Relief International's team traverses a flooded dirt road in northeastern South Sudan to get to a clinic in a remote community. Elie Gardner/RI
Who we are

About Us

OUR APPROACH

We specialize in fragile settings.

There is one constant in fragile settings: they don’t follow a pattern.

Today, we will work to deliver life-saving aid to millions of people living on the edge of survival. Tomorrow, when the crisis subsides, we will work alongside community members to restore job opportunities, build critical infrastructure, and develop education programs. And the day after that we will be ready for the next chapter. In fragile settings, every day brings new opportunities and fresh challenges.

Relief International’s 5,100 staff and volunteers have the experience and agility to meet the ever-changing needs of populations in vulnerable situations. We partner with them to develop a strategy for the future and create more enduring pathways to stability.

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Our work in 2020

Facing the Pandemic Together

The 2020 Annual Report showcases the life-changing work of Relief International staff in the world’s most fragile settings as we stood alongside communities hit hard by the pandemic.

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About Relief International

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About Relief International

Watch to learn more about who we are and what we do.

Stories from the field

See our work in action

Jordan

Early Moments: The Youngest Syrian Refugees Learn Through Play

Building blocks and children’s books are scattered across the center’s colorful mat floors, and peals of laughter echo throughout the room. This space looks like any other daycare, but it’s not. This one is special. It provides a glimmer of hope in the lives of the youngest Syrian refugees.

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South Sudan

Training Female Entrepreneurs to be Market Leaders

In 2016, a vocational training center for both refugees and the host community was set up in Bunj. Here, 25 women are being trained in food preparation and baking.

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Bangladesh

“I was so happy to see the staff take care of my baby as if he were their own”

Safely delivered during COVID-19

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Jordan

Early Moments: The Youngest Syrian Refugees Learn Through Play

South Sudan. Elie Gardner/RI

South Sudan

Training Female Entrepreneurs to be Market Leaders

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Bangladesh

“I was so happy to see the staff take care of my baby as if he were their own”

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South Sudan. Elie Gardner/RI
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Early Moments: The Youngest Syrian Refugees Learn Through Play

South Sudan. Elie Gardner/RI

Training Female Entrepreneurs to be Market Leaders

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“I was so happy to see the staff take care of my baby as if he were their own”

Our Mission, Vision & Values

Our work is guided by the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence.

Sudan. Elie Gardner/RI

We partner with communities in fragile settings to save lives and build resilience, dignity, and long-term well-being.

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Rachel Elkind/RI

All communities in fragile settings can achieve long-term well-being.

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Jordan. Elie Gardner/RI

Our values are rooted in ethics and mutual respect – integrity, adaptability, collaboration, inclusivity, and sustainability.

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Sudan. Elie Gardner/RI

We partner with communities in fragile settings to save lives and build resilience, dignity, and long-term well-being.

+ Read more
Rachel Elkind/RI

All communities in fragile settings can achieve long-term well-being.

+ Read more
Jordan. Elie Gardner/RI

Our values are rooted in ethics and mutual respect – integrity, adaptability, collaboration, inclusivity, and sustainability.

+ Read more

Our Partners

Relief International is grateful to the dozens of foundation and government donors who support our work.

AN INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE

Our History

Relief International is a 60-year-old development and humanitarian nonprofit alliance that is the product of mergers and alliances between four organizations.

Today, our team totals more than 7,300 staff and local volunteers working in 16 countries across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Scroll through the timeline below to learn more about our history from 1958 through the present day.

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Timeline

1958

Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) is formed by a group of scientists and engineers employed by General Electric. Focused on poverty alleviation, VITA teams work through public-private partnerships to expand access to information, financial services, and technology in developing communities.

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Timeline

1977

Appropriate Technologies International is founded in response to the Small is Beautiful Movement, which sought to expand access to affordable, simple technologies and technical knowledge. The organization  later changed its name to Enterprise Works Worldwide to reflect an emphasis on livelihoods.

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Timeline

1990

Relief International is founded in Los Angeles in response to the Manjil-Rudbar earthquake, Iran’s worst natural disaster on record. Our focus grew to encompass emergency relief and long-term development programs in 10 countries before merging with peer organizations to expand our global impact.

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Timeline

1994

Appropriate Technologies International launches programs that use small technology to earn carbon credits, including through a reduction of methane emissions in India’s dairy industry and producing fuel-efficient cook stoves in West Africa.

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Timeline

2001

Relief International launches its first operations in Afghanistan, where we provide a combination of emergency aid and longer-term development programs to internally displaced people. We have operated in Afghanistan continuously ever since.

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Timeline

2003

Relief International-UK is founded in London to establish a European affiliate. We also launch our first large-scale collaboration with DFID, responding to drought in Niger. Our footprint in Europe expands significantly, bringing access to talented staff and financial support from donor governments.

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Timeline

2003

A 6.6 magnitude earthquake strikes the city of Bam in Iran, destroying 70% of residential areas. Relief International teams are among the first responders. We reconstruct 850 houses, a library, a bakery, and a computer center. We also establish women self-help groups and micro loan pools in two villages.

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Timeline

2004

In response to brutal clashes in the Darfur region of Sudan, Relief International launches emergency healthcare operations in the newly formed ZamZam camp, which houses an estimated 200,000 people. Now, more than a decade later, we remain the only organization providing healthcare in ZamZam.

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Timeline

2005

Enterprise Works Worldwide merges with VITA, bringing together expertise of working with local businesses and organizations in 100 countries. EWV supports profit-making enterprises to create employment and increase productivity, addressing development challenges for populations entrenched in poverty.

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Timeline

2006

Relief International merges with Schools Online, founded in 1996 by Silicon Valley technologists. Schools Online connects 6,400 schools in 36 countries to the Internet. The merger paved the way for Relief International’s expansion in education, and the use of technology  to strengthen programming.

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Timeline

2009

After the Haiti earthquake, Relief International teams work to improve access to healthcare, safe water, sanitation, and emergency shelter for 230,000 people. We also construct and operate a center where women and girls in vulnerable situations can go to continue their education and learn leadership skills.

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Timeline

2009

Relief International merges with Enterprise Works/VITA. Our combined expertise, skills, and resources accelerate Relief International’s growth in fragile settings, including new programs in the Philippines, Guinea, Haiti, Libya, Niger, and Senegal.

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Timeline

2012

In response to the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Relief International expands our long-standing programming in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan to meet the urgent needs of Syrian refugees uprooted by the civil war. Our work to support Syrians continues to the present day.

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Timeline

2013

Typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines, cutting off 16 million people from electricity, healthcare, and clean water. We launch our first large-scale disaster response in the country, providing aid to nine communities in Leyte province. We continue to partner with these communities to rebuild and prepare for future storms.

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Timeline

2014

The largest outbreak of Ebola is declared in Guinea. Relief International responds, working with local communities to prevent the spread of the disease through awareness activities and the distribution of hygiene kits. One year later, Guinea is declared “Ebola-free.”

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Timeline

2015

On April 25, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake strikes the South Asian country of Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people and injuring 22,000 others. In the immediate aftermath of the quake, Relief International teams distribute shelter kits to 2,600 households in 65 villages across the country.

Ghana. RI/RI Staff
Timeline

2016

We partner with local communities in Ghana and international CO2 emissions experts to design and produce fuel-efficient Gyapa cookstoves. In June 2016, Relief International sells its one millionth Gyapa. The award-winning business is now self-sustaining and one of West Africa’s leading social enterprises.

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Timeline

2017

More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees flee Myanmar for safety in Bangladesh. Most settle in Cox’s Bazar, home to the world’s largest refugee camp. Relief International rapidly expands our programming in Bangladesh to provide life-saving healthcare, protection, and mental health services to refugees.

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Timeline

2018

Medical Refresher Courses for Afghans (MRCA), a French nonprofit providing healthcare services in Afghanistan, joins the Relief International alliance. Under this new partnership, MRCA/Relief International – France continues to strengthen Afghanistan’s healthcare system, while complementing our operations across the globe.

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Timeline

2019

Catastrophic flooding overtakes 28 of Iran’s 31 provinces. Relief International’s longstanding history of responding to natural disasters in Iran enables our teams to be first on the ground in the worst-affected provinces. We distribute hygiene kits and cash cards to families whose homes were destroyed by the floods.

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Timeline

2021

Ann Koontz becomes Chief Executive Officer of Relief International.

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1958
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1977
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1990
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1994
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2001
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2003
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2004
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2005
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2006
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2009
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2012
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2013
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2014
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2015
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2016
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2017
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2018
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2019
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2021

Get to know us

Abdullah recently passed the Tawjihi, Jordan's general secondary examination, after attending homework support groups at Relief International's center in Village 5 of Azraq camp in Jordan. Elie Gardner/RI

Our Approach

Collaboration is at the core of our operations. We work alongside communities, local and national governments, and peer organizations to ensure we're delivering the right projects.

Relief International project officer Yones Simon (right) visits Sebit Anguk, 24, a member of a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) in Batil refugee camp, South Sudan. Elie Gardner/RI

Finances

The support of our donors, including individuals, foundations, and governments, makes our global reach possible. We are committed to being transparent and effective stewards of these investments.

Faida Abtosh and Maneno Ahmed work at the Gentil Tree Nursery in Maban, South Sudan. Elie Gardner/RI

Accountability

Relief International consistently receives the highest grades available for accountability and transparency.

Our People

Relief International Regional Directors, Country Directors and senior staff gather for a photo during an annual retreat. Luna Chelesta/RI

Leadership

Relief International's leaders come from a variety of places and backgrounds, and are united in their dedication to delivering sustainable solutions that put communities in vulnerable situations needs first.

Board Members

Board of Directors

Relief International's Board of Directors work alongside our leaders to ensure the highest standards of governance, and set the organization's strategy and direction.

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Advisory Council

Relief International's Advisory Council provides valuable technical support and expertise to the organization that advances our mission.

RI staff in Bangladesh. Rachel Elkind/RI
Careers at Relief International

Join a Team That's Driving Change

Relief International is always on the lookout for top talent with the expertise, experience, and passion to design and deliver world-class programs in the 16 countries where we work.

Contact Us

Our management staff supports the global Relief International network from the following offices:

OUR OFFICES