Sharjah: The Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA) has officially opened nominations for its 8th annual edition, extending a global call to humanitarian champions across the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and beyond.
This prestigious accolade, one of the world’s foremost recognitions presented to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), seeks to honour those who have made significant contributions to enhancing the lives of refugees and internally displaced individuals, while steadfastly promoting a culture of peace and humanitarian service.
NGOs that have made noteworthy strides in improving the well-being of refugees and internally displaced populations are invited to participate in this esteemed award. Nominations will be accepted from September 5 to November 15, 2023, through the official nomination portal.
SIARA, organized by The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian nonprofit dedicated to assisting refugees and people in need worldwide, operates in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Throughout its editions, SIARA has received more than 2,000 applications from 40 countries across the globe. This remarkable response underscores the award’s prominent role in acknowledging, applauding, and showcasing a diverse range of the world’s most innovative and impactful programs and initiatives in the field of humanitarian development.
Holistic, sustainable humanitarian approach
During its past few editions, SIARA has highlighted the importance of a holistic and sustainable humanitarian support, honouring non-profit who have been involved in designing cultural festivals at refugee camps, enabled migration of refugees to countries where they can be employed for their skills, and engaged displaced populations in various artistic and cultural pursuits.
By highlighting such examples, TBHF has underlined the fact that displaced people are human beings with similar dreams and aspirations like any other person, and while their basic needs of food, shelter, security, healthcare and education must be fulfilled, the opportunities they need to fully flourish as equal and contributing members of society must be provided.
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 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 practices 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.
Mariam Al Hammadi: SIARA celebrates unsung heroes and their invaluable work.
Encouraging humanitarian champions and changemakers from around the world to participate in SIARA 2024, Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, noted: “Humanitarian work is not merely a collection of charitable acts but a paramount sector that drives sustainable and inclusive global development.
"SIARA, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. bin Sultan Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his Wife, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF and Eminent Advocate of UNHCR, is designed to bestow formal global recognition upon exceptional humanitarian endeavours, particularly in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The award seeks to promote and advance the development of exemplary practices and high standards”.
“The contributions of organisations tirelessly dedicated to creating a more just and inclusive world for the most vulnerable populations are beyond measure. SIARA celebrates these unsung heroes and their invaluable work. Beyond providing a prestigious platform for humanitarian champions to share their impactful narratives and raise awareness about their missions, SIARA offers substantial funding through its award.
"This not only helps them garner global attention for their tireless efforts, but also encourages enthusiastic participation in the upcoming editions,” she added.