Cameroon + 6 more

Central Africa Appeal No. 01.05/2002 programme update No. 02

Format
Appeal
Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments

This Programme Update is intended for reporting on Annual Appeals.
Appeal Target: CHF 2,850,239; budget revised to CHF 2,182,597 (USD 1,486,814/EUR 1,506,839)
Period covered: April-June 2002; last Programme Update (no. 1) issued 1 July, 2002

"At a Glance"

Appeal coverage: 64.8%
Related Appeals: N/A
Outstanding needs: CHF 767,271 (USD 522,737/EUR 529,725)
Summary/Update: This Programme Update includes a revised budget which reflects adjustments to the planned programme and activities which respond to the funding realities and evolving situation in the region.

Background

The cumulative effects of years of conflict in the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic continue to have repercussions on the humanitairan situation throughout the region. The conflicts have provoked economic stagnation, and as a result poverty has increased, with a particularly disproportionate impact on vulnerable groups such as women, children and the elderly, and to an even greater extent on refugees and displaced persons. For humanitarian organizations attempting to effectively deliver assistance to the intended beneficiaries, the unpredictable and evolving nature of the political and security situation presents additional challenges. An infortunate example of this occured on 20 June in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo, when police forcibly entered the Federation's premises and prevented the staff of the Congolese Red Cross and the Federation from entering or leaving the building. Mobile telephones and radios were confiscated from national society staff and delegation members, and two Federation vehicles were seriously damaged.

Operational Developments

While funds have been limited, the delegation has achieved a number of intended objectives from the 2002 Appeal. In the health sector, the regional delegation provided support to three national societies:

  • the Gabonese Red Cross Society obtained the services of a regional resource officer in support of its involvement in the second phase of the fight against the Ebola epidemic.

  • The Red Cross of Chad received support for the planning and follow-up of its participation in the national vaccination days.

  • The Cameroon Red Cross Society support enabled it to plan its participation in the measles campaign. Support was further provided to all the National Societies to organize and hold their regional meeting in April 2002, where they took stock of activities in the health field and planned those for 2003, with particular emphasis on HIV/AIDS, national vaccination days and volunteer management, so as to increase the impact of their activities on the communities.
In the field of organizational development, DRAC continued its support efforts centred around meeting the specific needs of the eight National Societies and accompanying them in the process and activities of development, and strengthening them as organizations.

In addition, the Federation is making a substantial effort to help the Red Cross Societies of the two Congos to adopt well-functioning structures and achieve solid partnerships.

As regards to the promotion of humanitarian values, technical support was given to the Red Cross of Equatorial Guinea in May 2002 to help it cope with the current situation, develop a realistic plan of action and set up a press network.

Efforts were also concentrated on preparing the regional workshop scheduled from 10 to 12 July 2002 in Kribi (Cameroon) with technical and financial support from the humanitarian values department of the Secretariat.

Organizational Development

DRAC focused its support on the three main lines of the 2002-2003 Annual Appeal.

  • strengthening national society capacities at the internal level.

  • access to local resources.

  • Focus three: improvement of volunteer management in the sub-region's national societies.
Focus 1: strengthening national society capacities at the internal level.

Objective: to help the National Red Cross Societies of Cameroon, Gabon and the Central Africa Republic (CAR) to improve their legal base with a view to good governance (democratization, ensuring all competent people, particularly young people and women, have access to posts) and to acquire competent human resources to provide efficient services to the most vulnerable.

Activities carried out

  • Support for the Cameroon Red Cross Society The delegation financed a think-tank on 28-29 May with a view to providing the national societies with a technical Women and Development section, on the model of Gender and Development. This workshop, which was attended by Secretariat senior staff, defined the main tasks of such a section and the needs for its support. At the same time, a proposal was made for the political orientations of the national societies. The plan of action will be drawn up jointly with the Secretary General and the Women & Development unit.

  • Support for the Gabonese Red Cross Society The institutional crisis this National Society has been experiencing since December 2001 is still continuing and is an obstacle to any form of support. We have now received an official document from the President of the national society stating the desire of the majority of the members of the Gabonese Red Cross Society to hold an extraordinary general meeting.
This the highest administrative body might permit the crisis to be resolved. The file was submitted to the Africa Department on 30 May and is presently being studied for information and action. The national society is under the threat of a decision of the Government. The Federation is taking this crisis very seriously and following up this file in consultation with the president, the vice-president of the Gabonese Red Cross, and the advisor on humanitarian affairs at the office of the President of the Republic.
  • Support for the Central African Red Cross Society: Further to the programme contract signed with the national society to implement the proposed support in the framework of organizational development, the management committee has appointed a new Secretary General and a number of national technical directors. These new officers took up their duties on 15 June 2002.
The new management structure comprises a technical coordination body and six divisions, under the responsibility of the Secretary General. The next step is to finalize revision of the statutes and draw up the development plan.

The support scheduled on the basis of DFID funding will be provided through the Capacity Building Fund, which has recently been allocated to this national society.

  • Support for the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo: We provided support for a workshop organized by the ICRC, the Federation and the PNSs present in Kinshasa on 25 and 26 June to help the RCDRC analyze the operational difficulties suffered by the national society at the national level. The workshop had three specific objectives: improve understanding of the Seville Agreement; clarify interpretation of the legal texts of the RCDRC (Statutes, Rules of Procedure), in particular the role of the members of the management committee, the finance commission and the Secretariat; propose initial measures to improve the situation in respect of: the functioning of the management committee and the performance of the Secretariat.
This workshop was attended by the members of the management committee and the central committee present at Kinshasa, the Secretary General, his deputy, the heads of departments, and representatives of the Federation, the ICRC, the Spanish Red Cross and the Belgian Red Cross.

Focus 2: access to local resources.

Objective: to help the National Societies of Gabon, the CAR and Sao Tome and Principe to assess the vulnerabilities of people in their countries and to prepare or finalize coherent plans/programmes; and Objective 3: to support the Gabonese Red Cross Society to prepare and implement efficient logistics and financial management systems and procedures.

Could not be achieved, as the first mission in Sao Tome and Gabon planned for March had to be cancelled on account of the hospitalization and surgery of the delegate. To make good the loss of time, the delegation requested the Sao Tome Red Cross to propose a plan of action on the basis of the support received in January in the framework of organizational development. Despite contacts by telephone and mail, this has not yet materialized.

As regards the Gabonese Red Cross Society we are holding back our support for drawing up and implementing logistic and financial management systems on account of the deadlocked institutional situation. At the present time no recognized authority exists to coordinate the activities of the National Society. Objective: to help the National Societies of the CAR and Chad to frame a financial resource development policy to enhance the capacities of the national societies in the areas of communication and advocacy.

Activities carried out

  • Support for the Chad Red Cross. In the framework of the specific project to strengthen the capacities of the national society financed by the Capacity Building Fund, funds were transferred to the Red Cross of Chad to refurbish its garage. The work has been started, and comprises fitting an electricity supply and installation of a vehicle lift. This will improve the efficiency of the garage and help to generate more some more financial resources for the national society. A separate report now being drafted by the national society will enlarge upon the impact of this funding.

  • Support for the Red Cross of Equatorial Guinea and the Cameroon Red Cross Society To make the Red Cross Societies of these two countries better known nationally and demonstrate their contribution to reducing vulnerability and improving living conditions of certain sections of the community, DRAC supported a preparation and presentation of the specific activities of the two National Societies.

  • Support for the national society of Equatorial Guinea the presentation meeting was held in Malabo on 23 April before an audience composed of government personalities and representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations. The then head of the regional delegation, whose initiative led to the holding of the meeting, was also present. The head of State of Equatorial Guinea had intended to preside over the meeting personally, but was out of the country at the last moment.

  • Cameroon Red Cross Society: the meeting was held in Yaoundé on 24 May under the effective presidency of the wife of the head of State, Mme Chantal Biya, in her capacity as Honorary President of the Cameroon Red Cross Society. A number of ministers, heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations were present at the meeting, as well as some heads of private companies, and some economic players invited from Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon.
The very positive reaction on the part of the audiences at Malabo and Yaoundé indicated that meetings of this type are necessary from time to time to give the national players a better understanding of the actions of the Red Cross and to increase participation. Very few people were aware of the work done by the Cameroon Red Cross on the occasion of the floods at Douala in 2000, and Limbé in 2001. Dynamic social marketing of this type can facilitate access to local resources for the benefit of the vulnerable populations.

Focus 3: improvement of volunteer management in the sub-region's national societies.

Objective: to support the national societies of Cameroon, Gabon, the CAR, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad in formulating their volunteer policies, setting up volunteer management systems and increasing the involvement of young people and women in the planning process.

Activities carried out

This objective was achieved partially thanks to the activity mentioned above in respect of the first objective, i.e. the support provided to organize a think-tank on Gender and Development; it will doubtless help to ensure better integration of women in the National Societies' activities. Objective: to support the implementation of a volunteer management system in two branches per national society through ARCHI activities.

Activities carried out

No specific activity has yet been undertaken by ourselves, the development delegate, apart from the support given to the Red Cross of Chad and the Central African Red Cross in the framework of the specific project to strengthen the capacities of these two National Societies.

ARCHI/DPP

Objective: to set up a multi-disciplinary regional emergency response team formed by people from the national societies with the required expertise and skills.

Activities and achievements

The elements necessary for a training course to set up the regional disaster response and preparedness team were finalized with the Secretariat's Disaster Management Coordination Division (DMC). A paper draft, the time schedule and the provisional budget were finalized and sent to the DMC.

After consultation, and taking into account of the various constraints both here and in Geneva, the third week in October was reserved for the training course in Cameroon. Participating national societies will be asked to participate in the last two days of the workshop, not only get acquainted with the human resources of the region but also participate in a mock exercise of building a camp, bore holes, etc. The lists will be finalized and invitations sent to the national societies in the coming weeks.

Health

As in the first quarter, in the absence of a health delegate, the ARCHI/DPP delegate continued to oversee the follow-up of this programme.

Objective 1: to assist the 8 national societies in contributing to the fight against AIDS.

Activities carried out

Chad: As part of the project to strengthen the community volunteer network, the Red Cross of Chad has assigned peer educators in the villages. These in turn recruit and train their own volunteers. Such training gives them an opportunity to hold regular information sessions on prevention of the scourge. In addition, a number of volunteers undertake HIV/AIDS prevention and education activities in the market places.

The National Society also consults with the teaching profession with a view to integrating HIV/AIDS education into the school curricula, and works together with the Association of People Living with AIDS (PLA), which carries out its activities in homes.

In April 2002, volunteers visited 74 homes in the suburbs of the West Logone district, and 76 families received training in home care.

On the occasion of the 8 May celebrations, the Red Cross of Chad launched a campaign to fight the scourge with the involvement of 135 first-aid workers. The theatre troupe gave public performances in the suburbs of Ndjamena. This campaign will be continued throughout the year to ensure that people living with AIDS are no longer marginalized.

CAR:The Central African Red Cross Society has stepped up its programme to fight HIV/AIDS over the past weeks. Volunteers provide the public with regular information and visit patients in their homes. In a suburb of Bangui, they have successfully encouraged girls to take an HIV test. These volunteers are also in touch with the churches and the clergy, where some are being trained to work at their local ecclesiastic centres. They train peer educators in Information, Education and Communication (IEC) at the schools so that these can then hold IEC sessions for the pupils.

In addition, in order to evaluate the impact of earlier information campaigns, they undertook surveys which confirmed that their message is "getting across", and that the use of condoms is becoming increasingly widely accepted. These surveys provided a good data base, especially in respect of the sale of condoms in kiosks in the vicinity of certain hotels.

For example, 3 customers out of 7 purchase condoms at one of these kiosks while the sale of condoms at weekends has risen considerably at another.

Cameroon: The Central African Red Cross Society has stepped up its programme to fight HIV/AIDS over the past weeks. Volunteers provide the public with regular information and visit patients in their homes. In a suburb of Bangui, they have successfully encouraged girls to take an HIV test. These volunteers are also in touch with the churches and the clergy, where some are being trained to work at their local ecclesiastic centres.

They train peer educators in Information, Education and Communication (IEC) at the schools so that these can then hold IEC sessions for the pupils.

In addition, in order to evaluate the impact of earlier information campaigns, they undertook surveys which confirmed that their message is "getting across", and that the use of condoms is becoming increasingly widely accepted. These surveys provided a good data base, especially in respect of the sale of condoms in kiosks in the vicinity of certain hotels.

For example, 3 customers out of 7 purchase condoms at one of these kiosks while the sale of condoms at weekends has risen considerably at another.

Objective 2: Support integration of central, intermediate and local programme coaching structures at the eight national societies.

Activities carried out

The activities to achieve these objectives have been reviewed in the light of our budgetary constraints. Only the coaching structure for the AIDS programme will be maintained. Nevertheless, each national society designated a national ARCHI 2010/volunteers coach to oversee implementation of a volunteerism policy.

Other activities carried out

By using the skills of two regional resource people, one from the Cameroon Red Cross, the Secretary General, the other from the Congolese Red Cross (a physician), DRAC provided support for evaluating the participation of the Red Cross of Chad at the national polio vaccination days in 2001. This evaluation brought out two important points:

  • The Red Cross of Chad is acknowledged as a major partner in the activities of the national polio vaccination days. The participation of volunteers is appreciated by the Ministry of Health and other partners.

  • The Society needs to make an effort to improve its volunteer management, who appear to be getting used to the practice of a per diem which may result from such operations. It has been recommended that the ARCHI 2010 strategy be given rapid popular promotion at the local branches for the benefit of volunteers and those in charge of them.

  • With the DRAC health assistant, the Federation is supporting the Cameroon Red Cross in planning its participation at the national measles vaccination days in 2002. In this context, the following actions have already been taken: contacts with EPI, UNICEF and WHO to gather documents relating to planning at the micro level; support to strengthen collaboration between the Cameroon Red Cross and EPI.; the Red Cross of Chad has been invited to partner the Ministry of Health at all the planning meetings of the inter-agency planning coordination committee; EPI and UNICEF are very interested in the use of Red Cross volunteers for social mobilization. A cooperation contact may be drawn up rapidly to put this interest into effect.
Promotion of Humanitarian Values

Goal: to promote a culture of peace in the 8 national societies and improve the visibility of Red Cross humanitarian services to the benefit of vulnerable sectors of the population. In the course of the second quarter of 2002, this programme saw a number of activities thanks to the availability of some funds that had been allocated to it. Objective 1: to formulate an information and communication strategy with the Regional Delegation for Central Africa.

Activities carried out

  • Evaluation of the human, logistical and financial potential of each National Society.
This activity was undertaken in Equatorial Guinea during the mission of the regional information resource officer. Contacts were made with the people responsible for governance and management and the heads of the information and dissemination departments, and note taken of the inadequacy of the human material and financial resources.

The national society has a small amount of audiovisual and other equipment: video tape player, an old camera, a photocopying machine and an old 16 mm projector. It publishes a bi-monthly bulletin, "COGNOZCA CRUZ ROJA DE GUINEA EQUATORIAL" which has not appeared regularly for a time on account of a lack of competent qualified personnel. It also produced a radio programme, but it is now broadcast only occasionally on the occasion of important events.

The Red Cross of Equatorial Guinea was even in the habit of organizing round table meetings with the press in order to inculcate the ideals of the Red Cross among journalists and foster coverage in the media. The Society maintains good relations with the public authorities and sometimes makes public presentations of the Fundamental Principles of the Movement and humanitarian values in communities around the country.

  • Identification and strengthening of training in communication techniques at each National Society.
Recruitment

A head of the information department was recruited 5 months ago to fill the gap created by the death of the first incumbent, who was a Red Cross member. Unfortunately, his services have not been satisfactory despite his background in radio. The National Society was in the process of recruiting someone else to head the department. The national society was given some technical advice on the candidate's profile and the job description, and above all on seeking local partnership to support this post.

The technical advice contained in a note distributed to all the Secretaries General on the smooth running of the department was also reviewed. This exercise was undertaken with the present head of information and the officer in charge of relations with the branches.

Proposal for a plan of action

The DRAC plan of action takes into account local realities and the National Societies capacities. This plan furthermore contains a number of priorities, in particular:

  • Resumption of publication of the bi-monthly bulletin and broadcasting of a radio programme;

  • Creation of an internal network (decentralization of the committees and theatrical troupes composed of volunteers) and an external one (Red Cross journalists club);

  • Providing new impetus for dissemination of IHL, the Fundamental Principles of the Movement and the promotion of humanitarian values for the culture of peace;

  • Drafting of reports in line with Federation standards. Objective 2: to help the 8 national societies assess the situation in their countries and identify needs. Activities carried out

  • Publication of a monthly DRAC Fact Sheet has continued with the routine publication of its bi-weekly updates, "Afrique Centrale en Bref" which is now sent regularly in French and English by email to all partners. The Federation encourages the national society to participate in this activity.

  • A number of copies were given to the Secretary General in Equatorial Guinea for the information department, so that the officer in charge could be inspired to put out a monthly Fact Sheet summarizing the activities of volunteers. They were also encouraged to participate in the publication of DRAC INFOS a regionally produced bulletin.
Objective 3: to improve reporting on operations in all the national societies.
  • could not be achieved due to lack of funds.
Objective 4: to improve the visibility of National Societies and the Federation in Central Africa.

Activities carried out

  • Creation of a media information network, which is interested in the Red Cross Movement, and advocate the actions of the national societie.

  • On 5 June 2002, in support of the Secretary General of the Red Cross of Equatorial Guinea, the head of information at DRAC held a working meeting with 3 radio journalists, requesting them to provide all the support they could, through their respective companies, to the National Society in the success of its mission. This discussion led to the constitution of the core of the journalists' club, to be coordinated provisionally by a journalist from the radio. He will be assisted by two people pending the recruitment of other volunteers interested in the work of the Red Cross.

  • Advice was given on using the information department to establish relations with other National Societies with more experience in the field - in this case the NSs of the two Congos - with a view to setting up exchanges of experience. DRAC could facilitate the coordination of these exchanges. The workshop on humanitarian values planned for July 2002 in Kribi will also be an opportunity for a first informal exchange providing that all the information chiefs of the 8 National Societies are present. Efforts to begin a similar project and network in Cameroon is still hindered by lack of funds.
Regional Cooperation

Objective 1: Promote participation of the NSs in the formulation, execution and evaluation of regional plans of action.

Activities carried out

None.

The partnership meeting of June, which generally provides an evaluation of the programmes under way, consultation between partners, and a redefinition of the framework of the regional strategy as necessary, was postponed to a later date (probably October 2002). This should allow the new head who is to take up his post in July to appreciate the realities of the region and to discuss them in the framework of the current restructuring process.

Objective 2: Strengthen the regional resources such that the National Societies of Central Africa can cover their needs.

Activities carried out

  • Meeting of the health directors of Central Africa: a regional meeting in April 2002 brought together the eight health directors of the Central African National Societies. This meeting permitted them to take stock of the pandemic and efforts to control it, with particular emphasis on the activities undertaken by volunteers between October 2001 and April 2002. Among the results obtained, the production of a guide for drafting the volunteer management policy of each national society is particularly noteworthy.
Objective 3: Promote the exchange of information, experiences and skills between the NSs of the region in the fields in which the Red Cross is active and assign DRAC the role of coordination leader.

Activities carried out

  • Strengthening of regional cooperation between Central and West Africa

  • A study trip to Togo from 6 to 19 April 2002 enabled two senior staff members of the National Societies of Central Africa to exchange their experiences with their counterparts in the framework of the HIV/AIDS programme. They noted the system of volunteer management and planning and reporting as practised by the Togolese Red Cross. Messrs Patrice Yazenga and Paul Panzu, AIDS coordinators of the Red Cross of the RDC and CAR respectively,