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14/10/2022 | Article

National Society Investment Alliance: Funding announcement 2022

The National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) is a pooled funding mechanism, run jointly by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It provides flexible, multi-year funding to support the long-term development of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies—particularly those in complex emergencies and protracted crisis—so they can increase the reach and impact of their humanitarian services. The NSIA can award up to one million CHF of accelerator funding to any one National Society over a five-year period. In addition, bridge grants of up to 50,000 CHF over 12 months can help National Societies prepare the ground for future investment from the NSIA or from elsewhere. This year, the NSIA is pleased to announce that the following six National Societies have been selected for accelerator funding in 2022: Burundi Red Cross Kenya Red Cross Society Malawi Red Cross Society Russian Red Cross Society Syrian Arab Red Crescent Zambia Red Cross Society These National Societies will receive a significant investment of up to one million CHF, to be used over a maximum of five years, to help accelerate their journey towards long-term sustainability. Three of these National Societies (Syria, Malawi and Zambia) previously received NSIA bridge awards, proving once again the relevance of the fund’s phased approach towards sustainable development. In addition, 14 other National Societies will receive up to 50,000 CHF in bridge funding: Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Nicaragua, Palestine, Panama, Rwanda, Sierra Leone. In total, the NSIA will allocate 5.4 million CHF to 20 different National Societies this year. This is more than double the funds allocated in 2021 and represents the largest annual allocation since the NSIA’s launch in 2019. This landmark allocation is made possible thanks to the generous support from the governments of Switzerland, the United States, Canada and Norway, and from the Norwegian and Netherlands’ National Societies. Both the ICRC and IFRC have also strongly reinforced their commitment, by allocating 10 million CHF and 2 million CHF respectively over the coming years. The Co-chairs of the NSIA Steering Committee, Xavier Castellanos, IFRC Under-Secretary General for National Society Development and Operations Coordination, and Olivier Ray, ICRC Director for Mobilization, Movement and Partnership, said: “We are pleased to have been able to select 20 National Societies’ initiatives for funding by the NSIA in 2022. Our vision and plans are becoming a reality. We see Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies operating in fragile contexts accessing funds for sustainably developing to deliver and scale up their humanitarian services. This is localization in action and at scale. It is particularly encouraging to see that 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 organization and vulnerable communities, is working. We hope to see many more National Societies planning and following this journey. 2022 will be remembered as a milestone for the NSIA. Our ambition is to maintain this momentum and continue to grow in the years to come. We see this mechanism as a valuable and strategic lever to support National Societies in fragile and crisis settings to undertake their journey towards sustainable development.” For more information, please click here to visit the NSIA webpage.

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11/04/2022 | Article

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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12/08/2021 | Article

Amman Humanitarian Declaration: Concerted efforts to help as many people as possible in Iraq, Jordan and Egypt

The Iraqi, Jordanian and Egyptian Red Crescent societies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have agreed on the "Amman Declaration," during a tripartite meeting that took place in Amman, Jordan on 11-12 August 2021. The declaration develops a model of cooperation that is consistent with local strategic orientation and with IFRC’s strategy 2030. The partners agreed to work on a joint plan of action that addresses common challenges such as climate change, food security, livelihoods, particularly in light of the global consequences of the Covid19 pandemic on people's lives. Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, Regional Director of IFRC MENA, said: "As partners, we are determined to adopt the best ways and mechanisms that translate our strategic visions into concrete actions on the ground. Particularly, in the fields of disaster preparedness and response, climate change, volunteer management, livelihoods and food security. We agreed to share our experiences notably in regard to working with refugees and displaced people with technical support from IFRC.” Donor fatigue and the need to find new ways of funding was one of the topics discussed. Partners agreed to develop a joint plan of action to attract resources locally and regionally. They decided as well to form a capacity strengthening task force that will develop a training roadmap to strengthen the skills of the Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers. For more information: Rana Sidani Cassou: Mobile: +96171802779 [email protected]

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10/01/2020 | Article

"Volunteering gave me a new life"

A warm smile, calm voice, kind words and a lot of laughter. Raoa'a Abo Alaban, 24, a community volunteer of Jordan Red Crescent is visiting Sadel, 10, in her family’s home. The two are happily chatting about friends, favorite school subjects and future plans. One could not guess that just a few weeks ago Sadel was deeply disconsolate and afraid to even leave the house. “There’s always been a lot of bullying at school, but this fall it escalated into a violent incident in which Sadel was attacked and badly beaten”, Sadel's mother says. After the incident Sadel was too terrified to go to school. Her family then contacted Raoa'a, who like them is also from Syria, lives in the same community and is well known for her volunteering with the Red Crescent. Raoa'a started to visit Sadel to provide her with emotional support and encouragement. “Raoa'a has been calling us, visiting us, inviting Sadel and our whole family to go play with her children. She has really helped Sadel to fight her anxiety and become a more happy, curious and active ten-year-old again”, Sadel’s mother says. Thanks to all the support and encouragement from her family and Raoa'a, Sadel is bravely continuing her studies with good marks. Together with Sadel's mother, Raoa'a is also trying to raise awareness about anti-bullying at the school and within their community. Raoa'a started to volunteer with the Jordan Red Crescent Society three years ago. She has received many trainings and new skills from the Red Crescent, for example about community-based health, first aid and psycho-social support. "Volunteering gave me a new life. Before, I stayed at home a lot, and did not have many people to talk to. Through volunteering, I've met so many new people from my community, both Syrians and Jordanians. I have become more open myself”, Raoa'a says. A mother of three and a Syrian refugee living in a predominantly Jordanian neighborhood, Raoa'a has become the link between many Syrians and Jordanians in her community, bringing people together. Raoa'a is very passionate about volunteering, and especially working with children. “Helping others is something that comes very naturally for me. I’m sure I will continue volunteering in the future, whether it’s here in Jordan or back home in Syria”, she says. Photo and words by Mirva Helenius / IFRC

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20/12/2019 | Article

"Finally I can see some light"

A decade ago it seemed like a dream could come true for Nafe Ahmad Khalifah from Syria. For two years he had worked long days making pastry in Thailand, hoping to one day have his own little bakery and house. In 2009, he finally returned home with enough savings to start building. “I came back to Syria with a small amount of money and a big dream to live there with my family for the rest of my days. I never thought I would have to leave again”, Nafe Ahmad Khalifah says. As Mr. Khalifah started to build his house and his business, the Syria crisis began. At first, he was not worried, just thought that it will be over in a few days. As those days turned into weeks and into months and finally into years, and there was no end at sight, fear took over him and his family. “One night, my firstborn daughter got so scared by the sounds of shooting nearby that all night she held onto me very tightly, refusing to let go. I still remember how desperate I felt when I realized that we have to leave.” The beginning of the year 2013 was very dark for the family: their house was destroyed in the conflict. The family fled to Jordan, where they were first taken to Zaatari refugee camp. It’s still difficult for Nafe Ahmad Khalifah to even talk about this time. “I was not even really living, just trying to survive and keep my family alive. This was the darkest period of my life.” After a few months the family was able to leave the camp and to live with some other Syrians in Amman. However, the conditions remained difficult. “We lived in very crowded places without privacy, our own space or windows, without enough warmth or light. We had small kids. I had no job and could not provide for my family. We only got by because of support from organisations, friends and relatives”, Mr. Khalifah explains. Formerly a baker by profession, Mr. Khalifah was hoping to find work in Jordan. “Preferably to have something to do with my hands, but I would have taken any job to support my family and make a living.” He had been cutting his friends’ hair to pass time, and got interested in becoming a barber, but all the courses were too expensive for him. Then one day he found an ad in Facebook about a free barbering course through the Jordan Red Crescent, supported by the IFRC and funded by the European Union Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, also known as the EU MADAD fund. Now Nafe Ahmad Khalifah is a proud graduate of that barbering course, and much more hopeful for the future than before. “Not only was this course like wonderful gift, and I hope that eventually I can make my living out of barbering, but I’m also very grateful for all the support I got from the Jordanian Red Crescent. They were the first ones in years that really listened to me, that made me feel like I exist again – that I am human”, Mr. Khalifah says. Together with his four children and his wife, Mr. Khalifah has quite recently moved to a small storage room inside of a parking hall in a residential building in Amman. As long as he cleans the garage and washes the cars of the residents, they are allowed to stay. “It’s not ideal, because I need to find time to also start practicing my barber skills and look for a job in a salon. But at least now my family has a roof over their heads, we have this tiny space for ourselves, and there is a window from which we see the sun. Finally, after many years of darkness, I’m hopeful and I can see some light." Photo and words by Mirva Helenius / IFRC

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