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West and Central Africa Zone: Appeal No. MAA61001 Programme Update No. 1

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Situation Report
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This report covers the period 01/01/09 to 30/06/09

In brief

Programme purpose: As outlined in the 2009-2010 plan, the West and Central Africa Zone's (WCAZ) immediate focus is to support National Societies in providing assistance to address the needs of vulnerable people. In disaster management WCAZ faces challenges due to new disaster patterns related to climate variability. Risks are growing in large cities because of increasing violence, acute poverty, and urban migration and flooding because of uncontrolled urbanization. National Societies are integrating these issues into their ongoing programmes. In the health and care coordination the Zone's particular mission aims at establishing appropriate mechanisms for effective technical coordination, planning, performance monitoring and evaluation as to assist National Societies in developing and establishing sustainable community based health projects and develop improved preparedness and response in the health sector in line with the Global Agenda Goal 2, the Algiers Plan of Action and the African Red Cross and Red Crescent Health Initiative (ARCHI) 2010. As for the Secretariat organizational development support plan in West and Central Africa for 2009-2010, it intends to build strong National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies within the region. This support has to be provided through improving human resources basis both full time professional staff and volunteers; improving their capacities in long term programming and planning together with the other technical departments and stakeholders at country level; and their finance management system and financial sustainability.

Programme(s) summary: The overall WCAZ's programmes' activities remained based on the main strategic orientations developed in the 2009-2010 plan.

The disaster management plan 2009-2010 for the Zone is in line with the Hyogo Framework of Action, the Global Alliance for disaster risk reduction, Strategy 2010, safer and more resilient communities and the Algiers Plan of Action. It intends to focus on disaster risk reduction including adaptation to climate change; early warning system development; preparation for response and reporting on emergencies in a timely and appropriate manner as well as the development of new food security intervention initiatives at community level and the creation of networks and partnerships to support disaster risk management programme development in a coordinated manner. Support to National societies for avian flu contingency planning and community sensitization have also been considered as part of the overall community based risk reduction programmes. Disaster management and health and Care being closely related, both units have enhanced their coordination team leading to a joint planning to improve the regional response capacity and disaster preparedness of National Societies. The zonal health team participated to the annual zonal DM meeting and the future will see decentralized regional DM meetings which will be jointly held with the already ongoing regional health meetings to reinforce health-DM coordination at all levels.

The move from disaster and health relief to a development focused organization with its implication on planning practices, the need to improve collaboration between governance and management teams in National Societies, improving human resources management, financial capacities and systems are some of the biggest challenges in West and Central Africa which have to undertake an organizational development process. Many National Societies were supported in the last five years in their restructuring processes through guidance in staff recruitment processes, human resources system improvement and training on governance and management at country level. In the area of capacity building in planning, fourteen National Societies were assisted in strategic planning and most of them for the first time. In terms of support to volunteers' management, a framework for volunteering policies development and reporting on volunteers and human resources was provided through a regional workshop on human resources and volunteers management. Seven National Societies assisted in long term project planning in health and long-term disaster risk reduction. Regarding finance development, during the past three years, three National Societies were supported in conducting financial audit and it is now a tradition for a few of them to conduct annual financial audit. Six others in the Sahel have their finance system evaluated in 2008 and the recommendations are being implemented. The Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo planned to conduct a financial audit in 2009. The Red Cross Societies of Liberia and Sierra Leone were supported in business planning by conducting an assessment and setting the basis for a business plan development. The Secretariat organizational development support continues in 2009 to consolidate the achievements of the past five years.

Financial situation: The total (2009) budget is CHF 6,733,332 (USD 6,030,749 or EUR 4,468,333), of which 67 per cent covered. Expenditure overall was 27 per cent.