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8 Principles of Good Disaster Grantmaking

1. First, do no harm.

2. Stop, look and listen before taking action.

3. Don't act in isolation.

4. Think beyond the immediate crisis to the long-term.

5. Bear in mind the expertise of local organizations.

6. Find out how prospective grantees operate.

7. Be accountable to those you are trying to help.

8. Communicate your work widely, and use it as an educational tool.


Responding to Drought and Locusts in Niger

Last Updated August 2, 2005

The food crises in the West African nation of Niger is a combined result of drought and a massive locust invasion.  The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Flash Appeal for Niger states that "3.6 million of Niger's 12 million inhabitants are directly affected by this food crisis. 800,000 children under-five are suffering from hunger, including 150,000 who are currently showing signs of severe malnutrition."

This page links to organizations currently responding to the crises and provides general advice on the most appropriate ways to help those affected by overseas disasters.

The following is provided for educational purposes only. Please consult the Disclaimer for a full explanation of the purposes and limitations of this information.

NGOs and Foundations

  • InterAction: The largest alliance of U.S.-based international development and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations.  InterAction member organizations that are currently responding to the food crises include Save the Children, Lutheran World Relief, Action Against Hunger, Catholic Relief Services, Episcopal Relief and Development, and CARE.  Also included are details of assistance provided. InterAction members have agreed to abide by a set of standards to ensure accountability to donors.
  • Intermediary Grantmaking Organizations: Intermediaries are generally public charities that offer fee based-services designed to meet the needs of grantmakers and individuals who wish to give outside the country in which they are based but prefer not to take on the responsibilities of doing so directly.  Consult the Links section for a list of intermediaries organized by issue area and geographic focus.

Government and Multilateral Agencies

  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID): The U.S. Government's foreign assistance agency site features information on the crisis in Sudan and summaries of international aid and disaster-relief activities there.  Read general information on how to help those affected by a disaster overseas and the USAID Fact sheet on the disaster in Sudan (updated March 2005).
  • United Nations: Read the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP): Flash Appeal 2005 for Niger.
  • ReliefWeb: ReliefWeb is a project of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.  The web site serves as a clearing house for information related to particular crises and disaster situations.  This page provides a country profile, sector updates, list of appeals and funding, and who's working in Niger.
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF): UNICEF seeks $14.6 million to save children in Niger.  Visit UNICEF's compilation of resources on the crises in Niger.

General Resources for Disaster Grantmaking

  • Disaster Grantmaking: A Practical Guide for Foundations and Corporations: A joint product of the Council on Foundations and the European Foundation Centre, this free publication suggests eight principles (listed to the left) plus practical tips for grantmakers to consider when responding to emergency situations. Download the PDF.
  • Guide to Appropriate Giving from InterAction. Download it here.
  • Center for International Disaster Information: Lists Guidelines for Appropriate International Disaster Donations.
  • Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance Through Charitable Organizations: Prepared by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Exempt and Government Entities division.  Although this publication does not focus on international grantmaking it extends advice on how to give through existing U.S. charitable organizations, how to set up a new charitable organization and the requirements for documentation. Download it here

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