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Novo Nordisk Foundation supports 15 projects to respond to global humanitarian emergencies

With ambitions to create the world’s most sustainable refugee settlement in Uganda, support vulnerable households in Myanmar and promote mental health in Jordan, the newly announced humanitarian projects granted support by the Novo Nordisk Foundation span broadly. However, they share a key common denominator: to address sustainability issues in humanitarian actions and gender inequality. In total, the Foundation has awarded DKK 27.2 million for 15 projects.

The 15 projects will take place in Lebanon, Syria, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, Jordan, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Turkey and Myanmar.

Two projects that will take place in Uganda complement each other. One project, led by CARE Denmark, aims at developing refugee settlements into productive and sustainable communities by providing solar-powered community kitchens that can reduce the need for firewood. The community kitchens will also help in removing an important communication barrier by enabling phone charging via the same facilities. Further, the project will help to build school kitchens and focus on reducing plastic waste and enabling sustainable food production.

The other project, led by Caritas Denmark, also focuses on refugee settlements and aims at ensuring access to safe water. The project is based on learnings from a previous project funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation to verify the impact of a water purification device. The project addresses a critical need for clean water for refugees while also reducing deforestation in the area. In addition to providing clean water, the project has integrated a way of recycling the water sacks (in collaboration with CARE Denmark), making the project even more sustainable.

With close to 1.5 million refugees in Uganda, the majority originating from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the need for increased access to food and clean water is severe.

Humanitarian emergencies and gender inequality amplified by COVID-19
Several of the projects aim at tackling gender-specific issues that have either been amplified by COVID-19 or have arisen as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Myanmar, the Danish Red Cross has received a grant for a project that will provide access to emergency healthcare, first aid and COVID-19 prevention. The project, Mitigating the Impact of Civil Unrest and COVID-19 in Myo Thit and Taung Dwin Gyi Townships, Magway Region, will target vulnerable households that, among others, include households with pregnant women, nursing mothers or disabled family members.

DanChurchAid (Folkekirkens Nødhjælp) will also work to address COVID-19-related issues through the project Women Aid Women: Humanitarian Response in Palestine. This project will target women whose livelihoods and well-being have been severely threatened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall objective is to enhance the economic coping capacity among vulnerable women who have been affected by COVID-19-related loss of income and reduced well-being.

“With our Humanitarian Support open call, we support the world’s most vulnerable populations affected by humanitarian crisis,” says Mette Ide Davidsen, Senior Programme Lead, Social & Humanitarian, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

“This year we have given priority to projects that focus on bridging gender inequalities. The projects in Myanmar and Palestine are examples of activities that seek to empower women who have been significantly affected by COVID-19 and have a dire need for support to get back on their feet. Furthermore, we are supporting projects in Lebanon and Ethiopia focusing on promoting sexual and reproductive health and the rights of women,” she says.

The grants have been awarded through the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s Humanitarian Support open call programme.

The 15 grant recipients and their projects

ADRA Denmark
Project title: Emergency Livelihood Support Towards Resilience (ELSTR) (Sudan (South Sudanese refugees))
Grant amount: DKK 1.6 million

CARE Denmark
Project title: CAMP+: Creating the World’s Most Sustainable Refugee Settlement (Uganda (Democratic Republic of the Congo))
Grant amount: DKK 2 million

Caritas Denmark
Project title: Testing a Sustainable Model for Safe Water Access (Uganda)
Grant amount: DKK 1.6 million

Cross Cultures Project Association
Project title: Youth Resilience in South Sudan
Grant amount: DKK 1.5 million

Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees
Project title: Livelihoods and Hygiene Support for Prolonged IDPs in Herat (Afghanistan)
Grant amount: DKK 2 million

DRC Danish Refugee Council
Project title: Increasing Access to Digital Employment for Syrian and Displacement-affected Youth (Turkey)
Grant amount: DKK 2 million

DanChurchAid (Folkekirkens Nødhjælp)
Project title: Women Aid Women: Humanitarian Response in Palestine
Grant amount: DKK 2 million

Project title: Social Cohesion and Community-based Protection through Street Sport and Youth Leadership (Somaliland, Somalia)
Grant amount: DKK 1.2 million

Human Rights Watch
Project title: Ensuring Rights-respecting Reconstruction and Humanitarian Aid Delivery in Syria
Grant amount: DKK 1.9 million

International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)
Project title: Specialized Mental Health Services and Supportive Direct Food Assistance to Vulnerable Syrian Refugees and Affected Host Country Nationals in Lebanon
Grant amount: DKK 1.6 million

IT University of Copenhagen
Project title: Syrian mHealth: Increasing Access to Mental Healthcare for the Syrian Refugees in Jordan
Grant amount: DKK 1.9 million

Project title: Responding to Increased Levels of Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Lebanon through Services and Durable Solutions
Grant amount: DKK 1.9 million

Project title: Support Girls’ and Boys’ Safe Return to School Learning in Response to IDPs Crisis (Mozambique)
Grant amount: DKK 2 million

Danish Red Cross
Project title: Mitigating the Impact of Civil Unrest and COVID-19 in Myo Thit and Taung Dwin Gyi Townships, Magway Region (Myanmar)
Grant amount: DKK 2 million

Danish Family Planning Association (Sex & Samfund)
Project title: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Services to Conflict-affected Communities in Tigray Region (Ethiopia)
Grant amount: DKK 1.7 million

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an independent Danish foundation with corporate interests. It has two objectives: 1) to provide a stable basis for the commercial and research activities of the companies in the Novo Group; and 2) to support scientific, humanitarian and social causes.

The vision of the Foundation is to contribute significantly to research and development that improves the lives of people and the sustainability of society. Since 2010, the Foundation has donated more than DKK 30 billion (€4 billion), primarily for research at public institutions and hospitals in Denmark and the other Nordic countries as well as research-based treatment and prevention of diabetes. Read more at

Further information

Marie-Louise Jersin, Senior Communications Partner, +45 3049 4957, [email protected]