The ERF Board and secretariat was happy to see so many organisations and other participants of humanitarian affairs taking the time to join in to raise awareness of the ERF. They had made some pictures available for the participants, so that we could take in what actually is done on the ground, when crisis occur. It was clear from the pictures on display and the testimonies from beneficiary NGOs at the table that the ERF is filling a very relevant niche, signifying yet another strategic investment by Norway in the life of Zimbabweans.
The Ambassador was invited to speak on behalf of the current donors. Norway has been one of the top contributors to the ERF for the past five years, together with Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland and Italy. Norway has made substantial and predictable contributions to the ERF to the tune of over USD$5m since 2005. Together with the other donors, Norway funds these humanitarian efforts on the basis of the international principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
In the Ambassador’s speech she emphasised that the current decline in financial contributions to the ERF comes against a delicate humanitarian situation in the country. Zimbabwe’s national preparedness and response capacity still remains weak. She gladly endorsed the need to see additional donors, and invited the countries present to participate to this much needed fund.
Programme Officer at the Norwegian Embassy Francis Ngoni Kaitano takes in some of the work ERF has done on the ground. . Photo: Marit Flinder Johannessen
After the announced speakers, participants around the table were invited to join in on their experience with the ERF since. It was emphasised that the focus of the fund to be flexible was a key to its success. As the nature of humanitarian crisis is unexpected, flexibility and agility must be the nature of humanitarian affairs. Both national and international NGOs expressed a satisfaction with the implementation of approved funding. National NGOs also noted the positive trend that more national NGOs have been given support in the last years. This, one speaker said, is critical to build local capacity.