Author(s): Wee Beng Geok & Yang Lishan
Abstract: Mercy Relief, a small disaster relief and sustainable development organisation, was set up as a charity in 2003. Based in Singapore, it started with small humanitarian projects in the region. This changed when a tsunami swept across the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day 2004, affecting many parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia. Mercy Relief was quickly drawn into a larger ecosystem of disaster relief operations, and took on a pivotal role in Singapore’s tsunami relief aid process in Sumatra. Other disaster relief projects followed soon after. It also initiated a number of small developmental projects in crisis-prone areas as a risk reduction strategy for managing possible future crisis events. At the end of 2013, as the charity moved into its second decade of operations, the operating environment for groups involved in international humanitarian disaster relief was becoming more complex. Furthermore, having successfully completed its first decade, Singapore’s only independent non-governmental organisation (NGO) involved in humanitarian disaster relief, had to manage the organisational challenges that came with the next stage of its growth and development. How should Mercy Relief address these issues and manage the limited resources it had to enhance the organisation’s sustainability and operational effectiveness? What strategies should it adopt to secure the necessary funds, acquire other resources and bolster support from donors to contribute to the costs of operating an ongoing disaster relief organisation?