HomeAbout DERF

Background and history

The Danish Emergency Relief Fund (DERF) is a humanitarian funding mechanism launched in May 2017 by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The DERF provides flexible and rapid funding to save lives and prevent further escalation of suffering in humanitarian crisis situations.

It supports humanitarian interventions by Danish CSOs, that have existing presence and capacity in crisis areas, primarily through local partners.

CSOs that receive humanitarian funding through a Strategic Partnership Agreement with MFA are not eligible to receive funds from the DERF.



In June 2021, after the tender process by the DMFA, a consortium partnership between Save the Children Denmark (SCD), and CISU, with CISU as the lead organisation, won the management contract for the second DERF, from summer 2021-end 2024.

Save the Children Denmark (SCD) and CISU are both represented in the strategic management of the DERF, and will use their competences and experiences to make the DERF a solid humanitarian funding mechanism that put people affected by crisis in the center of the efforts.

The consortium partners will ensure that the DERF is managed in accordance with the humanitarian principles, the MFA strategies, the principle of “Leaving No one Behind” and realization of the Grand Bargain commitments including localisation of humanitarian action.


Aim, objective and support

The aim and objective of the DERF is that it responds rapidly, effectively, and relevant with integrity and flexibility to acute humanitarian crisis situations with a focus on providing emergency relief to affected populations to meet urgent needs and prevent further loss of life or escalation of suffering. DERF supports life-saving interventions through localized humanitarian response and assists particularly vulnerable groups of people, hereunder refugees, IDPs and host communities.

The objective is fulfilled through supporting the humanitarian interventions of Danish CSOs (without strategic humanitarian partnership with the MFA) who have relevant access, capacities, and expertise, either through local or national partner CSOs and/or within their own organisation enabling them to respond to the humanitarian needs of people affected by crisis.

The DERF can only provide funds to address humanitarian crisis situations in countries included in OECD/DAC-list of countries eligible to receive support.

The interventions financed by DERF must be implemented in a flexible, rapid, and efficient manner in accordance with DERF Guidelines, common humanitarian standards & principles, and the contracts between Danish CSOs and local partners.



The grant system consists of a grant assessment committee and a number of grant assesment consultants. The grant assessment consultants undertakes the professional and administrative assessment of the applicants and write a nomination for the grant assessment committee who then makes the final decision.


Grant assessment commitee

  • Adam Moe Fejerskov, FIIS
  • Christian Gad, DRC Danish Refugee Council
  • Katja Kjar-Levin, Oxfam-Ibis
  • Freja Schurmann Munksgaard, ADRA


Grant assessment consultants

  • Christian Boehm
  • Deirdre O'Sullivan-Winks
  • Inger Johanne
  • Rolf Hernø