National Society development

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Basic page

Federation-Wide Results-Based-Management Approach

IFRC has been using Results-Based Management (RBM) for managing the planning, monitoring and implementation of programmes since 2005. As closer collaboration within the IFRC network has improved, a new space for engagement has emerged in the organization’s way of working on RBM in the different areas of planning, monitoring, evaluation, reporting, and learning.

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Article

Empress Shôken Fund announces 103rd funding distribution to support projects in 17 countries

The Joint Commission of theEmpress Shoken Fund(ESF) has announced a new funding distribution that totals CHF 485,597and supports projects administered by Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in 17 countries. The commission is administered by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).The projects to be supported cover a variety of topics, including youth, first aid and rescue, disaster preparedness, dissemination of humanitarian ideals, blood transfusion services and National Society development.The countries where the projects are being implemented are Algeria, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Lithuania, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Montenegro, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, South Africa and Vanuatu.ESF received 60 applications in 2023 for the 103rd distribution of income, representing the largest number of applications ever received, covering a diverse range of humanitarian projects run by National Societies globally.While the quality of applications submitted increases each year thanks to various learning supports, they also present more innovative proposals, confirming the need for ESF to support innovation/experimentation and learning within National Societies.With a total value of over 14 Million Swiss francs, ESF 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, overCHF 16 million have been allocated to 172 National Societies.The grants are announced every year on 11April, the anniversary of the death of Her Majesty Empress Shôken.Increasingly, ESF encourages new and innovative approaches with the potential to generate learnings and insights that will benefit individual National Societies and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as a whole.The 2024 grantsESF continues to encourage new approaches with an emphasis on innovation and learning. For the second consecutive year, National Societies are incubating and testing their innovative solutions and experimenting with a host of ideas and approaches.Using a pilot methodology, awardees can also potentially scale up and implement their initiatives with the support of other funding sources following their ESF pilot. In this category, details of the selected initiatives and their respective initiatives are as follows below.ChileImproving sexual and reproductive health in populations is such an important area of work. Chile has very high levels of sexually transmitted infection transmission and unwanted pregnancies. The Chilean Red Cross plans to use the funds to implement projects focused on education and public awareness aimed at young people, and in so doing, help bring down the incidents of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.ColombiaAccess to timely, affordable physical and mental health services can be a challenge for so many in Colombia as with elsewhere. The Colombian Red Cross plans to pilot faster and cheaper annual health cover to underserved families, and in so doing, better position the Red Cross as a health service provider, as well as generating funds to reinvest in humanitarian work.LebanonThe renewed hostilities between Israel and Hamas and other armed groups in the Gaza Strip have left a profound impact on the populations of neighbouring countries, including Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. In Lebanon, the southern border was heavily affected, causing the displacement of people and loss of households, which has left a permanent mark on its citizens. This is why the Lebanese Red Cross plans to tackle, thanks to the ESF grant, the repercussions on the youth linked to the persistent violations of international humanitarian law, to reignite a sense of purpose, resilience and belief in positive change. The initiative will act as a pilot to integrate new tools such as virtual reality in terms of enhancing the understanding of certain concepts as well as motivate engagement.Papua New GuineaThe Papua New Guinea Red Cross Societywill establish a youth emergency team to help empower youth from marginalized and vulnerable communities. Youth will develop crucial life skills, preparing them to handle emergencies, promote health and safety, and lead in community development and disaster preparedness.South AfricaComplementing the Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) initiative, the South African Red Cross Society will use their grant to minimize the exposure and risk of informal settlements to fires by piloting innovative solutions including the installation of smoke alarms. The South African Red Cross Society also plans to benefit from visibility and peer learning from the Kenya Red Cross Society, which has successfully minimized such risks in informal communities.The other groups of beneficiaries will use their grants to address issues related to youth, first aid and rescue, disaster preparedness, dissemination of humanitarian ideals, blood transfusion services and National Society development as follows:AlgeriaThe Algerian Red Crescent will use the grant to develop an online platform/application designed in addition to be a media hub (collection of important information related to volunteers, first aid procedures, emergency rescue protocols, etc.) to act as a recruitment tool for volunteers, facilitating trainings and integration.BoliviaEnsuring leaders of the future are developed in National Societies is a key topic. Some National Societies have very large numbers of youth volunteers. The Bolivian Red Cross, 75 per cent of whose volunteers are youth, will be promoting youth leadership and participation through a structured training programme that they will use to develop their National Society’s leaders of the future, for which the Leadership Skills Development programme of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies will be used. A study will also be undertaken to explore tools and methodologies appropriate for today’s youth. Solferino Academy’s 100 Ideas system will be closely linked.KyrgyzstanContinued investment in and upskilling of volunteers is so important for many reasons, not least to help ensure volunteers are motivated. The Red Crescent Society of Kyrgyzstan plans to create a studio where National Society volunteers are trained to develop coding, web development, video and podcasting skills that they will then in turn use to upskill other volunteers.LesothoLesotho has been affected by severe impacts of climate change such as droughts, hailstorms, snowstorms, heavy rainfall and early frost. Hence, an effective early warning system (EWS) is needed. The Lesotho Red Cross Society will use the grant to reach majority of the population through a mobile-based EWS connected to the emergency centre. Prior to official use of the EWS, a simulation exercise will be done targeting key beneficiaries. Learnings from the simulation exercise will later be adopted in the overall system.LithuaniaIn a bid to increase accessibility to much needed educational opportunities for the visually impaired and to promote independence and equality among all, the Lithuanian Red Cross Society will pilot a board game using braille, through which practical and life skills will be learned (e.g. emergency response and first aid).MaliFaced with the challenges related to domestic accidents and medical emergencies, the Mali Red Cross aims to use the grant to raise awareness and train youth on first aid using innovative methods. For example, some of the approaches that will be tested will compare different trained groups in order to measure the level of uptake.MaltaYouth empowerment in the Malta Red Cross Society, as with all National Societies, is a constant need. A pilot will be developed putting disadvantaged and vulnerable youth in charge of recreational water activities.MauritaniaThe Mauritanian Red Crescent,thanks to the grant, will strengthen the preparedness and response capacities of communities to food and nutrition crises in the agro-pastoral livelihood areas of Mauritania by integrating the national EWS.MontenegroBlood donation in Montenegro suffers from significant challenges. The Red Cross of Montenegro is committing to develop a resilient connected and responsive blood donation community focusing on youth engagement, donor recognition and community-based events.NigeriaTo reduce the challenges of the impacts related to climate change impacts in Nigeria, the Nigerian Red Cross Societywill use the grant to focus on youth-led climate action to raise awareness in communities.RwandaThe grant will address critical gaps in first aid knowledge and emergency response preparedness within Rwandan communities, particularly focusing on school-based youth clubs and Rwandan Red Cross Society volunteers.VanuatuBy integrating gender-based violence considerations into disaster training, tools and frameworks at the community level, the Vanuatu Red Cross Society aims to amplify efforts to address gender-based violence in emergency situations in targeted provinces.ESF and learningESF constantly strives to generate insights from the projects implemented for the benefit of the whole International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.The theory of change for ESF is being explored to better understand the key drivers of success for innovation to thrive in National Societies. One area that will be augmented will be innovation and learning support to complement the funds received by a National Society. This innovation and learning support approach will be developed and piloted with the 103rd distribution awardees.The hypothesis for the approach is as follows. Through ESF grants, awardees are given time and resources to experiment. Experimentation is an excellent opportunity to learn, and if the learning outcomes are appropriately captured, shared and used, the experimentation was worth the investment, and positive innovation experiences fosters cultures of innovation.The innovation and learning support will be light-touch and is expected to focus on:Providing frameworks around experimentation and capturing of learning.Running an initial workshop where frameworks are presented and discussion is facilitated between awardees.Providing further learning support in the form of communities of practice, knowledge packs and learning groups.Running a closing workshop where learning is shared and consolidated for the benefit of the awardees and the wider Red Cross and Red Crescent network.Learn more about the Empress Shoken Fund.

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Podcast

Xavier Castellanos: How a near-death experience on a motorcycle steered him to a life helping others

Xavier Castellanos was 13 years old when he joined a Red Cross club at his high school in Ecuador. But it wasn’t until he got into a serious motorcycle accident that his life took a serious turn toward helping others in serious trouble. The teenage Castellanos almost died in that crash, in part because no one nearby knew how to help. “I didn’t want to see anyone else go through that,” he recalls. And so his lifelong humanitarian journey began.

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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.

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Article

National Society Investment Alliance: 2023 call for applications now open

The fifth round of applications for the National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) is now open. The NSIAis a pooled funding mechanism, run jointly by the 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 Swiss francs ofaccelerator fundingto any one National Society over a five-year period. In addition,bridge grantsof up to 50,000 Swiss francs over 12 months can help National Societies prepare the ground for future investment from the NSIA or from elsewhere. How to apply Interested National Societies should applyusing this online form,where all application documents are also located. The deadline for submissions ismidnight (CET) on Tuesday 11 July 2023. Please contact the NSIA Office if you have any questions about the application process:[email protected] More information Please visit our dedicatedNational Society Investment Alliance (NSIA)page for more information on how the NSIA works, how it's funded, and details of previous years' allocations. You can also read our latest NSIA Annual Report. Andclick here to learn more about our work supporting National Society Development.

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Speech

Secretary General speech at the Inter American Conference 2023

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, It’s so good to be here in the beautiful Bahamas. Bahamas —thank you for hosting this conference. I take this occasion to congratulate the Bahamas on 50 years of your Independence. President Terez Curry, IFRC Vice President Miguel Villarroel, Dr Judith Carvajal, Vice Chair of CORI, GB members and Commission and Committee chairs of the IFRC, George Weber Vice Chair of Standing Commission, Giles Carbonier VP of ICRC, National Society leaders, staff and volunteers and my amazing IFRC secretariat team led by Martha Keys —I pay tribute to all of you who have shown incredible leadership these past few years--through the COVID-19 pandemic and so many other compounding crises. I thank you all for your focus on doing what is right for the people we serve, and for your unwavering commitment to your communities. The Americas region is vibrant, teeming with diverse communities and extraordinary resilience. It is also one of the most unequal regions in the world, hit by a complex web of crises that is driving up humanitarian needs and negatively impacting communities’ lives, livelihoods, and dignity. The climate crisis with rising temperatures, extreme weather events and environmental degradation are wreaking havoc on communities and their livelihoods, across the region. Endemic violence has shattered communities leaving scars that last for generations. It has widened inequality and worsened socio-economic conditions. It is pushing people to flee their homes and has directly contributed to the most severe migration crisis the Americas region faces in recent history. Today, 3 out of every 10 migrants or asylum seekers leave their country of origin because of threats of violence. Sadly, women and children bear the brutal brunt of this terrible crisis. The tragic and horrifying stories of the people I met who were making the perilous journey across the Darien Gap last August will stay with me forever. Every day, around 1000 people take this dangerous path in Darien Gap, in search of safety, hope, and new opportunities. With no political solutions in sight and less resources available, the global humanitarian system is buckling under pressure to meet assistance, and protection needs of people in these circumstances. But, 35 National Societies in this region, sadly only 34 now, have shown that we can confront these challenges by providing a wide range of services that address the core needs of communities. From managing blood banks, clinics, hospitals, and ambulances to leading search and rescue operations, supporting people on the move, running nursing institutions, and developing solutions to tackle the climate crisis and violence, National Societies play crucial role. IFRC is proud to support these efforts through the Disaster Response Emergency Fund, Capacity Building Fund, Emergency Appeals and our annual unified plans. To address increasing migration needs, we are expanding our Humanitarian Service Points (HSPs) to provide life-saving and inclusive services across migratory routes. Collectively, we have reached millions: Over a million people through programmes for migrants and host communities A further one million people through disaster response, More than 3.5 million people through health and well-being programmes. And the millions reached during the COVID-19 response and related immunization efforts. But we cannot rest on our laurels. Today we face serious challenges, both in our ability to meet growing humanitarian needs but also in our ability to safeguard our fundamental principles. In this context, today we gather at this 22nd Inter-American Conference recognizing the responsibility we bear, the solidarity we must foster, and the impact we can create together. Firstly--The responsibility we bear is our opportunity to contribute to something greater than ourselves. Our IFRC network is like no other. We are part of the communities we serve. And we are the largest, most connected, global humanitarian network. This sum of local action and global reach makes National Societies effective auxiliaries to their public authorities in humanitarian field. Our responsibility is to deliver quality humanitarian action that makes a positive difference in people’s lives, that reduces their risks and vulnerabilities, and that enhances their capacities and potential. We can only succeed if we remain true to our Fundamental Principles. They are the foundations of just and inclusive humanitarian action. They are the building blocks of unity, trust, and cooperation in our Movement. They are our moral compass. Without them, our credibility is called into question and our ability to deliver neutral, independent and impartial humanitarian action is threatened. We must reassert our Fundamental Principles. Let’s practise them in our work, speak to them in our discussions, live by them, teach them, help communities, partners and donors understand them. Secondly, solidarity is at the heart of everything we do across the IFRC network. Solidarity and commitment to our Strategy 2030 and Agenda for Renewal has enabled us to respond to the multiple crises and disasters in this region, to provide relief to those in need, and to support communities as they recover and rebuild. Solidarity also means that we stand together as one. It means that we put the needs of those we serve before our own, and that we work to alleviate their suffering. Solidarity enables us to leverage our collective resources, expertise, and influence, to reach more people in need, to advocate for their needs and aspirations, and to amplify their voices. Solidarity is not an option. It is a moral duty. We need this now, more than ever. Thirdly—Our impact. Our success is measured by the outcomes we achieve for the people we serve. In this era of fast paced change and shifting political divides, our focus must be on accountability, agility, engagement, and innovation—which are important elements of our Agenda for Renewal. For this, the IFRC is working for and with National Societies. We have invested in scaling up digitalization, risk management, new funding models for greater agility, accountability, and impact to reach to the communities we serve. We use these resources to foster learning and strengthen National Society capacities, so they are leaders in the humanitarian field, not just in response but in resilience building, data, influence, collaboration, and innovation. This brings me to our volunteers—the lifeline and heartbeat of our network. More than 50 percent of our volunteers today are people under 30. Young people bring with them energy, technological know-how, and innovative solutions. Let’s harness their skills today, give them opportunities to lead us to a more just and equitable future. Colleagues, our impact must be about scaling up our delivery, while ensuring the quality, relevance, and sustainability of our actions. None of the obstacles we face today are insurmountable. We have the knowledge, the resources, the expertise and the skills to bring about the change. As Mother Teresa once said – “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”. Colleagues- just like Mother Teresa, let us all dare to cast a stone across the water that will collectively create millions of ripples to make this world a better place for everyone. Not just for the few but for everyone. Thank you.

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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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Basic page

Empress Shôken Fund

The Empress Shôken Fund, run jointly by the IFRC and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), provides small annual grants to support the peacetime activities of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Funds are consistent,predictable and prioritized for innovation and learning.

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Speech

Statement on the High-level Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan

Excellencies, Distinguished Representatives, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is an honour to address you on behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and our member National Society, the Afghan Red Crescent. I give this in complementarity to ICRC’s President, Peter Maurer’s earlier statement. As current events in Afghanistan unfold, the Afghan Red Crescent continues to carry out critical humanitarian work through its network of 34 provincial branches, 2,000 staff and more than 30,000 trained volunteers. The Afghan Red Crescent and the IFRC’s staff have been there through it all and are always there to fulfil our humanitarian mandate. We had no option to leave. We continue to deliver. The IFRC has been in Afghanistan for more than 30 years uninterrupted. We have worked with the Afghan Red Crescent throughout this time in their institutional development, in bringing much needed humanitarian supplies, in bringing the community voices to the global stage and in providing leadership in coordination. We will remain by their side, for as long as we are needed. Last week we launched arevised Emergency Appealfor 36 million Swiss Francs to ramp up support to the work of the Afghan Red Crescent in meeting the needs of those affected by one of the country’s worst ever droughts, acute food shortages, a fractured health system, displacement as well as the devastating impact of COVID-19. We have also provided support to the neighbouring countries’ National Red Crescent Societies, and we will need an additional 15 million Swiss francs to continue to do so. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have three messages for you to consider, and act upon: We must work together to ensure that humanitarian corridors are kept open.This may include making exceptions to sanctions, which allow for medical and urgent humanitarian supply chains. Now is the time to ensure that there are no bureaucratic obstacles to committing humanitarian aid. In return, we will ensure that support is provided to the most vulnerable, to enable locally managed and delivered aid, in line with our fundamental principles. Now is the time to support local action, empower strong local organizations and make good on your localization commitments in the Grand Bargain.The Afghan Red Crescent has unique access to people in need - recognized for its neutrality, impartiality and independence. Its’ Afghan staff and volunteers work every day in every province of Afghanistan, with direct access to support communities with ongoing relief and health services. Now is not the time to ignore Afghanistan; it is vital that we look to the future and support the people of Afghanistan as they work hard to heal and recover. I thank you.

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Article

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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Press release

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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National Society Investment Alliance

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). It provides flexible, multi-year funding tosupportthe long-term development of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

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Article

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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Article

Empress Shôken fund 100th distribution announcement

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 16 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, 169 National Societies have received 14 million Swiss francs. To mark the Fund’s 100th year of awarding grants, a short video was developed to highlight what the Fund stands for and showcase how it has supported National Societies through the years. 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 evident in the regularity of their contributions to it. The grants are usually announced every year on 11 April, the anniversary of her death. This year the announcement is being published earlier due to the weekend. The selection process The Fund received 28 applications in 2021 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 475,997 Swiss francs to 16 projects in Argentina, the Bahamas, Benin, Costa Rica, Estonia, Georgia, Iran, Kenya, Malawi, Nicaragua, Pakistan, the Philippines, Romania, South Sudan, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam. The projects to be supported in 2021 cover a number of themes, including youth engagement, disaster preparedness, National Society development and health, especially the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The Fund continues to encourage new and innovative approaches with the potential to generate insights that will benefit the Movement as a whole. The 2021 grants The Argentine Red Cross is taking an innovative approach to talent management using new technologies. It will use the grant to develop a talent-management module to be implemented in 65 branches, enabling the National Society to attract and retain employees and volunteers. The Bahamas Red Cross Society will put the grant towards building staff and volunteers’ capacities and expanding its network on five islands, with a view to implementing community- and ecosystem-based approaches to reducing disaster risk and increasing climate resilience. The Red Cross of Benin seek to help vulnerable women become more autonomous. The grant will support them in developing income-generating activities and building their professional skills. The Costa Rica Red Cross will use the grant to enable communities in the remote Cabécar and Bribri indigenous territories to better manage emergencies, holding workshops on first aid, risk prevention and emergency health care in connection with climate events and health emergencies, including COVID-19. The Estonia Red Cross is working to build competencies in four key areas, including in recruiting, training and retaining volunteers. The funds will support the development of a volunteer database to help effectively manage information, especially against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. With widespread COVID-19 transmission in Georgia, the Georgia Red Cross Society is working to help national authorities limit the impact of the pandemic. It will put the grant towards promoting good hygiene and raising awareness of the importance of vaccination. The Red Crescent Society of Islamic Republic of Iran is focused on building local capacity with youth volunteers by boosting small businesses in outreach areas. The grant will be used for training, capacity-building and development in local partner institutions, generating income for community members. The COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions have affected how the Kenya Red Cross Society does its humanitarian work. The grant will be used to launch an online volunteer platform to encourage and facilitate youth volunteering. The Malawi Red Cross Society must be ready to respond to disasters due to climate variability and climate change. The funds will allow the National Society to establish a pool of trained emergency responders who can swing into action within 72 hours of a disaster. The Nicaraguan Red Cross is working to protect the elderly from COVID-19. The grant will be used in three care homes located in the municipalities of Somoto, Sébaco and Jinotepe to provide medical assistance, prevent and control infections, and promote mental health as a basic element of self-care through training and support sessions and other activities. The Pakistan Red Crescent seeks to improve how it manages blood donations. The funds will enable the National Society to increase the capacity of its blood donor centre and raise awareness of voluntary unpaid blood donation by holding World Blood Donor Day in 2021. The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for All project of the Philippine Red Cross aims to develop WASH guidelines and promote them in the community. The grant will be used for training and capacity-building around providing health services in emergencies. In Romania, teenagers in residential centres are vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence for a number of reasons, including a lack of both psychosocial education and staff trained in dealing with this kind of violence through trauma-informed care. The grant will enable the Red Cross of Romania to reduce the vulnerability of 60 teenagers in residential centres by increasing knowledge and aiding the development of safe relationships. The South Sudan Red Cross is working to encourage young people to adapt to climate change by planting fruit trees. The grant will support this initiative, which aims to reduce the impact of climate change and increase food production. In 2020 the Timor-Leste Red Cross launched an education programme aimed at increasing young people’s knowledge about reproductive health. The funds will be used to expand the programme – already active in five of the National Society’s branches – to the remaining eight branches. The Viet Nam Red Cross aims to further engage with authorities and become more self-sufficient through fundraising. It will use the grant to build its personnel’s capacities by providing training courses on proposal writing, project management and social welfare.

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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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Article

Egyptian Red Crescent shows localization at its core

“I am impressed and inspired how the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC) has scaled up and modernized services to respond to many emergencies, including COVID19," says Dr. Hossam Elsharkaw, IFRC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). "I was happy to meet ERC dedicated staff and volunteers working to preserve dignity. They are a strong and diverse teams of men and women working in the front lines. They are potentially a pool of expertise that can benefit the whole region and beyond." IFRC Regional Director and Ms. Rania Ahmed, Deputy Regional Director visited the Egyptian Red Crescent in Cairo earlier this week to discussstrategic directions, the programmes, the challenges, and the cooperation with the Government and the communities. The visit included strategic meetings with Dr. Nevine El Kabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity and Dr. Rami Al Naser, the Director General. Minister Nevine El Kabbaj, praised the collaboration with the Egyptian Red Crescent and the role the National Society has been playing in COVID-19 response. Including interventions in the areas of public awareness and behavioral change campaigns, health clinics, food distributions, mental health and psycho-social support. Dr. El Kabbaj encouraged investing in Mental Health and Psychosocial support and expanding the services to support other countries in Africa and beyond. Dr. Elsharkawi reiterated the role of IFRC in support of ERC and other National Societies in the MENA region, including focused commitment to capacity strengthening, stronger partnership, coordination and resource mobilization. One of the main highlights of the visit was the Red Crescent Community Center in the area of Zeinhom, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cairo. The center ensures tackling the needs of the public from a holistic approach, providing, health, mental health, child protection, education and income generating opportunities and trainings for women, youth and education of children. “Hundreds of people benefit from Zeinhom center. Great example of how the Egyptian Red Crescent responds to the needs and emphasis the trust and acceptance among the communities. This is trusted access and localization at its core," Dr. Elsharkawi says. The team visited as well the blood bank and witnessed the high quality and standards applied to ensure a safe national blood supply. Dr. Elsharkawi visited ERC programs related to health, migration, livelihood and protection: “Red Crescent staff and volunteers efforts go way beyond the emergency response and disseminating the health messages. ERC is supporting communities, including migrants and refugees with socio-economic and income-generating activities.” Egyptian Red Crescent is the largest national provider of humanitarian and relief services in Egypt.

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Article

National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA): Funding announcement 2020

The National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) has today announced the National Societies to receive investment from the fund in 2020, with the Steering Committee approving Accelerator funding to: The Colombian Red Cross Society The Georgia Red Cross Society The Mexican Red Cross Society The Somali Red Crescent Society 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 announce this second group of National Societies to receive support from the NSIA. We have selected National Societies responding to ongoing crises in some of the world’s major humanitarian emergencies, such as Somalia and South Sudan, as well as Georgia Red Cross Society pursuing an entrepreneurial response to the unprecedented global pandemic that we continue to face. These investments build on those made in 2019, and we are already seeing how such funding can have a catalytic effect, such as in supporting the Lebanese Red Cross’ efforts to mobilize support in response to the double impacts of Covid-19 and the recent Beirut port explosion As we begin to see the value of the NSIA on the ground, there continues to also be demand from National Societies thinking strategically about their development during unprecedented uncertainty. We call on our partners in the Movement and beyond to join us in expanding this important mechanism for supporting strong and principled local humanitarian action.” The IFRC and the ICRC jointly manage the NSIA to provide substantial, multi-year development support to National Societies, especially those in contexts with heightened humanitarian needs. The NSIA helps strengthen the organisational and operational development and capacity of National Societies so they can increase their impact. 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. To date, NSIA has been supported by generous contributions from the governments of Switzerland, The United States, and Canada. Second Round of NSIA Funding This second call for proposals received 49 applications from National Societies across all regions, with a range of contextual challenges and organizational development needs. The application process was adapted to take account of exposure to Covid-19 related risks and again involved an independent and objective process of consultation and review against the criteria, working with colleagues from the IFRC and the ICRC at the national and regional level, as well as National Societies themselves. The selected applicants will undergo further due diligence steps, which in the case of Accelerator investments will include the Federation’s Working With Project Partners approach, as well as the meeting of certain conditions linked to their specific applications, such as securing sufficient co-funding. Selected National Societies Accelerator Funding The Colombian Red Cross Society will receive funding to build on the resource mobilsation work conducted under their ongoing Bridge Award, including individual giving and digital fundraising. The Georgia Red Cross Society will receive funds to support the commercial production of sanitizer products at the national level. This funding is conditional on securing loan-based co-finance. The Mexican Red Cross Society will receive funds to invest in systems for Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting, as well as learning, as part of their wider NSD strategy. The Somali Red Crescent Society will receive funds for the redevelopment and commercialisation of their national HQ, as part of a wider NSD strategy, and contingent on co-funding. Bridge Funding The Lesotho Red Cross will receive funds for the development of a Resource Mobilsation strategy and investment plan exploring national level income generating activities The South Sudan Red Cross will receive funds for the initial investment in IT capacities at HQ and branch level, to support remote management, and focused on longer term branch development efforts. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent will receive funds to roll out a new approach to branch development.

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Article

Empress Shôken Fund announces grants for 2020

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 16 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. The Fund has assisted more than 160 National Societies thus far. 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 usually announced every year on 11 April, the anniversary of her death. This year the announcement is being published earlier owing to the Easter holidays. The selection process The Empress Shôken Fund received 36 applications in 2020, 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 400,160 Swiss francs to 14 projects in Argentina, Bulgaria, Greece, Iraq, Lithuania, Montenegro, Namibia, Palestine, Panama, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda. The projects to be supported in 2020 cover a number of themes, including first aid, youth engagement and disaster preparedness. Moreover, nearly all of the selected projects seek to strengthen the volunteer base of National Societies, with a view to building on the unique role played by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in communities everywhere. The Fund encourages new and innovative approaches that are geared towards learning, so that the broader Movement can benefit from project findings. The 2020 grants TheArgentine Red Crosshas launched a generational change in its leadership by promoting volunteers’ access to decision-making bodies. It will use the grant to design and build virtual courses, creating new spaces for dialogue and debate. For years, the Bulgarian Red Cross has been a major partner of the State in the field of first aid, helping it to respond effectively in a crisis. The National Society will use the grant to reinforce its leadership position by introducing an online first-aid training platform that will facilitate theoretical learning and increase the number of trained first-aiders. The Hellenic Red Cross seeks to empower local communities in vulnerable or isolated areas. The grant will go towards establishing branch and community disaster teams that will build communities’ resilience through activities and training around disaster risk reduction. In Iraq, late detection of breast cancer is common and makes the disease much deadlier. To save women’s lives, theIraqi Red Crescent Societywill use the grant to train female volunteers who will raise awareness of early detection methods for breast cancer. The Lithuanian Red Cross will put the grant towards an innovative digital platform for evaluating the impact of its first-aid courses, issuing and tracking certifications, and connecting with first-aiders after they complete their training. Young people account for more than 80% of the volunteers of the Red Cross of Montenegro. The National Society will use the grant to improve its activities and services with the aim of strengthening youth participation and raising awareness of volunteer opportunities. As Namibia’s population grows, first-aid skills and services are more in demand than ever before. The grant will enable the Namibia Red Cross to run intensive first-aid training and certification courses in ten schools. To better serve the communities it works with, thePalestine Red Crescent Society seeks to build its staff members’ and volunteers’ capacities. It will use the grant to establish a computer lab as a continuing-education unit for all of its staff and volunteers. In Panama, gang violence has shot up in recent years, and pollution continues to grow owing to a lack of public awareness. The Red Cross Society of Panama will use the grant to develop a series of activities aimed at promoting a culture of peace and environmental responsibility. Blood transfusion services are an essential component of Sierra Leone’s health-care system. The grant will enable the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society to increase access to safe blood products, especially for pregnant woman and infants. In Timor-Leste, 70% of the population is under 30 years old, but accessing information about reproductive health can be difficult, particularly in rural areas. The Timor Leste Red Cross will use the grant for a public-awareness and education campaign for young people on reproductive health. The Tonga Red Cross Society will use the grant to improve students' access to health care and physical activity by using safer vehicles for transportation. The Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society is exploring novel approaches to teaching disaster preparedness and increasing public awareness on the subject. The grant will enable the National Society to use virtual-reality technology to teach the public about the reality and impact of disasters. In Uganda, 70% of blood donors are students, so the country faces blood shortages outside term time. The Uganda Red Cross Society will use the grant to develop its online recruitment of adult blood donors so as to counteract any seasonal shortfalls during the holidays.

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Article

Enhancing Aid Capacities project presented at Solferino 2019

By Nora Peter, IFRC Over 10,000 volunteers from 140 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies gathered this year in Solferino, the small Italian town where Henry Dunant had founded the world’s largest volunteer-based movement. From 17 – 23 June, a Red Cross Camp was set up in Solferino hosting workshops and in-depth discussions, including a session dedicated to the Enhancing Aid Capacities project and the EU Aid Volunteers initiative. The EU Aid Volunteers workshop took place at the National Research Center - Institute of Environmental Geology and Geoengineering booth. The discussion centered around the topic of online volunteering, an invaluable resource in emergency operations and disaster risk reduction. A recent example for this was the Mozambique operation of the Italian Red Cross in support of the people affected by Cyclone Idai. The event provided a great forum for discussion on the integration of scientific partners in emergency information management, the use of mobile devices for data collection and the need for digital archives in dealing with emergencies. The two-year project EU Aid Volunteers – Enhancing Aid Capacities is implemented by the IFRC in partnership with the Red Cross societies of Austria, Bulgaria, Italy and The Netherlands with the aim to improve the capability of organizations to provide quality support, managing enhanced pools of competent volunteers and staff for emergency response and improving remote support of operations.

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Article

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 Accelerator Funding 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. Bridge Funding 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.

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Article

Empress Shôken Fund announces grants for 2019

About the Fund The Empress Shôken Fundis 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 15 million Swiss francsand 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. The Fund has assisted more than 150 National Societies thus far. The imperial family, the Japanese government, the Japanese RedCrossand the Japanese people revere the memory of Her Majesty Empress Shôken, and their enduring regard for the Fund isevident inthe regularity of their contributions to it. The grants are usually announced every year on11April, the anniversary of her death. This yearthe announcement isbeingpublished earlierdue to the weekend. The selection process The Fund received 47 applications in 2019, 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 395,782 CHF to 14 projects in Bolivia, Cyprus, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Singapore, Slovenia, Suriname, Thailand, Ukraine and Vanuatu. The projects to be supported in 2019 cover a number of themes, including displaced people, disaster preparedness in vulnerable communities, and social cohesion and inclusion. Moreover, nearly all of the selected projects seek to strengthen the volunteer base of National Societies, with a view to building on the unique role played by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in communities everywhere. Going forward, the Joint Commission will continue to focus on innovative projects that are geared towards learning so that the broader Movement canbenefit from project findings. The 2019 grants The Bolivian Red Cross is currently working to address the issue of gender-based violence among young people. It will use the grant to set up a permanent programme for schools and youth organizations in order to conduct educational sessions, raise awareness, and provide support and assistance to victims of violence. Cyprus has become an important destination for trans-Mediterranean migration. Using the grant, the Cyprus Red Cross Society will train refugees and asylum seekers in standard and psychological first aid to enable members of the migrant community to help each other and relieve some of the pressure on the health-care sector. The Red Cross Society of Guinea-Bissau will use the grant to strengthen the resilience of coastal communities threatened by extreme weather. The funds will go towards drawing up an emergency action plan, building up stocks of relief items and training at-risk communities so that they can respond rapidly in times of need. In Iraq, displaced people and those living in remote areas have limited access to water, sanitary facilities and health care, which increases the risk that diseases such as cholera will spread. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society will use the grant to set up a health-education programme to raise children’s awareness of communicable diseases and the importance of personal hygiene. The conflict in Syria has significantly increased the number of refugees in Lebanon, which has put a strain on blood-related services in the country. The Lebanese Red Cross is a major provider of these services and will use the grant to enhance its ability to deliver them free of charge to all those in need. Hundreds of schools in Mexico were damaged by a major earthquake in 2017. The grant will help the Mexican Red Cross to set up a programme to prepare school communities for disasters and other emergencies, promote healthy lifestyles and develop skills to facilitate peaceful co-existence. Young people account for more than 70% of the volunteers of the Mozambique Red Cross. The National Society will therefore use the grant to strengthen its youth-oriented initiatives by running training camps and information campaigns, and setting up Red Cross activities in schools. In 2004, the Sao Tome and Principe Red Cross opened a social home for the elderly, which plays an important role in reducing this community’s vulnerability. The grant will allow the National Society to renovate the building and improve the services on offer. The Singapore Red Cross Society runs a large-scale programme to deploy volunteers overseas during disasters. It will use the grant to scale up the training programme for these volunteers, adding more specialized and in-depth training and team-building sessions to ensure the volunteers can work as effectively as possible. The Slovenian Red Cross plans to take an innovative approach to social cohesion by tackling hate speech and its consequences, with a special emphasis on hate speech against migrants. The grant will go towards a training programme within schools, designed to encourage students to become young cultural ambassadors and further spread the message. The Suriname Red Cross Society will use the grant to address disaster preparedness in vulnerable schools in Paramaribo. The National Society will help schools and communities to draw up disaster plans, deliver first-aid training to teachers, and set up and train school emergency brigades made up of teachers and students. The Thai Red Cross Society has a proven track record in conducting water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities in emergencies, through its widespread network of registered nurses. It will use the grant to scale up this campaign, as well as to create a WASH manual, together with general and menstrual hygiene kits. The armed conflict in Ukraine has led to a substantial rise in the number of volunteers working for the Ukrainian Red Cross Society. The grant will go towards a new, more sophisticated system for registering, managing and training the National Society’s growing volunteer base. People with disabilities are at greater risk during disasters. The Vanuatu Red Cross Society will therefore use the grant to improve and promote disability and gender inclusion in National Society projects and programmes concerning volunteers, recruitment, capacity building, participation and access.