In Comoros, young people are at the heart of climate risk reduction
All over the world, COVID-19 has left a difficult legacy, hampering communities in their livelihood activities and altering their environment.
In the Comoros, COVID-19 has had significant impacts on the mangroves, which are home to considerable ecological wealth and are incredibly important for the environmental health of the country. Indeed, with the lockdown measures, there was an increase in the amount of waste produced within households while the waste pick-up systems were also struggling to function. At the same time, the economic hardship which occurs during this period forced some people to find alternative sources of income such as the sale of firewood.
Excessive deforestation, the accumulation of household waste and the systematic destruction of mangrove regrowth have all continued rapidly during this period. This situation has been made even worse by the effects of climate change in this Indian Ocean region.
Aware of the need to act quickly, Kalathoumi Charif, a representative of the youth section of the Comorian Red Crescent, has developed a project focusing on the sustainable management of the natural environment in the face of climate risks. Its aim is to help communities understand the importance of this ecosystem and to help them put in place effective conservation mechanisms.
Thousands of volunteers—primarily youth volunteers—from the Comorian Red Crescent will deliver training and awareness-raising sessions on the conservation of cultivable soils and the protection of mangroves from the effects of climate change. These sessions will take place over one year and cover people on the country’s three major islands: Ngazidja, Anjouan and Mohéli.
This is the first time I have had the chance to submit a project like this.I am delighted to be able to put my knowledge into practice. And to participate in the preservation of the mangroves in my country. I would like to tell young people who don't dare to take the plunge yet that there is a first time for everything, so it's time we have confidence in our abilities.
Comorian Red Crescent
The IFRC is convinced of the potential of young volunteers and their ability to bring about positive and impactful changes in their communities. Which is why it’s important to support such initiatives, especially those related to climate risk reduction. This project will therefore benefit from technical and financial support from Limitless, the IFRC's Innovation Academy.
The Comoros Red Crescent
National Society Investment Alliance: First Funding Announcement
The National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) today announced the results of its first round of funding, with accelerator investments awarded to the Red Cross Societies of Lebanon and Ukraine, and bridge funding awards made to a further eight National Societies (Armenia, Colombia, Comoros, Malawi, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia). Together this represents a combined total of nearly 1.5 million CHF.
Announcing the results of the first funding round, Co-chairs of the NSIA Steering Committee, Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, Under-Secretary General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Balthasar Staehelin, Deputy Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said:
“We are delighted to announce this first round of NSIA funding, the culmination of a process that has involved collaboration and cooperation from across the Movement, and demonstrates the demand and potential for investment in National Society capacity.”
To respond to the varied needs of National Societies, NSIA can award up to one million Swiss francs of accelerator funding to any one National Society over a five-year period. In addition, bridge grants of up to 50,000 Swiss francs over 12 months can help National Societies prepare the ground for future investment from NSIA or elsewhere.
To date, NSIA has been supported by generous contributions from the governments of Switzerland, The United States, and Canada.
First Round of NSIA Funding
The first call for proposals received 48 applications from National Societies across all regions, with a range of contextual challenges and organizational development needs. In response, the NSIA Office conducted an independent and objective process of consultation and review, working with colleagues from the IFRC and the ICRC at the national and regional level, as well as the National Societies themselves.
The Steering Committee agreed that the first 10 National Societies that will receive bridge funding are: Armenia, Colombia, Comoros, Lebanon, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, Ukraine and Zambia. Lebanon and Ukraine will receive the accelerator funding in this first round.
The proposals from National Societies speak to a wide-range of needs, and are underlined by the desire to increase their sustainability, independence and ability to provide relevant services to vulnerable populations. Key themes across the applications include: efforts to increase financial sustainability, develop system and structures at the national and branch level, and improve governance and accountability.
Selected National Societies
The Lebanese Red Cross will use a substantial accelerator investment grant to strengthen its Project Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting (PMER), communications, and fundraising capacity with the aim of meeting more than 70% of its core services costs through local sources by 2023.
Similarly, the Ukrainian Red Cross Society will utilise an accelerator investment to develop its resource mobilization capacities, building on initial planning and analysis and helping the National Society respond to the ongoing crisis in the country.
The bridge grant will support the Armenian Red Cross Society to develop a resource mobilization plan, focusing on un-earmarked income generation that is urgently required to meet ARCS programmatic activity needs.
The Colombian Red Cross Society will receive bridge funding to help develop, test and implement new initiatives which will ensure regular income, strengthening the National Society in three crosscutting areas: communication and marketing, reporting and training.
There is a need for the Comoros Red Crescent to enhance staff core competencies with regard to governance and financial management. The bridge grant will therefore allow the development of an investment plan for the National Society to best use potential future investment.
NSIA bridge grant funding will enable the Malawi Red Cross Society to conduct a thorough and detailed assessment of potential national level income sources, subsequently developing an investment proposal to pursue the most promising.
It is expected that through the bridge grant implementation, the Namibia Red Cross will be able to resolve a number a of critical challenges by consolidating its financial statements and systems, increasing financial liquidity and developing a forward-looking strategy.
The Nigerian Red Cross Society will receive bridge funding to help explore the opportunities for developing commercial first aid services in the country, conducting a detailed analysis and developing a business plan for future investment.
The Uganda Red Cross Society will receive bridge funding to work with its operational network of 51 branches to consolidate and improve its first aid training, and explore the possibility to unlock this resource and generate national level income.
With several institutional changes needed within the Zambia Red Cross Society in order to achieve its development goals, a bridge grant will allow the ZRCS to undertake a midterm review of its existing strategic plan and developed and improved strategic and investment plan looking forward.
| Press release
Cyclone Kenneth: First reports from northern Mozambique
Beira/Nairobi/Geneva, 26 April 2019 – Red Cross teams in northern Mozambique are reporting serious damage in towns and communities that bore the brunt of Cyclone Kenneth overnight.
Kenneth made landfall with wind speeds of up to 231 km per hour – almost the equivalent of a category 4 hurricane. Initial reports from Quissanga indicate extensive damage to houses, while communication with Macomia and Muidumbe remains down.
Antonio Carabante, Relief Delegate with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Nampula said:
“These are initial reports, but they are quite concerning. We are being told that the wind caused quite a lot of damage. We are worried, especially about people living in communities that we have not yet heard from. We are working to open lines of communication, and to get personnel and supplies to where they are needed.”
The situation is likely to be compounded in coming days by expected torrential rains. Some predictions suggest that Kenneth could drop as much as 250mm of water over the weekend – equivalent to about a quarter of average annual rainfall for the region.
IFRC’s Carabante said:
“While attention is often given to wind speed, we know from experience that it is rainfall – and subsequent flooding and landslides – that can be even more dangerous from a humanitarian perspective. This was certainly the case for Cyclone Idai.
“The terrain in many affected communities are precarious – many of these areas are prone to flooding and landslides in normal rainfall, and this is far from a normal situation.”
The districts of Macomia, Quissanga, Mocimboa da Praia and Mecufi are expected to experience the worst of the rainfall, according to meteorologists.
Red Cross staff and volunteers across southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique have been helping communities prepare in anticipation of Cyclone Kenneth’s landfall. Their Red Crescent colleagues in Comoros have already supported search and rescue efforts, providing urgent first aid. Red Crescent teams have reported that more than 1,200 people are affected so far with this number expected to rise as homes and crops are damaged and destroyed across the islands of Comoros.
IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal for 31 million Swiss francs to support the Mozambique Red Cross to provide 200,000 people with emergency assistance following Cyclone Idai over the next 24 months.
IFRC is also supporting Tanzania, Comoros, and northern Mozambique, deploying experts to support local efforts in assessing and responding to the immediate needs on the ground.
| Press release
Volunteers in Comoros, Mozambique and Tanzania prepare as Cyclone Kenneth forms
Nairobi/Geneva, 24 April 2019 – Teams of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are on alert as a Cyclone Kenneth makes its way to Comoros and potentially on to Tanzania and Mozambique.
Red Cross volunteers in northern Mozambique are alerting communities in areas where the concern of flooding, erosion and landslides are particularly high, including Nacala-Porto and Nacala-A Velha districts. Tanzania and Mozambique Red Cross are prepositioning supplies and preparing teams in anticipation.
Kenneth formed into a cyclone earlier today (24 April), and it could strengthen further before reaching Comoros as early as this evening.
Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Regional Director for Africa for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said:
“We are concerned about the impact that this storm could have across the three countries. We are especially concerned about its possible impact in Mozambique where communities are still recovering from the devastation of Cyclone Idai.
“We are supporting local Red Cross and Red Crescent teams on the ground across Comoros, Tanzania and Mozambique, ensuring they are ready if and when Cyclone Kenneth strikes.”
An IFRC specialist is en route to Comoros to support local Red Crescent efforts.
More than one month ago, Cyclone Idai affected approximately 1.8 million people across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, and killed nearly 1,000. IFRC has launched an Emergency Appeal for 31 million Swiss francs to support the Mozambique Red Cross to provide 200,000 people with emergency assistance water, sanitation and hygiene; shelter, health, livelihoods and protection services over the next 24 months.