WFP Donate Responsibly campaign in the pacific returns to promote better ways of giving
SUVA, FIJI – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced the return of the Donate Responsibly campaign to raise awareness about responsible ways of donating to help disaster-affected communities recover better and faster.
“The public are incredibly generous following cyclones in the Pacific, but we want to be sure that their generosity is as effective as possible. The campaign aims to educate people about the issues with sending unrequested goods after a cyclone - and give them other avenues to explore so that their generous support can make a difference,” said Jo Pilgrim, Country Director of WFP’s Pacific Multi-Country Office.
After a major disaster in the Pacific, there is often an influx of unrequested donated goods sent by the well-meaning donating public in Australia and New Zealand. However, these goods often arrive unannounced, lacking a defined consignee.
Unrequested donated goods may cause a ‘second disaster. The goods – that were not requested by responding organizations - don’t match the needs on the ground, and risk clogging up ports, and blocking emergency aid from getting to where it’s needed most. The related supply chain disruptions can stretch the capacity of first responders, and often cost the recipient country fees for container rental and storage. Many of the unrequested donated goods are also deemed inappropriate to the culture and climate of Pacific communities, ending up in landfills where they may take years to decompose.
Having worked closely with Pacific National Disaster Management Offices on the ground, WFP has experienced first-hand the problems unrequested donated goods have caused in the Pacific, particularly in the wake of major cyclones such as Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015 and Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2017. The Donate Responsibly campaign builds on the great work already done by US Centre for International Disaster Information (CIDI), the Australian Red Cross and others.
“When we launched last year, our campaign was well-received and made audiences stop and think. That is what we hope to achieve this year too, so the donating public can make informed choices and the disaster response on the ground is not negatively impacted,” noted WFP’s Pilgrim.
“We’re grateful to all our partners at the Councils for international development in both Australia (ACFID) and New Zealand (CID), as well as Pacific diaspora communities for helping us better understand why people donate goods - with the end-goal to change donation behavior for the better. And we’re especially grateful for the generous support from the Government of Japan, who made our fun and interactive website possible, “ she added.
The campaign will coincide with the ongoing South Pacific cyclone season. Through the campaign website, DonateResponsibly.org, visitors can take an interactive journey to learn how donations assumed to be useful may be the opposite. Visitors can also read about the inappropriate things sent to a disaster zone, as well as calculate their impact; comparing what emergency supplies can be bought for the same price as sending goods.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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