FAQs | ANERA Response to Gaza Crisis

July 22, 2014 ANERA
Categories:
Emergency Response, Gaza, Humanitarian Relief
Locations:
Mostafa El-Ghosein, manager of ANERA's in-kind medicine donation program in Gaza. Mostafa El-Ghosein, pharmacist and manager of ANERA's in-kind medicine donation program in Gaza.

How will my donation be used to help Gaza and how soon?

How and why are you able to get things into Gaza so quickly and consistently?

How much of my donation is used to cover ANERA’s overhead?

How do I know I can feel safe donating to ANERA?

How can I help Gaza other than to give donations?

I would like to collect supplies (food, clothes, toys, hygiene supplies, surplus medical disposables, etc.) to send to Gaza. Can ANERA help me get them there?

I want to travel to Gaza to help with humanitarian relief efforts. Can ANERA help me get there?

Why do you sometimes buy medicines on the local market and how do you decide specifically who to buy from?

Why haven’t I ever heard about ANERA?

How can ANERA ensure that donations serve their intended beneficiaries and not parties like Hamas?

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How will my donation be used to help in Gaza and how soon?

With a staff of 20 in Gaza – Palestinians who all come from the communities they serve – ANERA is able to quickly identify areas of need and respond immediately as funds become available. Right from the beginning of the bombardment, ANERA was able to deliver vital medicines and medical supplies as well as food parcels. We expedite our response whenever possible by purchasing relief items in Palestine. We also have a very successful in-kind donation program that delivers millions of dollars worth of medicines and health care supplies. When hostilities cease, ANERA’s engineers will begin the work of rebuilding schools, clinics and water/sanitation networks.

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How and why are you able to get things into Gaza so quickly and consistently?

ANERA has been working in the West Bank and Gaza since 1968. We have had an office in Gaza for 30 years and have shipped things into the area for as long as we have existed. ANERA’s in-kind shipment program follows a clear set of stages that has proven effective every time. Two things stand out: ANERA is excellent with handling all of the logistical paperwork as well as getting clearance and coordination beforehand. We have a professional relationship with the authorities and are transparent in everything we do.

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How much of my donation is used to cover ANERA’s overhead?

ANERA’s overhead is only 3.5%. The costs of ANERA’s programs and expenses vary each year, however we consistently maintain a standard of roughly 96 cents per dollar going directly to program work. For the most recent allocations, please see the financial section of our annual report.

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How do I know I can feel safe donating to ANERA?

Since 1968 we have earned trust by delivering results. ANERA is audited annually and posts financial statements online. We screen funders, partners and program recipients using software to comply with the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Controls. USAID and other major governmental and institutional donors regularly award ANERA large grants even in delicate locations like Gaza. We are consistently a top-rated organization: 4-star charity with Charity Navigator, A-rated charity with the Institute of Philanthropy and meet every standard of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise-Giving Alliance. Read more about why you can trust ANERA.

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How can I help Gaza other than to give donations?

The extent and reach of our response depend on the amount of donations ANERA receives. The best way for you to help people in Gaza is to spread the word about what is happening there and how ANERA is addressing their needs. Forward our emails, share our Facebook and website postings, retweet our Twitter posts, and/or pass along our newsletters and mail appeals. More people need to be aware of what ANERA is, why we can be trusted, and how we are making a difference. As one of our supporters, you are the best and most credible ANERA advocate in your community of friends, family and colleagues.

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I would like to collect supplies (food, clothes, toys, hygiene supplies, surplus medical disposables, etc.) to send to Gaza. Can ANERA help me get them there?

While we appreciate the thoughtfulness that caring people invest in these collection efforts, for the most part we cannot accept these kinds of donations from individuals. Instead, we encourage people to donate money. This is for multiple reasons:

Volume. ANERA typically sends 20- and 40-foot containers of in-kind materials to the Middle East. This is by far the most cost-effective way to send donated goods as a container can fit a enormous volume of materials and many of our wonderful in-kind donors cover the cost of shipping.

Storage. Some organizations and individuals have asked us if we can include supplies from them in one of the containers we are already planning to ship. Unfortunately, the answer is still no. ANERA does not maintain U.S.-based warehouse space. The containers we send to the Middle East are shipped directly from the warehouses of our in-kind donor partners. For safety and quality control reasons, these donors will not allow ANERA to add donations to their carefully inspected and professionally packed containers.

Speed and Expense. It is a much slower process to bring goods in from abroad rather than to purchase them locally. To do so, ANERA would need to get the customs export and import documentation in order; arrange for and cover the cost of shipping; get the items approved through local authorities (which takes 6 weeks at a minimum); pay for the costs of clearance, storage, demurrage, and transportation to our local warehouse; receive and inventory them in the warehouse; and then finally distribute them. All told, this can cost us upwards of $18,000. With funds in hand, staff can immediately and specifically respond to the needs on the ground as they arise. This approach has the added benefit of supporting the local economy.

ANERA does accept in-kind donations from established organizations, such as AmeriCares, Direct Relief, Lutheran World Relief, and United Methodist Committee on Relief. These are organizations whose business is to send in-kind donations – from medicines and supplies to hygiene kits and baby care items – to the communities that need them most. Having done this work for decades, they have an effective and well-tested set of processes designed to respond specifically to the needs ANERA communicates to them through our on-the-ground staff. Read more about our in-kind work in Gaza.

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I want to travel to Gaza to help with humanitarian relief efforts. Can ANERA help me get there?

Your passion and commitment to help people in Gaza is inspiring and greatly appreciated. It is not feasible for ANERA to support anyone entering Gaza at this time. The borders are closed and anyone entering requires Israeli approval. Furthermore, while relief workers such as ANERA staff would be very moved by your gesture, as your hosts, they would be distracted from their critical work. Your presence would require that they shift energy and effort away from their own families and humanitarian deliveries, to ensure that you are properly trained in the work involved and keep you out of harm’s way. Please, heed our request not to pursue trying to go into Gaza now.

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Why do you sometimes buy medicines on the local market and how do you decide specifically who to buy from?

Typically, most medicines ANERA delivers are donated by reputable organizations, not purchased. In an emergency situations, however, purchasing can be the quickest way to get the medicines to where they are urgently needed. We go to manufacturers in the area, such as Jerusalem Pharmaceutical, to make those purchases and to support the local Palestinian economy.

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Why haven’t I ever heard about ANERA?

ANERA is well known in Palestine, where our programs are having a big impact on people’s lives. In order to maintain our very low fundraising and overhead expenses, we have historically limited our advertising and marketing expenditures. ANERA depends mainly on dedicated supporters to spread the word about our impact and efficiency.

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How can ANERA ensure that donations serve their intended beneficiaries and not parties like Hamas?

ANERA’s policy is to supply assistance to only legitimate and capable institutions and to comply with U.S. laws. We filter individuals and agencies against computerized lists of terrorist organizations cited by the U.S. Treasury Department,  Office of Foreign Assets Control list. Because Hamas is designated as a “terrorist group” by the U.S. State Department, ANERA does not work or even coordinate with them. 

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