The AMAR Foundation works to improve the conditions of approximately 3.4 million internally displaced Iraqis by utilizing local expertise to build long-term solutions.
The organization, founded in 1991 by Baroness Emma Nicholson, is a London-based charity with the goal of improving education, health care and emergency aid to some of the world’s most disenfranchised and impoverished people.
Their model is simple: AMAR works closely with on-the-ground experts, as well as local leaders, to implement entirely local programs that are tailored to the needs of the community.
In lieu of sending in volunteers from other countries, AMAR cooperates with existing services to locally source the materials and expertise needed to improve living conditions. Outside intervention is kept to a minimum and communities are encouraged to build themselves from the inside out.
Communication is the key to the success of this aid model. In a 2015 Jordan Times article reporting on AMAR’s efforts to stem an outbreak of cholera in Iraq, it is proffered that raising awareness about public health and common diseases is one of the most crucial pieces of improving the health of a community.
Communication is key not only in improving public health but also in ensuring the success of locally-based aid efforts like those the AMAR Foundation organizes.
Local collaboration is by no means a new idea, but the AMAR Foundation’s astonishing success utilizing this model within Iraq provides great hope for the future of foreign aid worldwide.
Without the help of major international funding, AMAR has managed to establish a clinic in northern Iraq that serves more than 600 patients a day, as well as multiple mobile health clinics that can be operated by locals. Since 2005, their clinics have helped over 4 million Iraqis.
Although today only a few organizations embrace a model that favors entirely local implementation, the AMAR foundation continues to provide an example of the great success that can come from on-the-ground solutions.
– Sage Smiley