This report covers the period 01/01/2008 to 31/12/2008
The appeal MAA63001 covers the regional programmes and capacity building for seven Southern Africa Red Cross Societies, namely; Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. The HIV and AIDS programme is covered separately under the five-year regional HIV and AIDS programme (2006-2010) (MAA63003).
Programme purpose: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' (IFRC) Southern Africa Zone Office (SAZO) aims to provide effective programmes coordination and consistent technical support to the ten National Societies in governance, management, performance tracking and accountability, financial development, disaster management, communication, advocacy, resource mobilisation and capacity development. Through its membership service, SAZO ensures capacity and skills development at all levels, as well as adequate coverage of programmes in terms of funding support.
Disaster Management (DM)
Through the DM unit, SAZO provided guidance and technical support to National Societies affected by disasters through the implementation of the disaster preparedness and response strategic plan/framework. Support activities included the coordination of international support where National Societies were overwhelmed; managing procurement, transportation and warehousing; training and the deployment of additional technical staff, resource mobilisation and reporting. In long-term programmes, the DM unit facilitated the development of contingency plans and disaster management master plans for all National Societies.
In response to the recurrent disasters along the Zambezi River basin, SAZO developed an innovative regional initiative - the Zambezi River Basin Initiative - that seeks to address the common vulnerabilities of communities in six countries along the basin. The primary focus of the initiative is to enhance resilience and preparedness at the community level by fostering risk reduction. The DM unit assisted National Societies in nurturing strategic partnerships during response operations, which increased the impact of the Red Cross interventions in emergencies.
Health and Care (H&C)
The H&C unit enhanced the coordination capacity by recruiting a H&C coordinator to lead a team of technical delegates in developing the programme. Their focus in 2008 was the consolidation of existing activities, streamlining into the outcome areas defined by the needs of the National Societies. Based on plans from the ten National Societies the key activity areas included; community-based health and First Aid (CBH&FA), First AID (traditional and commercial), malaria and tuberculosis (TB), measles and polio, health in emergencies, voluntary non-remunerated blood donation, avian and pandemic influenza preparedness, water and sanitation, road safety, HIV and AIDS and capacity building.
Organisational Development (OD)
A number of National Societies underwent structural changes, including the appointment of new secretaries general in Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. The internal adjustments included changes in governance, the appointment of senior management and programme managers in the last quarter of 2008, which ensured stability at headquarter level, and support to the branches. Commitment to National Society Statutes was a challenge that the OD unit constantly engaged National Societies' leadership, providing guidance and advice. Leadership orientations, jointly facilitated by SAZO and the ICRC, helped the new leadership to develop vision, reaffirm their mission and improve strategic planning.
In financial development, particular support was on the use of Navision Accounting Software, auditing and reporting. The in-country OD delegates focussed on branch development and volunteer management in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. All National Societies received technical support on internal review of human resources systems, policies and internal communications. However, the high turnover of qualified, trained and experienced staff (particularly in finance) has affected programme implementation and management for many National Societies.
Implementation and Coordination
Following the decentralisation process and the creation of Zone structures, SAZO spent considerable time on ensuring equitable hiring of local and international staff. At the same time, SAZO created a favourable working environment and a framework for managing responsibilities handed over by the Secretariat, in line with the Human Resources Decentralisation Policy. The transition has had considerable impact on the operations of the department, as more time was spent on recruitment issues and induction of all new staff. By the end of the year, key positions were filled, although there were still some funding gaps, particularly for country representative positions.
SAZO successfully hosted the 7th Pan African Conference, where its role was to ensure capacity within the host National Society, i.e. South African Red Cross. SAZO was also the first Zone to conduct a Strategy 2020 consultative workshop, attended by National Society governing board members and secretaries general. At programme level, a planning meeting was conducted, attended by coordinators from the Secretariat, which culminated in programme plans for 2009-2010.