A recently published report documenting the findings of a study carried out by HelpAge and Handicap International shows that less than 1% of humanitarian aid targets older people or people with disabilities, despite the former group representing 11% of the world’s population and the latter representing 15%.
The study used UNOCHA’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS) to examine 6,003 projects that were submitted to the consolidated appeals process (CAP) for 14 countries and four flash appeals in 2010 and 2011, quantifying the amount of funding provided that was targeted specifically to older people and people with disabilities who were living in humanitarian crises.
- US$10.9 billion was contributed by official donors to the CAP and flash appeals in 2010 and 2011
- US$73 million (0.7%) of that was allocated to projects that included at least one activity targeted at older people or people with disabilities
- US$27.6 million (0.3%) went to projects targeted exclusively at older people or people with disabilities
- 145 (2.4%) of the 6,003 projects submitted to the CAP and flash appeals in 2010 and 2011 included at least one activity targeting older people or people with disabilities, 61 of which were funded (1% of all projects submitted).
Findings – older people:
- neither the USA nor the UK provided any CAP or flash funding for projects that included activities targeting older people
- 47 (0.78%) of the 6,003 projects submitted included at least one activity targeting older people, 18 of which were funded (0.3% of those submitted)
- i20 countries there were no projects submitted in any sector that targeted older people, including Chad, Central African Republic and 16 countries in Western Africa
- 22 (46%) of the 47 submitted projects that targeted older people were submitted by just one organisation – HelpAge International.
Findings – people with disabilities:
- 98 (1.6%) projects submitted included at least one activity targeting people with disabilities, 43 of which were funded (0.7% of those submitted)
- in 2010, 37 projects (1.3%) included at least one activity targeting people with disabilities; this figure increased to 61 (1.9%) in 2011
- among the 98 projects submitted, 29 exclusively targeted people with disabilities, of which 18 were submitted by just one NGO – Handicap International.
The study also considered projects that did not have any activities specifically targeting older people or people with disabilities, in order to establish to what extent these groups were integrated into broader humanitarian activities. It found that only 312 of the 6,003 projects analysed (5.2%) mentioned older people and people with disabilities alongside other vulnerable groups, indicating that access to general humanitarian projects designed to support the whole population is at best limited for older people and people with disabilities.
Although the evidence shows a slight increase in the number of projects funded that include at least one activity targeting older people and/or people with disabilities from 2010 to 2011, funding for both groups remains low. When we take into account the fact that the targeted activities typically represented less than 25% of each project’s total activities, we begin to get a clearer picture of the extent to which older people and people with disabilities are currently being overlooked by the humanitarian system.
However, population demographics are changing fast, and the report warns that this situation cannot continue. By 2050:
- the number of people aged over 60 is set to triple to 2 billion
- the number of people aged over 80, who represent the world’s fastest growing population group, is expected to increase fourfold
- more than 80% of older people will live in developing countries, where disasters are more likely to occur and where people have fewer resources to deal with the effects.
- humanitarian agencies ensure their needs assessments provide accurate information on all vulnerable groups by collecting data on older people and people with disabilities, and disaggregating the data by age and gender
- examples of good practice in inclusion of vulnerable groups are more widely shared, and are applied to project design and implementation
- cluster lead agencies, UNOCHA and Humanitarian Coordinators provide better leadership to ensure adequate accountability to all beneficiary populations and improved consistency across sectors
- bilateral and multilateral donors encourage and enable appropriate and inclusive humanitarian response by providing flexible, timely funding, which is allocated in proportion to need and on the basis of a thorough needs assessment.
You can read the report, A study of humanitarian financing for older people and people with disabilities, 2010–2011, here.
HelpAge International – www.helpage.org
Handicap International – www.handicap-international.org.uk