The Syria Cross-border Humanitarian Fund (SCHF) is a multi-donor Country Based Pooled Fund (CBPF) established in 2014 following UN Security Resolutions 2139 and 2165 in view of the magnitude and complexity of the Syria crisis and the need for alternative ways to deliver humanitarian assistance inside Syria.
The SCHF enables humanitarian partners, particularly Syrian organizations, to expand and support the delivery of humanitarian assistance across border and conflict lines. The Fund supports projects and activities in line with the Syrian Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the Fund’s Operational Manual.
Under the leadership of the Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, the main objective of the SCHF is to provide predictable, timely and consistent resources to partners thereby expanding the delivery of humanitarian assistance to support life-saving and life sustaining activities, focusing on most urgent needs and filling critical gaps. In doing so, the SCHF seeks to improve the relevance and coherence of humanitarian response by strategically funding underfunded priorities and underserved areas as identified under the HRP framework.
SCHF supports the following programmatic objectives:
- Promote needs-based assistance and amplify the quality of humanitarian response, including but not limited to accountability to affected populations, gender and protection mainstreaming.
- Promote the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and the Grand Bargain commitments agreed upon in 2016, in line with the recommendations of the Pooled Fund Working Group and SCHF’s main objective. This pertains in particular to the objective of 15% of HRP funding being channeled through the pooled funding mechanisms, the principle of unearmarked humanitarian funding, as well as localisation of aid.
- Pursue its capacity strengthening activities as required and in collaboration with other existing capacity strengthening initiatives to maximize impact of different initiatives, building on the achievements of Fund since 2014 in assisting to increase/build the capacity of new and existing humanitarian partners particularly Syrian NGOs.
Eligible Syria Cross-border Humanitarian Fund (SCHF) recipients include Syrian and international NGOs, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements and UN agencies. One of the Fund’s key objectives has been to maximize engagement with Syrian NGOs (local, national and diaspora NGOs) to ensure better access to the people in need, especially in Northern Syria. As a result, over the past few years, the SCHF has grown into a critical funding mechanism for Syrian NGOs with a large part of its funding allocated to local partners.
Interested NGOs participate in a three-step eligibility assessment process to become SCHF partners and apply for funding under the SCHF allocations:
- Due Diligence (DD)
- Capacity Assessment (CA)
The eligibility process is applicable to all humanitarian actors who are willing to become a Country Based Pooled Fund (CBPF) partner, except UN agencies. The outcome of the capacity assessment determines whether a partner is eligible to the Fund, as well as the partner’s risk level. Risk level is a dynamic rating that can change over time based on the partner’s performance as a SCHF grantee, which is assessed regularly. Such assessments can trigger changes in the risk level (High, Medium, Low).
Under the direction of the Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator (DRHC), SCHF supports the timely allocation and disbursement of resources to the most critical humanitarian needs, as defined in the Humanitarian Response Plan. In order to meet this goal, the SCHF has two inclusive, transparent and efficient allocation processes:
- Standard allocation: (through a call for proposals) It will be issued on a periodic basis at the discretion of the DRHC and linked to the priorities of the HRP. With support from the Humanitarian Financing Unit (HFU), the DRHC publishes an allocation strategy that specifies the sectors and activities eligible for funding. The allocation strategy paper also lists key strategic and technical criteria to which project proposals must adhere, including beneficiary targeting, monitoring requirements and guidance on cross-cutting issues of access, protection mainstreaming and gender responsiveness in humanitarian response.
- Reserve allocation: It is intended for rapid and flexible allocation of funds in the event of unforeseen circumstances, emergencies or contextually relevant needs (NFI, FSL, Health, logistics, etc.). It is used to provide an immediate response in areas not within the HRP as well as regions not prioritized in the standard allocation where need has been demonstrated. Reserve allocations are designed to be quicker than the standard allocation process. Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis and are considered on a first-come-first-served basis or based on the decision of the DRHC to trigger a reserve allocation. The necessity and size of the reserve allocation will be determined by the Advisory Board and the DRHC.
Governance, policy, and guidance
The overall management of the SCHF is carried out on behalf of the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) and rests with the Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator (DRHC). The DRCH is advised by an Advisory Board and is supported in its daily activities by the OCHA Humanitarian Financing Unit (HFU). The overall supervision rests with OCHA Head of Office to ensure an adequate and efficient management of the Fund.
The Advisory Board (AB) supports the DRHC in developing an overall strategy and overseeing the performance of the Fund. It advises on strategic and policy issues and ensures the views of donors, UN agencies and the NGO community are represented.
Suzanna Tkalec, Head of Office
Ms. Anne-Sophie Lebeux, Fund Manager