Special Initiatives & Emergency Response

World Humanitarian Day: Shining a light on unseen emergencies

Every year on World Humanitarian Day, the IKEA Foundation honours the aid workers who risk their lives to protect others. This year we are highlighting Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the incredible, lifesaving medical care they deliver in some of the world’s most overlooked crises.

Around the world, MSF brings medical care to thousands of people suffering from emergencies that receive little or no public attention and are therefore very difficult to fund. We call them “unseen emergencies”.

Thanks to a special agreement with the IKEA Foundation, MSF can quickly access grants to help people survive unseen emergencies.

Over several years of watching MSF operate in many emergency situations, we have developed a partnership of trust and respect, so we can quickly grant them the funding they need and to lead the way for other donors to do the same.

“The grant agreement with MSF allows us to step in early when others do not,” explains Annemieke Tsike-Sossah de Jong, Head of the Reshaping Humanitarian Response Portfolio at the IKEA Foundation. “It allows us to bring attention to those crises and encourage other funders to step forward.”

Yemen conflict

Earlier this year, MSF requested funding for their work on the front line in Yemen, where a brutal conflict has displaced over two million people, killed over 10,000 and wounded more than 40,000. Hundreds of hospitals have been destroyed or lack the supplies and staff they need to continue functioning, leaving families with almost nowhere to turn for help.

MSF is treating trauma patients—civilians and wounded combatants without discrimination—and providing basic health services, such as maternity care. The IKEA Foundation is supporting their vital work with a grant of €2 million.

Six-day old Fadia Akram had an infection causing her fever and difficulty in feeding. She was admitted to the neonates ward in MSF supported hospital in Thi As Sufal district, Ibb govenorate.

“We don’t want our grantmaking to follow the news,” Annemieke says. “We want our grants to follow where children are suffering. We want to lead the way, making sure our partners can step in as soon as humanly possible but also encouraging other funders to step in as well.

Read more about the IKEA Foundation’s humanitarian grants

Visit MSF’s website