AMAR's purpose is to relieve poverty, distress or suffering by providing medical, rehabilitative, financial, public health or educational assistance to individuals or communities in any part of the world, in particular, victims of war, civil disturbance, natural disaster or breaches of human rights.
AMAR's role is to bring public health and education to people who need it in areas where governments and the private sector lack capacity, and to work with local authorities to create structures and systems for the long term, built on a foundation of excellence and experience. Today AMAR delivers over one million medical consultations each year in Iraq and Lebanon through a network of 35 health centers, benefiting a catchment area of over 600,000 men, women and children.
AMAR was founded in 1991 by Baroness Nicholson as the one-off AMAR (Assisting Marsh Arabs and Refugees) Appeal to send much-needed relief to the thousands of Marsh Arabs fleeing persecution and the draining of the southern Iraqi marshlands in the aftermath of the first Gulf War . The word 'amar' also translates as 'the builder' in some Arabic dialects, so although the charity has since evolved far beyond this original remit, the AMAR name continues to this day, reminding us of our central mission â€” 'rebuilding lives'.
During the 1990s, in addition to providing thousands of tons of food, clothing and medical supplies for the refugees, AMAR developed a model using all-local staff to provide primary health care and education. The AMAR model is characterized by:
-A focus on women and children
-Extensive use of local women volunteers
-Local capacity- and institution-building
-Transition to self- governance
-Adherence to the highest international standards
-Working for all in need regardless of faith, background or nationality
It has proven a highly sustainable and cost-effective way to strengthen traumatised communities and has been implemented in several areas of civil disruption in the Middle East and South Asia. In 1996 AMAR extended its work to Lebanon and in 2003 formally began work inside Iraq. AMAR also responded to the earthquakes in Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan and Bam in Iran.
Our delivery of service rests on a firm understanding of the communities and countries within which we work, and a methodology of substantive research and survey work to identify those in most need.
AMAR has partnership agreements with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNESCO and UNHCR and is guided by WHO standards in relation to the organization's professional work.
What We Do
Literacy and Numeracy Skills: AMAR believes that basic literacy and numeracy is a fundamental human right, providing the foundations upon which all further learning is built. AMAR holds literacy and numeracy classes for approximately 50,000 children and adults each week, meeting the deferred educational needs of communities that would otherwise be unlikely to receive such services. Empowering Women: AMAR's work has always focused on women in the belief that they are the key to the health and education of the entire family. Our specialist maternal health units are a response to the disproportionately high need for such services as evidenced by AMAR's work since 1991, and AMAR has also noted that women are the most effective propagators of teachings and information learned in education programs. Professional Training: The key to the sustainability of AMAR's work is the continuous professional training of the Foundation's all-indigenous staff. Every one of our 2,000 doctors, medical staff, teachers, health volunteers and other personnel receive weekly and monthly training, supplemented by quarterly and annual conferences at a regional and national level.