IFRC Secretary General meets the First Lady of Ethiopia in Geneva

Published: 6 May 2014 10:35 CET

By Giovanni Zambello, IFRC

Food security, community-based health and first aid, as well as water and sanitation were some of the development issues of today’s Ethiopia that were discussed by the First Lady of Ethiopia, Roman Tesfaye Abneh, with Bekele Geleta, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) during her recent visit to the IFRC Secretariat in Geneva.

In recent years Ethiopia has seen severe drought and, as a result, significant issues around food security and migration. The Ethiopian Red Cross Society has implemented a food security programme that builds and supports local capacities in response to the drought and famine. The society has also been involved in developing community volunteer, first aid and hygiene promotion programmes as part of its community-based health strategy.

“In order to deliver better such services to communities – both in times of emergency and in the framework of long-term development programmes – it is necessary that we continue focusing on supporting institutional capacity building of the National Society, youth leadership and volunteering development, and we scale up fundraising efforts at country level,” Geleta said during the meeting.

The First Lady, who is active in HIV prevention as well as mother and child health issues, expressed particular interest in the community health work delivered by Red Cross volunteers in the country and their role in facilitating access to prevention, treatment  and care for vulnerable people living in remote areas.

After their meeting, Mr Geleta and the First Lady paid a visit to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, where they had the opportunity to broaden their discussion on the Movement’s work to the wider African context.