Originally in the e-newsletter of Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF):
The International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) global humanitarian aid and refugee resettlement programs are actively responding to record-high numbers of displaced people by increasing their presence and implementing more efficient ways of working.
By the International Rescue Committee
This month marks one year since the fall of Afghanistan. From this dark anniversary to East Africa’s looming famine spurred by conflict and drought, to the fast-moving Russian attacks on Ukraine, we cannot help but be reminded of the urgency surrounding the world’s refugee crisis and the record-high 100 million people now displaced globally.
Responding to these humanitarian emergencies and many other crises around the globe is the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Founded in 1933, at the request of Albert Einstein, the roughly 15,000-person workforce that makes up the IRC today is working tirelessly across the United States, Europe and in more than 40 countries listening to displaced families and empowering them to restore their dignity and potential. In the U.S., the IRC’s 27 resettlement offices serve as free, one-stop centers for refugees’ needs during their pivotal first months in the country. Through a network of staff members and volunteers, the IRC helps refugees learn about life and customs in America, secure jobs, education, and provides immediate needs such as housing, food, medical care, and emergency cash assistance to gain control of their future. This includes helping many of the displaced Afghans who were welcomed to the U.S. over the last year, during the country’s largest refugee influx since the Vietnam War.
As highlighted by SNF in April, the IRC launched a strategic initiative in 2016 to strengthen its IT infrastructure and enterprise systems, and centralize finance, supply chain, grant management processes across its programs to increase efficiency. To support this effort, SNF allocated a total of $7.5 million. This support has enabled the IRC to implement a Microsoft cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, internally named Integra. By centralizing and automating many back-office functions, Integra is quickly becoming the foundation on which the IRC operates. Once fully deployed across the organization, Integra will be instrumental in the IRC’s overall growth and enable highly motivated staff to remain committed to its mission.
So far, Integra is in use by more than 4,000 staff throughout its U.S. headquarters and resettlement operations, as well as nine country program offices in Latin America, West Africa, and East Africa. Being this far along in the implementation, Integra is now processing more than 58 percent of the IRC’s revenue and more than 52 percent of its expenses. In addition to deploying Integra in all remaining country offices in the coming months, Integra is also being set up for immediate use in new IRC offices being established to keep up with the surge in displaced families and the demand for its services. This includes new resettlement offices in the states of Iowa and Kentucky, and giving select New York headquarter-based staff the ability to process financial assistance for clients in U.S. towns and cities where the IRC does not yet provide resettlement services. In Europe, activities are underway to set up Integra in nine offices, including Greece and other programs offices supporting refugees and responding to the Ukraine crisis, plus new IRC programs currently being established in Poland and Ukraine.
As the world faces a record-high 100 million displaced people, the need for the IRC’s services is more acute than ever. Their existing programs and newly formed offices, along with a strengthened infrastructure and advanced technology are indispensable to how the IRC will respond as humanitarian needs intensify. Please visit rescue.org to learn more about the IRC’s global humanitarian aid and refugee resettlement programs, as well as priority issues and policies that impact the people they serve.
*Thanks to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) for this perspective on their work.