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Small and medium-scale disasters are often neglected by the media or big relief organisations. However, the effect of these disasters are often devastating in the lives of those affected. NGO networks in the Philippines have come up with an innovative solution in responding to these disasters by providing funding for locally driven humanitarian responses.

Established in October 2017, the Shared Aid Fund for Emergency Response            (SAFER) is a national collaborative funding mechanism accessible by three member networks - Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO), Humanitarian Response Consortium (HRC), and NASSA-Caritas Philippines. The major objective of this is to provide resources and funding for local civil society organisations in humanitarian response.

SAFER was one of the outcomes of the START Network’s Transforming Surge Capacity Project in the Philippines in 2015. The project was aimed at making surge capacity more effective and more efficient by promoting local collaboration and coordination. At first, NGO networks came together to improve humanitarian coordination in the country. Later, CODE-NGO, NASSA/Caritas and HRC created SAFER as a fundraising mechanism to address financial gaps in emergencies and disasters.

Christian Aid has supported SAFER since its inception, providing capacity-building support and seed funding to establish SAFER during its first 15 months.

SAFER has responded to two emergencies -Typhoon Ompong in October 2018 and Typhoon Unman in February 2019, providing total of 100,000 Pesos (about £1,500) cash assistance to 40 families each time.

How SAFER Works

SAFER provides a source of efficient and localised funding through its revolving fund called the Quick Response Fund (QRF).

When an emergency occurs, any member organisation may request to launch an appeal based on the needs identified. SAFER member networks decide whether to launch an “appeal plan” to spread awareness and raise funds for the affected communities. This then generates public support and actions and is carried out with partner institutions that provide support in various areas of fundraising.

The funds raised are then immediately channelled to SAFER member networks and NGOs that are present in the local communities, enabling them to quickly respond to emergencies and provide relief to those who need it most.

I see the SAFER Fund as a great example of the Philippines taking the lead, building on its own experience and expertise, and creating a mechanism that is innovative and world-leading. I think we can be certain that SAFER is going to attract a lot of interest, from outside the Philippines as well as from within.

- Mark Bidder, Head of United Nations OCHA in the Philippines.

As part of our continuing support to the Grand Bargain and localisation of humanitarian finance, we are currently devising ways with SAFER and the HRC to use the mechanism as a fund conduit for any future humanitarian response in order to improve the financial portfolio of SAFER and make it a viable platform for other potential donors and partners. A partnership agreement and memorandum of agreement is being developed to set this process in motion.

Find out more: Christian Aid in the Philippines