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Multiple Regions

International Rescue Committee: Responding to Humanitarian Crises

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Regions: Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Pacific.
Sector: Humanitarian Aid

Challenge: The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to humanitarian crises, often in violence-prone regions, around the world by addressing vital needs in areas such as nutrition, health care, housing, and subsistence farming. However, providing emergency aid in such locations involves high risks.

Solution: For the past decade, OPIC has provided insurance coverage for the personnel, property and equipment of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, in more than a dozen countries across several regions.

Impact: The impact of IRC’s work is evident in many war-torn, post conflict and developing regions around the world. In Iraq, OPIC insurance has helped IRC rebuild schools that reach close to 50,000 students. IRC also provides legal assistance to thousands of Iraqi returnees who were displaced by the U.S.-led invasion, as well as job training to unemployed and under-employed Iraqi youth.

In newly-independent South Sudan, where hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees have fled decades of war and food shortages, OPIC has supported IRC in its work to stem gender-based violence and provide health care, reproductive health care, and child survival programs. Indeed, IRC is one of the largest providers of aid in the region, providing services to some 700,000 people across six South Sudanese states: Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Western Equatoria, Northern Bahr el Ghazai, Unity, and Lakes.

In Haiti, following the devastating earthquake of 2010, the number of orphans skyrocketed. Scores of these children went from from one tragic existence to yet another. They became “restaveks,” indentured laborers who perform housework for shelter and food under sometimes brutal conditions. Today, there are as many as 200,000 across Haiti.

OPIC’s insurance has helped IRC researchers evaluate 135 orphanages, register more than 1,700 orphans, reunite more than 1,000 children with their biological families, and free more than 150 from lives as restavaks in Port-au-Prince and the rural Grande Anse region.

In March 2014, OPIC awarded IRC an Impact Award in the Development Impact category.

This project was profiled in 2014.