South–South cooperation in Central Africa: one National Society’s donation to another

Published: 1 November 2013 13:22 CET

By Mirabelle Enaka Kima, IFRC

For years, Red Cross Societies in Central Africa have supported each other in a spirit of mutual assistance and cooperation. To date, that support has largely been expressed through the exchange of expertise during emergency operations.

Now though, for the first time ever, a Red Cross National Society in Central Africa has come to the aid of another, with a concrete donation to support people affected by flooding in the Central African Republic (CAR).

On 24 October, the Central African Red Cross Society played host to the First Lady of Gabon, who was accompanied by the President of the Gabonese Red Cross Society. The visit fell within the framework of strengthening the country ties of friendship and cooperation between Gabon and the Central African Republic on the one hand, and the two Red Cross National Societies on the other.

During this visit, the Gabonese Red Cross Society made a donation worth 188,291 Swiss francs (209,891 US dollars), which consisted of food items, medicines, equipment, as well as a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The donation aims to strengthen the operational capacities of the Central African Red Cross Society which is working to assist the most vulnerable in the country, particularly those affected by the recent floods in Bangui.

“The Gabonese Red Cross follows with compassion the present crisis affecting your country and congratulates the Central African Republic Red Cross for the immense efforts achieved by volunteers in assisting the afflicted population of recent floods in Bangui,” said Dr Guy Patrick Obiang, President of the Gabonese Red Cross Society.

“The Gabonese Red Cross, with the support of the Gabonese First Lady, who is also a patron of her National Society, has decided to join your National Society in this noble action by donating equipment and medicine to help improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable population among those affected by floods.”

“We are indeed very pleased to receive this donation from a National Society within our region as it is the first time such a step is being taken,” said Antoine Mbao Bogo, President of the Central African Red Cross Society.  “This action will not only reinforce the cooperation that exists between the two National Societies, but serves as an example of the positive and growing cooperation within the Central African Red Cross National Societies Coordination group.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has also allocated 120,702 Swiss francs (134,548 US dollars) to support the Central African Red Cross Society to implement its flood response action plan. The National Society is working to provide assistance to 1,785 flood survivors with shelter, water and sanitation, relief items, emergency health care, as well as hygiene and health promotion. A member of the Regional Disaster Response Team from neighbouring Cameroon Red Cross Society has also been deployed for a three-month mission to provide training to volunteers.

Recent upheaval in the country has led to many hospitals and medical centres being damaged. Access to healthcare and medicines is virtually non-existent, with thousands of people unable to seek medical assistance or obtain medicines.

To compound an already precarious situation, the risk of further violence has led many aid agencies to withdraw from the country. This, coupled with heavy rain and flooding, has significantly increased the vulnerability of the people in the Central African Republic.


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 190 member National Societies. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. About this site & copyright