Honduras: Appeal No. 01.21/2002 programme update No. 01

Originally published

This Programme Update is intended for reporting on Annual Appeals.
Appeal Target CHF 990,225;

Period covered: I January - 30 April 2002

"At a Glance"

Appeal coverage: 63.0%

Related Appeals: 01.19/2002 Central America; 01.18/2002 Pan American Disaster Response Unit

Outstanding needs: CHF 366,135 (USD 238,0001EUR 248,000)

Update: Implementation of the drought operation is on going in Honduras. To date, a total of 5,786 families have received assistance in the form of food and distributions of seeds. To promote agricultural recovery the Honduran Red Cross (HRC) anticipates continuing initiatives to support 2,250 farmers with technical advice from agricultural specialists.

The HRC national development plan for June 2001 to 2005 has been approved, thus achieving one of the major goals of the capacity building process. In addition, strategic plans 2001 - 2005 for each department of the National Society were finalized.

The HRC, with the support of the Federation, has begun developing a national disaster preparedness and response plan. This plan is an operational tool which outlines intervention procedures and defines roles in a disaster situation. In accordance with a plan to set up regional warehouses, two regions: Nacaome in the South and Danli in the east have been provided with basic disaster response goods to reinforce capacity.

Progress has been made in relation to volunteerism as new regulations, a standard integral training plan and a data base of human resources were introduced, favouring the integration of the programme volunteer which will promote access to vulnerable communities.

Operational Developments:

The effects of the drought have continued into 2002 and problems caused by water shortages have become more acute in the south of the country, particularly in the departments of Valle, Choluteca and El Paraiso. The drought combined with the fact that vulnerable subsistence farmers are dependent on their agricultural activities to feed their families, has resulted in food insecurity.

The drought runs the risk of becoming a silent disaster, affecting not only agricultural production, with little wate available for irrigation and an increase in disease and pests, but also impacting on community health and nutrition as a result of considerable reduction in access to food and subsequent economic repercussions at local and national level. It is anticipated that the El Nino phenomenon will affect Honduras as of mid year, possibly resulting in prolongin the drought, and reducing agricultural production by approximately 30%. A month of exceptionally hot weather is predicted by the national meteorological centre as of mid July.

At the same time, floods which occurred in late May have affected the departments of El Paraiso and Valle. However, beneficiary farmers' land was not flooded since it is situated on slopes at altitude, and sowing of seeds will take place once the heavy rains have ceased to avoid losing the crop.

The government, with the support of national and international relief and development organizations, including the Honduran Red Cross (HRC), has begun to define an early warning system relating to the effects of the drought. The setting up of irrigation systems, sowing of seeds of improved quality and the digging of wells are amongst the activities to be carried out.

Violence and juvenile delinquency continue to spread. Since the beginning of the year, there have been cases of violence in the temporary shelters which are administered by the HRC, including murder, rape and delinquency perpetrated by gangs of youths. Country-wide, the wave of violence continues to grow; this year, ten cases of kidnapping took place, with a total of 82 kidnappings having been staged since 1996.

The new government which came to power on 27 January 2002 is applying a security policy based on zero tolerance to crime; nevertheless, delinquency and insecurity persist. The government seeks to improve security in Honduras through the reduction of delinquency. Another goal which the government is striving to meet is the strengthening of the education and health sectors.

Disaster Response

The drought situation is affecting El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The Federation launched an appeal (31/01) in mid September in order to provide assistance in the four countries.

Overall, 791,394 people are affected, of whom 316,745 are in need of emergency food assistance in Choluteca, Valle and El Paraiso, which are the worst-hit departments. The HRC undertook activities to respond to the emergency in coordination with the Federation, the American, German, Netherlands, Spanish and Swiss Red Cross Societies and also coordinated activities with USAID, providing improved seeds and fertilisers, food aid for three months and training in agricultural techniques. A total of 5,786 families were provided with 237.16 metric tonnes of food and 27.55 metric tonnes of bean and maize seeds were distributed to 1,914 families. In addition, the HRC anticipates continuing initiatives undertaken last year, supporting 2,250 farmers with technical advice from agricultural specialists.

The HRC organized a forum with the participation of the Federation, the ICRC, representatives of Save the Children, the Christian Youth Association and the national police in order to review how each institution has addressed the issue of juvenile delinquency and to exchange experience and information. Despite the fact that the social situation in the temporary shelters is critical, the HRC continues to administer the shelters whilst re-housing projects are being finalized.

The HRC has the support of PNS present in the country in regard to housing construction. The Spanish Red Cross is undertaking ten housing projects benefiting some 2,000 families. Two of the projects are in Tegucigalpa and the remainder in the north of the country. The Italian Red Cross is carrying out two housing projects for 76 families and recently handed over 45 houses, thereby finalizing one of these housing construction projects. In order to ensure security and basic health conditions, these projects are being implemented in a safe environment and are carried out with construction material of optimum durability, assuring at the same time harmony with the environment and adherence with the customs of those who will be housed. All HRC projects are undertaken through the hiring of local construction companies, using manpower from the beneficiary community. Another important aspect which is taken into consideration in the housing projects is their viability, given that maintenance and repair costs are accessible to the population. In addition, organizational structures responsible for the management of the new housing infrastructure will be strengthened and educational sessions will be organized before families move into their new houses, promoting family hygiene and community health.

Disaster Preparedness

Objective 1: To provide support in order to strengthen the capacity of the HRC to implement its response system quickly and effectively in the event of local and national disasters.

The HRC, with the support of the Federation, has begun the drawing up of a national disaster preparedness and response plan. This plan is an operational tool for the national society which outlines intervention procedures and defines the role which each of the members of the HRC should carry out in an emergency or disaster situation. The plan identifies the activities which the headquarters, branches and community should carry out to come to the assistance of affected populations. In the drawing up of the plan, the HRC is taking into account its capacities and resources in relation to the country's vulnerability, thus ensuring the most effective and appropriate response. In the same way, the Federation is supporting the HRC in drawing up its disaster policy, as a framework for the National Society in disaster preparedness and which will orientate future activities which the HRC will undertake.

To strengthen the HRC's capacity to ensure rapid and effective response, work is being carried out on a plan to set up regional warehouses so that the 48 branches throughout the country have basic disaster response material available. To date, basic response equipment has been provided in two regions: Nacaome in the South and Danli in the east. These two branches signed an agreement to respond to a disaster in accordance with their newly-strengthened capacity. In addition, these branches will support other branches in the region in planning and organization of activities at regional level in disaster response and preparedness. Furthermore, the HRC office for administration of disasters and emergencies (OPADE) has, with Federation support, developed an internal computer network within OPADE, maximizing efficient information flow.

The 2001 evaluation of OPADE was carried out, with Federation support and the participation of the national volunteer coordinator and members of the Central American Mitigation Initiative (CAMI) project which is being carried out by the HRC/American Red Cross. Evaluation results point to the need to strengthen planning work. In addition, the HRC undertook a revision of its operational plans 2001, in accordance with the organizational development process which the National Society has been undertaking over the last two years.

A resource data base has been implemented. With this tool, it is possible to assess human resources available to the National Society. The data base has also been designed to process information as to the logistics capacity at both headquarters and branch level. The data base will be updated every four months.

Objective 2: To strengthen the capacity of the communities within the HRC community based disaster preparedness programme to better respond to local disasters, diminishing their vulnerability.

In the year 2000 the HRC, supported by the Federation, the American, Canadian, German, Italian, Netherlands, Spanish and Swiss Red Cross Societies, carried out a family emergency campaign. This sought to raise awareness of families so that each family drew up a contingency plan in the event of floods and landslides. This year, it is planned to re-launch the "wise family" campaign. Therefore, a base line study is to be carried out, defining the level of vulnerability of the population in the event of a disaster. As a result of the base line information, it will be possible to evaluate the impact of the campaign on the target population. A further innovation within the campaign this year is the organization of simulations with the community to assess the response of families and the community in general. OPADE has defined the profile of facilitators who will work on the campaign with the population. The campaign is to begin in June and take place over a four month period. In late May, a workshop was held focusing on revision of campaign methodology.

Humanitarian Values

Objective 1: To improve the capacity of human resources amongst Red Cross youth in knowledge of humanitarian values and principles for peaceful coexistence and conflict resolution.

To date, the Federation has not received contributions for implementation of activities in this area. However, as mentioned above, given the levels of violence in the temporary shelters and in society as a whole, the HRC organized a forum in which the Federation, the ICRC, Save the Children, the Christian Youth Association and the national police took part in order to exchange experiences in relation to the need to address this problem. This forum has facilitated the national society's ability to define how it may intervene in order to help reduce juvenile delinquency.

Health and Care

Objective 1: To build on the youth peer to peer education programme through the implementation of a related pilot project to fight stigma and discrimination faced by HIV+ people and those suffering from AIDS.

One of the achievements over the reporting period is the formation of the Honduran Red Cross health commission. In May, the coordinator of the pilot project on HIV/AIDS was recruited and is currently working on the operational plan for implementation of the project.

During the reporting period, the HRC prepared for the launch of the campaign for the reduction of HIV/AIDS related stigma in the context of the celebrations of 8 May. The campaign launch took place in the presence of the Vice President of the Republic and the first lady, both representing the President of the country. The President of the national congress was also invited, together with the mayor of Tegucigalpa, the diplomatic corps and representatives of organizations of people living with HIV/AIDS. The finger prints of those invited were taken as a symbol of support for the campaign. In accordance with a request from the regional delegation, a volunteer member of the HRC executive board was nominated regional coordinator of the campaign, and the HRC provided support.

Organizational and Resource Development

Since the year 2000, the Federation has been providing close support to the Honduran Red Cross in the field of organizational development, with a view to strengthening the capacity of the National Society. On 29 April, a ceremony was organized with the participation of the HRC executive board, heads of department of the National Society, members of the governing board and branch Presidents, to mark the organizational development delegate's end of mission. During the ceremony, the organizational development delegate and the head of delegation made an official hand over to the President of the HRC of a printed set of policy documents drawn up by the HRC with the support of the Federation since February 2000. Each of these documents reflects the commitment which the directors, volunteers and staff of the headquarters and branches entered into as this process has unfolded.

Objective 1: To reinforce the capacity of governance and management of the HRC.

On the occasion of the ceremony mentioned above, a copy of the official organigram of the headquarters drawn up by the National Society with Federation support, was presented to the HRC executive board, in accordance with the guidelines of the approved national development plan. The organigram facilitates the distribution of functions and tasks between governance and management of the National Society. This has also resulted in providing a model for the NS branches. The set of documents also included the comparative matrix of the National Society Statutes - between January and April, work continued towards revision of the HRC Statutes. In addition, a SWOT analysis of the HRC was provided, together with the minutes of the review focusing on an analysis of cooperation between the components of the Movement in Honduras which forms a basis for a workshop on the Seville Agreement.

The HRC national development plan for June 2001 to 2005 has been approved, thus achieving one of the major goals of the capacity building process. In addition, strategic plans 2001 - 2005 for each department of the National Society were finalized. In the same way, operational plans for 2001 and 2002 for each department were officially handed over, following revisions in relation to stipulations of the national development plan. Furthermore, the ICRC representative, the dissemination department of the HRC, together with the Federation's organizational development delegate discussed the section on the fundamental principles and humanitarian values in the national development plan and the operational plan 2002.

In January, with the participation of 18 members of the HRC, representing the departments of volunteering, administration and programmes, the achievements made and constraints faced during 2001 were analyzed. This review was both participative and inter-disciplinary and was carried out in relation to five year strategic goals. This facilitated an overall vision of the impact achieved over the previous year and the challenges which are presented in 2002. Three members of the national board and three participating national societies also took part and the Federation provided technical support.

During the reporting period, the organizational development delegate and the information officer, together with the coordinator of the ambulance service, drew up policies and strategies for fund-raising within the HRC. This includes a menu of options for activities which could be carried out to generate income.

The consulting firm hired by the HRC and the Federation to carry out an analysis of the accounting systems and procedures and to assist in identifying a system for programme budgeting to ensure strengthened management, completed its final report on the NS's accounting systems. The report is currently under review.

As regards the project focusing on branch strengthening in which the following branches are participating: Santa Rosa de Copdn, Copdn Ruinas, Marcala and Camasca, a new project coordinator has been recruited to work with the branches of Santa Rosa de Copdn and Copdn Ruinas. Copdn Ruinas is carrying out the contsruction of a kindergarden and is also renovating the branch. Community health and disaster preparedness training was provided to volunteers who will then transmit their knowledge to the most vulnerable communities. The branch is seeking to boost self-sufficiency through the sale of organic fertiliser. Santa Rosa de Copdn is training various vulnerable communities in community health and disaster preparedness through the implementation of family emergency plans. In the Marcala branch, an annual evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of the development project implemented by the branch was carried out.

Objective 2: To consolidate the human resources programme for volunteers and staff.

Some 102 volunteers from 46 of the 48 branches of the HRC participated in the first national gathering of volunteer managers. In accordance with the objectives of the organizational development process, relief volunteers, female and youth volunteers initiated the process of unifying the vision and mission of voluteerism with a single set of regulations and an overall strategic plan. This resulted in important changes such as the recognition of the programme volunteer as a potential means of increasing both from a qualitative and quantitative point of view the HRC's access to the most vulnerable communities with recruitment of volunteers from all sectors of civil society. A new standard integral training plan for volunteers based on the key areas of Strategy 2010 was adopted, which will enable volunteers to broaden their work, to take place in view of the ultimate goal of development. In addition, a regional operational system was set up including a data base to facilitate the administration of human resources under the supervision of the national volunteer coordinator. This will ensure improved volunteer management and the introduction of regulations which work to ensure the well-being of volunteers.

The HRC sent a representative to participate in the training course in the Better Programme Initiative (BPI), which took place in Ecuador in March. The Federation provided support for the nomination and participation of the HRC member.

The commission for volunteerism and disasters was set up composed of the director general and several of the national coordinators of the HRC. The commission's aim is to study and evaluate the viability of projects undertaken under the disaster preparedness programme in relation to disasters and volunteerism, ensuring that the objectives are fully in line with the guidelines of the national development plan.

In addition to other policy documents which were officially handed over to the President of the National Society, the HRC's human resource manual and job descriptions of the members of the HRC were also provided.

Regional Cooperation

The organizational development delegate supported the regional delegation in the revision of the Statutes of the Guatemalan Red Cross, as a means of maximizing capacities and resources within the region. Likewise, the organizational development delegate in El Salvador with the project coordinator and the volunteer coordinator from the Salvadorean Red Cross Society visited the delegation in Honduras and the Honduran Red Cross to exchange experience as regards the development process taking place in each country. The head of delegation and the organizational development delegate took part in the harmonization meeting held between the Federation and the ICRC in Panama in early March. During the reporting period, a visit was received from the new head of regional delegation and coordination meetings were held with the President of the HRC and with the heads of delegation of the participating national societies in Honduras.

Coordination and Management

Objective 1: To ensure efficient and effective use of resources made available through the Federation.

As reported under the institutional and resource development section, with Federation support, the HRC has developed strategic plans 2001 - 2005 for each department of the national society. In the same way, operational plans and budgets for 2002 for each department were finalized, following revisions in relation to stipulations in the national development plan.

The Honduras delegation participated in the planning meeting for the Americas held in Panama between 11 and 13 March, followed by the harmonization meeting with the ICRC on 14 and 15 March.

The delegation has complied with minimum reporting requirements and has submitted an annual report for 2001 which can be found on the Federation's web site.

Outstanding needs

Additional funding is required for each of the programme areas, particularly humanitarian values, in order to ensure successful programme implementation during the second half of 2002.

For further details please contact: Olaug Bergseth Phone : 41 22 730 45 35 Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email: bergseth@ifrc.org

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org.

John Horekens
Relationship Management Department

Santiago Gil
Americas Department

Annex 1

APPEAL No. 01.21/2002
10' 000