Who is Action Against Hunger? Action Against Hunger (or Action Contre La Faim (ACF) in French) is a global humanitarian organization which originated in France and is committed to ending world hunger. The organization helps malnourished children and provides communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger. In 2019, Action Against Hunger worked in 51 different countries around the world with more than 6,000 employees and volunteers helping 13.6 million people in need. Established in 1979 by a group of French doctors, scientists, and writers. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Alfred Kastler served as the organization's first chairman (description has taken from Wikipedia).
Highlights: Action Against Hunger is a long-established NGO, well known within Bangladesh and internationally. They are able to specifically use donations for Covid-19 relief efforts to serve hot meals to those living in the Rohingya refugee camps and Covid-19 patients in Cox Bazar city's Severe Acute Respiratory Infection - Isolation and Treatment Centre (SARI-ITCs). In addition to serving the Rohingya community, this is currently the only Nourish Bangladesh vetted NGO that can exclusively serve mild and moderately sick Covid-19 patients. They also serve the on-duty doctors and nurses at the ITC. The cooked meal and menu is decided based on the daily calorie requirement for the patients it is served to as per advice by civil surgeon's office.
Responses to Vetting Questions: These responses are based on correspondences with Zoe Fregoli (Fundraising Manager, ACF, Canada), Danny Glenwright (Executive Director, ACF, Canada), and Shilki Soni (Head Of Department - Grants, Funding, Donor Relations, ACF) with regard to ACF's general activities and their plans for using the funds donated through our fundraising campaign. We researched and asked the same set of standard questions to the other NGOs we vetted as well.
Question: With our donation, what is the geographical spread of the relief recipient (e.g. Dhaka city, rural Mymensingh, etc.)?
Response: We currently work in Cox's Bazar.
Question: With our donation, which groups will be helped (e.g. LGBTQ community, Transgender community, street children, Garo indigenous population, sex workers, gypsy community)?
Response: Currently we are supplying food for (a) Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and (b) COVID-19 patients in one Severe Acute Respiratory Infection - Isolation and Treatment Centre (SARI-ITCs) in Cox’s Bazar city. These SARI-ITCs are established by the district commissioner with support from the health department of the Government of Bangladesh. The hot cooked meal is supplied through ACF’s Community kitchens in the camps and at one of the SARI-ITC for which ACF is the main coordinator. The people in SARI-ITC where ACF is working currently are mild and moderate Covid-19 patients which includes the Bangladeshi host community, on duty doctors, and nurses at ITC.
Question: With our donation, will you reach out to the Rohingyas?
Response: Yes, we do. See previous answer
Question: Can you give us a price breakdown of how much money is spent towards food relief (e.g. with 1000 taka we offer lentils, rice, onions, and potato for a family of 4 for two weeks) or how much cash is handed to each household (e.g. 1800 taka for each adult in a household)?
Response: We offer cooked food. For every 1000 taka that we get in Canada, 5% to 10% is the overhead before it reaches the program in Bangladesh. (Note that in Bangladesh, we do not have an exact number yet but ACF have confirmed that they will follow the same ratio which they currently follow for the ongoing GAC grant agreement).
Question: We prefer our donations be used for cash transfers or food relief. Nonetheless, what type of other services, if any, other than food relief or cash transfer will be provided with our donations?
Response: We are involved in a number of projects including: (a) in Cox's Bazaar we are doing diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition, operating community kitchens, and conducting infection prevention communications, and (b) In Dhaka, we are supporting local organizations that provide food supplies to vulnerable people who are unemployed or blocked by the lockdown. However, as far as your donations are concerned we can use them in the two ongoing projects mentioned earlier.
Question: Can you ensure our donation money is spent only on food relief or cash transfer? If not, can you provide a list of services our fund will be used for?
Response: We can ensure that we spend the donation only on cooked food in the two Rohingya refugee camps and the Cox’s Bazar city SARI-ITC.
Question: Are you able to customize your food relief or cash transfer efforts based on what we want the donation to be used for?
Response: No, we are not.
Question: Do you have any mechanism to ensure transparency of exactly where our money is going?
Response: Yes, we will be able to provide the required documents, which will confirm the food distribution was completed.We are also externally audited every year, and our larger projects are audited upon completion as well.
Question: Can you give us an estimate of what percentage of our donation is used up in overhead cost i.e. if we donate 1000 USD, what fraction of that will go directly to the poor?
Response: At SARI-ITC per person per meal cost is BDT 141 nearly CAD 2.23 per meal. And the daily cost per person is BDT 423 which is nearly CAD 6.70 per day. So with CAD 1000 we can serve nearly 450 meals or can cover 15 people for 10 days each. Cooked Meal and the menu is decided based on the daily calorie requirement for the patients it is served to and also advised by civil surgeon office.
Question: Is your organization secular or religiously-affiliated? Does this affect who you serve?
Response: Completely secular. Action Against Hunger maintains a strict political and religious neutrality.
Question: Can you give us a very brief history of your relevant past efforts that makes you uniquely suited to carry out relief efforts in the face of Covid-19?
Response: We are well-suited to respond to Covid-19 in Bangladesh for 2 reasons: 1) We have worked in Bangladesh since 2007 and are well placed to support communities most in need. 2) We have extensive experience with infection control, given our involvement in containing Ebola in West Africa in 2014/15. Read more on our blog: https://actionagainsthunger.ca/spread-of-covid-19/.
Question: Do you have any mechanism in place to ensure that you are aware of which households are getting help from the government, so as to avoid overlapping coverage with government efforts?
Response: Our teams are coordinating with both the government and other local organizations.