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Plan Canada Joins Humanitarian Coalition

The Humanitarian Coalition is a network of Canadian NGOs determined to unite in cases of humanitarian crises. By eliminating unnecessary competition, reducing duplicated fundraising costs and better educating the public on humanitarian needs, the organizations can focus on what really matters: helping those in need during times of disaster.

Plan Canada, which was involved in the early days of the Coalition, just recently joined it. “Why now?” I asked Rosemary McCarney, President and CEO of Plan Canada.

“We didn’t feel that we were ready as an organization to be a good member because our international organization was in policy formation etc. about humanitarian response and where we would respond,” Rosemary answered. So while Plan Canada has always supported the Coalition, joining it now signals that they are now “in the best shape to respond and to be a meaningful candidate”.

humanitarian aid“Plan works in about 56 countries around the world. We’ve always been humanitarian responders in the communities where we work. And over the last 3 or 4 years the nature of the emergencies have changed, and the capacities of our organization have grown” in terms of the communities Plan is not currently working in. “From the time of the Asian tsunami, Plan has been increasing its technical capacity to have swat teams that are able to move quickly around to support our country teams depending on where the crisis is. Then we had to create the policy environment so that people knew how to respond, when to respond, what the triggers were for the nature of the response we would do. All the things that a good humanitarian organization would have in place when operating on a large scale.”

Plan Canada is unique amongst the Humanitarian Coalition members. Rosemary explained. “We’re a bit of a different organization than the current members because we have a very large donor base. We have 180,000 donors across Canada.” The other organizations tend to be “very grant oriented organizations”.

“From the point of view of the structure as a whole, I think our joining sends the right signal that this is the right direction, this is the next part of the evolution of the sector itself. So ever increasing collaboration, coordination and effort. We’ve always worked that way on the ground as colleagues,” Rosemary explained. “But this is actually backing it up into Canada in terms of showing Canadians how we’re trying to continuously improve efficiency and effectiveness in terms of both the work and how Canadians can look to us as a group of NGO’s that are intent on working very purposefully together both in the nature of how we communicate about disasters, how we raise funds from Canadians for addressing the needs of people in a disaster, and how we work on the ground together. The last part has often been invisible to Canadians.”

Congratulations to Plan Canada for joining the Humanitarian Coalition. As Rosemary said, “it’s just one of those things that’s time has come”.

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Alison Wheatley

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