UNHCR enters online fund-raising challenge for US$50,000 prize

UNHCR, as part of its growing use of social media, enters a special online fund-raising challenge that could net US$50,000 for displaced Somalis.

Helping Somalis: Newly arrived refugees wait to register in Dadaab, Kenya. The flow of arrivals shows no signs of slowing.  © UNHCR/E.Hockstein

GENEVA, October 8 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency, as part of its growing use of social media, has entered a special fund-raising challenge on a Facebook platform that could net US$50,000 to help forcibly displaced Somalis.

Charities and humanitarian organizations taking part in "America's Giving Challenge," which was launched Wednesday on Facebook Causes, have 30 days to gain the most individual donors.

"We will encourage our supporters on social media to help us raise money for the tens of thousands who have been forced from their homes in Somalia by donating and asking friends, family and colleagues to join in," said Suzanne Tremblay, the UNHCR fund-raising officer who specializes in appeals.

Somalia has been plagued by violence for almost two decades. Hundreds of thousands have fled overseas or sought refuge in other parts of their country. Each year, tens of thousands risk their lives by crossing the Gulf of Aden on smugglers' boats to reach Yemen.

Under America's Giving Challenge, the organization that inspires the most people to donate to their cause over the 30 days, regardless of the dollar amount, will receive the top prize of US$50,000. A second prize is worth US$25,000, while causes placing third to seventh will each get US$10,000. The challenge, sponsored by The Case Foundation and Parade magazine, will also be giving out daily prizes.

UNHCR is asking donors to help displaced Somalis by contributing through its Gimme Shelter Cause on Facebook. This is linked to the Gimme Shelter campaign launched almost a year ago with the help of American actor Ben Affleck and The Rolling Stones to raise funds and awareness about the forcibly displaced around the world.

The Gimme Shelter Cause was launched on Facebook earlier this year and has raised almost $60,000 from 135,000 members in the past six months. UNHCR invites all Facebook members to contribute to the Gimme Shelter Cause and help the refugee agency be among the top non-profit Causes during October.

Join the Cause: www.causes.com/refugee