NGO Risks, Independent Inquiry, West Bank

Authors: Ed Fletcher
  • Reading time: 5 min.
  • Posted on: May 11, 2020

The risks for international development charities

Bond, the UK network for organisations working in international development, has published the results of a new survey conducted amongst 116 of its member organisations. Their findings show that 50 out of 116 organisations won’t survive longer than six months without additional funding. The results published last week are an update from the same survey Bond conducted in March, which now outlines an increase of over 30 NGOs facing cuts and closures as a result of financial pressures stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Bond’s findings come a week after the Charities Aid Foundation revealed a record fall in international giving in the UK, with international causes recording the ‘lowest level of support’, with only 3% of people giving to overseas efforts.

Third Sector reported on the concerns raised by Bond’s chief-executive, Stephanie Draper, that when smaller, specialised organisations working abroad are forced to close, we risk exposing the most vulnerable populations to the virus, but also undermining any progress made towards overcoming the crisis globally. The fact that there can be no national security without human security is an issue we’ve explored in detail here 

Calls for an independent public inquiry

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published last week, black people are four times more likely to die from COVID-19, highlighting the mass disparity of how the pandemic is affecting ethnic minority populations in England and Wales.

Since then, the Prime Minister has experienced further mounting pressure to pursue an independent public inquiry into the disproportionate impact on ethnic minorities. He received a new letter urging the government to take further action, signed by 70 prominent public figures, including author Malorie Blackman, television presenter Konniq Huq, and faith leaders including Harun Khan, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Despite the government launching a scientific review by Public Health England (PHE) into the impact of COVID-19 on frontline workers from ethnic minority backgrounds last month, signatories of the letter expressed doubts whether this would be enough to provide the ‘critical answers’ that are needed, and urged for an independent public inquiry that would have a broader scope . 

In the meantime, newly selected leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, appointed Labour peer, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, to lead on their own probe into the impact of coronavirus on black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Baroness Doreen Lawrence is the founder of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, a partner organisation we’re proud to currently be working with, set up to tackle inequality in all forms after the murder of her son Stephen in 1993.

| Against a quiet annexation of the West Bank

On Sunday, the Palestinian News Agency (WAFA) reported that the European Union is considering sanctions against Israel, should the country go ahead with plans to annex further parts of the occupied West Bank.

In an effort to raise awareness against the quiet annexation of the West Bank, while the majority of headline news and world attention is focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 500 young British Jews organised and signed an open letter addressed to the Board of Deputies of British Jews. They hope the Board will take a stand against Israel’s new governing coalition’s recently announced intentions to begin annexation on July 1st. 

Jack Lubner was part of the group of young British Jews who wrote the open letter:

We wrote the letter because we are worried and angry about what annexation would mean for Israelis and Palestinians, as well as Jews in the diaspora. We want our communal organisations, who seek to represent us, to take a stance and speak up against Netanyahu’s plans for unilateral annexation of West Bank territories.

It’s been amazing to see such a huge response, with 500 young Jewish people signing our letter. A follow-up video we made got around 20,000 views online and we’ve had coverage in the two main Jewish newspapers, which shows just how powerful young people can be when we organise. Our communal organisations talk a lot about youth engagement, but we’ll see now if they’re actually prepared to engage with us and represent us. As the campaign gathers support, it’s going to become harder and harder to ignore us.

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The Great Adaptations 

We’re launching the #GreatAdaptation, a series of fireside discussions with social impact leaders, NGOs, institutions, and humanitarian organisations on some of the most pressing issues facing the sector and how we can build resilience for the future. 

Register for our first conversation ’Fixing furlough & the route to universal basic income’ this Wednesday, 13th May from 4pm, in which we’ll be talking with representatives from New Starter Justice, UK Hospitality and universal basic income campaigners.

Coronavirus Heroes 

In the midst of these difficult and unprecedented times, it’s refreshing and encouraging to see the wonderful acts of service and kindness within our communities. We’ve teamed up with our friends at Atlas Partners (an integrated communications agency, offering political, media and strategic advice) on a co-authored piece highlighting a handful of individuals who are doing impactful things that make all the difference at a time like this.

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