Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Crisis Manager - Daleep Mukarji, Director, Christian Aid

Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Crisis Manager - Daleep Mukarji, Director, Christian Aid

Article excerpt

Daleep Mukarji is, understandably, a man in a hurry. Global relief charity Christian Aid is playing a pivotal role in raising funds and aiding the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Asian tsunami, and, along with the rest of his team, its director is in full crisis mode.

Mukarji is adamant that the charity's capacity to react to emergencies is core to its remit. 'We always have to build space for the unexpected,' he says. However, it is clear that the disaster, despite having struck an emotional chord with the public, is stretching an organisation that already has many global crises deserving of its attention.

So how does a charity such as Christian Aid respond to a disaster of such a scale? And how does it incorporate a relief effort into its business plan?

'Many of my staff gave up their holidays, and it made us realise how quickly we can work with our sister agencies,' says Mukarji, who was spending Christmas with his wife and children in Mumbai, India, when the tsunami struck. His immediate reaction was to visit Tamil Nadu, India's worst-hit state. 'Because of the localised nature of the disaster, we heard stories first-hand,' he says.

Despite the tragedy, Mukarji says there was a sense of solidarity. 'You could see how generously local people and our own partners were responding with immediate relief and support,' he says.

There is an objective professionalism to Mukarji's response that is somewhat at odds with the groundswell of public sympathy. 'We are working on seven areas at the moment,' he explains. These include tackling starvation in southern Africa, HIV and AIDS in developing countries, and the plight of the Palestinians. About 20,000 people die daily from starvation, disease and warfare, and Mukarji is adamant that Christian Aid's work in these areas must continue.

However, he admits a catastrophe of the tsunami's magnitude inevitably shifts the focus. 'But we will keep perspective and balance,' he says. 'We're not just going from problem to problem.'

When the devastation caused by the earthquake became apparent, Christian Aid wrote to its supporters. 'We encouraged them to make donations, while making them realise that a one-off donation may not work in the long term.'

Christian Aid is not alone in its efforts to keep the money coming in. …

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