A historic conference was convened by the United Nations in late May to address the severe humanitarian crises around the world. In total, 80 million people are currently in need of humanitarian aid—the greatest collective human suffering recorded since World War II.
Never had such a conference been held in the entire 70-year history of the United Nations.
The conference, named the World Humanitarian Summit, took place on May 23-24 in Istanbul and had 5,000 representatives—heads of state, businesses, aid organizations, community organizations and others—in attendance. SOS Children’s Villages was among the aid organizations represented.
The primary focus of our participation at the conference was to keep child protection at the forefront of the agenda. To that end, we cosponsored a special event at the conference entitled, Leaving No Child Unprotected: Child Protection Across the Development and Humanitarian Divide.
“Violence against children is universal and has enormous consequences for children,” said Barbara Ammirati, a senior advocacy advisor with SOS Children’s Villages International. “Violence, abuse and neglect are significant causes of separation of children from family—and that very separation often exacerbates children’s vulnerability to repeated violence.”
In the run-up to the conference, we met with the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien, in Niger while he was on a mission to witness the humanitarian crisis taking place in the Chad Basin—which spans seven countries including Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
Stephen O'Brien, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, visiting with children in temporary host family benefitting from the SOS emergency response program in Niger.
Coordinated by our Emergency Response Coordinator in Niger, we facilitated meetings between O’Brien and six children who were forced to flee Nigeria to Niger because of intense violence. The children, their mother and grandmother are being hosted by a host family through a program run by SOS that finds host families for displaced families and supports the families with food packages, clothes, medical care and cooking utensils, among other things.
“I will take the story of these populations to the [World Humanitarian] summit…in order to raise funds and assist them in a consistent manner,” O’Brien said after his visit.
The crisis in the Chad Basin is one of worst humanitarian disasters in the world. According to the UN, more than 2.4 million people have been forced to flee because of insecurity and violence.
The SOS Emergency Response Program (ERP) in Niger
was started in June 2015. The ERP provides for the basic needs of 14,000 adults and children displaced by violence—two-thirds of them Nigerian refugees. Our main initiatives include: reunifying children with their families; supporting crisis-affected host and biological families; operating two safe, childcare spaces where children can play and receive trauma counseling; and treating children who are suffering from malnourishment.
to learn more about the SOS ERP Programs in countries such as Syria, Nepal, Greece and more.