Guatemala Appeal No. 01.48/2003 Programme Update No. 1

Originally published

Appeal Target: CHF 895,106
Period covered: 1 January to 31 March 2003
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In Brief

Appeal coverage: 73.2%; See attached Contributions List for details.
Outstanding needs: CHF 239,888 (USD / EUR)
Related Emergency or Annual Appeals:

Programme Summary: The focus of the programme remains on Organizational Development with an intense programme of workshops in all 25 branches of the Guatemalan Red Cross (GRC) covering the new Statutes and the forthcoming election process. Through promotional events there is renewed interest in the GRC, particularly from individuals from outside the Red Cross who not only want to become members, but are interested in standing for election to the new boar d. The revised Statutes permit three members from outside the Movement as well as three from volunteering (of a total of eleven board members) to participate at this level of governance.

In the area of health and care, four branches are now ready to move ahead with community based activities around the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) initiative and the extensive preparatory process conducted with the branches, the communities and local and national health authorities which has been documented and shared at national and international levels. In the field of HIV/AIDS, the National Society has contracted a programme coordinator and activities that are underway in Izabal will soon be extended across the country according to a revised programme which has the support of the Federation, the American Red Cross and the Spanish Red Cross. In water and sanitation, a hygiene and latrine project is benefiting 451 people from a community in Sacapulas, building on the experience that the GRC built up last year through the training of local water and sanitation technicians.

Disaster Management activities have been restricted due to limited capacity in the GRC as well as in the delegation. In the second quarter, both the Federation and the delegation will take on extra capacity in order to build on the advances that have been made and to reinforce the appeal objectives. The Humanitarian Values programme has also been affected by limited capacity; however, the network of ten local trainers has remained active in the branches with new volunteers.

The delegation has continued to work closely with the GRC and PNS throughout the quarter and has made multiple contacts with agencies outside of the Red Cross. With a capable team made up primarily of regional and local staff and with funding from the Norwegian Red Cross, the American Red Cross, the Swedish Red Cross and the British Red Cross, the delegation remains in a strong position to be able to support the Guatemalan Red Cross through this crucial period of its development.

Operational developments

Popular discontent with the government over corruption and the failure to improve conditions remains high. Both the European Community and the U.S have warned that they may have to cut off aid to Guatemala because of concerns over the drug, corruption and human rights record of the present government. On the ground, tensions remain high among groups of paramilitary fighters who are demanding compensation from the government for their role during the civil war. In other developments, a teachers' strike has resulted in closed schools and blocked roads in different parts of the country for much of the quarter and this has also affected Red Cross operations. Concern regarding the food insecurity situation also remains high with Guatemala amongst the four most affected countries in Central America.

In the Guatemalan Red Cross, the unstable situation continues in the run up to elections to be held on 24 May. Personnel instability, particularly at headquarters, remains a concern and continues to affect capacity. Divisions, competition and differing political interests between the newly established Guatemala City branch and the headquarters/other branches of the National Society have become increasingly evident despite the significant support that the city branch has received. The situation has become more complex and politicized and has led to the resignation of the Director General in early April. Further reduction in personnel also took place early in the second quarter and is mentioned here because of the importance of sharing this information with donors (although it falls outside of this reporting period). The combination of political and financial instability leaves the GRC extremely vulnerable and highlights the need to keep moving ahead with the election process and fill the current leadership vacuum.

Health and care

Goal: The Guatemalan Red Cross is implementing efficient, responsive and focused programmes which contribute to improve the lives of vulnerable people.

Objective: The GRC contributes actively to improving health conditions amongst Guatemala's most vulnerable populations.

Progress/Achievements (activities implemented within this objective)

The health programme in Guatemala concentrates on three areas: community health, water and sanitation and HIV/AIDS. Progress this quarter has been as follows:

Community Health

A second medical day was held for the community of San Lucas Tolimán, in which a major landslide occurred in 2002, including consultancy services, provision of medicines, parasite treatment for children and psychosocial support.

The four IMCI proposals from the branches of Coatepeque, Tejutla, San Marcos and Tecún Umán have been finalized and presented to the GRC / Federation.

The Federation delegation produced a CD and written report that documents the experience of IMCI to date. This has been shared with the GRC, the Swedish Red Cross and the regional delegation and will be available at the Inter American Conference in April in Chile.

A draft agreement covering IMCI activities is pending signature in the Ministry of Health.

30 banners that describe and promote the work of the GRC in health were designed and funded through the Federation. These have been distributed to branches of the GRC.

Water and Sanitation

The latrine / hygiene project in Quiché - the Sacapulas branch of the GRC - has been confirmed and a contractor found. Branch staff who were trained as PASSC water technicians last year are already working with the community and the construction phase will begin in April.

The GRC water engineer presented a report of the work completed in 2002 and a proposal for a revised memorandum of understanding (MoU) in order that water and sanitation activities can continue in 2003.

On the 21 March, the GRC facilitated at an event promoting world water day. The GRC also set up a stand describing the National Society's work and distributed a pamphlet explaining its involvement in water and sanitation activities in Guatemala. A story on this event was written for the regional web page.

The Federation health assistant has written a news story focusing on GRC water and sanitation activities that will be shared during the Inter American Conference in Chile.


The American RC confirmed a contribution of USD 60,000 in support of the GEC's HIV/AIDS programme. This support will be channelled through the Federation.

The GRC confirmed the new post of HIV/AIDS programme coordinator and the chosen candidate, a doctor with considerable relevant experience, took up her new role in early March.

The GRC and the Federation together visited the Spanish Red Cross supported HIV /AIDS programme in Izábal to learn from this ongoing experience.

The GRC held meetings with the Ministry of Education to agree content and use of pedagogic materials for HIV/AIDS education.


At San Lucas Tolimán, 154 people benefited from the Red Cross visit. The visit also allowed the Guatemalan Red Cross to work together with the Medical Bridges foundation which sent a team from Houston, Texas.

451 people from Sacapulas are benefiting from community organiz ation and hygiene training. They will soon have latrines and it is expected that these will contribute to improved health conditions in the community.

Branch volunteers, local health staff and community leaders from four areas of Guatemala are now trained in the IMCI methodology and are ready to start implementing their projects. Training has also included the project cycle, administration and finances to ensure that the next phase runs as smoothly as possible.

The experience gained through the IMCI preparatory phases has been recorded and is now part of the institutional memory of both the GRC and the Federation.

The Guatemalan Ministry of Health will formalize its Red Cross partnership in IMCI. This will contribute to the sustainability of the programme as it becomes integrated into local health systems.

A number of different government and non-government institutions are now more aware of the work of the GRC in water and sanitation. Publicity is being further strengthened throug h the web page and through the Inter American Conference.

The HIV/AIDS programme is better defined now that an expert has been contracted by the GRC. Experiences already learned from Izábal are being incorporated, and the GRC has strengthened its relations with the Ministry of Education which is a vital partner for the HIV/AIDS programme.


The branches working in IMCI took longer than expected to produce financial reports on activities thus far. This will delay the implementation phase as no further cash transfers will be made until previous expenditure is justified and reported.

The GRC health plan (which exists in draft form) needs to be discussed with all partners and finalized. The plan remains ambitious.

The GRC water engineer's contract has not been renewed whilst the GRC tries to raise support for its water and san itation activities. The Federation and the American Red Cross have promised limited support; however, it is hoped to be able to spread the support base more widely.

The HIV/AIDS programme has undergone a number of revisions and regional coordinators need to be hired before the GRC can move ahead with the implementation at national level.

Disaster Management

Goal: The Guatemalan Red Cross is implementing efficient, responsive and focused programmes which contribute to improve the lives of vulnerable people .

Objective: The preparedness and response capacity of the GRC is strengthened.

Progress/Achievements (activities implemented within this objective)

The disaster management programme in Guatemala concentrates on four support areas towards finalizing disaster preparedness and response plans, establishing four regional response centres, promoting a Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP) Programme and improving coordination and alliances. Progress over this quarter has been slow in all areas due in part to the lack of human resources in the delegation; however , this will be resolved with the hiring of an experienced local staff member from April/May. Advances are as follows:


The national response and contingency plans which were being worked on in 2001 and which were presented to the board in August 2001 have been made available to the head of relief for revision and follow up.

The head of relief is being assisted by the delegation with the production of a concept paper which will broadly outline the GEC's disaster management programme from now until the end of 2006.

Regional Response Centres

The concept has been further discussed with the GRC head of relief who has suggested adding one extra centre. The proposed five centres are to be developed in: Puerto Barrios, Cobán, Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango and Flores, in addition to the national response centre at headquarters level. Of the regional centres, the three which could be established soonest would be those in Puerto Barrios, Cobán and Coatepeque. Strengthening of the Guatemalan Red Cross headquarters' response capacity remains a first priority.

With American Red Cross support, the head of relief has received further training in the management and operation of response centres.


The country delegation and the GRC agreed to host and support the regional review of CBDP educational materials that is ongoing. The event will take place in the GRC in April with participants from around the region.

The GRC head of relief has included community prepar edness as a central element of his work plan and hopes to open a CBDP post in the GRC in May/June.

The Federation visited the two community micro-projects that have most recently been supported. The school near Retalhuleu is now finished, the Guatemala city project: a shelter / community meeting room should not require further support other than follow up.


The GRC and the Federation attended a joint meeting organized by OXFAM to help elaborate a contingency plan for Guatemala.

The GRC and the Federation delegation met with the consultant for the Better Programming Initiative (BPI) to discuss progress since the training last year.

The Federation promoted increased participation of the GRC's head of relief in the DiPECHO / Spanish Red Cross / national disaster emergency body - CONRED proposal for early warning systems on the Caribbean coast.

In coordination with the Salvadorean Red Cross Society, two rolls of plastic sheeting have been received for the "Design Without Borders" project which focuses on shelter solutions after disasters.

The GRC attended two meetings promoting improved inter-agency cooperation in disasters. This initiative is being led by Catholic Relief Services.

The Federation attended a World Food Programme (WFP) presentation mapping the availability and access to food in Guatemala.

The Federation met with the regional disaster delegate from MSF. Further contact with the regional delegation and the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) was promoted.


The GRC head of relief has further defined the significance of disaster management in relation to the National Society.

The knowledge base of the GRC head of relief has been further expanded.

The profile of CBDP as a potential GRC programme has been improved.

132 families from the community of la Flecha in Retalhuleu are benefiting from the new school; in Guatemala the community room is targeted at 115 families.

The profile of the GRC and the Federation has been strengthened with a number of other agencies, it is also hoped that the sharing of information re capacities and activities will improve inter -agency cooperation in any future response.


The lack of a disaster preparedness focal point in the delegation has limited the level of follow up with the GRC.

The GRC relief department is m ade up of only one paid post. It is hoped to add two further posts in the near future, but for the moment this severely limits capacity.

The limited capacity of the headquarters response centre (known as the Operations Centre or "COE") requires attention.

The GRC head of relief has had limited time (outside of meetings / courses / workshops) to move ahead with other activities.

Humanitarian Values

Goal: The Guatemalan Red Cross is implementing efficient, responsive and focused programmes which contribute to improve the lives of vulnerable people.

Objective: The Fundamental Principles and Humanitarian Values of the Red Cross are known and respected within and outside the GRC.

Progress/Achievements (activities implemented within this objective)

At headquarters, the dissemination department of the GRC ceased to function at the end of the quarter following the resignation of the head of dissemination after a series of financial irregularities were uncover ed. This is another serious drawback for a programme that is so important to the GRC. Applications from candidates interested in taking over this post are now being received.

The delegation and the GRC produced a revised plan for this objective that reflects both ICRC and Federation support.

In February, the new board for the branch in Flores (Petén) received the basic dissemination course.

The GRC head of dissemination facilitated 12 of the courses in the branches covering the new Statutes and the election process (see the organizational development section).

In Tejutla, Chiquimula, Sacapulas, Palestina de los Altos and Coatepeque, new volunteers received basic dissemination training through the network of ten regional instructors.

The head of dissemination took part in the opening of the new branch building in Retalhuleu using this opportunity to promote the new vision of the GRC.

The ICRC funded the purchase of audio visual equipment including four overhead projectors and a projector for computer presentations.


Board member s in Peté n were trained in the principles, history of the Movement and basic concepts relating to governance.

New volunteers continue to receive the basic training required to join the Red Cross.

The network of instructors is better equipp ed to be able to carry out its dissemination functions.

The dissemination programme will be included in the ongoing external audit of the GRC.


The resignation of the head of dissemin ation detracts from the institutional memory of the GRC, as well as from the progress of the humanitarian values programme. The fact that the individual had also been much involved in the CBDP programme as well as being a National Intervention Team (NIT) member is a further indication of the frustrating loss of investment made by ICRC and the Federation.

The delay in the contracting of an instructor to assist the head of department was prolonged and may continue as the GRC struggles with a number of human resource issues and vacancies.

Organizational Development

Goal: The Guatemalan Red Cross is implementing efficient, responsive and focused programmes which contribute to improve the lives of vulnerable people.

Objective: The capacity of the GRC to carry out its humanitarian mission is improved.

Progress/Achievements (activities implemented within this objective)

The organizational development programme in Guatemala concentrates on three areas relating to the fundamental pillars for development, volunteering and resource mobilization. In addition, the programme also includes support to four branches. Progress this quarter has been as follows:

Fundamental Pillars

In January, the Electoral Commission: PNS, Federation, ICRC and the Director General was established and has since met regularly in support of the electoral process.

The Electoral Commission has designed a number of required formats in the run up to the elections; all of this work has also been presented to the GRC board.

On 8 February, the board approved a revised internal regulation covering the procedures that w ill be followed for the forthcoming elections.

On 4 March, a number of individuals from the press / various universities took part in an event promoting the new GRC and the new Statutes. (A further event of this type was held on 1 April for lawyers and the press). Both events have attracted new members as well as over 15 candidates for the three positions on the board that are open to individuals from outside the Red Cross.

The Federation, together with the GRC and the consultants, Humana XXI, designed a workshop on the new Statutes and the election process that was provided to key members in all 24 branches during February / March. This training was also delivered to the management team.

Humana XXI conducted a survey in all branches and will present their findings in April. This exercise also seeks to provide a status report on the branches for the new board when it takes over in May.

The Guatemala City branch began using substantial Federation support (Norwegian Red Cross) for rehabilitation of the branch building and the purchase of equipment. Following this initial heavy investment in infrastructure, the branch has been asked to put together a development plan based on the Strategic Plan 2002-2006 and future support will be based on this.

The delegat ion assisted the GRC with preparations for the Inter American Conference, including the completion of a questionnaire designed to assess the progress of the GRC against the Inter American Regional Committee (CORI) plan of action.

The GRC has published its Annual Work Plan 2003 following the Federation supported workshop last year.

An organizational development agreement between the American Red Cross, the Guatemalan Red Cross and the Federation was signed.

The new Federation local staff member working in the field of orga nizational development joined the delegation full time in January.

The external audit of the GRC (to end 2002) is being completed.


The professional plans / elevations for the disused area of GRC property that could become a National Training Centre have been completed. These will be presented to the GRC and will be an important part of promoting the programme amongst external donors, as well as providing information concerning the rehabilitation plans, should the GRC choose to move ahead with this initiative.

Work has begun on improving the 4th floor meeting and training facilities at headquarters. This includes creating improved classrooms as well as offices for the volunteering / training department.

The basic first aid manual has been revised. The narrative is now complete.

The Introduction to Disasters course has also been presented to the GRC and is close to completion.

A new head of volunteering took up the post in ear ly March.

The new internal regulation for Volunteering was approved by the board on 1 March.

Preparation for the Volunteering National Assembly has been ongoing throughout the qu arter. The assembly will elect three members of the future board on 5 April prior to the main elections on 24 May. 13 volunteers will compete in this process.

The delegation co-ordinated with the Honduran Red Cross and the regional delegation in the preparation of the visit of the regional youth advisor to provide assistance with the Assembly and to brief the new Head of Volunteering.

Resource Mobilization

The GRC Calendar for 2003 that was designed by young people around the themes of HIV/AIDS and Hunger has been being sold at USD 4.00; results of sales will be available in the next quarter.

The Director General attended the regional meeting of the communications forum in Cartagena, Colombia. This Federation supported event covered fundraising techniques as well as communications.

4 Branches

In Escuintla, the Federation has agreed to continue funding 75% of the administrator's salary until June. The branch is actively recruiting new volunteers and becoming increasingly active in the community.

In Retalhuleu, the branch now has a new building thanks to support from the American Red Cross and the Norwegian Red Cross. The volunteer groups have been reorganized and members of the youth section are working on a plan for bringing first aid and community health activities (hygiene and dengue campaigns) to vulnerable populations.

In Jalapa, the branch jo ined forces with a local organization called "Pro Ciegos" to operate on people with cataracts and terigios. The Federation will continue to support 75% of the administrator's salary and has also agreed to provide some of the funds required for installing showers at the branch.

In Quiché, the administrator has resigned; however, a replacement has been selected and will require training.


The electoral process is moving ahead as planned, with increased participation and understanding from GRC members. 398 members / volunteers from the branches were trained on the new Statutes and electoral procedures.

16 candidates from outside the Red Cross have presented their candidature for election to the board or the disciplinary commission.

Tools for training on the Statutes have been developed and tested.

The Guatemala City branch has improved office facilities.

The GRC is well prepared for the Inter American Conference and has presented its achievements against the CORI plan of action.

The GRC Annual Work Plan 2003 has been made available to all branches, the Federation, the ICRC and the PNS. GRC monthly reports are increasingly oriented towards reporting against objectives. This is the first time in recent years that the GRC has produced such a plan.

The Federat ion delegation has increased capacity in organizational development.

The facilities for large meetings / training at headquarters have been improved.

The capacity of the GRC in volunteer management has increased.

The profile of volunteerin g has been raised through preparations for the Assembly and the knowledge that three volunteers will form part of the next board.

Some 100 calendars are confirmed as having been sold. It is hoped that sales will increase over the next quarter.

73 patients were seen in Jalapa, 13 of who benefited from cataract operations and 15 from terigios.

Escuintla branch has eight new volunteers and has started new activities including disaster preparedness training in schools and working with a community on HIV/AIDS prevention.

In Retalhuleu, the branch building provides improved space for the clinic and administration.


The board of the Guatemala City branch has demonstrated significant opposition to the election process as set out in the new Statutes approved by the National Assembly and the internal regulation approved by the national board. This has required extra effort from the National Society, Federation delegation and the ICRC in the dissemination process, emphasizing in particular the process through which the GRC itself elaborated and approved these documents.

The elaboration of the Annual Work Plan did not include sufficient consultation with branches.

The national board has shown little interest in supporting the plan for a proposed national training centre.

The national board continues to struggle with reduced participation, often finding it hard to meet and / or reach a quorum.

The willingness / ability of many GRC members to sell the calendar (or participate in other promotional events) is limited.

The ongoing personnel changes in the GRC (including the head of dissemination and in April the Director General and the Internal Auditor) continue to affect capacity and morale. In just over a year and a half , the headquarters of the GRC has experie nced the loss of nearly 30 paid staff or key volunteers which represents a high rotation of personnel (not including the clinic).

The financial situation of the GRC is critical.

Federation Coordination

Goal: The Federation Secretariat contributes to improve the Movement's effectiveness and efficiency through increased cooperation and coherence.

Objective: Improved coordination maximizing the use of resources in line with GRC strategic interests.

Progress/Achievements (activities implemented within this objective)

The Federation delegation continued to organize Movement meetings every 2 weeks with the participation of representatives of the GRC, the Federation, the Spanish Red Cross and the American Red Cross.

The Federation continued to promote sharing of programme information and sup port information. This has focused on HIV/AIDS and w ater and sanitation in particular.

The Federation has promoted improved coordination between the Spanish Red Cross and the GRC relief department for the early warning project in Izábal.

The Federation has maintained and insured vehicles belonging to the Netherlands Red Cross to ensure that they can be returned to the PRRAC programme which the Netherlands Red Cross will implement with the Cobán branch. The delegation is also helping the Spanish Red Cross to obtain visas for its delegates.

The Federation has led much of the work of the electoral commission.

The Federation coordinated the visit of the Swedish Red Cross and British Red Cross desk officers who both visited Guat emala during the quar ter. The HoD also met with Netherlands RC representatives to discuss support to activities in Cobán. The HoD also discussed ongoing support with Norwegian Red Cross representatives.

The country delegation provided significant support during and after the relocation of the regional delegation to Panama.

The delegation has followed up the signing of the Status Agreement.


The forum in which all parts of the Movement present in Guatemala exchange information on a regular basis continues to function well.

The HIV/AIDS programme design has been improved and support has been shared.

The water and sanitation programme has been re-presented to the Spanish Red Cross in Madrid in view of the possibility of extending the funding base.

The Spanish Red Cross has recognized the need to consult national headquarters' level technical departments within the GRC in project management processes.

The electoral process is moving ahead successfully and is being promoted by the GRC.

The communication with donor PNS is excellent and technical and financial support continues.

Communication between PNS has also been promoted by the delegation to ensure better coordination.

Bilateral PNS benefit directly from Federation services.

The Federation has been granted "International Mission" Status, which should translate into tangible benefits (for example, tax exemption) in the second quarter.


Ongoing uncertainty regarding the GRC leadership and the size / nature of bilateral programming has delayed the CAS process. This could be taken up again after the elections.

The GRC remains weak and has difficulty in defending its Strategic Plan and Work Plan and this is exacerbated by the depart ure of the Director General.

There is a lack of funding for coordination activities.

International Representation

Goal: The GRC forms effective partnerships and alliances to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable and promote their interests at the national level, with coordination and technical support from the Federation Secretariat.

Objective: The GRC position as a key humanitarian actor in Guatemala is strengthened.

Progress/Achievements (activities implemented within this objective)

The International Representation programme concentrates on two areas: Advocac y / Information and Press / Communication. In addition to that which has already been reported in the other programme areas , progress this quarter has been as follows:

Advocacy / Information

The delegation produced and distributed a leaflet covering the major successes of the Federation and the GRC in 2002.

The delegation completed the annual report for 2002.

The GRC calendar for 2003 focuses on HIV/AIDS and hunger as its main themes.

The HoD gave a talk to 16 students from the Swedish Red Cross college covering GRC activities and the Federation programme.

The HoD presented the GRC / Federation priorities to the Swedish Ambassador during a joint meeting with the Swedish Red Cross desk officer.

Press / Communication

In January, the delegation supported the visit of a Federation photographer who was able to record activities in many of the branches.

In January, the GRC and the delegation defined a support plan for the GRC Press and Communication department.

The regional communications officer and the regional web page manager are located in the country delegation and have received significant support from the country team.


The Federation has an increased profile within the GRC and externally.

Donors are informed re 2002 activities.

The GRC is more widely known.

Excellent photos are available for a variety of uses - particularly in regard to the promotion of volunteering and water and sanitation activities.

Support to the GRC press department has increased.


There is a lack of funding for this section of the appeal.

The poor image of the GRC complicates the promotion of the National Society.

There are no fully national programmes run by the GRC.

For further information please contact:

  • Guatemalan Red Cross; e-mail; telephone: (502) 2 322 026; fax: (502) 2 324 649
  • Fabricio López, Federation representative in Guatemala; e-mail; telephone; (502) 220 0672; fax: (502) 232 0649
  • Luis Luna, Federation Desk Officer, e-mail; telephone (41) 22 730 42 74; fax: (41) 22 7330395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the

Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at

Annex 1

APPEAL No. 01.48/2003