(January 23, 2023) On May 20, 2020, The Charity Report released its first subscriber-only intelligence report The Cost of Conflict: How we measure the global failure in Syria.
The Cost of Conflict looks at how the involvement of three iNGOs deepened in Syria between 2009 to 2018 grew to such an intensity that it ended up costing them billions of dollars and scores of their staffs’ lives.
“In 2009, prior to the Arab Spring, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) had two staff people in Syria. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had 13 staff there,” said Gail Picco, editor in chief of The Charity Report. “By 2018, MSF had 1,081 staff, ICRC had 619 and UNICEF had many hundreds more staff in Syria. And the country was in ruins.”
The report is a story of war from the perspective of the people who are called upon to mitigate its humanitarian disaster. It is both a tale of leadership and perseverance, but also a story of the impossible ‘clean-up’ duties often delegated to charities.
While the Syrian civil war still rages, and using information published in their own annual reports, the intelligence report uses data from three humanitarian organizations to describe their involvement and perspective. Context is provided by contemporaneous news coverage and reference material listed in the end notes.
None of these organizations knew at the outset they would be involved in this conflict zone for almost a decade. The report reviews the trajectory of their involvement, the existing plateau, what it’s cost them so far and consider how the size of the ongoing catastrophic events in Syria influences their ability to achieve progress elsewhere.
“Perhaps knowledge of that evolution, their unique perspective and, the public and private cost can help us all make better decisions going forward, whether you are in a war zone or not,” says Picco. “There is no other news source offering this kind of intelligence about the charity sector anywhere in the world for any price.”