In 1960 Edmond Kaiser, a Swiss and French citizen who worked in the pharmaceutical industry, established an NGO named Terre des Hommes in Lausanne, Switzerland. He formed the organization in an effort to aid children affected by the urban and rural warfare which plagued Algeria at the time. Additional chapters with the same name were subsequently created in other countries, and in 1966 they united to form the International Federation Terre des Hommes (IFTDH), whose stated mission was “to work for the rights of the child and to promote equitable development without racial, religious, cultural, or gender-based discrimination.” This organization focuses its resources primarily on children suffering the effects of abuse, exploitation, violence, poverty, AIDS, natural disasters, civil conflicts, inadequate health care, and substandard education.
As of 2005, IFTDH’s many branch organizations supported or ran 1,215 development and humanitarian aid programs affecting some 300,000 children in 64 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. The Federation has 1,028 local and national NGO partners, employs more than 1,500 people, and benefits from the efforts of at least 7,500 volunteers. Its global budget for 2005 was $137.8 million; approximately 73 percent of that total was derived from private donations.
IFTDH functions through an International Secretariat based in Geneva, and in January 2002 it opened a European Union Liaison Office in Brussels. Its highest decision-making body is a General Assembly, which in turn elects an Executive Board that is responsible for implementing strategies and supervising the work of the International Secretariat offices in Geneva and Brussels. The IFTDH President is elected by the General Assembly, and the Vice-President and Treasurer are appointed by the Executive Board. The organization’s current President is Raffaele K. Salinari, and its Vice President is Peter Brey.
With regard to Middle Eastern affairs in particular, IFTDH ascribes the suffering of Palestinian children largely to Israeli abuses. This NGO is the local partner, in the Hebron district of the West Bank, of Ard el Atfal, a highly politicized NGO that blames Israel for the suffering of Palestinians.
This profile is adapted, with permission, from the NGO Monitor.