(GENEVA, November 20, 2014) -- After nearly 20 years as part of the United Nations, the humanitarian news service, IRIN, is spinning off to become an independent non-profit media venture, with the support of a major private donor.
IRIN is an award-winning humanitarian news and analysis service covering the parts of the world often under-reported, misunderstood or ignored. It delivers unique reporting from the frontlines of conflicts and natural disasters to 280,000 web visitors a month and more than 50,000 subscribers in almost every country. Its readership includes UN decision-makers, donor governments, academics, media and aid workers in the field. Its work is syndicated, republished and cited by news outlets and journals from around the world.
A new beginning starting January 1, 2015 will be made possible with an initial commitment of US $25 million, to be disbursed over several years, from the Hong Kong-based Jynwel Charitable Foundation. The new IRIN will be based in Switzerland, with support from the UK-based Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Humanitarian Policy Group.
The UN Humanitarian Chief, Valerie Amos, said: "IRIN is an important resource for humanitarian workers around the world. This is the right time for the service to branch out and we welcome the generous commitment from Jynwel Charitable Foundation which has helped to secure its future as an independent news service."
Jho Low, Director of Jynwel Charitable Foundation, added: "IRIN’s transition presents a great opportunity for growth and revitalization. IRIN has done fantastic work for nearly 20 years. It's time to give it the place on the world stage that it deserves. I believe in the vision and am excited by the potential."
Since 2012, Jynwel Charitable Foundation has supported a range of causes in global health, conservation and education. Major gifts of the Foundation include a 15 year commitment to MD Anderson Cancer Center to democratize access to cancer care, a 10-year commitment to Panthera, the leading wild cat conservation organization, and a 5-year commitment to National Geographic’s Pristine Seas to identify and preserve the last pristine areas in our oceans. The multi-year commitment to IRIN is the Foundation’s first investment in the humanitarian sector.
Ben Parker, co-founder of IRIN and its interim director, said: "So many people - from people hit by crises to donors - tell us they rely on our insight and analysis. This breakthrough will make all the difference and allow us to take the service to a whole new level of impact and relevance."
ODI’s Executive Director, Kevin Watkins, said: “We are delighted to support this transition for IRIN, and are excited at the prospect of an independent IRIN playing a leading role in providing up-to-date and on-the-ground analysis of humanitarian crises to inform policy and practice in the sector, in particular through our Humanitarian Policy Group.” ODI is the UK's leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues.
IRIN, originally the "Integrated Regional Information Networks", started distributing humanitarian news about Central Africa by fax from a small office in Nairobi in 1995. Over the years, its award-winning coverage expanded to the rest of Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East. IRIN publishes reports in English, French and Arabic and has a monthly online audience of 280,000 website visitors. It has around 100,000 articles and 30,000 photos in its archive. Its audience is drawn from the aid, media, diplomatic and non-profit communities in some 190 countries.
About Jynwel Charitable Foundation Limited:
Jynwel Charitable Foundation Limited (“Jynwel Foundation”) is the philanthropic initiative of Jynwel Capital, an international investment and advisory firm. Jynwel represents the third generation of the Low family business and philanthropy. Jynwel Foundation is built on the family’s heritage and vision for investing in society, and seeks to fund breakthrough programs that are working to solve the world’s toughest problems in global health, education and conservation.
About Overseas Development Institute:
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is a leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues. ODI’s mission is to inspire and inform policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty, the alleviation of suffering and the achievement of sustainable livelihoods, by locking together high-quality applied research, practical policy advice and policy-focused dissemination and debate.
About the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA's mission is to: mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies; advocate the rights of people in need; promote preparedness and prevention; and facilitate sustainable solutions.