Three million people in 27 of the poorest countries were helped last year by Irish charity Trócaire.
The Government is Trócaire’s largest institutional donor, providing it with €21.5m last year, the charity’s latest annual report shows.
The British government is the organisation’s second-largest institutional donor, providing it with €3.1m, through the Department for International Development.
Trócaire urged the British government, one of the few to hit the United Nation’s foreign aid target, to continue supporting the world’s poorest countries, as it faced into an uncertain future with Brexit looming.
“Roughly one-third of public donations to Trócaire come from Northern Ireland,” said a spokesperson for the charity.
“Our supporters in Northern Ireland are deeply committed to the work of Trócaire, but, like many organisations, we would have concerns about the uncertainty being caused by Brexit, as well as the ongoing absence of the Stormont Assembly.”
Both governments played a crucial role in helping Trócaire to support 2.9m people across the world last year, according to a spokesperson for the charity.
Of those, 1.9m received humanitarian aid, while 496,000 had improved access to land and water.
The organisation’s Women’s Empowerment Programme assisted a further 272,000 people and 207,000 received human rights support.
Trócaire’s chief executive, Caoimhe de Barra, said human rights standards had deteriorated in many countries over the past year.
“Governments are increasingly restricting civil society and targeting human rights defenders,” she said.
We continued to see a significant increase in work to defend civil and political rights across several countries.
“This is in response to the worsening human rights environment and illustrates our increased focus in this area of work.
“In 2018, 247 human rights defenders were murdered for protecting their communities’ rights in the face of corporate interests.
“We have launched a campaign to secure a binding UN Treaty on business and human rights.
“This protection is needed to keep communities safe from land grabs and other violations.”
Ms de Barra said conflict and political instability have been the major drivers behind Trócaire’s humanitarian programmes in recent years.
The charity’s largest programmes last year were in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Kenya.
“Our largest humanitarian programmes have been in regions where conflict and displacement have been normalised, such as the Middle East, South Sudan, and Myanmar,” said Ms de Barra.
“Conflict and displacement in Ethiopia is a cause of grave concern, as is the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where access is very limited.”
Trócaire raised €69m last year, including public donations worth €23.2m.
Ms De Barra said the commitment of Irish people to social justice was astounding; their generosity continued to leave an enormous footprint across the world.
Public income is down from €29.1m the previous financial year, when the charity’s East Africa Emergency Appeal raised an additional €5.5m.
Thankfully, no emergency response appeals were needed in 2018/2019, which accounts for the reduction in income last year.
The Lenten campaign remains Trócaire’s largest fundraiser, generating €7.6m, with Christmas also becoming increasingly important.
Last year, the organisation raised €2.3m during its Christmas appeal, as people responded to conflicts affecting families in countries such as Yemen and South Sudan.
It was one of the strongest Christmas campaigns of the charity’s history and reflected an increase of almost 10% on 2017.
Trócaire received an additional €45.8m in grants from institutional donors, the most ever received.