challenges facing the displaced. “The foundation is not humanitarian by definition, we are more long-term development,” she says. “We recognise the In Lebanon the foundation is working to improve poor need to respond when people are in need but we also look at sanitation through a project to develop new latrines—and in it as an opportunity. If we say that all life is of equal value, in the process perhaps turn waste into energy, fertiliser or even emergency situations these lives also have equal value, so [we usable water. The new latrines will be tested later this year. look at] how can we take our long-term innovative methods “And if it is working, guess what? It is not just for humanitarian to improve the way we are doing the day-to-day humanitarian emergencies or for refugees, it would help the whole society,” response.” she says, sitting in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton DIFC, a world Bemo’s work can involve providing emergency grants to away from the crowded settlements she had visited just days before. “These are the things I think are a big opportunity if partners in the immediate aftermath of a humanitarian disaster we can find the right solution.” or introducing innovations proven in a development setting and adapting them to a crisis situation. That Bemo is in the UAE for the annual might mean the quick introduction of a Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and new vaccine during a disease outbreak or Development conference, which this year something as simple as encouraging the focused on aid and innovation, a subject practice of skin-to-skin contact for mothers close to the ethos of the Gates foundation. Innovation, she believes, does not have to and newborns during a crisis. One ongoing emergency that Bemo has mean new technological advances but could been working on recently is the massive be something as simple as listening to others Syrian refugee crisis. After five years of and acknowledging there might be different conflict, more than 4.8 million Syrian ways to approach a problem. refugees have fled to Jordan, Lebanon, “I think understanding that as you Turkey, Egypt and Iraq. Meanwhile Syrians progress, you learn a bit more every day continue to attempt to reach Europe, and you should be flexible enough in your mind to accept sometimes you learn more adding to the hundreds of thousands who have already risked their lives to get to from people who are in the middle of a countries such as Germany. crisis situation [by] thinking about them Bemo recently travelled to Jordan and and listening to them,” she says. “Sometimes you learn Lebanon to visit Syrian refugee camps, “Learning that humility is the key to where she saw for herself the multitude of what we are doing in the day-to-day.” more from people who
are in the middle of a crisis situation [by] thinking about them and listening to them”
2016 MAY / JUNE
Published on May 1, 2016
Barack Obama graces the cover of the May/June issue of Global Citizen magazine. A niche business and luxury lifestyle title for high net wor...