Honduras

Honduras: Annual Report (Appeal No. 01.28/2001)

Format
Other
Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments

This Annual Report is intended for reporting on the Federation's Annual Appeals only.
Appeal Target: CHF 2,024,137

"At a Glance"

Appeal coverage: 45.6%

Related Appeals: 01.26/2001 Central America; 01.21/2002 Honduras

Summary/Update: During 2001, the Honduran Red Cross responded to emergency situations with newly trained national intervention team (NIT) members. An evaluation of the HRC disaster prevention campaign took place; following modifications based on recommendations, this will be re-launched in 2002. In September, the XVII Presidents and Technical Seminars meeting was held in Tegucigalpa. Results include adoption of protocols in core areas of the Federation's work and definition of priorities and commitments in the region. Significant progress was made in the area of organizational development during the year; revised Statutes will be presented at the General Assembly in 2002 and the national development plan was finalized. An organigram of the Honduran Red Cross (HRC) was drawn up and a health department created.

Operational Developments

2001 was a complex year for Honduras. Although post-Mitch reconstruction continued at a sustained pace, after three years since hurricane Mitch hit the country, 637 families continue to live in temporary shelters (macro albergues).

Economic growth has slowed considerably, first in 1999 as a result of hurricane Mitch (-1.9 %) and following an increase of 4.8% in 2000, fell a second time in 2001 by approximately 2%. The unemployment rate reached 28.5% in 2001, whilst inflation has stabilized at 10.1% (source: the Economist Intelligence Unit).

Growing concern over security is in large part due to gangs of youths referred to as "maas", which seem to be increasing at an alarming rate and, according to certain sources, of which there are as many as 80,000 members. Child abuse, sexual abuse and domestic violence, seldom denounced, are common. The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues unabated; those cases which are registered (it is important to note that there is significant under estimation) are in themselves more numerous than the aggregate total in all other Central American countries. A first contact with associations working with people living with AIDS indicates a great need for support and an opportunity for involvement of the Red Cross.

Growing inequality of access to health services, clean water, income and education is generating new vulnerable populations in a country which is particularly susceptible to natural disasters.

The general elections which took place on 25 November were won by the National Party with conservative tendencies.

Since June 2001, several Central American countries, including Honduras, have been affected by drought. Departments in the south and south west of the country continue to suffer the direct effects of a combination of lack of rainfall, a dramatic fall in the price of coffee and the difficult recovery following hurricane Mitch.

Summary table of the impact of drought in 2001

Municipalities affected 149
People affected 791'394
People suffering from food insecurity 316'745
Losses in metric tonnes 135'064
Departments with a red alert situation Choluteca, Valle, El Paraiso, southern zone of
Francisco Morazan department, Comayagua and La Paz
Departments with a yellow alert situation Copan, Lempira, Ocotepeque, Olancho, Santa
Barbara, Intiibuca and Yoro

Source: Executive decree 023-2001, Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO) communication no. 15

The Honduran Red Cross, with the support of the American, German, Netherlands, Spanish Red Cross Societies and the Federation, provided food assistance to a total of 5,786 families (34,716 people approximately) in the departments of Santa Barbara, Choluteca, Valle and El Paraiso. In addition, the HRC provided seeds to some 1,914 farmers (11,484 people approximately) in order to boost agricultural production in the departments of El Paraiso and Choluteca.

The Honduran Red Cross, with the support of the Federation, took the lead in coordination initiatives between the WFP, Catholic Relief Service (CRS), UNICEF and other organizations in order to exchange information and experiences. The HRC, UNICEF and other organizations carried out a rapid nutritional assessment in two phases. The results of the survey show that acute malnutrition based on the WHO weight per height ratio is on the rise in three of the 13 drought stricken departments. By the end of the year, this reached a total of 5.9% in the population of children aged between 5 months and 6 years in certain communities in Choluteca and El Paraiso (source UNICEF). In addition, the second harvest due in December 2001 was poor, and in areas supported by the Honduran Red Cross/Federation with relief activities, yields were a mere 15% to 25% of those forecast according to monitoring carried out by the Honduran Red Cross agronomist project manager. This was principally the result of a continuous lack of sufficient rainfall. Furthermore, at present, it is anticipated that the El Nino phenomenon will induce prolonged drought in 2002, threatening crops and the means of subsistence of thousands of farmers, and giving rise to more acute nutritional deficits in vulnerable populations. Furthermore, shortages of staple foods: beans, corn and maize flour will result in price increases, impacting on the economic situation in rural areas.

Floods caused by hurricanes Iris and Michelle affected the north of the country in early and late November respectively. The Honduran Red Cross activated its emergency network in order to assist families affected by flooding. The HRC, the Federation and the Spanish Red Cross mobilized an assessment team in Mosquitia to evaluate damage in this region. The HRC, with support from the American Red Cross and the Federation, distributed assistance to 631 families (approximately 3,786 people) in 10 vulnerable communities.

Objectives, Achievements and Constraints

Disaster response

Objective 1: To support the Honduran Red Cross in the provision of efficient and effective overall management of the activities for the communities hosted in the macro shelters.

Achievements

Since the outset of operation Mitch, the HRC took responsibility for administration of the macro shelters, coordinating intervention with such organizations as the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Organization for Migration (OIM) and UNICEF, together with the national electricity company (ENEE). Two macro shelters were closed during 2001, but two remain open, sheltering 637 families (approximately 3,822 people) who it is hoped will be transferred to their new houses provided by the Honduran Red Cross through the "City Spain" project. Meanwhile, families continue to be provided with food, primary health services and child education. It is expected that in 2002, all macro shelters will be closed.

Honduras faced an emergency situation in the latter half of 2001 as a result of drought. Delays in rainfall have led to food shortages in 13 of the 18 departments in Honduras. According to WFP estimates, some 65,805 families have, to date, been affected by loss of crops. For further details, see the operational developments section above and appeal 31/2001, together with operations update no. 1 on the Federation web site.

As a result of hurricanes Iris and Michelle, the Honduran Red Cross activated its emergency network in order to assist families affected by flooding. See information bulletin no. 1 issued on 12 November 2001 on the Federation web site.

Constraints

Given the scale of the "City Spain" project, this took place in several phases, requiring the support of many state bodies; however, as a result of the electoral year in Honduras, several state contracts were closed before scheduled.

Disaster Preparedness

Objective 1: To assist the HRC to increase the disaster prevention and response capacity in identified communities, through coordination and training.

Achievements

The Honduran Red Cross focused on the strengthening of capacity in disaster response and preparedness both within the National Society and at community level. The HRC, with the support of the Federation and the PNS, undertook a community education programme made up of three components: healthy homes, disaster preparedness and management of temporary shelters. The project builds capacity in communities in order that they are able to manage disaster situations and reduce vulnerability.

The community education project promotes the development of family and community contingency plans. Community plans focus on risks and assesses both human and material resources which can be made available in the event of an emergency, and identify safe zones outside of risk areas: these elements make up the contingency plan which aims to reduce the vulnerability of communities.

In total, 15,141 people were trained: 9,464 of whom were women and 5,677 were men. In all, 296 community committees were set up, each one of which drew up community contingency plans for hazards relating either to flooding or to landslides. This took place through some 574 workshops carried out in 30 municipalities of the departments of El Paraiso, Islas de las Bahias, Olancho,Yoro, Intibuca and Cortes.

The Honduran Red Cross, with the support of the Spanish Red Cross, and in coordination with the World Bank is also carrying out contingency planning in "garifuna" ethnic communities in the north of Honduras.

Objective 2: To assist the HRC in the strengthening of its response capacity.

The HRC and the Federation signed a letter of understanding regarding the purchase of emergency response equipment in accordance with plans to set up regional warehouses nationwide in anticipation of emergencies. This plan foresees the setting up of five warehouses in the areas of Santa Rosa de Copan, Villanueva, Tegucigalpa, San Lorenzo, La Ceiba and Danli. The latter has already been equipped by the Netherlands Red Cross. Negotiations are being held with the American Red Cross for support in this area with two warehouses in the regions of Olancho and La Esperanza. In this way, a network of warehouses, in strategic locations, would ensure national coverage. At the end of the year, 40 per cent of supplies and equipment had been purchased.

The Federation supported the Honduran Red Cross in the drawing up of contingency plans at branch level. 41 of the 48 branches have prepared contingency plans, identifying focal points and zones of major risk.

The HRC, with the support of the Federation, organized a workshop on the SPHERE project for coordinators and volunteers within the National Society. The aim of the workshop was to disseminate knowledge on minimum standards in accordance with SPHERE in the event of a disaster.

A total of 17 volunteers from different branches were trained as members of national intervention teams - NITs. These teams proved most efficient during interventions in the drought operation and in the floods caused by hurricanes Iris and Michelle.

The Federation delegation provided support to the disaster management office of the HRC, OPADE, in the revision of its operational plan and in drawing up position descriptions for each member of the office in view of developing capacity.

During the meeting of the Presidents and Technical Seminars, held between 19 and 23 September, the agreement on mutual support in times of disaster was updated and approved. The aim of the agreement is to ensure the effectiveness of response activities at regional level.

Objective 3: To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the HRC's disaster programmes by strengthening coordination, exchange of knowledge and inter institutional analysis.

The Federation supported the HRC in the development of a data base. With this tool, the National Society will be in a position to assess the human and material resources which are available. A presentation of the data base will take place in early 2002.

The Federation, in coordination with the Christian Development Commission and the Catholic Relief Service, carried out an inter-agency workshop on the SPHERE project. During this workshop, an exchange of knowledge and experience took place with over 20 organizations.

During the drought operation, OPADE facilitated an exchange of experiences and knowledge in addition to identifying the potential for cooperation agreements in order to maximize resources and initatives to address the emergency. The rapid nutritional assessment carried out with UNICEF and other organizations was the result of such inter-agency cooperation.

Objective 4: To assist the HRC to improve its management of information in disasters and to conduct disaster preparedness public awareness campaigns.

The Honduran Red Cross, with the support of the Federation and the PNS, launched a disaster prevention campaign, "the family emergency plan" in 2000. The plan aims to raise awareness amongst vulnerable populations of the importance of being prepared for potential disaster situations, encouraging them to drawn up a family emergency plan. 18,000 families drew up an emergency plan with the support of 170 facilitators. The Honduran Red Cross undertook an evaluation of the impact of the campaign with technical support from the Federation and the PNS. The evaluation aimed to analyze the methodology, relations with the PNS, the capacity of the National Society, together with the response capacity of the families. Amongst the recommendations from the evaluation are the following:

  • The need for a revision of the material and methodology used in order to ensure that it is of an appropriate level for the population to whom it is addressed.

  • Inclusion of the community in the planning and design of future campaigns.

  • Inclusion of a gender perspective, given that 70 per cent of homes are headed by women.
These results will be taken into account in the development of a further campaign to be launched m 2002, given that it is essential to continue to promote a culture of prevention in the event of disasters.

Constraints

In 2001, the OPADE office focused on disaster response as a result of the emergencies caused by drought and flooding. These operations made it difficult to implement all activities in disaster preparedness for the year 2001.The aim of the Federation is to continue to create and strengthen national intervention teams to facilitate emergency response and to strengthen links with the headquarters.

Humanitarian Values

Objective 1: To reduce violence in the community through the formation of 16 educational brigades in the capital and in 7 other municipalities particularly affected by social violence.

Achievements

The Federation did not receive funding for implementation of this programme. Nevertheless, it is felt that this is an area which requires strengthening, given the increase in violence particularly amongst young people, and its overall impact on the security situation.

During the meeting of Presidents and Technical Seminars, commitments were made to draw up and disseminate policies which recognize the value and significant contribution of volunteers.

In the context of the international year of the volunteer (IYV), the regional information delegate held a meeting with HRC volunteers in order to familiarize volunteers with the objectives of the IYV and to facilitate integration between national and international volunteer organizations.

Constraints

As a result of lack of funding, activities foreseen were not carried out. The HRC has clearly defined the promotion of humanitarian values as a priority for future intervention. Therefore, appeal 2002-2003 focuses on similar objectives.

Health and Care

Objective 1: To strengthen the HRC health and care department.

Achievements

Although no contributions were received for this programme, the delegation worked closely with the National Society, providing technical support with a view to reorganizing the health department. The proposal for restructuring of the department was approved by the HRC Executive Board. In addition, support was provided for development of the plan of action for the department, as well as for the drawing up of a contingency plan in the event of health emergencies.

Both a coordinator and an administrator were recruited, funded by the American and Canadian Red Cross Societies, and took up their assignments in November. The new coordinator has experience in programmes focused on prevention of HIV/AIDS in the context of Red Cross youth.

The Federation provided basic equipment for the department, and both the American and Canadian Red Cross Societies confirmed financial commitment.

Objective 2: To support the National Society in improving the coordination amongst the Red Cross partners in health related issues.

Despite the lack of contributions for the programme in 2001, the delegation has actively promoted the coordination of initiatives by all Red Cross partners involved in health programmes and projects in Honduras. The HRC health commission took a clear leadership role in this respect during the year, and much remains to be done to maximize the potential of existing fragmented activities and to ensure HRC strategic positioning.

Constraints

The capacity of the delegation to assist the HRC in the key area of health was limited in 2001 as a result of a lack of funding contributions. In 2002, it is foreseen that the delegation will support a pilot project on AIDS related stigma, a priority area defined by the HRC.

Institutional Development

Objective 1: to assist the National Society in strengthening its governance and management

Achievements

The Honduran Red Cross designated a joint commission with the Federation in order to revise the National Society's Statutes on the basis of the model put forward by the Federation; to date, 38 articles have been reviewed and re-worked. The continuation of this process has been identified as a priority for the year 2002, particularly as the General Assembly will be held.

The HRC/Federation organized a workshop on the structure of the National Society, with the participation of members of staff and of the governing board. One of the results of this workshop was the proposal for a National Society organigram.

Between 19 and 23 September, the Honduran Red Cross was host to the XVII meeting of Presidents and Technical Seminars of the sub region 1 of the Americas. The meeting aimed to diverge from the structure of previous meetings by generating dialogue between governance, Red Cross personnel and volunteers in joint working groups. The fact that the Presidents took an active part in the working groups resulted in a focus on governance issues. In addition, for the first time, the directors general of the national societies in the region met separately to discuss a clearly identified management agenda. A group was formed with the role of monitoring progress in relation to commitments entered into and to ensure follow up.

Objective 2: To assist the National Society in the process of preparation, review and implementation of its development plan.

Since the year 2000 when the organizational development process was launched, work has continued on the development plan. The Federation supported the National Society in order to hold a national meeting on the development plan which took place between 9 and 11 February. Members of governance, staff and representatives from the 48 branches, relief, youth and female volunteers took part in the meeting which was also attended by representatives of the PNS working in the country.

As a result of the meeting, overall objectives for the plan were defined, together with the vision and mission, strategies in the major areas of work and a system for monitoring and evaluation of the five year national development plan.

The executive board of the HRC approved 11 sectoral strategic plans (one per area of national coordination) with the respective operational plans for 2001 in the fields of youth; relief; volunteering; disaster preparedness; dissemination; information; the blood bank; health; administration; capacity building and infrastructure and projects. These 11 plans were then approved by the governing board.

The Honduran Red Cross/Federation agreed on the design of a project relating to organizational development for the period September 2001 - December 2003, focusing on the areas of governance, Statutes and regulations, communications and image building, fund raising, administration, human resources including volunteers and salaried staff, a national training plan and strategic planning. A national coordinator for organizational development was recruited within the HRC. This member of staff is responsible for the strengthening and development of institutional capacities.

Objective 3: To promote human resource development and volunteering.

A coordinator of volunteering was hired who will have as a priority the well being of volunteers, regulations in relation to volunteering and a new outline of the training plan for volunteers.

The national gathering of Red Cross youth directors from the sub region 1 was held in Honduras and a plan of action was presented. One of the major results achieved was the document entitled "well functioning youth" which was prepared with the assistance of the organizational development delegate.

The HRC, with the support of the Federation, organized the first national meeting of volunteer managers, to take place in February 2002. The aim is to unite female volunteers, together with relief and youth volunteers with a single vision and strategic plan. In this meeting, it is also hoped to adopt a new standard plan for integral volunteer training based on the core areas of the Federation's Strategy 2010. A further objective in the development process is to achieve recognition of the programme volunteers who have an important contribution to make in the new orientation of the HRC.

The HRC signed an agreement with the Federation in order for its directors of relief bodies and department coordinators to undertake a diploma in "Strategies and Leadership for Management Competency". This diploma aims to strengthen management within the National Society and to build on the management skills within the HRC, thereby strengthening the process of organizational development initiated in 2000.

Objective 4: To strengthen the financial system and fund raising of the HRC.

The Honduran Red Cross carried out an internal audit with financial support from the Federation. In this way, the process of improvement of administrative and financial systems was initiated and procurement and financial authorization manuals were compiled. A consulting firm was hired to strengthen the HRC accounting system and to create a budgeting system per programme with a view to strengthening the administrative and financial systems of the National Society.

Furthermore, over a four month period, a consultant was recruited to work in the area of fund raising; as a result, objectives were set for income generation targets.

Objective 5: To strengthen the public image and internal and external communication of the HRC.

The Federation supported the creation of the National Society web page and a workshop was organized with the collaboration of the Guatemala regional delegation in which 10 people were trained in web page technology. A web master was hired with funding from the Netherlands Red Cross, responsible for updating and maintaining the information on the web site. Through the web page, the National Society promotes the dissemination of information, both internal and external, and also facilitates the strengthening of the institutional image.

In 2001, the National Society did not benefit from a communication and information officer over a seven month period.

Objective 6: As part of a pilot project, to contribute to the strengthening of four branches.

With funds from the Japanese Red Cross, the Federation is supporting the strengthening of capacities of four branches: Marcala, Santa Rosa de Copan, Copan Ruinas and Camasca. The branches included in the project are situated in the south east region of Honduras, one of the poorest in the country.

Two project coordinators: one for the branches of Santa Rosa de Copan and Copan Ruinas and one for Marcala and Camasca, will act as focal points in the provision of advice on strategic plans and micro projects. The Federation liaised with the American Red Cross in order to maximize the use of human and logistic resources in the area of Camasca with the aim of ensuring a more efficient intervention with maximum impact.

The branches of Copan Ruinas and Santa Rosa de Copan drew up both strategic plans and operational plans for 2001. Furthermore, inter-agency workshops were held with NGOs and public organizations with the aim of identifying potential partners. A SWOT analysis was also carried out and contingency plans were drawn up for these branches in the event of the occurrence of a disaster.

Marcala branch also completed its strategic and operational plan for 2001; once approved, the Honduran Red Cross and the Federation drew up an agreement with a view to its funding. In view of ensuring the sustainability of branch programmes, the Federation is currently carrying out a study on the image of the branch with the aim of setting up an income-generating programme supported by the business sector and the community. It is intended that this study will also take place in the branches of Copan Ruinas and Santa Rosa de Copan.

The department of organizational development of the Honduran Red Cross, the President of the National Society and members of the governing board of the Marcala branch, received a donation from the Japanese Embassy for the purchase of an ambulance to be used by this branch.

Constraints

The absence of a communications and information coordinator during most of the year 2001 complicated the implementation of activities proposed. The Federation's information officer increased efforts to support the National Society in fulfilling its commitments and also in the carrying out of public relations initiatives.

Coordination and Management

Objective 1: Establish and apply criteria for efficient (cost-benefit) and effective (objectives-results) use of resources made available through the Federation for the implementation of programmes, in line with the priorities of Strategy 2010 and applying Federation procedures and guidelines.

Achievements

In 2001, programmes were managed without incurring deficits. Resources were used in accordance with priorities defined in the appeal and with constant joint monitoring with the HRC. The role of the regional finance unit (RFU) of the Guatemala regional delegation has enhanced financial monitoring of the programmes and the visits and permanent contact between the Honduras de