UN’s Humanitarian IRIN Goes Independent

The humanitarian news service IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks), after nearly 20 years as part of the United Nations, announced five days ago that it will spin off to become an independent, non-profit media venture, with the support of a major private donor.

“IRIN is an important resource for humanitarian workers around the world,” said Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, adding that “this is the right time for the service to branch out”.

She welcomed the generous commitment from Jynwel Charitable Foundation “which has helped to secure its future as an independent news service”.

The new IRIN, starting 1 January, 2015, will be made possible with an initial commitment of $25 million which will be disbursed from the Hong Kong-based Jynwel Charitable Foundation over several years. The new headquarters will be based in Switzerland, with support from the UK-based Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Humanitarian Policy Group.

“IRIN’s transition presents a great opportunity for growth and revitalization,” said Jho Low, Director of Jynwel Charitable Foundation, adding that “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.”

Jynwel Charitable Foundation has provided support in global health, conservation and education since 2012. However, the multi-year commitment to IRIN is the Foundation’s first investment in the humanitarian sector.

“So many people – from those hit by crises to donors – tell us they rely on our insight and analysis,” said Ben Parker, co-founder of IRIN and its interim director, stressing that “this breakthrough will make all the difference and allow us to take the service to a whole new level of impact and relevance.”

IRIN is an award-winning humanitarian news and analysis service covering the parts of the world often under-reported, misunderstood or ignored. It started distributing humanitarian news about Central Africa by fax from a small office in Nairobi in 1995.

Over the years, it has delivered 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.

Source Credits: UN News Centre

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