Displaying 1 - 7 of 7
11/04/2023 | Article

Empress Shôken Fund announces grants for 2023

The Empress Shôken Fund (ESF) is named after Her Majesty Empress Shôken of Japan who – at the 9th International Conference of the Red Cross – proposed the creation of an international fund to promote relief work in peacetime. The fund is administered by the Joint Commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which maintains close contact with the Permanent Mission of Japan in Geneva, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Meiji Jingu Intercultural Research Institute in Japan. The imperial family, the Japanese government, the Japanese Red Cross and the Japanese people revere the memory of Her Majesty Empress Shôken, and their enduring regard for the Fund is evidenced by the regularity of their contributions to it. The Fund has a total value of more than 14 million Swiss francs and supports projects run by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that benefit the communities they serve in many different ways. The first grant was awarded in 1921 to help five European National Societies fight the spread of tuberculosis. Since then, more than15 million Swiss francs have been allocated to 171 National Societies. The grants are announced every year on 11April, the anniversary of the death of Her Majesty Empress Shôken. Increasingly, the Fund encourages new and innovative approaches with the potential to generate insights that will benefit our International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. 2023 selection process The Fund received 51 applications in 2022 for the 102nd distribution of income, covering a diverse range of humanitarian projects run by National Societies globally. The applications submitted featured more innovative proposals than in previous years, further confirming the need for the ESF to support innovation and experimentation within National Societies. This year the Joint Commission agreed to allocate a total of 367,187 Swiss francs to 13 projects in Albania, Belgium, Burundi, Eswatini, Fiji, Guinea, Honduras, Indonesia, Paraguay, Sudan, Syria, Thailand and Uruguay. The world’s current crises have impacted the performance of the fund, and ESF Joint Commission members have adjusted the process accordingly. This year the projects selected cover a variety of topics, including first aid and rescue, youth, disaster preparedness, health, and National Society development (NSD). The 2023 grants by theme The Fund continues to encourage new and innovative approaches, and this is clearly reflected in the selection of proposals to receive funding. Some National Societies are incubating and testing their innovative solutions and experimenting with a host of ideas and approaches. With their pilot methodology, they could potentially scale up and implement their initiatives with the support of other funding sources.In this category, the selected grantees are as follows: Pilot methodology The Honduran Red Cross has taken an innovative approach to volunteer empowerment and engagement. The goal of its project is to establish a fund that supports innovative micro-projects developed and led by local volunteers. This will help forge stronger links between the National Society and the communities it serves. It has designed a pilot with 12 micro-projects, responding to an identified need to grow activity at the branch level. The Uruguayan Red Cross is focusing efforts on improving mental health resilience among young people by providing training in schools, creating psychosocial support mechanisms and forming youth brigades. There is a growing need for youth mental health support, and this pilot in two schools will give the team an opportunity to learn and adapt their approach. The Indonesian Red Cross Society will pilot a community-based approach to environmental awareness and food security. A renovated community learning centre will be used to launch the pilot, which will engage over 100 stay-at-home spouses and 30 children. The project aims to tackle emerging issues, such as climate change, while building stronger community connections. Many National Societies have prioritized innovative solutions to combat the challenges of climate change. In this category, the selected beneficiaries, in addition to the Indonesian Red Cross Society, are as follows. Climate change Flooding is one of the most devastating natural hazards. The Belgian Red Cross will engage and empower young people impacted by floods to express and share their feelings on climate change through digital story telling. Simple to replicate and scalable, this initiative has the potential to give us tremendous insight and allow for powerful messages to be shared. As a means of addressing the challenges of climate change, the Burundi Red Cross will engage in implementing activities such as tree planting and promoting improved city waste management. The project is a youth volunteer-led initiative that will reduce youth unemployment. This comprehensive approach will result in significant learning opportunities. The Paraguayan Red Cross will develop a mobile app that will serve as an early warning system and educate communities on how they can respond to flooding in seven community districts. This solution is scalable, innovative and a sustainable approach to addressing community needs. Finally, the last group of beneficiaries will use their grants to address issues related to disaster preparedness, health and youth. In this category, the selected grantees are as follows. Disaster preparedness The Baphalali Eswatini Red Cross Society will improve data management processes for effective decision-making during emergencies in Eswatini by 2025. The main idea is to integrate and mainstream a mobile phone app dashboard into the existing National Society information management system and increase community participation (affected communities) in information sharing and management. Thailand is prone to natural hazards, which often cause devastating damage and loss of lives. Therefore, the Thai Red Cross Society aims to improve disaster readiness, mainly for earthquakes, by training children and young people using virtual reality simulation. The Sudanese Red Crescent will use the funds to support flood-affected women, providing them with cash, grants and livelihood tools to allow them to start their own business. The aim is to build resilience and longer-term recovery contexts for current and future crises by empowering the most vulnerable in a self-sustaining way. Health The Red Cross Society of Guinea will focus on developing a mobile health app to comprehensively improve the quality of basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care, especially for complex deliveries, with a view to reducing maternal and newborn mortality. Youth According to figures on human trafficking, Albania is a primary source country and the non-EU European country with the second highest number of victims. To address this threat, the Albanian Red Cross will use the grant to train staff and volunteers, with a view to activating peer-to-peer prevention in high schools. The National Society will reach out to other sister National Societies to build a strong network of certified trainers who will raise awareness through peer-to-peer activities. The Fiji Red Cross Society aims to overhaul its current volunteer programme, using the grant to implement end-to-end digitization to enhance the onboarding experience and increase the quality and cost-effectiveness of volunteer management. The idea is to also include community-level training that will generate meaningful learning and be easily replicable elsewhere. At present, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has more than 18,000 staff and volunteers across its local branches who support it in carrying out its humanitarian mission. With a view to scaling up branch development by complementing other initiatives, the National Society will use the grant to digitize its policies for online courses that can be freely accessed at any time, making training more convenient for its network of staff and volunteers. ESF and learning The Fund constantly strives to generate insights from the projects implemented for the benefit of the whole Movement and to diversify its learning materials. Later this year, the Fund will join with the stakeholders of the other NSD funding mechanisms, namely the Capacity Building Fund (CBF) and the National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA),for a learning event, with the aim of sharing lessons learned and experiences from grantees across the different funds. It is important to recognize the diversity of National Societies within the network and the wide range of NSD support that is needed. The ESF and the other funding mechanisms (which focus more on NSD) operate in a complementary way, and togethertheyhave the capacity to meet this array of NSD and learning needs and support a broader transformation in our network.

Read more
14/02/2020 | Press release

Albania: 32,000 people still homeless three months on from devastating earthquake

Tirana/Budapest/Geneva, 14 February 2020 – At least 32,000 people remain homeless and need additional urgent assistance almost three months on from the devastating 6.4 magnitude earthquake that shook central Albania. An estimated 10,000 of these people are living in winterized tents, even as night-time temperatures plummet below zero, while others are staying with relatives or in temporary accommodation such as hotels or rented apartments. According to authorities, more than 11,500 homes were damaged beyond repair by the earthquake and at least another 84,000 are in need of significant repair. Ninety schools remain closed due to damage. In all, an estimated 222,000 people were directly affected, according to the Albanian Red Cross. The Secretary General of Albanian Red Cross, Mr. Artur Katuci, said: “Our volunteers and staff have been on the ground since the beginning to ensure that basic needs are met. But it is clear that despite the efforts of the Red Cross and other responders, many people are still in desperate need of support.” In response, the Albanian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are expanding their emergency operation. They are appealing for an additional 2.1 million Swiss francs on top of the 3 million Swiss francs already raised to support relief efforts, bringing the total appeal figure to 5.1 million Swiss francs. These new funds will go towards a cash assistance programme and helping communities reduce their risk to future disasters. Around 1,100 families will receive monthly grants of 120 Swiss francs (13,450 Albanian lek) per family member for a period of five months – an intervention designed to help people bridge the time until more permanent shelters become available. “We are thankful for all assistance from the Red Cross Red Crescent family and beyond. This appeal will enable us to directly help 10,000 of the most vulnerable people, and 50,000 people in total through community-based activities for a period of 12 months,” Mr Katuci added. More than 350 local Red Cross volunteers have been involved in the response, providing first aid, psychosocial support and food and water, as well as relief supplies such as blankets and hygiene items in almost 100 locations affected by the earthquake. The Red Cross has supported more than 25,000 people since the disaster. Donations can be made here Photos are available here and video here

Read more
02/12/2019 | Press release

Albania: Future uncertain for thousands of earthquake homeless

Tirana/Budapest/Geneva, 2 December 2019 – At least 4,000 people remain homeless nearly a week after a devastating 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Albania. The earthquake, which struck on 26 November, killed 51 people and directly affected 100,000 people, according to the Albanian Red Cross. More than 350 local Red Cross volunteers have been involved in the response, including in search and rescue efforts that officially ended yesterday (1 December). The volunteers have also provided first aid, psychosocial support and food and water, as well as relief supplies such as blankets and hygiene items. However, more support is clearly needed. The Albanian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are appealing for 3 million Swiss francs to expand relief and recovery efforts. The Secretary General of Albanian Red Cross, Mr. Artur Katuci, said: “We are very thankful for all the assistance that has been pouring in from the Red Cross Red Crescent family. This appeal will enable us to directly help 10,000 of the most vulnerable people, and another 50,000 people through community-based activities for a period of 12 months.” Aftershocks continue to rock the region and many people are still in evacuation centres and camps. “We are concerned about both the physical and psychological effect this disaster will have on those impacted by the quake. Aftershocks are continuing to affect people, so psychosocial support is very important,” Mr Katuci said. “Our volunteers have been on the ground since the start, comforting survivors.” The Tirana and Durres areas were already vulnerable after a 5.6 magnitude earthquake in September injured more than 100 people and damaged or destroyed 500 houses. Mr Katuci said affected people will need ongoing support for some time, to help them recover homes, health and livelihoods. IFRC deployed five staff members from its Europe regional office in Hungary to assist Albanian Red Cross with the earthquake operation. The Red Cross has supported more than 8,000 people since the disaster. Donations can be made here Photos are available here and video here

Read more
27/11/2019 | Press release

Albania: Red Cross responds after deadly earthquake

Tirana/Budapest/Geneva, 27 November 2019 – Red Cross and Red Crescent teams from across Europe have arrived in Albania to help the local Red Cross with rescue and relief efforts following yesterday’s 6.4 magnitude earthquake near the capital Tirana. The earthquake has killed 31 people and injured more than 650, according to the Government. An estimated 100,000 people are affected and around 30,000 need immediate assistance, including 2,500 who are homeless. Aftershocks continue to rock the region and rescuers are still looking for people in the rubble of collapsed buildings in Thumane and Durres. The Secretary General of Albanian Red Cross, Mr. Artur Katuci, said he is touched by the solidarity shown by the Red Cross and Red Crescent family. “Our friends from across Europe have stepped up to help us in our hour of need. They have sent medical teams, relief teams, emergency aid and even rescue dogs. Their help is extremely appreciated. We will not forget this.” Mr. Katuci said Italian Red Cross has sent a team specialising in search and rescue, camp management and logistics who will help set up tents for the displaced. Turkish Red Crescent has sent two trucks with tents, blankets, hygiene kits and food. The Red Cross of North Macedonia has deployed a medical team and logistics team with a supply of blankets, sleeping bags, portable beds, food and hygiene kits. “This assistance is going directly to people who have lost their homes and are living in tents in a football field. Those affected by the earthquake are very grateful for the help of the Red Cross. Our staff and volunteers are doing an excellent job but our biggest work will be in the months ahead,” Mr Katuci said. The Swiss Red Cross has sent its highly specialised partner organisation REDOG rescue dog team with four dogs, four handlers and a doctor. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), also has a team on the ground, joining around 500 staff and volunteers from Albanian Red Cross, who are providing medical care, first aid, psychosocial support, food, water, hot drinks, blankets and hygiene items at hospitals and tent camps set up by the Government. The Red Cross has supported more than 1,000 people since the disaster. Donations to the Albanian Red Cross earthquake response can be made here Photos and video are available here.

Read more
26/11/2019 | Press release

MEDIA ADVISORY: Albania - Red Cross teams providing urgent medical assistance, food and water for earthquake survivors

Tirana/Budapest/Geneva, 26 November 2019 – Albanian Red Cross staff and volunteers are working alongside government search and rescue teams, assisting those injured and displaced in this morning’s deadly earthquake. The 6.4 magnitude quake struck just before 4 a.m., 34 kilometres northwest of Tirana, Albania’s capital, and has killed 16 people and injured more than 600, according to the government. There are reports of severe damage to infrastructure, and several buildings have collapsed in Thumane and Durres, with people still thought to be trapped inside. The Albanian Red Cross has deployed doctors, first aiders and 160 volunteers, who are working at hospitals and at a tent camp at the football stadium in Durres, providing medical care, first aid, psychosocial support, food, water, hot drinks, blankets and hygiene items. Albanian Red Cross spokespersons are available to speak about the impact of the earthquake and their response efforts. Photos are available here.

Read more
26/03/2018 | Press release

Red Cross warns of risk to thousands as floods in Europe threaten to worsen

Budapest, 25 March 2018 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is warning tens of thousands of people across the Balkans and Eastern Europe could be at risk from flooding as extreme weather is set to worsen this week. A sudden rise in temperature has seen snow and ice thaw rapidly, swelling rivers and lakes. This combined with heavy rain has caused flooding across swathes of Europe including Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Montenegro and Romania. In Eastern Europe, Belarus was the hardest hit with more than 50,000 people affected and hundreds of homes submerged. Kazakhstan has also seen flooding in the east. Hundreds of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers have been helping with evacuations and providing emergency supplies like food and drinking water for thousands of people in flood-hit towns and villages. IFRC Regional Director for Europe, Simon Missiri, said: “Given the forecast for the next few days and weeks, we’re expecting tough times ahead that could put thousands more people in danger. “We have already seen weather patterns change rapidly - from snow and freezing temperatures to heavy rain and rapidly melting ice, within the space of a few days. This looks set to continue. “Thousands of people have already seen homes swamped with water and villages have been completely cut off in some cases.” Water dumped from hydro-electric power plant reservoirs in Albania to protect the integrity of dams is causing levels in lakes and basins to rise - causing concern in the country and neighbouring Montenegro. Red Cross emergency teams are working with emergency services in Montenegro and preparing for major flooding. Croatia has been among the hardest hit by floods so far with heavy rain causing seven landslides in the last two weeks which wiped out homes and left roads blocked. More than 200 Croatian Red Cross volunteers and staff have been responding, with specialist boat teams also sent to villages left marooned.

Read more