Local Power, Global Impact: Inside Anera’s Swift Response in Gaza

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The continuing war in Gaza that started on October 7, and its resulting humanitarian catastrophe, has escalated faster and more intensely than anyone could have anticipated. Anera’s staff had to spring into quick action and I am so very proud of what we have been able to do, despite the overwhelming challenges.

First and foremost, our incredible team in Gaza deserves recognition beyond words. They are not just dedicated professionals; they are individuals who, quite literally, risk their lives daily on the front lines, facing real and imminent dangers. This is as they face immense personal challenges, alongside everyone else in Gaza. They are living in harsh conditions, either in crowded shelters, with host families, or are themselves hosting extended family.. All of them are thirsty, hungry and exhausted. Yet, they persist in their efforts, finding purpose in serving their communities.

This commitment began with a small but courageous group, who, in the face of uncertainty, proclaimed, “If we’re going to die, we’re going to die serving our people.” Even against my pleas for caution, they ventured out, setting the tone for our swift and impactful response.

From there, our Anera team of staff, volunteers, personnel from local organizations, vendors and suppliers has grown exponentially. Now, with the help of approximately 450 individuals on the ground, Anera is delivering humanitarian aid every day in Gaza. When we say we’re engaged in life-saving interventions, it’s not a metaphor. Our response log attests to the scale of the efforts: over 3.8 million hot meals served, nearly 18,000 hygiene kits distributed, almost 500,000 medical treatments delivered, and shelters regularly cleaned.

I am often asked how we have managed to move swiftly and effectively. The answer lies in our ability to make decisions locally, unhampered by bureaucratic obstacles. The emphasis on localization, a principle we’ve championed for years, has proven invaluable in this crisis. While some organizations struggled with approval processes from distant headquarters, we were on the ground, implementing interventions within 48 hours.

The support from our West Bank and East Jerusalem teams has been instrumental. Working tirelessly for the past 38 days, often putting in 12 to 14-hour days, they’ve played a pivotal role in translating on-the-ground needs into actionable plans.

I also want to acknowledge the entire Anera team across all of the countries where we work. Everyone is playing a role to help our sisters and brothers in Gaza. Together, we’re navigating uncharted waters, providing essential services, and adapting to emerging needs. We have even begun working in a new country, Egypt, to help in providing support.

In conclusion, the current situation in Palestine underscores the significance of localization, agility, and a dedicated team on the ground. This response is a prime example of why localization in action is important in humanitarian aid. And, with global support, our collective efforts are making a difference. We must continue to rally for a ceasefire, share our stories on social media, and keep pushing for peace. In the face of adversity, Anera is indeed helping some hope find a way in Gaza.



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