National Societies

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National Society Investment Alliance funding announcement 2023

The National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) is a pooled funding mechanism, run jointly by the IFRC and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The NSIA provides flexible, multi-year funding to support the long-term development of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies so they can increase the reach and impact of their humanitarian services. It focuses on supporting National Societies operating in complex emergencies, protracted crises and fragile contexts. The NSIA can award up to one million Swiss francs of Accelerator funding to National Societies in fragile contexts over a maximum of five years. In addition, Bridge grants of up to 50,000 Swiss francs over 12 months can help National Societies lay the ground for future investment from the NSIA or from other National Societies Development (NSD) support initiatives. In 2023, the NSIA Office received 27 eligible proposals: 14 for Accelerator funding and 13 for Bridge grants. Having reviewed all applications and following up the decision of the Steering Committee, the NSIA Office is pleased to announce that the following four National Societies have been selected for Accelerator funding in 2023: Ecuadorian Red Cross Myanmar Red Cross Society Red Cross Society of Niger The Palestine Red Crescent Society These National Societies will receive a significant investment to help accelerate their journey towards long-term sustainability. Three of these National Societies (Myanmar, Niger and Palestine) previously received NSIA Bridge grants, proving once again the relevance of the fund’s phased approach. The Myanmar Red Cross Society will proceed with the decentralization of its commercial first aid program after designing a strategy and a business model with the bridge grant. The Red Cross Society of Niger plans to develop the resource mobilization capacities of its branches after a pilot phase and to boost their volunteer base. The Palestine Red Crescent Society, having developed an investment strategy with a previous bridge grant, will improve access to healthcare services by implementing a health management information system. The Ecuadorian Red Cross plans to develop a new internal system to better manage important parts of their work - including HR, volunteer, financial management and logistics. The NSIA will fund the first phase of implementation of this system. 15 other National Societies will receive Bridge grants (up to 50,000 Swiss francs): Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Central Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Honduras, Liberia, Philippines, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo and Zimbabwe. Most Bridge initiatives will focus on developing business plans and strategies for resource mobilization (57 per cent) followed by branch development (21%). The National Societies’ projects will also focus on other themes such as volunteer development, youth engagement, digital transformation and governance are also identified. In total, the NSIA will allocate 3.2 million Swiss francs to the 19 different National Societies this year. The NSIA Office also takes this opportunity to thank the generous support from the governments of Switzerland, the United States, and Norway, and from the Norwegian and Netherlands’ Red Cross Societies, as well as the ICRC and IFRC, for their continuous commitment and contribution to the fund. The NSIA remains a strategic instrument for National Societies in fragile settings. The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) has been implementing a NSIA accelerator initiative since 2021. Mr. Abubakar Kende, NRCS Secretary General explains: “The NSIA has played a pivotal role in the success and expansion of the Nigerian Red Cross Society's commercial first aid training program. The financial and technical support and resources provided have significantly improved the overall impact, reach and quality of our Workplace First Aid training by developing advanced training products to bring us up-to-date with international best practices. The NSIA Accelerator Grant has been an invaluable asset for the development of the Nigerian Red Cross Society through strategic investments, expert guidance, and the introduction of additional revenue-generating streams that contribute to its long-term financial sustainability. This enables the National Society to fulfil its humanitarian mission and positively impact the lives of vulnerable communities across Nigeria. We are immensely grateful for the partnership so far with NSIA and look forward to continuing our shared mission of building a more prepared and resilient Nigeria. This cooperation and support has enabled NRCS to establish a solid foundation for growth and financial sustainability at both National Headquarters and the Branches, which we intend to scale up over the next coming years.” For more information, pleasevisit the NSIA webpage.

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Update on the Nicaraguan Red Cross

The IFRC is deeply concerned about the dissolution of our member National Society, the Nicaraguan Red Cross. This situation may put at risk much-needed humanitarian activities in the country and the work of the staff and volunteers. We are currently closely monitoring the situation, assessing the best way forward, and we will inform on our next steps based on that analysis. For more information please [email protected]

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The IFRC was created to bring kindness – and kindness is needed more than ever

“The world is bleeding, and it needs help now”. Stark words of warning from a humanitarian leader shaken by a brutal war and living under the shadow of a global pandemic. I did not pen these words. They were written in 1919, by Henry Davison, the leader of the American Red Cross. His big idea was that the world’s Red Cross societies – which were set up after the movement was created by Nobel Laureate Henry Dunant in 1863 – should come together as a force for good at all times, and not only during wars. Davison firmly believed the kindness and expertise shown by Red Cross volunteers should benefit humanity in other times as well. And thus, the League of Red Cross Societies was born, on the 5th of May 1919. There were five founding Red Cross Societies – those of the United States of America, Italy, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom. By the end of that year, the League had 30 members. The League changed its name to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – the IFRC – in 1991. We now have 192 member National Societies, with more in formation. The core of the idea has stayed the same while the scope of the IFRC network has grown massively, in reach and in impact. In 2020, 14.9 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers reached more than 688 million people with disaster and other emergency response work; some 306 million with health activities, and 125 million with clean water and sanitation assistance. These are impressive figures, but the scale of the humanitarian needs continues to grow every year. Right now, countless people across the world need urgent support. The conflict in Ukraine and the stress placed on its neighbouring countries is just one example. The lingering physical, social and economic damages inflicted by the global COVID-19 pandemic is another. Alongside these disasters is the ever-present, and worsening, threat of climate change. With challenges like these, can a simple idea – like the one that led in 1919 to what is now known as the IFRC – still help to heal the world? I believe it can – and will. We know what works, and we’ve been proving it for more than a century. It’s one human being reaching out to support another human being in crisis, at the community level, where it is always needed the most. It’s ensuring that local volunteers and local organizations have the resources, training and as much (or as little) international support as they need to respond to disasters and crises. It’s making sure their voices are heard, and their interests represented, on the international stage. And it is working to bring that support to the most marginalized communities and individuals, no matter where they are, and without any discrimination as to who they are. It is – put simply – kindness. I first joined my National Society, the Nepal Red Cross, as a volunteer more than three decades ago. I was trusted – and therefore able to meet and support the people in greatest need – because I was part of their community, I spoke their language, and I understood their concerns. And the key to understanding what people needed was kindness. Over the years, the IFRC has evolved alongside the communities we support. We have adapted our ways of working, expanded our expertise as different vulnerabilities and stressors emerge, and have been agile enough to pioneer and then mainstream new approaches to humanitarian support. We have led on the development and widespread acceptance of cash assistance as the most effective and most respectful way to support people in need. After all, people who have lost everything in a disaster or conflict should not have to lose their dignity as well. And we are driving change in how disaster risks are managed and reduced through anticipatory action, where local communities are supported to reduce their risks, and immediate funding can be triggered once scientifically-measured thresholds are reached. None of this work would be possible without the kindness of our 14.9 million Red Cross and Red Crescent community-based volunteers. On World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, 8th May, we will encourage people around the world to believe in the power of kindness and #BeHumanKIND. The world is still bleeding. It still needs help. But there are nearly 15 million reasons to believe in kindness, and to have hope. -- If you'd like to read more about the history of the IFRC, visit our history and archives page. And check out the hashtag #BeHumanKIND across all social media channels this week to see how our National Societies are celebrating World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

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Empress Shôken Fund announces grants for 2022

The Fund The Empress Shôken Fund is named after Her Majesty The Empress of Japan, who proposed – at the 9th International Conference of the Red Cross – the creation of an international fund to promote relief work in peacetime. It is administered by the Joint Commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which maintains close contact with the Japanese Permanent Mission in Geneva, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Meiji Jingu Research Institute in Japan. The Fund has a total value of over 17 million Swiss francs and supports projects run by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to benefit their communities in various ways. The first grant was awarded in 1921, to help five European National Societies fight the spread of tuberculosis. Since then, over 14 million Swiss francs have been allocated to 170 National Societies. The Fund continues to encourage new and innovative approaches with the potential to generate insight that will benefit the Movement as a whole. An innovation campaign was launched in December 2021 to further increase awareness of the Fund and what it stands for. The campaign resulted in 52 proposals being submitted versus only 28 in 2021, and more innovative proposals compared to previous years, further strengthening the Fund’s positioning as supporting innovation. 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 shown by the regularity of their contributions to it. The grants are announced every year on 11 April, the anniversary of the death of Her Majesty Empress Shôken. The selection process The Fund received 52 applications in 2022, covering a diverse range of humanitarian projects run by National Societies in every region of the world. This year the Joint Commission agreed to allocate a total of 471,712 Swiss francs to 16 projects in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jordan, Libya, Mongolia, Niger, Portugal, Serbia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Yemen. The projects to be supported in 2022 cover a number of themes, including first aid and rescue, support for young people, disaster preparedness, health, social welfare and National Society development. The Fund continues to encourage new and innovative approaches with the potential to generate new insight and learning that will benefit the Movement as a whole. Reports from the National Societies whose projects were funded and implemented in 2020 generated insights in the areas listed below. Top 10 key learnings from project implemented in 2020 Skills development Process improvement Adaptability and agility Leveraging synergies Project management Digitalization Change management Taking a pilot approach Aligning strategies Improving communications The 2022 grants The Burkinabe Red Cross Society plans to strengthen psychosocial care and the capacities of community volunteers and first-aiders in communities affected by the crisis. The grant will allow the National Society to assist victims of attacks by armed groups in areas where security is a challenge. In 2017, over 43.8% of Ivorians were illiterate, and the disparities between men and women and by places of residence were enormous. The Red Cross Society of Côte d’Ivoire will use the grant to help improve the education and increase the autonomy of young women in the Bounkani Region who have not attended school. The Croatian Red Cross will use the grant funds to spread awareness of the humanitarian ideals and educate children from an early age, through the Humanity Corner. The Dominica Red Cross Society will provide support for and help introduce farming techniques and other solutions for managing climate change and other risks. The funds will be used to train 15 farmers as Agri First Responders in their community. The Dominican Red Cross will help build young people’s capacity to carry out local social support activities. The grant will be used to develop a virtual introductory course on planning and coordinating social support activities that is adapted to the young people’s local reality, so that they are equipped with the techniques and tools to address the needs of their community. The Ecuadorean Red Cross aims to identify and provide primary care for the negative feelings and emotions in young people from age 15 to 30 years in the city of Quito. The grant funds will provide immersion technologies to addresses the heightened need in the community owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Jordan National Red Crescent Society has recognized young people and volunteers as the beating heart of the National Society, especially during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, during which they served local communities across the country, when mobility was restricted. This grant will help them improve the management system for recruiting, developing, promoting and retaining volunteers to support humanitarian operations. Libya is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, given its arid climate. This grant will help the Libyan Red Crescent raise awareness of the risks associated with climate change and highlight personal behaviours that could help mitigate these risks for communities. The Mongolian Red Cross Society wants to use digital communication tools funded by the grant in order to help ensure there is meaningful community participation across all programmes and operations, improve its public relations management and strengthen its transparency and accountability to communities. In the event of an accident, smartphones can provide information that is essential for providing effective first aid. Thanks to the grant, the Red Cross Society of Niger will educate and inform the public about how to store useful information in the “emergency call” section of their phones. The Portuguese Red Cross will address young people's social exclusion and the lack of space and opportunities to develop relevant skills and digital literacy, through the Platforms of Change, funded by the grant. Through the “Their life is in your hands” digital marketing campaign, funded by the grant, the Red Cross of Serbia will raise the general public’s awareness of the value of CPR skills and AED use and provide the related training. The Republic of Korea National Red Cross will focus on supporting disaster risk reduction in many countries in the Asia Pacific Region. The grant will fund development of virtual reality training content by the Asia Pacific Disaster Resilience Centre, provide sets of virtual reality devices to seven National Societies and provide virtual reality training on disaster risk reduction. The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society is aiming for better nutrition and improved water, sanitation and hygiene in vulnerable communities that are drought-prone. The grant will introduce groundwater recharging practices into the catchment and tank ecosystem areas, to facilitate groundwater retention. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, communities face challenges in gaining access to reliable, up-to-date information and in overcoming the rumours, myths and misconceptions around the vaccine. Supported by the grant, the Tanzania Red Cross Society will develop a mobile application, “UJANJA KUCHANJA”, to enhance information-sharing, build trust and increase information access and reach. In a mountainous district of Yemen, frequent rockslides often injure people and domestic animals, disrupt transport networks and cut people off from their livelihood activities. Thanks to the grant, the Yemen Red Crescent Society will take measures to prevent rockslides and help reduce the number of victims and the damage caused.

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Red Cross Red Crescent humanitarian leaders agree on a road map to alleviate the suffering in MENA

Cairo, 1 March 2022 -The first ever Middle East and North Africa Humanitarian Leadership Conference will conclude today with a set of recommendations to address the increasing humanitarian challenges in the region. The conference, held under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Egypt, brought together humanitarian actors to address key humanitarian concerns in the region, home to some of the worst protracted crises in the world. The two-day conference, organized by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Egyptian Red Crescent Society (ERCS), discussed how to enhance collaboration to alleviate human suffering and support those affected by climate change and related disasters, conflicts and health emergencies.Participants included representatives from the Egyptian Government, the World Health Organization, World Bank, International Committee of the Red Cross as well as Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies. Dr. Nivine Al Qabbage Minister of Social Solidarity, Vice president of Egyptian Red Crescent Society said: “We, as Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies, are the first responders to humanitarian crises in our respective countries. We meet here today with other humanitarian actors to ensure that international humanitarian coordination mechanisms are aligned and relevant as well as to develop innovative partnerships that mobilize resources to continue supporting our communities.” The countries in the Middle East and North Africa continue to suffer from decades of extreme climate conditions, including severe heat, limited groundwater and rainfall and scarcity of agricultural and arable land, which make them particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. An estimated 70 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the region. Young people in particular continue to pay the price of protracted crises and disasters. The region has the highest youth unemployment rates in the world and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, leading to an average of up to 40 per cent of young women being without a job. Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, IFRC Regional Director said: “Even after two years, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to amplify the inequalities in the region. It is imperative that all humanitarian actors come together to better assist those most vulnerable, who too often fall between the cracks. This can only happen when we shift the leadership to truly locally led humanitarian efforts while committing to respectful partnerships focused on local priorities.” At the end of the conference, the participants will agree on a call to action that will shape their joint humanitarian response operations during health emergencies, climate related disasters, migration and partnerships. Participants agreed on: Working hand in hand with nature, use nature-based solutions to enhance and/or build resilience. Engage in the development of National Adaptation Plans since Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies are auxiliaries to their governments and can lead the climate action from the local level. Empower youth as agents of change in changing leaders’ mindset and advocating for change and addressing the climate and environmental crises. Proactively work to formalize and implement cross-sectoral and multi-agency partnerships that include key governmental bodies/authorities to scale up humanitarian preparedness and response focused on vulnerable communities, people on the move, protracted crises, epidemics/pandemics, and natural disasters. Support IFRC in leading the Localization work stream, supervising the implementation of efforts aiming to make humanitarian action “as local as possible and as international as necessary”. Continue embarking on IFRC’s strategic approach to National Society Development that aspires to strengthen National societies and their branches when it comes to quality leadership, transparent financial management, relationship with authorities and community engagement and participation. Conduct Humanitarian diplomacy efforts to better recognize the added value of Red Cross/ Crescent National Societies through our auxiliary role to public authorities and grassroots access through volunteers. For more information or to organize interviews: Silvia Simon, Egyptian Red Crescent Society, [email protected], 00201227404477 Rana Cassou, IFRC MENA, [email protected], 0033675945515

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IFRC is extremely concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Palestine

West Bank / Gaza / Geneva 12 November 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is extremely concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Palestine. Palestinians are facing a multitude of crises, including persistent escalations of violence, a socio-economic breakdown and the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of a protracted conflict and occupation. Critical infrastructure, including the power and water supply, is eroding in many areas. Millions of people are unable to cover their most basic needs because of serious shortages of food, water, fuel, and medicines, among other essential supplies, especially in Gaza, as a result of the continued blockade. According to OCHA, more than 2.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Speaking at the end of his visit to the Gaza strip and the West Bank, IFRC President Francesco Rocca said: “I am deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Palestine: too many overlapping crises are pushing local communities to their limits. I am always impressed by the critical work done by the Palestine Red Crescent teams: from the emergency medical services to social and inclusion activities, they are a key humanitarian actor. I was particularly inspired by the visit to their centres for children with disabilities both in Gaza Strip and West Bank. These centres embody the real meaning of humanity: without PRCS these children would be left behind. The world has a moral duty to strengthen humanitarian support in Palestine and invest in local actors like the Palestine Red Crescent.” Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) continues to be the leading provider of emergency medical services in Palestine, operating five hospitals and providing ambulance and first aid services. For decades, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has supported the Palestine Red Crescent Society to respond to the immense needs of the most vulnerable people. During the visit, President Rocca signed the IFRC legal status agreement with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Palestine: a standard procedure when the IFRC establishes an office with international staff to strengthen the operations of a national Red Cross or Red Crescent Society. IFRC President Rocca said: “Signing of the status agreement is verification for our long-term commitment to support PRCS and the people in Palestine. As per our humanitarian principles, we continue providing humanitarian relief to the people based on their vulnerabilities and needs, without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.” Dr. Younis al-Khatib, PRCS President, said: “The signing of the legal status agreement is a manifestation of the long-standing support and solidarity of IFRC with PRCS. The staff and volunteers of PRCS are always happy to meet with President Rocca and be inspired by his unwavering support and praise for the volunteers of our Movement.” IFRC is committed to supporting the PRCS in its humanitarian mandate to deal with the acute and protracted consequences of occupation, violence, disasters, and crises. IFRC together with the other Red Cross and Red Crescent partners continue to enhance the preparedness and response capacities of PRCS’ medical services, scale up their COVID-19 response activities, provide medical items, medicines and personal protective equipment, and replace old and out-of-service ambulances. To request an interview or for more information, please contact: In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa, IFRC, +41 79 708 43 67, [email protected] In Beirut: Jani Savolainen, IFRC, +961 70372812, [email protected] In Ramallah: Mamoun Abbasi, PRCS, +970 595606096, [email protected]

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National Society Investment Alliance: Funding announcement 2021

The National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) is pleased to share the National Societies to receive investment from the fund in 2021, with the Steering Committee approving Accelerator funding to: The Armenian Red Cross Society The Nigerian Red Cross Society The Ugandan Red Cross Society These three National Societies, all of which have previously received preparatory Bridge funding from the NSIA, will each receive significant follow-on investment to help build sustainable income generating activities related to the provision of commercial first-aid services and other related income generation initiatives. In addition, Bridge funding will be awarded to the National Societies of Ethiopia, Malawi, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, and Yemen. In total the NSIA will allocate funds of around CHF 2.1 million. This is the largest annual allocation made by the NSIA to date and is made possible by generous support from the governments of Switzerland, the United States, Canada and Norway. The Co-chairs of the NSIA Steering Committee, Xavier Castellanos, Under-Secretary General for National Society Development and Operations Coordination at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Katrin Wiegmann, Deputy Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said: “We are pleased to share the National Societies that have been selected for funding by the NSIA in 2021." "It is particularly welcome to see that the three Accelerator investments selected this year have all gone to National Societies who have previously received Bridge funding from the NSIA." "This underlines for us the importance of the NSIA’s two-stage approach, with initial funds providing a springboard to help National Societies prepare for increased investment aimed at achieving sustained impact on the organisation and vulnerable communities." "In addition to the three Accelerator awards made this year, we look forward to seeing the progress of the newly selected Bridge recipients.” The IFRC and the ICRC jointly manage the NSIA to provide substantial, multi-year development support to National Societies in contexts of heightened humanitarian need and risk. The NSIA helps strengthen the organisational capacities and development of humanitarian services of National Societies so they can increase their humanitarian impact and reach. To respond to the varied development needs of National Societies, the 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 the NSIA or elsewhere. For more information about the NSIA, visit this page.

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Capacity Building Fund

The IFRC's Capacity Building Fund (CBF) provides small, time-bound grants to Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, enabling them to increase the scale and quality of their services and programme delivery within their communities.

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Funds for National Society development

The IFRC provides financial support to National Society development through threedifferent funds, two of which are delivered in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Together, the fundsprovide a wide range of development and technical support toNational Societies to helpthem become stronger, more sustainable and more effective.

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Branch development

Our extensive network of 197,000 local branches ensures the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) remains firmly rooted within local communities.

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National Society Development

The IFRC supports our 191 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world to fulfil their full potential as effective local humanitarian actors. We are committed to supporting their long-term development and programmes. And we tailor our support to each National Society's contexts, needs and priorities.

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About National Societies

The IFRC is made up of 191 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, often referred to as National Societies,present in nearly every country of the world. Their roles differ country by country, but they are all united by our Fundamental Principlesand all strive for the good of humanity.

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Bahraini Red Crescent Society and Calmmess support Beirut with art and donations

Beirut/Al-Manama, 11 September 2020: The Bahraini group dedicated to painting and fine art lovers, Calmmess, has extended its exhibition “Let us Gather with Art and Love for Beirut” that is taking place at the gate number 4 of City Center-Bahrain Mall in Al-Manama until Monday, the 14th of September on the account of its popularity. This initiative was launched jointly with the Bahraini Red Crescent Society (BRCS) on the 6th of this month in solidarity with the Lebanese people after the explosion in Port of Beirut on the 4th of August, which killed over hundred, injured thousands, and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. “Let us Gather with Art and Love for Beirut” came as a virtual event by Calmmess that brought together 20 painting lovers of all ages. They cooperated to disseminate a love and hope message and support those who got affected by the catastrophe of Beirut. Ameena Ahmed Majed and Danah Naser Al Sayed, the founders of Calmmess, said: “The number of participants reflects the talents and capabilities in spreading peace and togetherness for a humanitarian cause. It also sheds light on the promising Bahraini talents. This is the first art exhibition curated by our Group, and we trust the chances of being in even bigger exhibitions in the future.” A host of artists and amateurs took part in the exhibition, assigning the sale of their works proceeds to the BRCS, which will send these donations to the Lebanese Red Cross Society (LRCS). Moubarak Al-Hadi, the acting Secretary General and the General Director of the BRCS, stressed on the importance of efficient coordination with the LRCS, describing it as a trusted partner to deliver the necessary aids to the affected people in Beirut. Ali Kahdem Madan, the Head of the Public Relations Committee in BRCS, said that the Society intensified its efforts by adding an art booth, “Ya Beirut”, at City Center-Bahrain. “[the booth] Is characterized by the enthusiastic commitment of our volunteers, who alternate to manage it from 10 in the morning until 10 at night. This initiative, that aims to mobilize the Bahraini society to contribute in the BRCS’ effort and back up our Lebanese brothers during their ordeal, saw a considerable interaction by the famous Social Media names in Bahrain.” The BRCS valued the response of the Mall’s visitors and their financial contributions as well as the donations of the Lebanese Community to assist the affected families by the explosion. At the time of Beirut Port’s blast, the BRCS hurried to offer aids and assistance, and lend a helping hand with the available resources. The BRCS continues to work closely with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the LRCS, and the partners in the International Movement to assess the humanitarian situation in Beirut and provide ongoing support. Majed and Al Sayed find that volunteering and fundraising for public issues are stronghold in Bahrain. “We believe the Bahraini society and youth are forerunners of philanthropy and humanitarian volunteering at all levels. And such activities aren’t strange to the BRCS that reacts for the good and for the benefit of the humanitarian causes.” Majed clarifies how “the art is my breathing space and a room for relaxation, beauty, and calmness.” While Al Sayed considers it “a mirror of the charm of life and nature shaped in paintings.” This isn’t the first time the BRCS engages in the humanitarian aspect of arts. Madan explained how the Society collected donations for the families in need inside and outside Bahrain through “Let’s Stop Their Hunger” campaign in “The Avenues” Mall in Al-Manama during the past Holy month and Fitr Celebration. The Mall’s goers worked on decorating and ornamenting empty plates to ultimately buy them and donate the money to the families in need. The initiative attracted a number of renowned Bahraini artists, who transformed the white plates into art pieces displayed on the donation campaign’s booth walls.

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Climate change a priority for newest Red Cross societies

Geneva, 5 December 2019 – The two newest members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) both consider responding to the humanitarian impacts of climate change as one of their main priorities. The Bhutan Red Cross Society and the Marshall Islands Red Cross Society were admitted today as 191st and 192nd full members of the IFRC. This was decided unanimously at the 22nd Session of the IFRC General Assembly that is currently underway in Geneva. IFRC President, Francesco Rocca, said: “The tiny, mountainous Kingdom of Bhutan and the 29 coral atolls and five low-lying islands that make up the Republic of the Marshall Islands are examples of how the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement unites and brings peace and cooperation among diverse countries. “They are also examples of how humanity is united in a battle against the climate crisis. In both countries, the humanitarian impacts of climate change are real and represent a clear threat to vulnerable communities.” In Bhutan, climate change is contributing to heavier rains, flash floods and the emergence of new diseases. The Bhutan Red Cross Societies’ staff and 2,400 volunteers in 20 district branches are helping communities prepare by focussing on health, including training bus and taxi drivers in first aid, disaster management and climate change adaptation. Bhutan Red Cross Society Secretary General, Dragyel Tenzin Dorjee, said: “The seven Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement - humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality - represent timeless morals and deeply resonate with Bhutan's own guiding philosophy of gross national happiness, which places human welfare as the most vital objective of the Royal Government.” The Marshall Islands Red Cross Society began as a small but dedicated group of volunteers who wanted to help drought-stricken communities in 2013. It has now grown into an organisation that focuses on health, disaster management, climate change adaptation and volunteer mobilisation, and its network of 50 volunteers includes 11 emergency response teams across the country of 75,000 people. Marshall Islands Red Cross Society President Dr Alexander Pinano said: “Our country is at the forefront of the global climate crisis. Even as I speak, we are facing climate change-related increases in diseases including dengue fever as well as drought and regular coastal inundation because of large swells and king tides. Our volunteers are actively supporting their communities and we are proud to continue to do so as an official part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.”

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IFRC President praises Palestine Red Crescent volunteers and calls for more support

Ramallah, 14 Dec 2018: For the past 50 years, volunteers at Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) have been providing humanitarian services not only in the occupied Palestinian territory but also to the Palestinian diaspora in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Egypt. To mark the anniversary, PRCS organized an event in Ramallah attended by volunteers, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement representatives, NGOs and several humanitarian organizations. Dr. Younis A-Khatib, President of Palestine Red Crescent Society, said: “On our 50th anniversary, I congratulate our volunteers and staff for their dedication and passion, without which, we wouldn’t have been able to provide humanitarian services in an extremely difficult working environment. “I would like to express our gratitude for the remarkable support we have been receiving from our sister organizations, the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and look forward to fostering additional strategic partnerships to further strengthen the capacity of our volunteers and staff.” Mr Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and IFRC Regional Director Sayed Hashem attended the event. Mr Rocca said: “We are in Palestine to express our solidarity and admiration of the hard work that volunteers and staff have been doing under difficult circumstances for the past 50 years. Humanitarian needs here are already serious and I fear they may worsen in 2019. At least 1.9 million Palestinians could be at risk of conflict and violence, forcible displacement and denial of access to livelihoods. We call on the international community for greater support to PRCS: local actors are always best placed to serve their own communities. “While we celebrate 50 years of achievements, we remember all volunteers who lost their lives in line of duty and we remind all parties to the conflict that Red Crescent volunteers, staff and emergency medical technicians are neutral and should be protected and enabled to do their humanitarian duty at all times.” Palestine Red Crescent Society emergency services are ready to respond at a moment’s notice across the occupied Palestinian territory. In addition, PRCS provides disaster management services when needed and deploys mobile emergency teams and field hospitals to isolated and affected towns and villages where teams provide health care and relief items to communities in need.

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| Press release

10,000 Red Cross volunteers take part in Europe’s largest annual volunteer gathering

Solferino, Italy, 24 June 2018 – More than 10,000 Red Cross volunteers representing more than 60 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from around the world have gathered in the northern Italian town of Solferino for an annual tribute to the events that led to the foundation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The two-day festivities culminated last night in the Fiaccolata, a torch lit march that retraces the steps of the women of the town of Castiglione delle Stiviere in the aftermath of the bloody Battle of Solferino in 1859. These women provided first aid and care to the many wounded left laying on that battlefield, paying no attention to a soldier’s nationality, and laying the foundations for neutral and impartial humanitarian action. Swiss businessman Henry Dunant, inspired by the people he met in Solferino and Castiglione, sought to transform the devastation of the battlefield of Solferino into something positive and innovative – a global humanitarian network with the goal of helping those in need during times of conflict, and to change the nature of warfare. “This is an important weekend for the Red Cross,” said Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). “It is a chance to reflect on our history and our humanitarian principles. But more importantly, it is a chance to pause and look ahead, to consider our world, and to think about the kind of organization we will need to be in the future.” On Friday and Saturday morning, leaders from 35 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies took part in a session of the Solferino Academy designed to explore future humanitarian challenges and to consider how a global organization like the IFRC will need to respond. This meeting comes amid rising humanitarian needs around the world, fuelled by conflicts, increasing disasters, and the emergence and spread of new or forgotten diseases. All this is taking place in a world where respect for basic humanitarian norms and for international humanitarian law seems to be on the decline. “Next year, we will adopt a new Strategy 2030. We don’t know what our world will look like in five or ten years. But we can be confident that some of the challenges we face will be different to those we are currently grappling with,” said Mr Rocca. “Our goal isn’t only to anticipate what those challenges will be, but rather to make sure that we are the kind of organization that can adapt to new demands, that can be agile in its thinking, and rapid in its response. “Key to this is the need to invest more in strengthening local capacity.”

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