The United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Somalia established the Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF) pooled fund, in 2004, to meet funding needs for emergency responses at the sudden onset of humanitarian situations. Initially set up with US$ 3.26 million (1) for the emergency responses to the drought in northern Somalia, the HRF has developed into one of the key humanitarian financing mechanisms for emergency relief activities in Somalia.
As a pooled fund of un-earmarked contributions from various donors, the HRF operates with greater flexibility and speedier approval processes than traditional humanitarian funding mechanisms. The guiding principles of the fund is to provide timely emergency responses and/or gap filling through a collaborative approval process among the representatives of key stakeholders from UN agencies and local and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) represented in the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is chaired by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator. OCHA Somalia provides the secretariat support to the management of the fund.
For instance, the HRF funds emergency water trucking activities to meet the immediate needs of newly displaced populations while Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) partners plan and implement more durable medium-term solutions. As such, the duration of projects is limited to six months and the funding is capped at US$ 250,000 per project. An implementing agency can have up to three active projects at a time. The applicant agencies are encouraged to consult relevant partners in the cluster, geographical areas and local communities. For the final round of consultation, the Advisory Board is normally given 48 hours to vote on the application.
With the continuing humanitarian needs in Somalia, the HRF has received generous support by donors totalling over US$ 21 million since 2004 to date. HRF donors include Sweden, Norway, the UK, the Netherlands and the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The number of projects funded by the HRF continues to increase, from 10 in 2004 to 22 in 2006 (excluding Tsunami HRF funding). For 2007, with the floods at the beginning of the year and the ongoing displacement of population from Mogadishu, the HRF has funded over 60 projects with allocations totalling almost US$ 10 million.
In 2007, the HRF has taken an important step to make the funds available to a wider range of implementing agencies by setting up a mechanism in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).The mechanism has made the HRF more accessible to qualified and competent local NGOs. This is part of efforts to strengthen the capacity of local implementing agencies which often have the in-depth knowledge of the situation on the ground and are able to access the affected populations even under the evolving security situations. Consequently, the HRF funding to local NGOs either directly or for their partnership with international agencies has increased from seven in 2006 to 32 in 2007 (year-to-date).
(1) All dollar figures in this document are United States dollars.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.