Afghanistan + 5 more

South Asia Region: Appeal No. 01.33/2001 programme update No. 1

Appeal Target CHF 2,414,190
Period covered: 1 January 2001 to 30 June 2001;
"At a Glance"

Appeal coverage: 75.2%

Related Appeals: Annual Appeal 2001 - 01.34/01 Afghanistan; 01.35/01 Bangladesh; 01.36/01 India; 01.37/01 Nepal; 01.38/01 Pakistan; 01.39/01 Sri Lanka

Outstanding needs: CHF 599,353

Summary: The Gujarat earthquake in January dominated the humanitarian focus of the region during the first six months of the year. Aside from this disaster, one of the striking trends has been the development of human resources in the region's various National Societies. Training has created a good pool of talent but more funding is required to continue progress in institutional development.

Operational Developments:

Due to the immense humanitarian impact of the January 26 earthquake that caused widespread destruction across the Indian state of Gujarat and in villages in Pakistan, the intended objectives of the Appeal 2001 were not fully achieved by South Asia Regional Delegation (SARD) during the first six months.

The scale of the disaster and subsequent Federation operation, demanded the full technical support of delegates and national staff based at the regional delegation in New Delhi which extended through the initial relief phase until the conception of the current rehabilitation programme in April.

The regional delegation became the de facto earthquake operations centre and the newly arrived head of regional delegation was seconded as Operations Manager/Head of Earthquake delegation from 26 January up to 25 May. In effect, SARD delegates and national staff based in New Delhi, spent about 700 'work days' managing and supporting the relief operation.

Despite the postponement of the regional partnership meeting, the high profile earthquake relief operation has helped raise the image of the national societies and the Federation in India and south Asia, which has contributed to improved funding for the regional delegation.

In addition to the earthquake, the regional delegation has faced other constraints linked to other ongoing relief and rehabilitation programmes in the region: namely the emergency relief operation following the cyclone in Sri Lanka in late December 2000; the conclusion of the Orissa cyclone rehabilitation programme; the 2000 floods relief programme in north west India; and the drought relief programmes in India and Pakistan. Chronic drought in parts of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan continues to prevail and may lead to National Societies (NS) in the region recommencing drought relief activities if the current monsoon fails to relieve the situation significantly.

Disaster Preparedness:

A Regional Disaster Preparedness Delegate (RDPD) was finally appointed from 1 January 2001. This has enabled the regional disaster preparedness program to gain momentum through the second quarter of the year. Unfortunately the lack of a regional Disaster Response delegate has meant that during the first quarter of 2001, the RDPD's time was spent almost entirely on response operations, firstly for the Sri Lanka cyclone and, more significantly, for the Gujarat earthquake from the end of January until April. This has resulted in slow progress during this reporting period. Achievements against Appeal objectives are as follows :

Objective 1 : To develop, through regional workshops, a shared understanding among National Societies in South Asia on developing common standards and guidelines, drafting and adopting a regional disaster preparedness policy and action plan, and learning from regional case studies and evaluations.

The draft DP policy which was discussed during the Regional DP workshop in November 2000 and by the Secretaries General during their meeting in the same month, was to be referred for further editing during a regional DP meeting in 2001. This meeting, which will also address wider DP issues, has not yet been held but is planned for the latter part of 2001. In the meantime the basic principles of the Policy have been introduced into DP program plans developed for 2001 - 2002.

Two planning meetings have been held in Pakistan and one in Nepal to assist the NS to prepare detailed plans for a DFID-funded DP programme commencing in July 2001 and ending in June 2002. Similar plans have been drawn up in India for the Indian Red Cross and for the Regional Delegation's coordination role in these programmes. This has effectively been an exercise to review and expand the core areas of the DP component of the 2001 Appeal and the Regional and Country Assistance strategies.

Structured lesson-learned exercises have been carried out in Sri Lanka and Pakistan to examine the relief operations in the cyclone and drought operations respectively. These exercises were facilitated by the RDPD with the key players in the operation from the NS and the Federation. The results have been written up, with recommendations, and circulated to interested parties. They will be used in the development of future case studies and training material as well as in future programme designs. These exercises will continue to be carried out after each smaller scale operation where there is no formal evaluation built into the programme.

Work has commenced in Delhi, on the identification of potential suppliers of relief and other goods. Prices and specifications are being collected and compared and the information will form the basis for future development of a comprehensive logistics database for India and the region.

Objective 2 : To review and assess the existing disaster preparedness training modules in current use by all National Societies and draft, develop and implement training modules for disaster preparedness for common disasters in the region.

Some training material has been collected however little systematic progress has been made in this area. Regional training initiatives are planned for later in the year though most of the activities associated with this objective are realistically unlikely to be achieved until next year. Case studies projects have been built into the country DP plans for India, Nepal and Pakistan and these will be completed by June 2002.

The large-scale Gujarat earthquake operation in January was an excellent opportunity for Indian Red Cross staff and volunteers to learn in an operational environment. Unfortunately however, the earthquake struck before the mechanisms had been put into place to formalise this process and although much learning occurred, it happened in a largely unstructured and uncoordinated way. In future operations, efforts will be made to address this shortcoming.

Objective 3 : To establish regional Rapid Assessment Teams, comprising personnel trained in multi-sectoral assessments, Sphere standards and other current assessment tools and techniques, drawn from all National Societies in the region, in order to improve the timely, appropriate, and professional quality of assessment and response.

There has been little progress on this objective during this reporting period as the training workshop was originally scheduled for later in the year. It has been noted however that although there is apparent agreement in principle amongst South Asia NS that this is a priority, practical application of the concept has not been so readily accepted. It is therefore planned to discuss this in more detail at the next regional DP meeting to examine ways that this can be taken forward practically.

Objective 4 : To develop a regional Disaster Preparedness (DP) Network, using newsletter communications and a twice yearly meeting for representatives from each Society to share achievements and learning; develop coordinated networking strategies with other agencies having a regional presence and strategy; link up with other country level DP networks and other regions' networks for shared learning; ensure that effective disaster preparedness and management policies and practices are placed more prominently on the agendas of all responsible institutions.

One regional meeting was held in May to discuss the planning process for the DFID DP programme. This involved participants from Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The opportunity was also used to exchange achievements and learning though this was not the principal aim of the meeting. A regional meeting for regional RC/RC DP practitioners will take place later in the year.

The regional DP network proposed at the DP meeting in November has not operated as anticipated and this will be rejuvenated during the first part of the third quarter. Plans are also underway to launch a quarterly newsletter to share experiences. NS DP departments, once in place, will be assisted to develop Internet-based communications systems to facilitate easier information exchange.

Linkages are being developed with other agencies with an interest in disaster management. One participant each from the Bangladesh Red Crescent and India Red Cross attended a training workshop on Sphere standards. This was held in Goa and organised by the Gujarat Disaster Management Institute with whom the RD and India RC are developing a working relationship.

Objective 5 : To improve the regional approach to communications during disasters by defining a common set of policies and practices on information flow and communications logistics as part of disaster preparedness programmes.

There have been no formal activities associated with this objective during this reporting period.

Health and Care

Objective 1: Provide technical and financial support for strategic health capacity strengthening

The development of standardised but adaptable tools for community health assessment; health project proposal writing; report writing; monitoring and evaluation of a health programme; will form the basis for discussion at the inaugural meeting of the regional Health Forum Meeting for National Society Health Managers, to be held in Sri Lanka in mid-July. The intention is not to reinvent health management tools but rather to utilize Federation initiatives such as African Red Cross Red Crescent Health Initiative (ARCHI 2010) and the experience within the Health Forum group to pull together some standardised tools which can support the management aspects of health programming.

A brief inventory of all National Society health activities will also be undertaken at the Health Forum, when each Health Manager will be required to give a brief presentation on their National Society's health activities, and a more detailed analysis of the health management capacity of their National Society, against a set of ten key standard questions.

The in-depth assessment of the health capacities, activities and vulnerabilities of the Pakistan Red Crescent has commenced. It is planned to undertake similar assessments for Nepal and Sri Lanka in the second half of the year.

The health assessment in India now requires a different approach, following the establishment of a country delegation to support the earthquake operation. It is still necessary to gain an in-depth analysis of the health activities and capacities within the Indian Red Cross before any major health programmes can be developed with the National Society. Funds were allocated in the regional Health budget for this work to be undertaken, but unfortunately the earthquake and necessary subsequent operation intervened and plans have therefore had to be greatly modified. The regional health delegate will work closely with the incoming country delegation health coordinator to develop a joint strategy for future health support to the National Society.

Three out of the four in-depth assessments are expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Objective 2: Provide technical and financial support through the Appeal for National Society health programmes, especially in the areas of health prevention/ promotion/ education and basic curative care; reproductive and child health (including HIV/AIDS); appropriate First Aid; and safe blood

The identification of priority needs within each National Society has so far been achieved for Sri Lanka and Pakistan. In Sri Lanka, the National Society is about to commence the pilot phase of a community health program, supported through the Federation by the Canadian Red Cross, who are also providing some technical support. In Pakistan, and with support from the Swedish Red Cross, the focus is on the Health Management and Promotion component. This includes the provision of a Health Officer (a new position in the Development and Cooperation Unit of the National Headquarters) and support for the Baluchistan Provincial Branch Health Officer to confirm the position within the Society, rather than linked to project funding. Support for community based first aid (CBFA) will also be a priority. Other key needs for Pakistan include support for the mobile health teams serving drought-affected communities in Baluchistan and the scaling-up of polio activities around the national immunization days, as part of the reproductive health services component of the Health and Care programme.

As indicated above, plans to address the priority health support needs for the Indian Red Cross are still to be developed. Nepal Red Cross Society has well-established health programmes and the regional health delegate will be visiting in the second half of the year.

It should be noted that Afghanistan and Bangladesh have country delegations with health delegates. They are invited to join all regional health activities and the regional health team remains available to provide additional support if required.

The process to identify possible providers of technical support from within the region is an ongoing process and is linked to the development of a database of health expertise and human resources, with a view to developing intra-regional technical support for health programmes rather than depending on the limited capacity of the regional health team or external technical assistance.

Provision of the identified and planned support is again ongoing, with the focus so far being mainly on Pakistan, which is to be expected as the regional health delegate is based there. But towards the end of the reporting period a working relationship was also being developed with Sri Lanka for the implementation of their pilot community health programme.

Funding support for health activities outlined in the Appeal 2001-2002 has been pledged and received for Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, although more is still needed for country programmes. The huge response to the Gujarat earthquake should help the wider development of health programmes in India, albeit indirectly.

Objective 3 : Develop a learning environment and facilitate the better utilisation of existing intra-and inter-Regional resources

The development of a simple database of human health resources available within the region is ongoing but will take some time to reach a sufficient number of persons who could, for example, be called upon in the event of emergencies. However, personnel with specific skills and expertise are being noted and the Regional Health Programme Officer is responsible for the development and maintenance of this database.

The first meeting of National Society health managers will be held in Sri Lanka in mid-July. This is a forum for National Headquarters-level Health Managers, Coordinators or Directors. The theme for the workshop will be "Making more of a difference in health", The main objective is to focus on health programme management issues and the additional tools or support, which is required for National Society health programmes to have more measurable impact. The second meeting will be held in early January 2002.

The first meeting of the Regional Safe Blood Working Group was held in May in Pakistan and was a success. A report from this meeting is available on request but the main focus was on recruiting and retaining voluntary non-remunerated blood donors and the whole issue of Red Cross/Red Crescent roles and responsibilities in ensuring quality blood programmes. All National Societies were represented and additional technical support was provided by the Senior Technical Adviser for Blood from the Secretariat and the Director of the South African Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service. The second meeting of this group will be held in October and Sri Lanka Red Cross have offered to be host.

The decision to provide two training workshops per annum will be decided according to needs identified by the National Society Health Managers at the forthcoming Health Forum. The two proposed exchange visits per annum will also be identified and agreed at the Health Forum. An analysis of the strengths and weakness and expertise available within the National Societies will be utilised to identify the training and exchange visits required this year.

The regional health delegate is keen to undertake one piece of research/study on the impact of CBFA, not in terms of another evaluation but rather what is actually achieved by such programmes and, more importantly, what more could be achieved using this approach. This project will be finalised and undertaken during the second half of the year.

All National Societies are being encouraged to improve and increase their contacts with other relevant organisations and partners in their own countries for improved coordination.

Additional Regional Health Activities

There are two additional regional projects which were not included in the Appeal 2001-2002. The first relates to the Federation's commitment to WHO and UNICEF to work with National Societies to scale up polio activities around the national immunisation days. Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh were identified as the priorities for this region. The country delegations in Afghanistan and Bangladesh will report on their work, but have made good progress in this regard. A consultant was recruited to undertake the assessment and planning work in Pakistan and India. But again because of demands on the Indian Red Cross after the earthquake, this work has not so far been undertaken. It is hoped that the National Society will appoint its own consultant to undertake this work later in the year. The consultant has therefore concentrated on Pakistan and an action plan for scaling-up is currently being drafted, to be operational for the next round of national immunisation days, starting in August.

The second issue relates to the establishment of a South Asia Regional HIV/AIDS Task Force (SART). Some National Societies in the region are still members of ART, but since South Asia became a separate region a couple of years ago there is a feeling that a separate group should be formed. This will be discussed at the Health Forum in order to assess the real level of commitment within the region.

It would require a full-time project coordinator to establish the Task Force and additional funding. The polio work and possible SART project are extra to the Appeal for 2001, but will be included in next year's appeal. The Secretariat will assist with some funds for scaling-up polio activities in Pakistan, but additional funds will certainly be required if a SART is to be established and maintained.

Institutional and Resource Development

Objective 1: To develop and implement common standards regarding measurable progress towards the "Characteristics of a Well-functioning NS", particularly beginning with a regional approach to reviewing all NS Constitutions and Legal Bases

The first Regional Constitution Review workshop for senior governance (Chairmen, Secretary Generals, and Legal Advisors to each NS Board) took place in June with facilitation shared between the Regional ID Delegate and ICRC Cooperation Delegates, and legal expertise from ICRC's Policy Advisor from Geneva. The outcome was a plan of action for each NS to institute a review and revision of both its Statutes, Legal Base, and Laws protecting the RC/RC Movement in country.

The methodology of the workshop included critical self-analysis by NS representatives of their existing Statutes and Laws against the models advocated by the Movement, and the chance to learn from each other examples of successful change management processes conducted across the Region while action planning.

Objective 2 : To build strategic management capacity in all NS by implementing a Regional approach to management development programmes

The Regional ID Delegate has made visits to all NS to support the follow up to implementation of the strategic plans developed in all NS in 2000. Measurable progress against the "Characteristics of a well-functioning NS" is the framework for discussions and review workshops held in each NS.

Several NSs report that progress has been made in specific areas such as: increased investment in human resource development and training; the setting of more measurable and consistent indicators in programmes; more programmes to raise locally generated funds which have in some cases reduced calls for international Appeals; increased planning capacity in programmes and laterally across Departments in NS.

Objective 3 : To build a Regional approach to human resource development and maximising internal capacities in all NS

The follow-up to the Regional HRD workshop held in December 2000 has been: to see NS prioritising the need to develop and adopt Volunteer Policies as per the Federation's model; the beginning of decisions to set up more focused HRD Division and Departments in NS to develop better staff and volunteer management; an interest in undergoing a Regional sharing and training in management development and change management skills training (planned for December 2001) for senior Directors and SGs in each NS.

Finance Development

Due to the lack of a Regional Head of Delegation the Regional Finance Development Delegate was diverted from her role in covering as HoRD and thus the Finance Development programme suffered from a lack of human resources at Delegate level. This situation prevailed until and after the FD Delegate left her post in April 2001 and a new arrangement has been agreed with the appointment of a Regional Finance Manager from July 2001 onwards

Objective 1 : To provide appropriate technical support to NS to implement Finance Development programmes, ensuring shared learning and the development of broadly consistent approaches

Objective 2 : To ensure Finance Development objectives are integrated into relief and development programme planning at Branch and NHQ levels

At an institutional level within SARD, the Delhi finance unit has continued to play a vital role in consolidating finance development work, and achievements over the past six months have included: the improved budget monitoring and management in several NS due to the collective support offered by the Delhi and country delegation teams; the preparation of the extra budgets from DFID for Regional DP work which require consistent monitoring systems across the 3 NSs in Pakistan, India and Nepal; the support given to the Indian Red Cross to monitor and spend the enormous relief funds generated for the Gujarat earthquake relief and response programme; and support for the Nepal Red Cross with an extra large grant received for ID programme work from the Swiss Government.

Although the technical finance development support work suffered due to the reasons given above, the regional finance manager plans to make urgent visits to Pakistan and Sri Lanka to support the NS to implement their finance development programmes for the rest of 2001. The Indian Red Cross finance director visited the Nepal Red Cross Society with the regional finance manager for one week in May to help the IRCS develop their planning for effective finance development work.

An important dimension of the regional finance work is that the regional finance unit in Delhi continues to be staffed with personnel on loan and secondments from NS in the region. It is planned to allow for further staff on loan positions from NS within the Region to continue to build this capacity as mutually beneficial to both SARD and the NS seconding their colleague.

Resource Development

Objective 1 : To build a regional forum between National Societies for common sharing of experiences and learning in resource diversification efforts

In further discussion with the SGs of the NS in the region, and with the organisational development department's expert on local resource mobilisation in Geneva, the regional delegate has concluded that rather than convene a regional local resource mobilisation workshop in 2001, it would be more strategic to document some clear case studies on existing good practices and successes from NS across the region, and then to develop a regional workshop to plan for more focused experience sharing in early 2002.

The case studies are now being developed and will focus on the following different themes and areas of competence in each of the following NS: community mobilised disaster funds and management of these funds in Nepal Red Cross (linking local resource mobilisation to sustainable local programme development); First Aid training run on a commercial basis for income generation from the corporate sector and general public courses in Sri Lanka Red Cross; fundraising from Educational Institutions (yet to be finalised) with Pakistan Red Crescent Society, leading to integrated dissemination of the RC/RC Movement in the school curriculum; and Property and Asset Management, mobilising rental income from property management in Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.

It is hoped that these case studies can also be shared with the RC/RC Movement globally as guidelines for successful resource mobilisation schemes.

Information Development / Humanitarian Values

Despite the demands placed on the SARD information office during the initial months following the earthquake, some of the Appeal objectives have been successfully achieved. Due to the need for significant communications support to the earthquake operation, the regional information delegate and regional information officer were working almost full time on the operation during February and April, only able to address other regional priorities in the latter part of April.

However, the high profile and visibility that the Federation generated during this period contributed substantially to achieving certain of the Appeal objectives, most notably with regard to developing and expanding links with the international media.

Objective 1 : To develop and strengthen the information and public relations capacities of NS in the region through technical support and training

Through the information development program, SARD continues to fund the salaries of two information officer posts of the Sri Lanka Red Cross and the Pakistan Red Crescent. In addition, limited financial support has been provided to the information department of the Sri Lanka Red Cross for the purchase of a computer and to initiate the production of a regular newsletter. Visits by the regional information delegate to Pakistan and Bangladesh have enabled direct support to information officers in both countries as well as direct contact with NS senior management to review the progress of their respective information programmes.

Marked improvements in the professionalism of the information departments of most NS in the region have been evident, particularly in the area of media relations and the quality of publications. NS such as the Sri Lanka Red Cross have attracted a consistently high level of media coverage for their activities having adopted a well focused and proactive strategy with the media. Regrettably, little progress has been achieved with the Indian Red Cross, due to the resignation of the NHQ information officer shortly after the earthquake and the lack of any replacement.

A 10-day regional Dissemination and Information Workshop organised jointly by the South Asia regional delegations of the ICRC and the Federation, was held in April. The workshop was attended by all NS information officers from the region (with the exception of Afghanistan). Five days of the workshop were devoted to information which was structured around a combination of presentations, group work and field trips all of which were aimed at developing the professional skills of each participant in various aspects of communications. External facilitators included the deputy bureau chief of AFP who gave a presentation on feature writin