March 10, 2013 @ 5:04 pm - posted by Robert

With so many natural and manmade disasters ripping through the world every single day, volunteers for humanitarian projects and organisations are always needed along with humanitarian aid. Many of us want to make a difference on our Career break or Sabbatical leave. This type of aid is either material or logistical assistance, usually given in direct response to a crisis. Humanitarian aid is given to save lives, first and foremost, but also to relieve suffering and to help maintain human dignity.

Humanitarian Projects

Sadly, there are thousands of causes spanning the globe, all of which require the assistance of humanitarian projects. Funding for these projects is received via private donations through private corporations and citizens, as well as public funding provided via governments and other organisations.

If you wish to donate either money or your physical time on your Career Break or Sabbatical leave to a humanitarian aid project, the first step is finding the right organisation.

Humanitarian Voluntary Organisations and where They Help

There are many voluntary humanitarian organisations across the globe. Below, you will read about a few of the top organisations and the different humanitarian projects they provide relief for.

Doctors Without Borders: This organisation, known as “MSF” sometimes internationally, consistently provides humanitarian relief for those in war-torn areas, areas ravaged by natural disasters, disease outbreak, and much more. Doctors Without Borders is an independent organisation and prides itself on that fact. They consistently travel to areas of the world where other charities ignore, providing relief for children and families.

Humanitarian Volunteering

The International Children’s Fund (ICF): ICF is world renowned for their work with some of Africa’s poorest children in some of the worst areas imaginable. Donating funds, food, medicine, clothing, and helping in the building of schools, wells, and other projects, ICF is a very reputable organisation helping to improve the lives of children all through the continent, including Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and other locations.

UNICEF: With a huge presence in the UK (UNICEF UK), UNICEF is one of the top children-specific humanitarian charities. They advocate for true, lasting change and reach over 150 countries around the globe, bringing food, shelter, medical aid, and other necessities to needy children. UNICEF helps children in every nation, not only third-world nations.

UNICEF Volunteering

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA): A UN-based humanitarian organisation, OCHA is responsible for creating the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) and their presence can be found in Sri Lanka, the Ivory Coast, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, or any other location where humanitarian assistance is needed. There is an OCHA office in the UK. – OCHA Oxford Citizens Housing Association. OCHA strive to bring relief to children and indigent families. More or less, however, this organisation is centralised and doesn’t have as many “boots on the ground,” so to speak.

While every donation is more than welcomed by every humanitarian charity around the globe, individuals choosing to physically help on location are held to higher standards. Due to the physical nature of jobs such as disaster relief, and the delicate nature of humanitarian aid in general, there is a code put forth by People in Aid: the Aid Code of Good Practice. This internationally recognised code of conduct assists charities in finding the best possible help and in maintaining the highest standards of quality.

A seven-point system, the Aid Code focuses on:

  • Health, safety and security
  • Support, management and leadership
  • Human resources strategy
  • Recruitment and selection
  • Learning, training and development
  • Staff policies and practices
  • Consultation and communication

Someone simply walking in off the street and wishing to volunteer on humanitarian projects through a reputable charity is not automatically thrust out into the field. The charity is culpable for the individuals it consigns to help. Therefore, one must meet a certain standard if hoping to physically volunteer via a humanitarian aid mission through a reputable organisation.

Whether you plan on giving money or giving your time, be sure to go through a reputable charity—like one of the charities mentioned above—to find out where your help is needed. The world is always in need of humanitarian aid, especially our children, and your assistance will be really appreciated.

About Robert

Robert was born with a Wonderlust and nothing excites him more than travel. He recently spent time living in Vietnam teaching English. Upon his return, he and Liz set up CareerBreak360 to help others achieve their Career Break goals.

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