Helping Flood Victims: PADF Issues Advisory for Responsible Giving
By Hazem Kira
While Muslims around the world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan and observe the daylong fasts, a race against time is underway to get victims of the worst flood in Pakistan’s history much needed aid and supplies. Many Pakistani expatriates see the opportunity to help but ask how they can best mobilize support and discern one organization’s effectiveness from the next.
The Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF) has released recommendations that include facts on efficiency, credibility, and need fulfillment of the various organizations currently working on the ground. They include the specific regions and cities where organization are currently working, the needs that those particular organizations fulfill, as well as overhead costs for each. In addition, the advisory includes additional action items to help Pakistani expatriates mobilize greater support and visibility.
The havoc that the flooding has caused is hard to fathom. When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the US Gulf coast in 2005 it affected a little over one million people, the Pakistan flood, however has, thus far, affected over 20million (one-eighth of country’s population); more than the Haiti quake, the 2004 Asia tsunami, and the 2005 Pakistan quake combined. The number of deaths and homeless is set to rise as heavy rains and floods continue. In its wake it has, thus far, left over 1,600 dead, two million homeless and an estimated 900,000 homes damaged or destroyed. Disease and malnutrition are the biggest threats to the flood victims, with more than 3.5 million children at risk for waterborne diseases, according to UN officials.
Coordinating much of the efforts in Pakistan are both national and international charitable organizations, including Islamic Relief, ICNA’s Helping Hand, and Hidaya. Each organization has different available support structures and service vastly different needs. The Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF) has issued the following recommendations to encourage responsible, informed, victim-friendly, and goal-oriented giving.
Food, water, hygiene, shelter, tents, medicine, water filters, kitchen sets, blankets, etc.
How Can I Help:
The most useful way people can lend support to relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for flood response efforts in Pakistan can be seen above as well as at www.interaction.org. Information on organizations responding to the humanitarian situation in Pakistan may be available at www.reliefweb.int.
When donating you can:
Donate Stocks, Donate by Wire Transfer, Corporate Gift Matching, Online Donation using Check or Credit Card, Monthly Auto Withdrawal, Donate A Car, In Kind Donations, and/or through SMS Donations
Additional things that expatriate Pakistanis can do:
Hold Flood Awareness events throughout the month of Ramadan.
These events will be focused on three main goals: keeping the issue alive in the public consciousness, informing fellow Americans about the need for long-term US involvement, and cementing Pakistani American and American Muslim commitment to provide relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of the flood devastated areas of Pakistan.
What to Pay Attention to When Looking at an Organization (Values / Criteria):
To learn about the charity that you want to give it is important to find out their overhead expense, service delivery structure in the affected area, number of volunteers and paid staff, area of expertise, policy to accept area / project specific contribution, and willingness to provide periodic progressive reports. Some important things to keep in mind are:
1. Identity of the group. Find out about the group doing the fundraising. How do they plan to disburse the collected funds?
3. Overhead costs – Find out how much money the group plans to keep for its own administrative expenses.
4. Service Delivery Structure (SDS) – Do they have a network of volunteers and paid professionals in the affected areas?
5. Relief Work Experience – Now is not the best time for you to underwrite on-the-job-training for someone.
6. Specified Contribution Policy (SCP) – Find out if the group is willing and able to receive area and project specific donations.
7. Periodic Progress Reports (PPR) – Is the group willing to provide periodic progress reports?
8. Bureaucracy – How many layers of bureaucracy will control the disbursement?
9. Timeliness - Find out how long would take for the group to get the desired aid to the flood victims.