The United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, has launched a series of NFTs to diversify their funding and mark their 70th anniversary. UNHCR has partnered with Syrian-Palestinian cartoonist Hani Abbas to sell seven images to raise funds for their Afghanistan crisis response.
Why it’s important
NFTs have become a new source of funding for charities and NGOs. They want to tap into a whole new stream of collectors and donors, many suddenly wealthy and eager to pursue new art that may have lasting value. NFTs provide a new twist on donating – the excitement of the drop, the feel good factor of helping a charity and of course the potential for culturally significant works of art.
- A World Bank report concluded that people are likely to donate more generously when they are incentivised.
- On the Afghanistan situation, Abbas says, “In the news we always heard about the politics, but we didn’t know what was happening to normal people. For me, I hope all the people who have problems in their countries can get out.”
- The Care Package charity NFTs, organised by Jack Butcher, also support the people of Afghanistan and sold all 1,000 editions at 0.03 Eth each, raising more than $200,000 so far. In addition, the Care Crypto Fund for Humanitarian Aid seeks to raise at least $10 million by late 2022 for projects around the world.
- Abbas has created seven cartoons, from which ten copies of each have been converted into unique digital assets and are available as NFTs on OpenSea. They are based on his own experiences of growing up in a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascas and then having to leave Syria for Switzerland.
- The range of images are part of a series called ‘Windows’. Abbas commented, “They are our windows to see the country, to see people – to connect with them and hear them. In 2011, after four months of the conflict I drew the first window – a destroyed building with just a window still standing, and a young man waiting outside with a flower to see his love, who was gone.”
- The images are now available on OpenSea, starting at 0.1 Eth.
An increasing number of non-profit organisations have tried selling NFTs in 2021 to support their causes and bring them to the attention of a new source of donors. The projects can be a new way to bring together charities, donors and artists. Abbas says, “I support people who want to get out if they have dreams, if they want to protect their kids.”