Concern Worldwide was born in 1968, a year of global upheaval, in response to a hunger crisis caused by conflict in the breakaway Nigerian state of Biafra. Raising $6.5 million in 6 months, Concern buys a 600-ton ship, the Columcille, and sails to West Africa with food and medicines.
Displacement in Bangladesh
As conflict displaces millions in the newly founded nation of Bangladesh, Concern launches a response. Concern co-founder Aengus Finucane, who helped coordinate the Biafra response, becomes country director in 1973.
Famine in Ethiopia
As a historic famine strikes Ethiopia, images of emaciated children again shock the world, and again Concern responds. Jack Finucane, brother of Aengus and coordinator the Biafra response, is named country director.
Cambodians Seek Refuge
As Cambodians flee the Khmer Rouge genocide and then a Vietnamese invasion, Concern starts an operation on the Thai border to meet the needs of a swelling number of refugees. Hundreds of thousands would remain there for over 13 years.
Famine returns to Ethiopia
Famine is once again declared in Ethiopia. Media coverage galvanizes worldwide support of aid efforts, including the advocacy of Irish entertainers Bob Geldof and Bono, who visit Concern’s operations and help organize Live Aid, a global concert event broadcast around the world to raise funds for the victims.
Civil War in Mozambique
Concern Mozambique opens in the midst of one of the deadliest and most intractable civil wars in Africa. In 15 years of fighting, over one million Mozambicans were killed or starved due to interrupted food supplies and an additional five million were displaced across the region.
Terror in Liberia
Concern’s Liberia program opens to meet the needs of returning refugees as the country stabilizes after several years of conflict, only to be wracked again by war in the succeeding decade.
Tragedy in Somalia
Amid a horrendous hunger crisis in Somalia, hundreds of thousands of people face starvation. Valerie Place, a 23-year-old Concern nurse from Ireland involved in the emergency response, is shot to death on the road from Mogadishu to Baidoa.
Genocide in Rwanda
Concern launches a massive regional response that will encompass Rwanda, Burundi, and DRC as millions are displaced by the Rwandan genocide and aftermath.
Community-Based Management of Acute Malnutrition
CMAM launches a revolution in treating childhood malnutrition.
Indian Ocean Tsunami
Concern responds to a massive tsunami in the Indian Ocean by launching operations in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. As many as 200,000 people died and many more were left without shelter, food, and clean water.
Earthquake in Haiti
Concern launches its largest ever emergency response in Haiti after a magnitude 7 earthquake takes more than 200,000 lives and displaces 1.5 million.
Ebola Outbreak in West Africa
Our award-winning safe and dignified burials program saves thousands of lives in Sierra Leone during the West African Ebola epidemic.
Rohingya Refugees flee Myanmar
Concern provides life-saving emergency support on the Bangladesh border as more than half a million Rohingya refugees – a large majority of them children – flee Myanmar.
The COVID-19 Global Pandemic
As COVID-19 threatened to reverse decades of hard-fought progress to end extreme poverty, Concern remained in the hardest-hit communities to deliver life-saving programs.
Conflict in Ukraine
In February 2022 a dramatic upsurge in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine drove huge numbers of people from their homes, sparking a massive humanitarian crisis.
Earthquake Rocks Türkiye and Syria
On February 6th, two massive earthquakes rocked a large area encompassing southwest Türkiye/Turkey and northwest Syria, killing thousands of people and leaving millions homeless.
A Lasting Legacy
Today, Concern works in 25 countries, with a focus on the poorest and most vulnerable communities. We are over 4,000 workers of some 50 nationalities, and more than 90% of us are working in our home communities and nations of origin. The animating forces of compassion, empathy, practicality, ingenuity, and innovation that emerge in 1968 are as powerful as ever. As global upheaval continues, Concern Worldwide is as committed now as we were then.