Cabo Verde + 6 more

West Africa Sahel Sub-Region Appeal No. 01.41/2003


(In CHF)
(In CHF)
1. Health and Care
1 USD 239,722 or EUR 237,536
2 These are preliminary budget figures for 2004, and are subject to revision.


The Sahel Region consists of seven countries (Cape Verde, Senegal, The Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso) many of whose vast territory lies on the edge of an expanding desert and who suffer from the associated problems of chronic droughts, soil erosion and/or environmental degradation. The populations in this region are often difficult to access due to great distances, poor road systems, nomadic traditions and security problems.

Since the Ouagadougou declaration, National Society volunteers have worked in First Aid education and HIV/AIDS prevention. They have also done community surveillance, against potential epidemics; and conducted registration and monitoring of children, and women of childbearing age, for childhood vaccinations.

Meetings held in the region in the past two years (Partnership meeting-Dakar 2001 and Regional Disaster Preparedness Workshop-Abidjan 2002) have provided participants the opportunity of identifying two main areas of concern in disaster management:

  • How can we be more efficient in responding to disasters?

  • How can we take preventive and development programmes closer to the communities?

Resource development and financial sustainability is also a main concern for the Sahelian National Societies. During 2002 visits were undertaken to the seven national societies of the Sahel region to identify the financial management systems and programs in place, in order to see which kind of initiatives could be taken to strengthen national society management capacities. Recommendations were given taking into account existing capacities, national society development plan, and the importance of compatibility with Federation accounting and control systems. Some national societies experienced lack of human and financial resources and internal restructuring which did not allowed to have basic financial management; now these national societies take the benefit of newly appointed accounting personal to structure their organisation and work on accounting and budgeting documentation. Some other national societies have qualified finance staff who need specific training and tools to strengthen their financial management capacities. All have experienced fund-raising activities, most now manage revenue generation programmes at branch level, though these programmes are barely included in a strategic resource development plan.

As the Sahelian countries are situated in the meningitis belt and several of them are consequently affected by persisting epidemics and endemic diseases that in many cases can be prevented through immunisation, Federation-supported health activities will be focused on the volunteers involvement in order to increase impact and make a major difference in the health of these vulnerable communities. The activities will be carried out together with the affected communities and in close collaboration with appropriate partners.

As food security was indicated as a primary concern at the Ouagadougou conference, the Federation Secretariat will assist certain national societies faced with food security crises/disasters. This will be done in collaboration with the Sahel regional office in Dakar and the leaders of the sectoral working groups with special emphasis on the National Societies of Cape Verde, The Gambia and Senegal.

In the National Societies of Cape Verde, The Gambia, Niger and Senegal, the Secretariat will introduce Federation standard budget and accounting software and procedures. It will also support the development of Resource Development Committees who will coordinate an operational resource development plan.

Secretariat support to the Sahelian National Societies in their work to contribute to improved health and care in communities, food security and further organisational development will be through project officers in the Dakar Office. The support will be technical, such as project planning and management, as well as financial. The objective is to strengthen the National Societies' capacities to implement activities through their networks of community volunteers.

Finally, the Secretariat will also ensure support to bilateral cooperation and support from the ICRC in order that the National Societies of the Sahel region benefit from coordinated Movement assistance.

1. Organisational Development

Background and achievements/lessons to date

The Federation has been assisting the National Societies in West Africa for over 10 years, and during half of that period there have been organisational development delegates assigned to the Regional Delegation in Abidjan. Over the past five years the regional OD focus has been one of providing guidance to National Societies with their ongoing governance and management issues, and facilitation of their Development Plans.

However, due to the vast territory and the complex and entrenched political nature of many for the governance and management challenges facing the 16 countries of West Africa, as well as the growing need of the vulnerable for services, the OD support to the region has yet to make the solid impact hoped for in order to enable the National Societies respond in the most effective and efficient manner.

As a result of the lessons learnt from the past, and a reflection of the Secretariat's commitment "to assist the National Societies to strengthen their branch and project management capacity through community-based programming involving and developing their networks of volunteers, members and community participation", the Regional Delegation intends to increase the number and proximity of OD resource persons in West Africa to one Regional OD Officer per region.

Overall Goal

To decrease vulnerability of people living in West Africa through improved service delivery by their National Societies.

Programme Objective

To assist the Sahel Region National Societies in moving closer towards the Characteristics of a Well-Functioning National Society, by promoting development and capacity building throughout all programmes and activities of the West African National Societies, as well as promoting effective coordination of bilateral and multilateral support and cooperation programmes (IFRC Secretariat Priorities 2002-03).

Expected Result

The capacity of targeted National Societies in the Sahel Region is strengthened through the professional guidance and technical assistance of a Regional Development Officer.

  • Targeted National Societies have been assisted in conducting appropriate evaluations (SWOT, VCA, Self Evaluation).

  • Development of five-year strategic development plan for targeted National Societies have been facilitated.

  • National Societies have been assisted to increase branch capacity through community-based programming involving and developing their networks of volunteers, members and community participation.

  • National Societies have been assisted to improve management and recruitment of volunteers.

  • National Societies have been assisted to improve management of human resources.

  • National Societies have been assisted to implement a 'Youth Strategy'.

2. Field Management

Background and achievements/lessons to date

The Dakar Office was established in August 2001 to ensure tailored and mutually agreed support to national societies in the Sahel region based on Cooperation Agreement Strategies and according to programme objectives established within the Federation's Annual Appeals. Support is provided within disaster response where a disaster exceeds the capacity of the national society. National Societies are supported on the basis of their commitment towards change and innovation- development of the national societies remaining the primary responsibility of the national societies themselves.

To date, results in the areas mentioned above have been modest, however it is now evident the success of the Sahel regional office in delivering tailored support to specific needs of national societies will depend on the choice of imaginative, time-bound and measurable solutions. These solutions may include local expertise, peer support from neighbouring national societies, expertise from national societies in other regions, knowledge sharing exchanges between national societies, Secretariat-sourced expatriate staff or other solutions relevant to the local context.

Overall Goal

The Regional Delegation., regional offices and country delegations in West and Central Africa are:

  • Strengthening National Societies to deliver services and advocate on behalf of vulnerable people.

  • Ensuring effective representation and advocacy.

  • Building Coordination, cooperation and strategic partnerships.

Programme Objective

Dakar office is providing an optimal level of service to national societies in the Sahel Region by managing common Federation resources, representing the Federation, coordinating and communicating with National Societies, supporting National Societies in responding to disasters as they occur and in managing multilateral programmes for which the Secretariat has responsibility.

Expected Result

Head of Office is managing a Federation presence in the Sahel Region which is the first port of call for support in DR, OD and Program Development, has been initiating dialogue and review towards optimal support of national societies and has been helping build new business opportunities in favour of the seven national societies in the region.

  • Administration and accounting and financial management in the Sahel Office has been performed efficiently.

  • Sahel Office has been producing timely, donor-oriented reporting including emergency appeals, operations updates, annual reports for the Sahel Region as well as donor-specific reports.

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