Top marks for DRA aid effort

The new policy memorandum issued by the Department for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation – headed by Minister Sigrid Kaag – emphasises the importance of the Dutch national aid effort.

The policy highlights the significant work of the Dutch Relief Alliance (DRA) and secures the alliance’s operations for the coming years. Existing agreements on cooperation and financing with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) remain in place.

The DRA was established in 2014 in consultation with MoFA to provide rapid and effective emergency assistance to victims of international humanitarian crises. The alliance currently comprises sixteen Dutch NGOs and is active in 15 countries, including South Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.

The DRA works in partnership with MoFA, which also provides financial support. Each participating organisation contributes its particular humanitarian expertise, ensuring that partners complement each other’s efforts.

The past three years have seen DRA members provide assistance to millions of people. Responses have been launched to address needs including clean water, food, shelter, livelihoods and cash distribution – all of which have seen organisations work together to enhanced effect.

An evaluation undertaken by Europe Conflict and Security Consulting (ECAS) has endorsed the timeliness, relevance and effectiveness of the assistance provided by the DRA. Rapid responses mounted by the DRA include the humanitarian response in Iraq following the military operations in Mosul and Hawija. These efforts provided immediate support to 111,000 people.

Responses were found to be relevant, according to the ECAS evaluation of the response mounted in Somalia. ECAS found recipients received exactly the help they most needed: clean drinking water and food for children aged under five.

As a consequence of the results presented in the evaluation and the policy note from Minister Kaag, the DRA also sees opportunities to broaden its scope through its emergency programmes (Joint Responses). The evaluation recommends that the DRA – in addition to providing the life-saving assistance such as water, medical care and food – also plays an important role in the phase after the immediate emergency (this phase is referred to as the ‘early recovery’ phase) in order to increase the resilience of the victims and affected populations in crisis areas.

DRA Chair Nok van de Langenberg: ‘The positive results from the Evaluation Report show that the DRA is on the right track and can also mean a great deal to people in need over the coming years. Minister Kaag now confirms this via her policy memorandum. This confidence provides an excellent basis for further improving and expanding the work of the DRA in the future.’

29 May 2018

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