Guatemala

Guatemala Appeal No. 01.20/02 Annual Report

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The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 178 countries. For more information: www.ifrc.org
Appeal target: CHF 923,090; Appeal coverage: 102%

Overall analysis of the programme

The revision of the Guatemalan Red Cross (GRC) Statutes, change and instability at all levels of the National Society, together with the ongoing drought operation resulted in the original objectives for 2002 being only partially met.

Response activities were a success, and of benefit to the Guatemalan Red Cross, as well as affected communities; however the preparedness of the National Society remains a key concern and a priority area for 2003 and beyond. In the area of health, some significant progress was made, strengthening National Society capacity in water and sanitation, community health (IMCI1) and initiating activities in HIV/AIDS. However, in all areas the GRC needs to move further with the design and implementation of programmes that are truly national in scope. If this is to succeed, Participating National Societies will need to review their role and focus more on contributions to programmes, rather than concentrating efforts at project level. With the ending of Mitch funding and improved planning from the GRC, the time is ripe to move forward in this direction.

The GRC has made considerable advances in fundamental areas of its own development; in addition to the approval of revised Statutes, the GRC has achieved the production of a strategic plan 2002-2006 and has drawn up or revised key internal regulations. The challenge throughout 2002 has been to separate governance and management, and hence ensure that the day to day running of the National Society is not overly affected by politics. This challenge remains as we move into 2003 and the preparation for the elections planned in May 2003. It has also become clear that without the basic "pillars" of National Society development in place (Statutes, strategic plan and internal regulations), it is that much more difficult to make progress in other areas, hence the focus of Federation work in these key areas. In 2003 achievements in 2002 will be consolidated and built on, ensuring that these basic tools are not only revised and approved, but known, used and respected throughout the GRC.

The Federation delegation has been strengthened to reflect the priority status of the GRC as well as to manage key functions that were covered by the regional delegation (which was transferred to Panama in January 2003). This has been achieved whilst cutting costs through the use of local and regional staff, instead of relying on traditional delegate support.

The 2002 appeal for Guatemala was totally covered, thanks in the most part to the Norwegian, Swedish and British Red Cross Societies, with the only difficulty being coverage of costs for the coordination and management programme.

Guatemala remains an unpredictable country with many issues around land ownership, compensation, indigenous populations, public sector salaries and government corruption far from resolved. Violence is common with armed street gangs active in many parts of Guatemala City, and smaller towns and rural areas are also affected by the rise in armed violence. With the national election due in November 2003 security is likely to deteriorate and will remain a central concern.

Objectives, Achievements and Constraints

Disaster Response

In 2002 the GRC undertook key activities relating to food insecurity and also responded to localized disasters such result of drought and food insecurity affecting many parts of Central America.

The food insecurity operation eventually reached over 3,000 families and is reported on separately in more detail in the context of appeal 31/2001 (see the Federation web site www.ifrc.org). Main successes included :

  • Combined support from the Guatemalan Red Cross, the Federation, the American Red Cross, the Spanish Red Cross, the World Food Programme, the Guatemalan government, and cooperation with Action Against Hunger.

  • Over 3,000 families received food distributions (maize, beans, rice, oil).

  • Some 20 volunteers from the GRC were trained and involved in the operation.

  • 21 communities were trained in key preventive health measures around nutrition, water use and hygiene.

  • 21 communities were trained in different ways of cooking staple foods (including those foods that were distributed).

  • 21 communities and 231 key local health staff were trained in the detection of malnutrition.

  • Over 3,000 families received seeds and fertilizer.

  • Community leaders from 21 communities were trained in relevant agricultural techniques.
Beyond the drought operation, the GRC was extremely active over the busy Easter holiday period setting up more than 40 relief posts around the country and assisting over 500 individuals with the help of over 400 volunteers. Similarly, during the Pope=B4s visit to Guatemala in July, seven first aid posts were set up and over 200 Red Cross volunteers assisted 931 people with the provision of first aid and a further 102 individuals were helped through the family reunification service.

In addition to public events, the GRC also responded to numerous small scale disasters / accidents over the course of the year. In 2002, the biggest of these was the landslide at San Lucas Toliman in which 30 people died and an entire community was made homeless. The GRC undertook a damage and needs assessment and distributed clothes, blankets and food as well as providing psychological support and medical assistance.

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