The frequencies, complexity and magnitude of disasters in Southern Africa zone - such as drought, floods, hailstorms, cyclones and epidemics, HIV and AIDS in particular - as well as the socio-economic shocks, serve as triggers speeding up the plunge of extremely vulnerable households and communities over the edge of survival. Extreme weather conditions and climate change in some parts of the region severely influence the level of agricultural production. Other humanitarian consequences include increased mortality and morbidity rates, malnutrition, increased numbers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), and inadequate protection of the most vulnerable. The humanitarian consequences are further aggravated by a decline in the delivery systems and support services of the local authorities.
Approximately two-thirds of the regional population lives under the national poverty line. Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe are among the 20 countries in the world with the highest Human Poverty Index (HPI-1) rank out of the countries for which the index has been calculated. Recent regional vulnerability assessments confirm that poor economic conditions constrain livelihood options, leaving households across the region with depressed employment and poorer casual labour opportunities. High poverty rates together with gender inequalities, poor infrastructure, lack of investment in health, and endemic malnutrition has made increasing percentages of the populations in most Southern African countries more susceptible to diseases.
Despite this gloomy prognosis there are success stories and the Red Cross in Southern Africa continues to play an important role in addressing these challenges. The flagship regional HIV and AIDS programme launched in 2006 by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) Southern Africa Zone office has given the Red Cross an opportunity to gain the respect and cooperation from marginalized communities. The water and sanitation programme for instance continues to reach an increasing number of people by providing potable clean water, adequate sanitation and promoting hygienic practices in all countries in Southern Africa. At the same time the Red Cross National Societies (NS) are working with strategic local, national and international partners on scaling-up activities and increasing impact through social mobilization campaigns to combat malaria, tuberculosis (TB), measles and other diseases. The NS committed to working closer with communities in training and provision of community-based First Aid approaches, whilst others have gained significant experience in the provision of First Aid services, promoting voluntary non-remunerated blood donation and building capacity in psychosocial support and road safety initiatives.
Similarly, the disaster management programme has been providing overall guidance, assistance and technical support on institutional and community-based disaster preparedness, community disaster risk reduction and mitigation, disaster response operations, food security and logistic services.
The IFRC Zone office will continue working through a coordinated approach within the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement components and external stakeholders to facilitate scaling-up of programming, better use of resources and mutual learning in delivering relevant programmes. In order to remain relevant, credible and focused, the IFRC Zone office works according to the expressed and identified needs of the NS, particularly in capacity building. This process is enhanced through harmonization of internal and external Movement partnerships in supporting the NS development in programming.
In today's competitive environment, emphasis will be on showing more clearly the benefits of the Red Cross and Red Crescent programmes and how our actions and advocacy contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals2 and other major global efforts to reduce poverty and inequity and promote sustainable human development. To accomplish this goal, the IFRC General Assembly adopted a new plan called the Federation of the Future in 2005 aiming at achieving the Global Agenda3, with four goals aligned to the core areas of Strategy 2010. The Global Agenda demonstrates commitment to increasing the impact of our work by committing to scaling-up and improving the quality of our programming at both domestic and international level. As such, the NS plans for 2009-2010 are developed from national strategic plans at the same time are aligned to the Global Agenda's goals. As a membership organization, the IFRC's work is based on the capacities of it member NS, hence the Global Programme for Africa4 (GPA) will direct the implementation of capacity development at NS level.
The total budget for this IFRC Zone office support plan for 2009-2010 is CHF 7,107,098 (EUR 4,526,814 or USD 6,496,433)