A growing refugee crisis and the impact of the IRC

Typically to be in a growth business is a good thing... but that's not the case with the work of The International Rescue Committee (IRC). Unfortunately, the population of distressed refugees has reached alarming proportions and the plight of refugees around the world continues to dominate headlines and global discussions. 

Mindful of that growth, Madeline Fackler, CIO of the IRC, and the entire organization remain steadfast and and laser focused on their mission to, "help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future."

A glance at a few of the numbers help paint the picture -- in 2018, the IRC and their partners provided 1.6 million children with schooling and education opportunities; they trained ~24,000 individuals on child protection, gender-based violence and protection, and service delivery; and they reached 1.2 million people with human rights awareness campaigns. The numbers go on and on with the IRC's impactful work providing humanitarian assistance, developing safe spaces for children, women and girls, and supporting businesses and economic empowerment programs.  And all of this in some of the "most difficult places on earth."

International Rescue Committee

To maximize their resources and impact, Fackler is well aware that having the best and most efficient technology is critical.  With a presence in more than 40 countries and 26 U.S. cities, with 13,000 staff and 10,000 additional volunteers, and as the only organization that works with refugees both internationally and in the U.S., Fackler was quick to look for opportunities to better equip staff and volunteers when she joined the organization. One of her first moves was to increase the number of global sites with successful baseline connectivity -- increasing connectivity up from 33% up to 96%.  This made a significant difference in work efficiency and also saw an extremely positive impact on employee morale.

International Rescue Committee

Fackler also heard from employees about how hard it was to sort though information and find critical documents in their day to day work. So another key move was to integrate Box as the content management platform with the IRC intranet platform. The result is now a "lightning-fast" method for employees to access their critical documents no matter where they are located around the world.  Box technology has also been integrated into the IRC grant tracking system. The IRC may have as many as 700 grant applications in process at any one time, so the ability to track all interactions with donors, and easily find and share grant information is extremely beneficial to spare precious time in the workday.

Like many of their peers, partners are critical in the IRC's work; in fact, they engage with around 1,000 external partners. Collaboration is vital on the front lines, but hand-in-hand with this is also the importance of security.  Fackler has a significantly increased comfort level and confidence as they share and access information based on the inherent security that comes with the Box solution. 

Finally, a focus on the "right technology partners" has been an important component of the digital journey for the IRC.  Fackler continues to handpick best-of-breed platforms (some of which participate in the #ImpactCloud Coalition) that integrate well with their technology stack, and then socializes and rolls out training to ensure successful change management and adoption.

The IRC is committed to staying in country and supporting families, "long after the headlines fade."  And yet, in this growth business, there are always new areas of need emerging.  To continue their critical work in some of most challenging situations globally, Fackler and team will continue to leverage the "best possible tools" to enable employees and volunteers, maximize the impact of their programs, and serve the growing population of distressed refugees trying to survive, recover and rebuild their lives. 

International Rescue Committee

To learn more about the IRC or donate to their efforts, please visit their website here. Read a more in-depth story about the IRC and their digital transformation journey on our website here

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