Syria + 5 more

Strengthening the Role of Syrian Civil Society in the context of Education and Livelihood Sectors

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Workshop Report Istanbul- 5-7th December 2015 By: The Humanitarian Forum

Introduction:

The Humanitarian Forum (THF) is a network of humanitarian and charitable organisations that include Muslim, western, multilateral and national NGOs. We improve the lives of those in need by developing relations between humanitarian actors. We do this by building trust and advocating for quality humanitarian action. Our organisation grew out of a belief that humanitarian work be carried out by a diverse set of humanitarian responders who commit to working together in common areas of co-operation. THF was founded on the shared principles that emerged after key debates held in 2005-2006 during workshops in 15 countries. Today, we continue to work internationally, bringing together humanitarian actors together as equals through training and dialogue.

The rising scale of conflict and natural disasters has made it imperative for more effective and efficient delivery of aid. Delays and duplication of efforts can cost lives. To combat this, our stakeholder meetings bring humanitarian organisations, governments, multi laterals, donor representatives and members of affected communities to a safe place where they can discuss how best to improve aid delivery in specific crisis situations. Through these meetings they can connect with peers, exchange information, collaborate with others, learn lessons from similar contexts and stimulate constructive dialogue for improving responses. Below is a list of some of the humanitarian conferences that we have organised:

• Somalia: THF held a coordination meeting in February 2012 in London, attended by 100 delegates from 78 international and multilateral humanitarian agencies as well as leading Somali NGOs. We convened regional meetings in Nairobi in 2011 attended by 70 representatives of NGOs and the Red Crescent movement.

• Yemen: The Humanitarian Forum held two conferences in Cairo in 2012 and another in London the following year which were attended by humanitarian organisations from Arab countries, the West and multilateral system, as well as Yemeni civil society organisations. They were invited to explore possibilities for addressing urgent humanitarian challenges facing the poorest country in the region.

• Syria: THF held two meetings in December 2011 and again in March 2012 in Cairo, attended by 110 participants from over 70 multilateral, international and regional NGOs and UN agencies.

Regional Connections MENA 2014: In 2014 we held two conferences in Amman, Jordan, to address humanitarian partnerships in the MENA region as a whole. The first conference looked specifically at how links between Eastern and Western humanitarians can be developed. The second discussed humanitarian action in the Arab Region. It was attended by representatives of 85 NGOs and multi-lateral organisation.

WHS consultations: Together with partners organisations in 35 countries we organized 39 consultations with nearly 2,000 participants representing national and local humanitarian organisations from Asia, MENA, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

The aim of these consultations was to gather data from frontline humanitarian NGOs and put forward their key recommendations for improving the international humanitarian system to the UN before the agenda for the summit in Istanbul in 2016 was finalised. Through these consultations we also aimed to support national NGOs to manage links with government and private sector actors to effectively deliver aid and better serve the community.

We champion accountability, transparency, efficiency and inclusivity in the humanitarian non-governmental sector and encourage the development of NGO networks at the community levels. With this in mind, we worked extensively in Egypt, Yemen, Indonesia and Sudan to support local organisations. We also trained humanitarian leaders for Syria, Indonesia, Libya and Yemen. We believe that Diaspora groups are fundamental to an optimised humanitarian system as they can act as a strong catalyst in the empowering of local communities. To this end, we have spent time over the last 5 years we supporting emerging Somali, Yemeni and Syrian Diaspora NGOs based in the UK.