Thirty years on the frontline



In 1992, 30 years ago, INTERSOS was born with the first project in Somalia. In these 30 years, many things have changed – people, strategies, operational contexts – but our values have remained unchanged. For us, the word “humanitarian” has a very precise meaning: it is the affirmation of the centrality of the human being, of the duty of each individual to help all people in need regardless of any political, religious or social difference. It is a declaration of intent, clearly stated in our charter of values, that we are called to embody every day by respecting the principles of independence, neutrality and impartiality that guide our work.

Our intervention is characterised by our presence in the field, on the frontline, close to the populations we assist. In the last 30 years, we have been present in 52 countries, to respond to various crises caused by conflict, violence, climate-related disasters and conditions of extreme exclusion. 30 years is an important goal. In the events and initiatives that we will promote in the course of 2022, our commitment will be to live this anniversary as an opportunity to promote an open reflection on the current challenges, looking at the changes in the humanitarian system and the role of our organisation within it, always focusing on the reason of our commitment: the people we assist and our ability to offer adequate and meaningful responses to their needs.

“The birth of INTERSOS in 1992 was the result of a very strong emotional drive, of suffering in the feelings and in the mind when faced with images of war, destruction and death that were intertwined with those of drought, hunger, of walking skeletons of mothers and children, and still more death coming from Somalia through the news broadcast on TV. At that time in Italy there were no NGOs specialised in humanitarian emergencies. We therefore decided to create it.” This is how Nino Sergi, President Emeritus and founder of INTERSOS, opened the first Humanitarian Congress, held on 3 and 4 November in Rome, on the occasion of the organisation’s 30th anniversary.