Each year, millions of dollars of gear and equipment are donated by organizations and governments around the world to Global South departments in need. Donations span different brands, levels of wear and usability – some useful and some much less. But for all the good intentions, this gear more often than not fails to make a lasting improvement on Emergency Services on the ground. ‘We encounter what we refer to as “donor syndrome” – a situation in which we are appreciative of gear we receive from charitable donors, but often the gear does not fit our needs. We can do better,’ said AC Member Itote Waruhiu of Kenya.
Donors work hard to be helpful, but the international system for offering donations — which is no real system at all — often leads to a mismatch of supply and need. Additionally, practitioners receive gear and equipment that comes with limited or no training, and much of that gear gets stuck in process – sometimes for years – in shipping, customs clearing, or internal disagreements between departments and leadership.
The GESA Advisory Council identified the key challenges and some simple solutions:
- Creating a quick needs assessment tool that departments can use to help them target donated equipment that will best address their specific needs
- Designing templated approaches to get donated items into the pipeline and out to the field, quickly, with common methods for shipment, agreements on customs clearance, and plans to break through other bottlenecks
- Developing a sustainable pipeline that includes both new and used gear and training to build longer-term connections between trainers, suppliers and departments across the Global North and South
We have the opportunity to make a real difference on the efficacy of the Emergency Services donation pipeline. Help GESA find solutions by applying for membership or joining the conversation at the GESAction Forum