Haitian kids playing in front of a children's center. (Source: Jakob Studnar)

Our humanitarian assistance

Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts and armed conflicts can rapidly destroy what has been built in generations. People on site need rapid and effective support. But providing emergency relief is only the first step in our humanitarian assistance. We also support people to overcome their plight over the long term. This allows them to better cope with new crises.

The top priority of our humanitarian assistance is to protect children, care for their specific needs and safeguard children's rights because children are especially vulnerable to disasters. To ensure that help is provided as efficiently as possible, we involve the affected people in the planning and implementation of all activities, e.g. through feedback mechanism to continually improve the project work and accountability. We work within a network of experienced, mainly local partners, usually with those with whom we collaborate in development projects.

Emergency assistance and child-friendly spaces

Three boys in Pakistan. (Source: Hasnain Kazim)

Our emergency assistance focuses on the needs of children.

Emergency assistance is provided as quickly as possible after a disaster. Affected people need food, clothing and everything else that is essential to survival. We pay special attention to the unique needs of children and their protection and do whatever it takes to ensure that the aid gets through to young people.

Children who are already malnourished require high-energy food to survive such emergency situations without causing long-term damage to their health. Special food for infants is made available and mothers are provided intimacy and counselling to nurse their babies. Special steps are taken to shield children from violence, early marriage, child trafficking and disease amidst the turmoil and squalor of emergency shelters.

To give children the best possible protection after disasters, we establish child-friendly spaces, which are essentially special areas – often within emergency shelters – where children receive protection, opportunities to play, food, education, and medical and psychological care. The goal is to provide the children with a structured daily routine and create a foundation of trust that allows them to feel safe in an unsafe situation.

  • Restoring livelihoods

    After disasters, we help restore livelihoods e.g. through income-generating activities and support education by offers such as informal education, temporary support to teacher’s salaries, school feeding programmes to encourage children to continue school and programmes enabling out-of-school children to participate in formal schooling. The sooner children have an opportunity to return to school, the sooner they have a chance to lead a normal life again and prepare for a better future. All of our activities are planned and coordinated in close cooperation with the relevant government agencies or UN agencies in the target countries, and with the involvement of the people directly concerned.

  • Prevention and sustainability

    Already during the initial crisis management stage, our partners and us take the necessary steps for subsequent long-term development projects. Affected people need to become self-sufficient again as quickly as possible to avoid a long period of dependence on external aid. For instance, we help them safeguard their means of subsistence. In the case of non-functioning government structures, we also promote the establishment of institutions for education, provided the people and their government can eventually take over and sustain these independently over the long run. Promoting such development is also an integral part of our disaster risk reduction and preparedness. After all, climate change, earthquakes, crop failures, political unrest and refugee movements have particularly serious consequences for people who are poor and lack opportunities of participation. In short: Our humanitarian assistance intends to boost resilience of disaster- and conflict- affected people to become more self reliant and less dependent even during future crises.

    Furthermore, we advocate with the public to raise awareness for the interrelations between social inequality, unequal economic distribution and imbalanced political power and the effects of disaster and increased vulnerability. Lifestyles and political decisions of less distressed parts of the world population have an impact on the occurrence of natural disasters and violent conflicts. They often also influence the capacity of affected people in poorer countries to cope with crisis.

  • Partnership and professionalism

    When disaster strikes, Kindernothilfe works with experienced local partner organisations for the same reasons that we collaborate with them in non-crisis situations. They are intimately familiar with the culture, the people and the special needs and problems of the population. Furthermore, local partner organisations remain on the ground over the long term, even after a crisis no longer attracts international attention, and their proximity to people in the disaster zone engenders trust. As signatories of the Charter4Change, we strive to strengthen local capacities and structures, among other things through capacity building in topics related to humanitarian assistance, to make our aid more efficient and sustainable. Furthermore, we encourage our partners to network in local and international coordination structures, e.g. OCHA, clusters, etc.

    Closely cooperating with other organisations is also important for the success of humanitarian action, which is why we join forces with others, for instance, in the Alliance Development Works (BEH). Additional members include Bread for the World, Christoffel-Blindenmission, Deutsche Lepra- und Tuberkulosehilfe (DAHW), medico international, Misereor, terre des hommes and Welthungerhilfe.

    We base our work on internationally recognised recommended courses of actions for humanitarian aid, the most important of which are the Code of Conduct, which was established by the International Red Cross and the International Red Crescent in collaboration with leading international NGOs in 1994 and the Core Humanitarian Standard.

How our child-friendly spaces work

How our child-friendly spaces work

Child-friendly spaces constitute the key tool for our humanitarian assistance: Oases amid the chaos where children receive protection, food, lessons and medical as well as psychological care.

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Our objective: Realising child rights

Our objective: Realising child rights

Any interventions aimed at a long-term positive impact on children's lives must contribute to realising and safeguarding their rights. This is the focus of our work, both in Germany and abroad.

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Our Project Partners

Our Project Partners

We implement our projects exclusively via local project partners, because we strongly believe in their local expertise and ability to reach out to most vulnerable and marginalized target groups.

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