Sharjah: The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian non-profit organisation dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, is accepting nominations for the sixth edition of the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (Siara) 2022 from September 15-November 15 through the link https://tbhf.ae/nomination.
Siara is organised under the patronage and support of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children. The Dh500,000 award has been held annually since 2017, in collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The award fund is a special contribution by TBHF and does not represent any share of the donations made to the foundation.
The award targets local humanitarian organisations in Asia and Africa who have offered outstanding services to refugees and forcibly displaced people, which have had a positive and sustainable impact on their lives. It also focuses on services that are able provide access to food, healthcare and education.
Siara is awarded to legally registered non-profit organisations that are working on social and humanitarian programmes and activities for a minimum of one year prior to the nomination. In addition, their values and conduct must be compatible with that of TBHF and UNHCR. Organisations can choose to self-nominate or be nominated by other individuals or organisations.
The nominees are evaluated based on the impact of their work in bringing about tangible benefits within refugee or displaced communities. Innovative practises that boost overall sustainability of programmes and project activities, gender sensitivity in the planning and implementation of these projects, and demonstrable ability to address humanitarian gaps, especially in emergency situations, are some of the other important criteria.
The award aims to promote the values, principles and global standards of humanitarian work, including sustainability, scope, transparency, neutrality and subjectivity in executing their projects, and encourages more sustainable outcomes of programmes implemented, and lays special focus on promoting best practices. By setting these standards, Siara’s object is to honour and celebrate the achievements of humanitarian organisations while extending monetary support to those who work in extremely challenging circumstances to fulfil pressing needs of the most affected populations.
Siara, a tool for humanitarian advancement
Mariam Al Hammadi, director of TBHF, said: “Over the past five iterations, this award has presented inspiring models of humanitarian work to the world, helped raise the standards of developmental efforts globally, and inspired all stakeholders to transform their vision and goals into strategies of sustainable development that would bring about far-reaching transformation in the lives of refugee and displaced populations as they benefit from long-term interventions in the vital sectors of health care, education, livelihood and more.”
She added: “In 2021, we received more than 200 nominations from around the globe, and among them we saw shining examples of strategic, qualitative and innovation and impact-driven responses to the exceptional humanitarian challenges we faced in the past few years, like the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. The way humanitarian organisations rose to the occasion to abate the devastating impact this unprecedented health crisis has had on refugees and vulnerable communities, explains the critical role they play in ensuring a more equitable and just world for all,” she added.
Raising the standard of humanitarian relief work
Previously, TBHF expanded Siara’s scope to include the entire African continent in light of its leading contribution to supporting nearly 26 per cent of the world’s 70 million refugee population, and help raise the standard of humanitarian relief work by boosting its support for Africa.
The fifth edition of the award received 213 nominations from 41 countries. Of these, 49 per cent of the nominations were from Africa, 44 per cent from Asia, and 7 per cent from Europe, North America and the rest of the world. Nigeria topped the list of country-specific nominations with 42 entries, followed by Lebanon with 16. Kenya and Uganda shared the third spot with 14 entries each, while Jordan and Pakistan placed fourth with 13 nominations each. There were nine nominations from Bangladesh, seven each from India and Palestine, Yemen and Iraq shared six each, while Somalia had five.