Since 2008, IEDA Relief has been designing and implementing humanitarian aid and sustainable development solutions that allow individuals and communities to become self-sufficient.
Around the world, IEDA Relief promotes and facilitates short- and long-term food security through a variety of programs. These range from the direct distribution of food aid and nutritional supplements in refugee camps, to mobilizing and training communities to make efficient use of available environmental resources to achieve optimal outcomes in agricultural production, livestock management, and other food-related activities. In addition, IEDA Relief conducts capacity-building programs that train and equip individuals to carry out income-generating activities, boosting their purchasing power and helping to mitigate the risk of food insecurity.
IEDA Relief’s programs target some of the primary root causes of food insecurity in many of the areas in which the organization operates so as to effect holistic and sustainable progress. More often than not, poverty serves as both a root cause as well as an exacerbator of the issues faced by communities experiencing food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition. We prioritize the implementation of our programs based on extensive research and data from the most knowledgeable authorities in all relevant fields of development. For example, we recognize that the vast majority of the communities we serve abroad reside in rural places. Furthermore, there exists extensive reliable data indicating that growth in the agricultural sector has a potential for alleviating poverty that far outweighs growth in any other sector for these communities. For this reason, IEDA Relief empowers men and women through both the educational and technical skills front as well as the tangible resources side in order to achieve lasting solutions.
Health and Nutrition
In Houston, IEDA Relief places a top priority on ensuring that vulnerable populations and the communities that host them have sustainable access to appropriate, nutritious food as well as opportunities for growth and autonomy.
Around the world, IEDA Relief promotes and facilitates short- and long-term food security through a variety of programs. These range from the direct distribution of food aid and nutritional supplements in refugee camps, to mobilizing and training communities to make efficient use of available environmental resources to achieve optimal outcomes in agricultural production, livestock management, and other food-related activities as well as in health. In addition, IEDA Relief conducts capacity-building programs that train and equip individuals to carry out income-generating activities in both nutrition and health. In Niger for example, in collaboration with UNICEF, IEDA Relief has been involved in workshops helping local community members make soap bars from scratch for health and hygiene purposes.
The role of nutrition in the overall well-being of vulnerable populations cannot be understated. IEDA Relief's recognition of this fact is evidenced by how far reaching and pervasive nutrition related programs are implemented. In almost all of the other key programs, some element of nutrition is also included. This is because IEDA Relief believes that good nutrition is one of the most basic elements that influence well-being, development, and individuals' ability to be able to help work and be able to help themselves. The lack of sufficient or appropriate nutrition more often than not compounds the gravity of all other issues that individuals are forced with be they educational, work, armed conflict, or natural disaster related.
Within the already vulnerable communities, the most at risk are young children and pregnant women. For these two demographics particularly, insufficient and malnutrition are often the primary determinants of whether children will live or die. For example, research has shown that for children under the age of five, malnutrition and or insufficient nutrition accounts for almost 50% of their deaths. IEDA’s nutrition programs are implemented with such issues in mind.
Water Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH)
Sufficient water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services and facilities are essential for people’s health and survival, particularly for displaced populations and the communities that host them. In IEDA Relief’s international operations, our WASH programs ensure that these groups have access to adequate potable water, latrines and washing facilities. IEDA Relief also mobilizes the community to raise awareness about effective sanitation and hygiene practices that help prevent illnesses and epidemics, and to make sure the community adopts these practices.
While the general necessity of Water Hygiene and Sanitation programs for all communities is obvious and undeniable seeing as these programs contribute significantly to the enhancement of health, educational, and agricultural production outcomes en masse, IEDA Relief recognizes that these programs do much more. Traditional gender roles along with natural male and female biological differences are heavily impacted by WASH programs. Because girls and women are often expected to take on the duties of cooking, cleaning, and other caretaking duties for their entire families, lack of these crucial resources negatively impacts girls and women disproportionately relative to their male counterparts. In ensuring that girls and women have adequate access to WASH resources, IEDA Relief is simultaneously helping bridge gender disparities and allowing women and girls to fulfill familial responsibilities. This greatly impacts psychological self-assessments of their agency as well their perceived value to their communities.
In regard to menstruation and pregnancy related issues that arise as a result of lack of access to WASH resources, the negative personal and community impact is alarming. For example, when girls and women are unable to access menstruation related resources, their ability to participate in everyday activities in their communities including social, religious, and work-related activities can be significantly diminished if not fully hindered. IEDA Relief’s programs such as the Dignity Kit distribution programs in Niger, Mali and other areas in which the organization operates strive to alleviate gender-related disparities in communities of need with the assurance in mind that when girls and women are empowered, the entire community reaps the rewards.
Financial Inclusion and Entrepreneurship
In pursuit of our mission of alleviating the suffering of vulnerable communities both at home and abroad, IEDA Relief prioritizes programs and solutions that provide individuals with the proper resources and skills to be able to help themselves and their families and therefore become independent. This is accomplished through IEDA Relief's employment of technical resources and knowledge as well as the resources of partner organizations to provide the relevant information to communities in need. Partly because of the fact that most of the world's impoverished population live in rural areas, their access to financial institutions such as banks and financial services/resources such as credit is minimal at best. This is a highly prohibitive predicament especially for populations already financially insecure since their ability to leverage the skills and resources that they DO possess into productive livelihoods is restricted. For example, the vast majority of small-holder farmers lack funding to support and grow their agricultural production capabilities. In this, many already vulnerable populations are precluded from entrepreneurial and income generating activities. By bringing financial information and connecting possible funding sources with subsistence and smallholder farmers, we are helping bring opportunities for people to become financially independent using skills that they already possess.
OfCourse, addressing the immediate needs of impoverished communities cannot be achieved solely through programs only operating on a long-term vision basis. For many of those experiencing extreme poverty and its related symptoms, the gravity of their suffering requires immediate and urgent action. For this reason, IEDA Relief incorporates both short-term and long-term strategies so as to produce the most comprehensive and sustainable solutions. For example, In the aftermath of the eruption of the Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcanoes in DRC Goma, IEDA Relief provided financial assistance to those affected by the natural disaster through multifunctional money transfers directly to the intended beneficiaries.
Education and protection
Overseas, IEDA Relief often leads programs focusing on literacy and skills training for youth and adults within displaced populations and their host communities. This training allows beneficiaries to access livelihood opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them and succeed in sustaining and expanding their own income-generating activities. Additionally, IEDA Relief often facilitates access to education as a camp management agency, working with responsible humanitarian actors to negotiate access to local schools for children residing in camps or to build schools inside camp premises.
The equalizing power of educational access is a point of focus for IEDA Relief. In a world where gender remains a consequential determinant of the potential opportunities available to different individuals, IEDA Relief works to empower young girls in vulnerable communities and their futures. This is achieved by ensuring that our educational programs are gender-inclusive while simultaneously being sensitive to gender specific obstacles that can often lead to disparate program efficacy levels between boys and girls. For example, IEDA Relief has combated women-specific health concerns through various programs including our Mali project bringing awareness to signs, symptoms, and effects of Ovarian cancer. Another such example is the education of young girls on the topic of feminine hygiene and the provision of Dignity Kits to them in various countries so as to ensure that their ability to participate in educational programs as well as other community-empowering activities is not impeded simply because of menstruation.
Simultaneously, IEDA Relief’s efforts in our Camp management/camp coordination roles put significant focus on the safety and protection aspects of the operations for all actors involved including IEDA Relief affiliates, partner organizations, and the displaced communities being served. Keeping in mind that these environments can be quite volatile either due to armed conflicts or natural disasters, IEDA Relief takes extensive comprehensive measures to ensure that the humanitarian care being provided is done so in the most safe and effective manner possible. We do this through strategic coordination with other nonprofits working in the camps and regions as well as relevant local organizations and governmental bodies.
Climate Change and The Environment
IEDA Relief’s commitment to the alleviation of suffering for the most vulnerable populations is a guiding principle for all of the organization's programs. In the 21st century the issues of climate change and environmental deterioration can no longer be overlooked or relegated as a peripheral issue in the discussion of the most pressing issues facing humanity. In all parts of the world, irrefutable evidence of the detrimental effects of climate change and environmentally unfriendly policies is widespread. While humanity as a whole is being negatively impacted, the most vulnerable populations tend to bear a disproportionate share of the damaging consequences of climate change. One way in which this environmental injustice is exemplified is through extreme weather events such as droughts which exacerbate food and water shortages for local populations.
In many of the communities in which IEDA Relief operates, preparedness and the ability of individuals to quickly and effectively adapt to the various destructive impacts of climate change is a major concern. Due to this fact, IEDA Relief supports efforts to bring together individuals, organizations, and governmental actors in the advocacy for policies that promote risk reduction and resilience promotion in these marginalized communities. As things stand, social, economic, geographic, and political institutions and relationships are bound to experience repeated stresses and disruptive activities. This however does not mean that combating these effects is futile. On the contrary, this fact reaffirms the notion that comprehensive strategies must be employed with both great fervor and urgency to mitigate the destructive potential of the effects of climate change as much as possible. Thus, the manner in which IEDA Relief engages, designs, and implements its various interventions across all of its different programs is continuously framed and informed by considerations of sustainability.
The roles and responsibilities of IEDA Relief in the face of Emergency response situations are wide-ranging. From camp management/camp coordination (CMCC) to food and hot meals distribution to helping displaced individuals and families navigate legal obstacles that arise as a result of natural disasters, armed conflict, and other forms of humanitarian crises, we work to address the immediate needs of victims as well as their long-term needs. At IEDA Relief, we recognize that emergency response is a collaborative effort. In this process, our primary function is to play the role of the bridge between affected communities and a life of normalcy free of undue suffering. We also operate in collaboration with a number of other actors including various humanitarian organizations, local businesses and leaders so as to most effectively and efficiently provide humanitarian relief.
In this capacity, IEDA Relief helps bring about positive outcomes with great sensitivity and regard for the specific cultural, religious, and ethnic beliefs, practices, and norms of the local communities. Since its inception in 2008, IEDA Relief has responded to a variety of emergencies in a dozen countries across the globe. From extreme weather events in the Philippines to Volcanic eruptions in the DRC to armed conflicts that have created displacement and migration related crises, IEDA Relief has dedicated itself affecting meaningful and lasting change for those most at risk and in need of assistance.
Advocacy and Governance
Guided by our mission and accumulated experience as a humanitarian actor, IEDA Relief works to inform and educate the United States public about the plight of refugees, returnees, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and to advocate for the rights of all humans through awareness events.
Furthermore, IEDA Relief actively petitions local leaders on behalf of Houstonians on a range of issues including crime and safety, public access to city services, and public property maintenance.
In its international programs, IEDA Relief promotes the legal rights of displaced populations and vulnerable host communities and facilitates access to legal services. Examples of such activities include providing guidance regarding the judicial process to victims of human rights violations, and ensuring that displaced individuals receive proper documentation of their legal status (e.g. birth certificates, refugee identification) to help them access basic services. We also strongly advocate for the continued education of young girls and the plight of child marriage.