At a conference in Kuwait on partnerships in humanitarian action, representatives of Qatar Charity stood up with an impromptu announcement.
They had decided the previous night, during a quick call to headquarters, to offer up US$10 million for projects implemented in partnership with other agencies. They would match the funds of anyone willing to join them dollar by dollar - up to $10 million - and work together to implement projects responding to the Syrian crisis.
“Money is available… Our decision-making mechanism is simpler,” Ibrahim Zainal, Qatar Charity’s deputy executive manager for international development, told IRIN afterwards. “We have the experience; we’ve been in the field; we have executed programs. It’s a matter of repeating it.”
On the spot, a representative from the Qatar Red Crescent Society raised his hand to put $3 million into joint projects with Qatar Charity. Then the Turkish NGO IHH announced it would spend $25 million responding to the Syrian crisis in 2014. Then Islamic Relief jumped in with $20 million of new funding. And before anyone in the audience could understand what had happened, before the aid agencies themselves had discussed it, millions of dollars’ worth of projects were born. And as he walked out of the room, Zainal was surrounded by agencies eager to tap into the newfound wealth and partnerships.
*This article was amended on 20 September. The original report erroneously cited IHH's contribution as $12 million and omitted Islamic Relief's contribution.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions