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Concern reached 39 million in 2021 as world’s poorest faced formidable challenges

Press release30 May 2022
John Treacy and Dominic MacSorley with Concern Worldwide Annual Report 2021
Concern Worldwide's chairperson John Treacy (left) and Chief Executive, Dominic MacSorley with Concern Worldwide's 2021 Annual Report. (Image: Eamon Timmins/Concern Worldwide, 2022)

Concern Worldwide reached over 39 million people in 24 of the world’s poorest countries last year in response to formidable humanitarian challenges and threats to development, according to the organisation’s 2021 Annual Report

“We live in a time of increasing global fragility,” Chief Executive Dominic MacSorley said. “We witnessed this during 2021. The climate crisis is deepening, and its effect is already lethally evident in many of the world’s communities; the COVID-19 pandemic lingers on, with a ferocious residual economic impact, while conflict and displacement continues to surge to levels not seen since the Second World War.”

While the annual report refers to 2021, earlier this year Concern also extended its operations to Ukraine to respond to the humanitarian needs arising from the Ukraine crisis, bringing the number of countries it is currently operating in to 25.

During 2021 Concern also commenced operations in Burkina Faso where 3.5 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance.  Increasing violence, the largest displacement of people in Africa and COVID-19 have all contributed to rising food security there.

The 2021 report’s key points included:

  • Concern responded to 66 emergencies across 23 countries, reaching 17.8 million people.  These included 8,200 people provided with shelter,  safe drinking water and cash support in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti in August;
  • Concern’s  livelihoods programmes reached 5.2 million,  providing them with the tools to ensure they are able to earn a sustainable living, helping them learn new skills, improving productivity and nutritional value of crops and helping set up small businesses.  60,200 conflict-affected farmers in northern Syria were supported through training, financial supports for seeds and tools, livestock and fodder.
  • 11.4 million people were helped by its  health and nutrition programmes.  In Burundi Concern worked to prevent chronic malnutrition in children under-two and pregnant and breastfeeding women.  The project reached 80,000 people last year.
  • Concern helped over 500,000 people through the EU-funded ‘Enhanced Response to Nutrition Emergencies’ programme to tackle childhood malnutrition in Niger, DRC, Ethiopia South Sudan and Sudan;
  • Our education programmes helped two million people. In Kenya we reached 123,400 primary and second-level students to continue in school or take part in livelihoods or vocational training.
  • We provided grants to 106 partners worth a total of €16.8 million.  As part of the programme to help improve the lives of the urban extreme poor in Bangladesh, 37,000 people received grants, business skills training and job placements.
  • Concern raised €228 million during the year – an increase of €18 million on 2020, with the European Union and the US government (through Concern Worldwide US) being the largest government donors. The single biggest donor to Concern is the general public, with the Irish public donating €27.6 million in 2021.

Mr MacSorley thanked the Irish public for their continued support during a year which was difficult for many families and individuals.  “The work that Concern does, the number of people we can reach and our ability to respond rapidly to emergencies are made possible by the unstinting generosity of the Irish people and all our donors and supporters,” he said.

Chair John Treacy said it was a testament to the commitment of Concern staff that more people than ever were reached during 2021, including through programmes  that were entirely new endeavours for Concern.  “A large variety of COVID-19 response and prevention programming was implemented by staff,  ensuring that millions of people were reached during the most difficult period of the pandemic,” he noted.

Mr Treacy’s term as Chair office ended at Friday’s  (May 27) AGM.  The new Chair is senior civil servant and former humanitarian aid worker Donal D’Arcy. 

Paying tribute to Mr Treacy for his four years as Chair, Mr MacSorley said he steered the organisation through a particularly turbulent period.  “With cool, calm and collective leadership he enhanced Concern’s overall governance and  strengthened safeguarding mechanisms across the organisation,” he said. “John was also an excellent ambassador and networker for Concern.”

To read the annual report click

For media queries contact Eilis Staunton, Media Relations Officer, Concern Worldwide at

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