IKEA Foundation is helping UNHCR deliver aid where it's needed most with
a unique 'knowledge donation' from IKEA logistics experts
LEIDEN, the Netherlands, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ - The IKEA Foundation is
constantly looking to see how resources can make the greatest positive
impact on the lives of millions of children living in poverty in
developing countries. With their long-term partner the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), this has led to a unique
donation: IKEA's logistics knowledge.
Every year millions of children and their families are forced to flee
their homes, because of famine, war or persecution, and when they do it
is often UNHCR that offers their first hope of safety. At any given
time UNHCR has the capacity to respond to a new emergency, assisting up
to 600,000 people, within 72 hours. When every minute counts,
everything from how a warehouse is designed to how a shelter tent is
packed makes a big difference.
"For most people, when they think of a refugee camp it is already in
place and full of people but in the first hours of an emergency, the
biggest challenge for UNHCR is ensuring that the camp is set up quickly
and efficiently. The project with the IKEA Foundation is helping UNHCR
to save time and resources when we most need to" says Olivier Delarue,
Senior Advisor on Private Sector Partnerships of UNHCR Innovation.
The 'knowledge donation' from the IKEA Foundation brings together
logistics experts from IKEA and UNHCR. To date, nine workshops have
been held at IKEA offices in Älmhult, Sweden, most recently on 4th and 5th June 2012. The workshops have focused on specialist areas including:
Warehouse network design
By sharing their expertise and knowledge, IKEA co-workers have been able
to take the skills that are the core of the IKEA way of working - low
prices, simple and efficient packaging, stackable products and much
more, and see them used to help many millions more people have a place
to call home.
"IKEA is always looking at how to make products easier to pack or to
move, whether large or small; how to reduce costs and keep the high
quality of a product. These are skills that can prove invaluable to
our partners at UNHCR and can help make their jobs that little bit
easier," said Bo Ericson, the project leader at IKEA who has been
actively involved in the workshops.
UNHCR estimates that there are at least 42.5 million refugees and
displaced persons worldwide, and it is estimated that the majority are
children. "World Refugee Day is the perfect day for everyone to think
about how they can make a unique contribution to help refugee children
and families." said Per Heggenes, CEO, IKEA Foundation. "The IKEA
Foundation believes every child should have a safe place to call home,
and we believe sharing the skills and expertise of our co-workers at
IKEA will help make this a reality for millions of refugee children."
Since 2009, IKEA Foundation has funded UNHCR projects that provide
shelter, care, education and training within refugee camps giving
children the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and
their families. Last year, IKEA Foundation awarded UNHCR a grant of
€43.4 million to fund an innovative 3-year partnership to provide
shelter and care for 120,000 families fleeing famine and conflict in
the Horn of Africa.
About IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth
in developing countries by funding holistic, long-term programmes that
can create substantial, lasting change. The Foundation works with
strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve
large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child's life: a
place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and
sustainable family income. Currently-funded programmes benefit an
estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.IKEAfoundation.org .
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
was created 60 years ago by the United Nations to lead and coordinate
international action to protect refugees and solve refugee problems.
Since then, the agency has provided life-saving help and protection to
millions of refugees and other people displaced by conflict and
persecution. UNHCR has twice received the Nobel Peace Prize in
recognition of its work. Worldwide there are some 43 million refugees,
internally displaced people, and asylum seekers, and most of these
people are under UNHCR's care. The UN refugee agency is also working to
end the plight of the world's estimated 12 million stateless people.
UNHCR is present in 126 countries. Over 80% of its staff work in field
locations, close to refugees.
SOURCE IKEA Canada
For further information:
Media Contact: Jonathan.Spampinato@ikeafoundation.org - Head of Communications & Strategic Planning, Cell: (+31) 611 756 336