AIDEX Conference 2023: Joining forces and empowering local communities

In October, our team flew to Geneva to attend this year’s AIDEX Conference, bringing humanitarian leaders, local partners and NGOs together to discuss the world’s forgotten crises and humanitarian needs.

AIDEX presents a powerful opportunity to build collaboration, for common good

– Nicholas Rutherford, Managing Director of AIDEX and Development 2023

This year’s theme at AIDEX, ‘forgotten crises’, was a sobering yet deeply important topic. Discussions and workshops during the two-day conference shone a light on crises that lack prolific media attention, such as in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Chad and beyond.

Without an international spotlight, multiple communities across the globe are suffering the effects of conflict and natural disasters. To meet the growing needs of millions requiring humanitarian aid, we need a step change.

As stressed by Dominik Stillhart from Swiss Humanitarian Aid, “maintaining the status quo is not sufficient”. Together, NGOs and aid organisations must join forces to have greater, collective impact in the communities that need it.

True impact means localisation

Humanitarian action must be shaped by voices within affected communities, to ensure the problem is better understood and met with the right solution. Local communities must be empowered to rebuild their own lives in the long term. To do this, investment in locally-led organisations is crucial.

Local empowerment remains at our heart.

We upskill doctors living and working within conflict and catastrophe zones to become trainers themselves. We have trainers in northwest Syria, Palestine, Sudan, and in due course, Ukraine.

We don’t forget

Syria has long been out of the media spotlight, yet the northwest faces consistent bombardment and indiscriminate attacks, wounding and killing civilians and putting their already-fractured healthcare system under greater strain.

Since 2012, our Co-Founder David Nott has built a long-standing relationship of mutual respect and trust with Syrian doctors, something we sustain to this day. In May, we upskilled surgeons in northwest Syria to treat and rehabilitate those injured during the earthquake. 90% of our trainers were Syrian and the course was taught in Arabic – making our course even more accessible.

The media spotlight may move on, but we will continue to focus our attention and resources on crises for as long as we are needed.

Our latest training in Syria