- ICVA’s 2017 Annual Conference will be held on 28 March at the CICG in Geneva, Switzerland.
ICVA’s 2017 Annual Conference will discuss how humanitarian civil society can better understand and navigate a changing world, focusing on both the root-causes and impacts of these changes on the ability for NGOs to operate in humanitarian contexts.
The ICVA Regional Hub in MENA (based in Amman, Jordan) was established in October 2013. The hub is hosted at Save the Children's Middle East and Eurasia Regional Office.
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Since being established, the Hub has engaged in a number of activities that have fed into ICVA’s global strategy, within its four core focus areas of forced displacement, humanitarian partnerships, humanitarian coordination and humanitarian financing.
- Partnership … Strength and Sustainability, was the theme of the Fourth International Forum on Humanitarian Work, held in Kuwait City on 8-9 May. The two day meeting, co-organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, ICVA member International Islamic Relief Organization, Qatar Charity, Rahma International, IHH and the International Center for Research & Studies (Medad Centre), and was attended by almost 200 people, about half of whom were from outside Kuwait. The event looked at the reality of partnership with local, regional and international organizations; opportunities of and challenges facing partnerships, and the exchange of experiences for partnership in humanitarian work. Speaking at the event, the ICVA MENA Regional Representative provided an overview of factors contributing to successful partnerships, common challenges, and practical tips. More information about this series of events may be found here (Arabic-only website).
Supporting Syria and the Region
On 4 February 2016 the UK government hosted a conference on the Syria crisis in London. The event was also co-hosted by the UN and the governments of Kuwait, Norway and Germany. The conference was a head-of-state level continuation of the previous pledging conferences held in Kuwait. In addition to the pledges made by member states, Syria’s neighboring countries made commitments, notably on livelihoods and education, through compacts.
On the day before the pledging conference, the British NGO consortium (BOND) and Crisis Action held a civil society conference. Syrian, regional and international civil society organizations, in addition to UN agencies and donor and member state delegations were in attendance.
ICVA’s MENA hub had facilitated a process through which a number of national NGOs from the Syria region were selected to be invited to London. Although all of these national NGOs were invited by the organizers to the CSO conference on February 3rd, the invitations by the UK Government to the February 4th were marked by a lack of transparency and last-minute changes resulting in a limited number of NGO representatives.
Yemen Humanitarian Crisis Conference
Qatar Charity hosted a conference on the crisis in Yemen in Doha on 22-24 February. ICVA’s MENA hub was one of the members of the initiative’s steering committee and the MENA Regional Representative moderated a session on livelihoods and economic empowerment, and was also invited to make a statement during the high-level closing plenary (English and Arabic version). During the first two days of the conference a number of discussions were held on different sectors, resulting in a series of recommendations captured in the closing statement of the conference (English and Arabic version).
Principles of partnership
At the end of November 2015, ICVA and Partnership Brokers Association undertook a number of activities to build a picture of the current status of partnering in the Syria cross-border context and to identify what might be needed to strengthen partnering capacity and to deepen engagement. The work involved: a series of interviews with the main INGO and Syrian NGO stakeholders, as well as the Partnership Initiative (PI); a one-day workshop with NGO representatives directly involved in partnership work; and a half-day meeting with the main stakeholders, including donors, OCHA, and the PI’s steering committee.
The main objectives of this work were to:
- Bring global-level expertise in partnerships to bear in the northern Syria context by engaging with those directly engaged in partnerships;
- Share experiences on successful partnerships, provide examples of the principles in practice and promote peer-to-peer learning;
- Harness examples of best practice from the northern Syria context for global learning;
- Facilitate a strategic discussion on the evolution of the Partnership Initiative with key stakeholders, helping to identify the concrete needs that national and international NGOs have that may be addressed by the PI, whether internally or externally.
-"Partner Capacity Assessments of Humanitarian NGOS - Fit for Purpose?": Arabic summary here)
WHS MENA regional business consultation. ICVA participated in this consultation between humanitarian agencies (UN and NGOs) and representatives of the private sector in the region on May 3rd. The one-day event held at the International Humanitarian City was co-organized by OCHA’s partnerships section in Geneva whose focus is on regional organizations, private sector and member states. During the discussions ICVA insisted on the applicability of the Principles of Partnership just as much to relationships with the private sector as between humanitarian organizations. Private sector participants requested in-country focal points to facilitate and orient partnerships with humanitarian agencies. ICVA suggested the same on the private sector side, perhaps chambers of commerce. See the summary report here. See the summary report here.
-UNICEF Programme Cooperation Agreement (PCA) training: Following the training on UNICEF’s new PCA hosted by ICVA in Geneva on 14 April, a one-day training was co-organized by UNICEF’s regional office and ICVA’s MENA hub in Amman on 14 May with the objective of improving knowledge on civil-society organization partnerships. ICVA’s added value was reaching out not only to existing UNICEF partners, but also to potential national NGO partners across the region. About 30 NGO representatives from national and international NGOs attended.
- "NGO perspective on humanitarian response in Level 3 crises": This review outlines key NGO perspectives on Level 3 (L3) crisis designations by providing an overview of how national and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have understood and responded to four of the five declared L3 crises to date. Arabic summary here)
- Second annual meeting of MENA NGO coordination fora: The second MENA regional annual meeting of NGO coordination forums was held in Amman on 16-17 June 2015. The meeting drew 20 representatives of national and international NGO fora from Yemen, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Jordan. Discussions focused on: the governance and potential functions of NGO fora; the support that can be provided by other humanitarian stakeholders; examples of best practice from the region and beyond; and advocacy opportunities available to NGO forums. Five donor representatives also shared their experiences and provided views on strategies and the added value of collective NGO advocacy. Summary notes are available on the NGO Coordination Resource Center here and also check out the video on ICVA's Youtube channel.
- Iraq Operational Peer Review (OPR). ICVA’s MENA Regional Representative joined the OPR team in Iraq between May 16th and 22nd. In line with the Transformative Agenda, the Review focused on four main areas of the Iraq response—leadership, coordination, the humanitarian program cycle (including delivery) and accountability to affected people. An additional focus on the situation of girls and women was included for this OPR. The team met with a wide range of stakeholders, including government representatives. Members of the team travelled to Baghdad, Erbil, Dohuk and Suleymaniah, and also connected remotely with Kirkuk and Basra. The report has been finalized and is available from ICVA’s MENA Regional Representative upon request.
- The Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria took place on March 31st in Kuwait City. 20 seats were reserved by the organizers for NGOs and ICVA’s MENA hub ensured, as with last year, that national NGOs were invited, including two from each of the affected countries (Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon). A total of $3.8b were pledged towards the $8.4b requested through the strategic plans to respond to the needs of refugees and those inside Syria. For more information, see http://www.unocha.org/syria/third-pledging-conference
- In preparation for an IASC Emergency Directors Group (EDG) meeting on the evolving humanitarian situation in Yemen, ICVA’s MENA hub was in close contact with both national and international NGOs working in Yemen. Humanitarian operations continue across Yemen. However, ongoing airstrikes, conflict on the ground, intermittent communications and lack of access render assessments and aid delivery difficult.
ICVA’s Middle East and North Africa Hub, in collaboration with the OCHA Regional Office for MENA, conducted consultations with affected populations around the region in order to engage them in the WHS. The focus group discussions (FGDs) were launched in Lebanon in Nov 2014 (seven focus groups), followed by Yemen (eight focus groups), Palestine (five focus groups) and Jordan (ten focus groups).
As part of our policy to build fruitful partnerships, ICVA worked with national and international NGOs who work closely with affected people to host the FGDs:
· In Yemen Humanitarian Forum Yemen;
The groups consisted of: youth, women and community leaders; Syrians, Iraqis, Palestinians, and Africans; IDPs, refugees and other crisis-affected people in the different countries.
- In coordination with NGOs working both in the region and globally, ICVA coordinates the development of joint NGO statements delivered at the UNHCR board’s Executive Committee and Standing Committee meetings. The Standing Committee meetings on operations in March are an opportunity to develop region-specific statements. The NGO statements on MENA can be downloaded:
59th Meeting of the Standing Committee 4-6 March 2014 (written statement).
- In addition, ICVA coordinated the development of a joint NGO statement at the Dec 2014 Ministerial-Level Pledging Conference on Syrian Refugee Resettlement and Other Forms of Humanitarian Admission, held in Geneva, Switzerland.
- On 17th and 24th of November 2014, ICVA’s regional hubs, respectively, in Amman and in Bangkok hosted regional cross-sectoral dialogues on the Future of Humanitarian Financing, following similar events held in London. Attended by about 20 representatives from the humanitarian, academic, corporate, legal, and development sectors, good models of innovative financing strategies were identified with the aim of understanding how humanitarian actors can adapt to the changing environment to match the growing humanitarian needs and meet the challenges of the future. Future Humanitarian Financing is an initiative of three of the members of the IASC Humanitarian Financing Task Team (FAO, World Vision International and CAFOD), which is co-chaired by ICVA and OCHA. WVI and CAFOD are also members of ICVA. See the Amman dialogue report and the overall executive summary for more details.
- On October 2nd 2014, the MENA hub organized a Seminar on Financing Opportunities for Lebanese NGOs. The seminar was not only an opportunity for Lebanese NGOs to openly discuss their challenges in accessing humanitarian funding, but also to gain a more in-depth and context-specific understanding of the funding mechanisms available to them in Lebanon. Representatives from institutional donors, UN agencies and the private sector were invited to present their respective strategies, sectoral and geographic priorities and their partner selection criteria. For more information read the report here.
- During the months of November and December 2014, ICVA commissioned a review of NGO experiences with the Syria-related pooled funds, from the inception of the regional Emergency Response Fund in March 2012 up to the end of 2014, including the Humanitarian Pooled Fund based in Turkey. The review looked at NGO experiences of the previously-regional and now country-based pooled funds and, specifically, their scale, impact and complementarity. The report provides examples of best practice, as well as practical recommendations for stakeholders both globally and in the Syria region.
ICVA organized a meeting of NGO fora from across the MENA region on July 2-3, 2014 in Amman. The 2-day meeting encouraged discussion among the participants representing Yemen, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, as well as the Syria Regional INGO Forum with the aim of sharing lessons and best practice in NGO coordination. It was also an opportunity for ICVA to receive field-based feedback on its 2013 NGO Coordination Guide, which has now been transformed into an online NGO Coordination Resource Center. Participants agreed that the meeting was a very useful opportunity to exchange experiences on NGO coordination among a group of peers working in the same region. See the workshop report for details.
- Learning Event on Humanitarian Principles and Code of Conduct: As a global NGO network for principled humanitarian action, ICVA is committed to making humanitarian action more principled and effective. Building on the experience of a two-day workshop co-facilitated by ICVA and ICRC and hosted in London in June 2013 by the Muslim Charities Forum in London in June 2013, ICVA and ICRC continue their partnership through the Regional Hubs with learning events on humanitarian principles and the Code of Conduct. The first workshop was conducted in collaboration between ICVA’s MENA hub and ICRC’s Jordan Delegation in Amman on June 23-24, 2014 with the objective of bringing together national, international, secular and faith-based organization to discuss their challenges in putting into practice their respective organizations’ values. The two-day event provided a platform for bridging perception gaps that exist between actors regarding the principles of humanitarian action and the Code of Conduct, and their application in the field, and overcoming some of the associated misconceptions. Almost 30 NGO representatives discussed their common humanitarian values and all of them were interested in how they can promote humanitarian principles in their organization. See the event’s summary report in English and Arabic for details and also check out the video featuring some of the participants.
- 20th anniversary of the Code of Conduct for The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief: On December 5th 2014 ICVA’s Executive Director and the MENA Regional Representative participated in “Equipped to meet tomorrow’s humanitarian challenges?” a conference marking the 20th anniversary of the Code of Conduct, co-organized by NRC and IFRC and held at the IFRC’s Geneva headquarters. Hugo Slim facilitated the day’s sessions and co-drafter of the Code Peter Walker provided the history of the Code’s development. Panel sessions featured both RC/RC Movement representatives, NGOs and States. Break-out sessions discussed the role of neutrality in humanitarian access, humanitarian diplomacy, and standards and accountability. ICVA’s MENA Representative served on the Advisory Group for the event.
Principles of partnership
At the request of member and non-member NGOs working in Jordan, ICVA organized a Roundtable on NGO Partnerships in Jordan. The event took place in Amman on September 28th, 2014 with the participation of 22 national and international NGOs and representatives of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement. The main objective was to begin a dialogue, and exchange knowledge on best practice on partnerships between national and international NGOs. ICVA members DRC and CARE co-presented, each with one of their partner organizations, two case studies illustrating successes and challenges of partnerships in Jordan. Participants also broke up into groups, one for each of the Principles of Partnership, to discuss factors contributing to successful partnerships. ICVA’s MENA regional hub is consulting the national and international NGOs on ways in which the momentum of the roundtable can be built upon and carried forward with practical next steps. Read more...
Quality and Accountability
On 4-6 March 2014 ICVA organized two workshops on Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) in Beirut and Amman respectively. The objective was to exchange knowledge and best practice among monitoring and evaluation and program staff from a variety of organizations regarding their organizational commitments to AAP. It was also an opportunity to discuss ways of strengthening accountability frameworks in programmes that result from better understanding of accountability principles and mainstreaming of cross-cutting issues. In Beirut 17 NGOs attended, of which two national while in Amman 18 NGOs attended, of which six national.
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Ms. Yafa Ajweh, Regional Program Officer, joined ICVA MENA in February 2014. Yafa holds a M.Sc. in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. In her previous two roles within the humanitarian sector she worked as a program officer and health officer on youth development and child protection programs. She is actively involved in volunteer work and is now a focal point and a master trainer for the Y-Peer youth network, an international network that advocates for effective youth participation.