Programme purpose: The overall goal of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) zone office is to encourage, mobilise and coordinate contributions towards the achievement of the International Federation's Global Agenda (GA) Goals. The strategy of the zone office focuses on key areas where National Red Cross/Red Crescent (RC/RC) Societies can make a tangible difference by utilizing and sharing regional resources and expertise and engaging in a strategic dialogue on humanitarian policies and practices. The International Federation in MENA has built its ambitions on the auxiliary role of National Societies in their countries and local and regional partnerships to maintain and create technical and operational excellence in delivering community based services.
Programmes summary: During the reporting period, the adaptation of the final disaster management strategy and the approval of the disaster management network and steering committee were finalized. The strategy, focusing on integration; human resources development; tools and systems; cooperation and coordination and partnerships; and positioning advocacy, humanitarian diplomacy and resource mobilization, was disseminated to MENA National Societies. MENA zone office hosted the global shelter training workshop in Amman and vulnerability and capacity assessments (VCA), contingency planning guidelines, and international disaster response law (IDRL) guidelines were distributed to all National Societies in the region.
The first half of 2009 was marked by the emergence of the novel H1N1 influenza pandemic, which in a matter of few weeks succeeded to impact the lives of millions across the globe. The MENA zone office mobilized its resources in support of the humanitarian efforts and initiatives of the regional National Societies to cope with the challenges of the pandemic in MENA. In addition, the second MENA health and care and community based health and first aid (CBHFA) networks meeting was organized in June in Amman. The meeting was used to introduce the new CBHFA in action approach and promote its adoption and implementation by the MENA National Societies. On the other hand, the newly created MENA HIV/AIDS reference group held its first meeting in Damascus. The translation of the new psycho-social training manual in Arabic for trainers and volunteers was finalised during the first half of 2009, and the psycho-social programme plan of action for 2009-2010 was prepared. With regards to the regional influenza pandemic, two sub-regional workshops were conducted in collaboration with Save the Children, training 34 facilitators from 14 MENA National Societies. A training of trainers (ToT) manual and a handbook for first responders were prepared and circulated to the National Societies.
Continuous follow-up with National Societies on developing and maintaining systems and procedures, improving the functioning of their branches, improving the communication between the headquarters and the branches, updating their strategic plans and strengthening the regional cooperation were conducted by the zone office. The first ToT for Youth as agents of behavioural change was conducted in Barcelona with eight National Societies from the MENA region being represented by 17 youth. In addition, the zone office, along with the consultant and communications colleagues from ICRC Kuwait and Cairo offices, organised the Gulf training in Muscat, Oman, in April focusing one day on general communications issues and the other day on the Global Campaign.