TBHF opens nominations for the ‘Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support’ 2024.

The Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA) has opened nominations for its 8th annual edition, calling on humanitarian changemakers in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and beyond to participate in one of the world’s leading honours presented to NGOs whose exemplary efforts have significantly improved the lives of refugees and internally displaced people, and consistently contributed in promoting a culture of peace and humanitarian services.

Nominations are accepted from September 5 – November 15, 2023 through the official nomination portal https://tbhf.ae/sharjah-international-award/.

Organised by The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian non-profit dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), SIARA has received over 2,000 applications from 40 countries around the world throughout it’s editions, which reflects the award’s leading role in recognising, applauding and showcasing a diverse array of the world’s most innovative and impactful programmes and initiatives in the humanitarian development sector.

During its past few editions, SIARA has highlighted the importance of a holistic and sustainable humanitarian support, honouring nonprofits who have been involved in designing cultural festivals at refugee camps, enabled migration of refugees to countries where they can be employed for their skills,  and engaged displaced populations in various artistic and cultural pursuits. By highlighting such examples, TBHF has underlined the fact that displaced people are human beings with similar dreams and aspirations like any other person, and while their basic needs of food, shelter, security, healthcare and education must be fulfilled, the opportunities they need to fully flourish as equal and contributing members of society must be provided.

Eligibility criteria

SIARA is awarded to legally registered non-profit organisations that are working on social and humanitarian programmes and activities for a minimum of one year prior to nomination. In addition, their values and conduct must be compatible with that of TBHF and UNHCR. Organisations can choose to self-nominate or be nominated by other individuals or organisations.

The nominees are evaluated based on the impact of their work in bringing about tangible benefits within refugee or displaced communities. Innovative practices that boost overall sustainability of programmes and project activities, gender sensitivity in the planning and implementation of these projects, and demonstrable ability to address humanitarian gaps, especially in emergency situations, are some of the other important criteria.

Mariam Al Hammadi: SIARA celebrates unsung heroes and their invaluable work. 

Encouraging humanitarian champions and changemakers from around the world to participate in SIARA 2024, Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, noted: “Humanitarian work is not merely a collection of charitable acts but a paramount sector that drives sustainable and inclusive global development. SIARA, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. bin Sultan Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his Wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF and Eminent Advocate of UNHCR, is designed to bestow formal global recognition upon exceptional humanitarian endeavours, particularly in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The award seeks to promote and advance the development of exemplary practices and high standards”.

“The contributions of organisations tirelessly dedicated to creating a more just and inclusive world for the most vulnerable populations are beyond measure. SIARA celebrates these unsung heroes and their invaluable work. Beyond providing a prestigious platform for humanitarian champions to share their impactful narratives and raise awareness about their missions, SIARA offers substantial funding through its award. This not only helps them garner global attention for their tireless efforts, but also encourages enthusiastic participation in the upcoming editions,” she added.