Tips for aid agencies
German humanitarian Aid
Allocations from the Federal Foreign Office budget for Government humanitarian aid which is not part of development aid
The chief objective of humanitarian aid is to move as quickly as possible to save the lives of people at risk and keep them alive in emergencies, as caused by natural disasters, major accidents or violence, whether in international wars or civil conflicts. The humanitarian aid budget cannot, on the other hand, be used to finance more long-term development-aid or structural-assistance projects. Nor can it serve projects within Germany or individual humanitarian cases (e.g. medical treatment).
We recommend that you call the Task Force for Humanitarian Aid before applying, to establish whether or not the project you are planning can be financed using the humanitarian aid budget.
The job of humanitarian aid is to react quickly and flexibly to crisis situations. The Federal Foreign Office’s humanitarian aid prioritizes emergency survival measures. The aim is to ease dramatic shortages within the duration of short-term projects (one to six months at most).
The Federal Foreign Office cannot fund any measures which fall into the category of development policy. These include any which serve to combat poverty generally or to establish structures (e.g. elements of the health-care sector, post-flood reconstruction, ensuring food safety or fighting endemic diseases such as malaria or AIDS). Such measures can only receive funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The legal basis for the allocation of funding is the Federal Budget Code. The Code cannot be used to establish a legal claim to funding.
When allocating funds to aid agencies, the Federal Foreign Office adheres to its Funding Policy for Humanitarian Aid Projects, which became valid on 1 January 2008. The Funding Policy contains detailed information about what projects can receive Federal Foreign Office funding as well as the type and scope of those allocations and the procedure to be followed.
How to apply
A variety of factors – such as the nature and extent of the humanitarian crisis and the type of project in question – make it necessary to require different things of different applications. The following summary should not therefore be understood as a comprehensive catalogue of all the criteria which may be relevant but rather as a list of those fundamental points which any application must cover. Please note that the application must be submitted before the project begins.
We recommend first phoning or emailing us to outline your project. We will send you a model application and financial plan for your formal application during the course of this initial correspondence. Only once the Task Force for Humanitarian Aid has agreed to the final draft of the application and financial plan (at the latest on the date when the funding applied for would be paid) should a signed copy bearing the stamp of the applying agency be posted to the Federal Foreign Office.
Every application must contain the applying agency’s full address, telephone and fax number and designated contact person responsible for the project in question. If this is the first time the Federal Foreign Office has received a funding application from your agency, we will also need the following information:
- your agency’s previous activities in the field of humanitarian aid
- your agency’s previous projects financed using public funds (including EU/ECHO or UN/UNHCR funds), with their date and reference number
- whether or not the German Central Institute for Social Issues has recognized your agency by granting it the Institute’s seal
- your agency’s statute and annual report
Non-governmental organizations which apply are expected to have had experience in humanitarian aid and in dealing with donations or public funds. They must also be non-profit-making and accept the Federal Government’s arrangements for funding and accounting. We cannot finance institutions as such, Federal Foreign Office funding being exclusively reserved for projects and specific measures.
Applicants also need to detail their experience of the country for which the project is planned, what presence they have there at the time of application (such as an office or staff on the ground, whether seconded or locally employed) and whether the agency will carry out the project itself or (in part) through a partner organization.
The application should also give a detailed description of the project.
- Where is the emergency?
- What sort of an emergency is it?
- What target group is the project intended to help?
- Who established what was required?
- By what practical and financial means is the emergency to be combated?
- What kind of aid supplies, and in what amounts, does the project cover, where are they to be acquired (locally, in Germany or in a third country) and how are they to be transported?
- Who will distribute the aid supplies?
- What time frame does the project cover?
- How can this project be coordinated with measures being taken by others, such as other aid agencies and the local authorities?
Your formal application must include a cost and financing plan. This forms the basis of our calculations to determine the amount of expenditure eligible for allocations. Only the expenditure for which details are given in the financial plan can be recognized as eligible for allocations in the final account.
The financial plan must have the following sections:
- a list of the items of expenditure required to fulfil the project aims (outlining prices and amounts)
- an outline of how you plan to finance these items
- your agency’s available own resources (including any donations already received)
- any confirmed contributions from third parties
- the contribution you are applying to receive from the Federal Foreign Office
Type of funding
The Federal Foreign Office usually pursues a policy of deficit funding. This means that the applying agency funds its project as much as it can from its own resources. The Federal Foreign Office only provides funds for those items of expenditure which the agency’s own resources do not cover (principle of subsidiarity).
Principles of humanitarian aid
The aim of German humanitarian aid is to provide vital emergency assistance to people who are in need as a result of natural disasters or violent conflict in their countries. Our humanitarian aid is
- based on the principle of subsidiarity, meaning that we help when the requisite assistance cannot by provided by local civil society or government authorities
- aligned with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence
- short-term, which means that, unlike development aid, our measures are implemented within a matter of days and their timeframes limited to the period of extreme emergency
The Federal Foreign Office works closely with philanthropic and humanitarian non-governmental organizations as well as the humanitarian institutions of the United Nations to implement aid projects.
The Task Force for Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office supports
- emergency humanitarian assistance and disaster relief
- aid for refugees abroad
- disaster prevention, particularly within the framework of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and, specifically, the German Committee for Disaster Reduction
- humanitarian demining
Although disaster prevention and humanitarian demining do not strictly fit the definition of humanitarian aid, they are nevertheless funded by the same division at the Federal Foreign Office, since the experience gathered through the provision of emergency aid is highly relevant to the development of disaster-prevention and demining mechanisms.