While OPIC frequently works with private sector businesses that use OPIC financing or political risk insurance to support their operations in emerging economies, the Agency also supports the work of nonprofit organizations and NGOs. On March 11, OPIC honored one of its NGO clients, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) with its Impact Award in the Development Impact category.
IRC uses OPIC political risk insurance to support its work responding to humanitarian crises in more than 20 countries, where it provides a broad spectrum of services related to health care, improved living conditions and social services such a prevention of gender-based violence.
During the Impact Awards ceremony, Nancy Birdsall, President of the Center for Global Development, offered a sweeping look at the work of IRC and the extensive impact it has had, from supplying clean drinking water to offering resettlement assistance and agricultural training.
“You find IRC stepping in to stop child slavery in the devastating wake of Haiti’s earthquake. You find them setting up tents to help trauma victims in the brutal heat of South Sudan. You will find IRC almost anywhere a humanitarian crisis commands our attention and challenges our conscience,” she said. “In some of the most challenging circumstances imaginable – situations of chaos and starvation – it not only gets to work, it gets the job done. And it gets the job done well,” she said.
Because many of the places where IRC operates are dangerous conflict-ridden or post-conflict regions that have little or no rule of law, its personnel and property often face of expropriation or forced abandonment. This is where OPIC comes in, providing insurance to cover IRC’s potential losses in countries ranging from Afghanistan to Chad to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The support IRC receives from OPIC is really indispensable,” Sharon Waxman, IRC’s Vice President for Policy and Advocacy said when she accepted the award. “When our operations are threatened, OPIC is right there with us providing the insurance and backup that we need to keep our operations moving forward.”