavy fighting.
Keeping people alive
Marion and her son Bosco are living together in a camp that is home to thousands of people who sought safety from fighting in South Sudan. Concern's team are helping the people in this camp by screening children for malnutrition and providing emergency food. Marion said:
We wouldn’t be alive without the help we are getting here.
We're working with a community in the poorest state of South Sudan, northern Bahr el Ghazal, to improve a road. Now, when the rainy season begins, two villages will be linked to a market. We're paying people from the community to help.
Joseph, married with seven children, has been working on the stretch of road for 14 days. He said:
This work is good because it will benefit the whole community and I also get a small benefit...I will spend the money I earn on food for my family and school fees.
Helping families feed themselves
We've also worked with the community in Bahr el Ghazal to help people grow their own vegetables. Standing proudly beside the vegetables she has grown, Namia said:
There was a time when life was not like this. I used to just gather wild fruits or fire wood but now we have all these vegetables. We have food to eat and a small amount to sell.
The number of people affected by violence in Syria is rising daily. Many are in urgent need of food, water and shelter. Concern Worldwide is working hard to help as many people as possible.
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Such astounding revelations are doing a huge disservice to the staff and volunteers of organisations, like Concern Worldwide, who have invested in strong internal controls and good governance and are driven by a shared vision.
New charity regulator
At the end of January, the Irish Minister for Justice announced the process for appointing the board of a new charitable regulatory authority. According to the legislation, the authority will be responsible for a range of regulatory and advisory functions, including publishing a comprehensive list of organisations that have charitable status.
Wouldn’t such a list be a great opportunity to recognise those organisations who have invested in ways of ensuring charities follow good practice? This would offer some guidance to the public and the media on accountability and transparency.