Toby Porter is the Chief Executive of HelpAge International, a global network of organisations working to help older women and men claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty in older age. Toby has dedicated his career to humanitarian and development assistance. He joined HelpAge in October 2013, overseeing the development and approval of its new 2020 Strategy. In his time to date, Toby has visited HelpAge projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, the Philippines, Haiti, Myanmar, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Nepal. In June 2014, Toby accepted an invitation to join the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Ageing for 2014-16. The focus of the Global Agenda Council on Ageing in the current term is to "capitalise on the economic opportunities presented by an ageing population by encouraging business and governments to adopt age-friendly practices". Toby has represented HelpAge International at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, he was part of a High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers that has delivered a set of recommendations for 2016's World Humanitarian Summit.
Industry Expertise (2)
Areas of Expertise (6)
University of Oxford: M.A., Forced Migration
- MANGO : Board Member
- Age International : Board Member
- International Civil Society Centre : Board Member
- Global Agenda Council on Ageing : Member
Media Appearances (5)
Inequality and Older Age
The Huffington Post UK online
I am writing this on the flight home from this year's World Economic Forum meeting at Davos. Inequality was an urgent and recurrent theme throughout the four days. The agenda had again been set by Oxfam, with their skilful and well-timed publication of their analysis of the dramatically unequal distribution of global wealth. US Vice-President Joe Biden directly referenced Oxfam's report in his speech on Wednesday, the de facto keynote address of the entire conference.
I represent HelpAge International at Davos and am one of the civil society representatives invited to the meeting by the WEF. Our organisation is the secretariat to a global network of some 115 organisations working with and for older women and men nationally.
Long-term funding crucial for vulnerable older people inside Syria
HelpAge International online
"Funding is needed to support key areas, particularly the protection of vulnerable groups and weaknesses in the health management of chronic diseases, especially among older people," said Toby Porter, Chief Executive at HelpAge International.
AU urged to protect senior citizens
The Herald online
Toby Porter, CEO of Help Age International, said in an open letter to the African leaders that their commitment was crucial to strengthen the protection of older persons through a raft of policy and legislative frameworks.
"As leaders in this continent, your commitment to ensure older people are treated with dignity and respect is paramount," said Porter.
Can we future-proof our NGOs?
For a sector that prides itself on innovation and change, is it time that we international nongovernmental organizations fundamentally revisited what it means — and what it takes — to deliver our programs in the countries where we want to operate?
I became CEO of HelpAge International in late 2013. I joined from Save the Children, where my last major project had been to assist with the takeover of MERLIN. The decision of the MERLIN Board to call time on their organizational independence and seek a merger had a rather personal resonance for me — my first mission as a humanitarian worker had also been MERLIN’s first mission, a vaccination program in Nagorno Karabakh in 1993.
When disaster strikes, cash transfers can offer older people a vital lifeline
The Guardian online
Khamraj, 87, lost everything when his home collapsed in front of him during the earthquake in Nepal. He was given $75 (£48) from HelpAge International and can now afford the labour to build a temporary shelter. He is one of 10,000 people over the age of 60 who have received this support.
Cash relief, which complements in-kind humanitarian assistance as well as offering a potential alternative to it, is increasingly common. It is often preferable to relief items, allowing individuals and families to spend money on what they need, and to make these critical decisions for themselves in a dignified manner. Cash spent locally and on useful things has a positive impact on the economy, and can greatly assist the process of markets re-establishing themselves. Money in the hands of the most vulnerable disaster victims has been shown to support traders all the way down the supply chain.
Featured Articles (2)
Humanitarian action in Sierra Leone was closely tied to the political process throughout the period of this study. Ultimately, the political will to support the peace process created conditions extremely beneficial for humanitarian assistance, most notably secure access to all of the country, and increased funding for relief and reconstruction activities. In particular, this was achieved through a revitalised and currently effective peacekeeping force (UNAMSIL) deployed in the country. However, a satisfactory outcome in Sierra Leone cannot disguise an often turbulent and unhappy relationship between humanitarian and political interests, and the inescapable conclusion that, when they did clash, humanitarian considerations consistently came second to political imperatives.
This article explores the coordination of the aid effort, the role of NATO and, finally, whether the response to the Kosovo crisis has strengthened or undermined the principles of universality that govern the global provision of humanitarian assistance.