The African continent hosts 26 per cent of the world’s 70 million refugees.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, will begin receiving nominations for the fifth edition of the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA) 2021 from Sept.1, 2020.
All nominations for the Dhs500,000 award should be submitted directly on its website, https://tbhf.ae/nomination/ - nominationId, before Oct.31, 2020.
SIARA is organised under the patronage and support of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.
Held annually since 2017 in collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the award money is a special contribution by TBHF and does not represent any share of the donations made to the foundation.
The award targets local humanitarian organisations in Asia and Africa who have offered outstanding services to refugees and forcibly displaced people, which have had a positive and sustainable impact on their lives, in general, and on their ability to access food, healthcare and education, in particular.
SIARA is awarded to legally registered non-profit organisations that are working on social and humanitarian programmes/activities for a minimum of one year prior to nomination. In addition, their values and conduct must be compatible with that of TBHF and UNHCR. Organisations can choose to self-nominate or be nominated by other individuals or organisations.
The nominees are evaluated based on the impact of their work in bringing about tangible benefits to target communities within refugee and displaced persons operations. Innovative practices that boost overall sustainability of programmes and project activities, gender sensitivity in the planning and implementation of these projects, and demonstrable ability to address humanitarian gaps, especially in emergency situations, are some of the other criteria that are evaluated.
Announcing the opening of nominations, Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, stressed that SIARA has been able to highlight the unparalleled efforts of humanitarian outfits in implementing programmes and initiatives with positive, sustainable impact on the lives of those displaced or in refuge. She pointed out that humanitarian endeavour requires more creativity to improve capacities and address the immediate and longer-term needs of refugees in host countries.
She added: “The continued success of the award stems from the unwavering commitment of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi in recognising key humanitarian contribution in refugee advocacy, support, and community building within Asia, Middle East, and Africa. The award has also encouraged the involvement of individuals and corporates to bring about more effective humanitarian response. It strategically addresses the gaps in achieving coherent humanitarian action, especially in light of the significant increase in refugee population and its impact on refugees and host communities alike.”
Al Hammadi noted that “the previous editions of SIARA targeted sectors like healthcare, education, community and vocational training, and emotional development and nurturing of talent. The forthcoming edition will expand to include new creative sectors to stimulate the performance of individuals and organisation within the humanitarian arena.”
Recognising distinguished humanitarian efforts
In SIARA’s previous edition, TBHF expanded the scope of the award to include the African continent which, despite its scarce resources, hosts 26 per cent of the world’s 70 million refugees.
In its fourth edition, SIARA received 242 nominations from 52 countries. Of these, 49% of the nominations were from Africa, 44% from Asia, 5% from Europe and 2% from other countries.
Jordan topped the nomination list with 24 entries, followed by Kenya with 19, Uganda with 18, and Nigeria with 17 entries. The USA and Cameroon submitted 11 nominations each, followed by Pakistan with 10 nominations. The 2019 edition saw TBHF receive between four to eight nominations from the UK, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Afghanistan, Turkey, and South Africa.
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