Mali

Mali Appeal No. 01.35/2004 Programme Update No. 2

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Situation Report
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In Brief

Appeal No. 01.35/2004; Programme Update no. 02; Period covered: May to 15 November 2004; Appeal coverage: 56.8%; Outstanding needs: CHF 119,449 (USD 99,500 or EUR 78,100).

Appeal target: CHF 276,766 (USD 207,860 or EUR 178,156).

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals:

Mali, 2005 Appeal no. 05AA029 - http://www.ifrc.org/cgi/pdf_appeals.pl?annual05/05AA029.pdf

Sahel sub-regional programmes, 2005 Appeal no. 05AA033 - http://www.ifrc.org/cgi/pdf_appeals.pl?annual05/05AA033.pdf

Programme summary: As refugees and returnees spill into neighboring countries, Côte d'Ivoire's conflict has raised great concerns of a possible humanitarian crisis. The small town of Zegoua on the Malian border has seen its economy grind to a halt while health services, power and trade have also been affected. To prevent a humanitarian crisis, the Mali Red Cross1, in close coordination with partners such as the UNHCR and other government organisations, has been monitoring the situation. The national society is also following up on the development of the August locust invasion and is working out a 2005 plan of action. During this reporting period, the national society managed to set up a strategic plan for 2005-2008, improve its management systems and strengthen its human resources. The finance officer benefited from a technical exchange mission to develop the financial reports as well as the Federation's contingencies in terms of rules, procedures and budget cycles. The Federation Sahel sub-regional office has recruited a health officer to help define and streamline the national society's community-based health guidelines as part of the strategic planning. The recruitment of a health coordinator will further develop this component in 2005. The national society organized two awareness and anti-polio vaccination campaigns in October and November.

Operational developments

In November, the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (ONUCI) reported2 that it was monitoring the ceasefire pact in the country. But it raised the security alert to a level-four following a breach in the ceasefire agreement between Government and the opposition forces. These conditions permit non-essential staff to be evacuated.

Increased violence has begun to affect humanitarian agencies operating in Eastern Mali. In June, unidentified armed groups attacked a Malian Red Cross mission in the northeastern region between Gao and Bourem. Although the two drivers and five Red Cross trainers were unharmed, the attackers stole two Land Cruisers and personal effects. The team was on a relief mission to assist the flood victims in the Bourem area who lost 98% of the cultivated 10,000 hectares of land to torrential rains in 2003. The team had also been involved in anti-cholera and malaria training programmes through free distribution of impregnated mosquito nets for under-fives and expectant mothers.

In September, another vehicle belonging to the Canadian NGO, Solidarity, and Union Cooperation (SUCO) was stolen in Gao.

The Mali Red Cross has continued with its activities, through seminars to promote International Humanitarian Law; community sensitization on the Movement's action and respect for the Red Cross Red Crescent emblem.

This summer, Mali was one of the West African countries devastated by locust invasion. So far, almost 250,000 hectares of the estimated 700,000 infested hectares of land have been treated in the landlocked country. Malian officials and relief agencies report that 10,000 MT of grains are being dispatched to almost one million people whose livelihoods were devoured by the locusts3. The worst-hit area is around Mopti, a central city on the Niger River, which accounts for more than half of the neediest districts for food aid. The desert town of Timbuktu is also high up on the list along with areas around Kayes in the western and the northern region of Segou. The national society has maintained contact with the WFP representative and is regularly updated on developments of the locusts' invasion through the UNDP Office.

The sub-regional office has initiated a Cooperation Agreement Strategy (CAS) process with the Mali Red Cross and assessed activities conducted over the last four years. Consequently, the national society developed a four-year Strategic Plan and designed projects for the various Red Cross partners.

In spite of a wide presence at field level, the national society is still struggling to re-emerge from the management crisis that left it with little staff and only one major partner. The national society needs support to consolidate its gains and engage full-time programme staff to organize partnerships and activities professionally.

The Mali Red Cross has carried out some restructuring including upgraded management systems, clarified job responsibilities of each finance staff and planned recruitment of a logistics officer. The Regional Accountant's visit late August is expected to improve the quality of financial reports.

Health and care

Goal: To contribute to the reduction of risk of HIV/AIDS/STI and other communicable diseases among the most vulnerable populations in Mali.

Objective: To strengthen the national society's capacity to fight HIV/AIDS/STI and other communicable diseases in two regions (Koulikoro and Kayes) targeting vulnerable adults and youth in the informal sector (traders, transporters, and industrial workers).

Progress/Achievements

Mali Red Cross combats HIV/AIDS and STD, including stigma and discrimination, through training and support to 20 coaches and 300 peer educators in the Kangaba and Kita health districts.

Improved attitudes and safer practices are adopted in the target areas, through promotion of condoms and changed behavior.

The Mali Red Cross health department is constructed and provides HIV/AIDS support and other health related relief operations.

The Federation supported a health project development workshop in July 2004 in line with the strategic planning process started in February. All the Mali Red Cross's partners attended the workshop and the national society identified seven health priority areas: malaria, diarrhea/malnutrition, acute respiratory infections, epidemics, vaccination, HIV/AIDS, and female genital mutilations. For each of these projects, a planning matrix was developed and made available for use with potential donors.

A Public Health specialist is to be recruited to enhance capacity building. Federation is providing technical support while funding is from the capacity building fund. This fund is expected to cover the entire year as well as develop both medium and long-term programmes.

Like other West-African countries, Mali organized two anti-polio vaccination campaigns between 8-12 October 2004 and 18-22 November 2004.

The Mali Red Cross, with Spanish Red Cross support, staged a free distribution of 12,000 chemically-treated mosquito nets for infants and expectant mothers in Bourem. Federation also supported a cholera control project through improved hygiene within that locality.

Impact:

- Improved Mali Red Cross visibility and partner collaboration.

- Recruitment of new volunteers through programmes.

- Increased staffing for more professional interventions in the health sector.

Constraints:

The delay in funds transfer to support the planned vaccination campaigns hindered the completion of the sub-regional office and the national society's activities.

Organizational Development

Goal: Mali Red Cross is a well-functioning national society capable of alleviating human suffering and delivering development services effectively and efficiently.

Objective 1: Mali Red Cross develops and conducts relevant programmes under the supervision of professional staff within the framework of a well-supported cooperation agreement strategy.

A strategic plan is developed in the framework of a well-supported CAS.

In March 2004, the Regional Development Officer discussed the Federation's 2004 OD support with the Mali Red Cross. This led to an evaluation of the national society's last four-year programmes and organization of a strategic-planning workshop. It also helped the national society identify its weaknesses in programme and project planning, among other things. The evaluation was with the support of the Federation, ICRC and Spanish Red Cross in April 2004.

A strategic-planning workshop was held in June 2004, to develop the Mali Red Cross Strategic Plan for 2005-2008. This was followed in July 2004 by a Federation-sponsored project planning/development workshop based on the Strategic Plan. The project-planning matrices in Health, Disaster Preparedness with Food Security aspects, Conflict Preparedness, and Organizational Development are now available for submission to donors. These matrices paved the way for the 2005 Federation Appeal and will be used to support future projects developed with other donors.

The sub-regional office focused on partner coordination with ICRC, Spanish Red Cross and Swiss Red Cross which provided support and participated actively through the planning process. Efforts are being made to resume collaboration between the Mali Red Cross and the Danish Red Cross.

Mali Red Cross develops and conducts relevant programmes through the guidance and supervision of professional staff.

The four-year programme evaluation enables the Mali Red Cross identify its weaknesses particularly the absence of full-time staff. The Federation will support a health coordinator position for one year through the Capacity Building Fund. The national society is expected to secure this institutional support with future project development. The Executive Secretary's position is raising concerns since it is ICRC-sponsored until June 2005.

Governance at headquarters and branch levels has clearly defined roles and job descriptions and offers strategic support to management as opposed to operational support.

The coordinating role of the Mali Red Cross headquarters has been strengthened.

Better roles clarification between governance and management bodies was one of the evaluation's objectives and recommendations. These recommendations were presented in the evaluation report with those raised during the programme planning workshops. They will be used for the next year's governance and management workshop.

Kayes, Sikasso, and Segou branches have become more dynamic through an integrated pilot programme which includes finance and resource development as well as management and capacity building to complement bilateral project support targeting these three branches.

No progress during the period

Impact

The different partners received closer coaching while the national society gets a better understanding of its mission with regard to the Movement's recent policies. A few lessons were learned from the past through the evaluation exercise.

The national society now has an improved coordination development plan and is working towards achieving better long-term plans based on the Project Planning Process (PPP). The process will however, truly have an impact only after a few years and still require Federation's assistance.

The February's partnership meeting and planning workshop raised the need for better coordination. The workshop has improved the understanding of the Federation's role in assisting national societies' development.

Constraints

Inadequate time to get all interested partners on board led to a delay in keeping within the scope of the deadlines for the 2005 development Appeals.

The lack of a Disaster Preparedness/Management Officer imposed a heavy workload on the sub-regional office staff making it imperative to recruit a Disaster Preparedness/Management Officer to support programme implementation.

Objective 2: The Mali Red Cross has reinforced its finance personnel at headquarters as well as in the three regional branches with competencies in fund raising.

Progress achievement:

Financial management systems and procedures are improved and revenues from resource development activities are increased and diversified.

The Mali Red Cross management capacity is strengthened through the introduction of new computers and equipment and a sufficient system for the backup and archiving of financial documents.

Since the national society met almost all its equipment needs, focus was then on improving the quality of the financial reports. The finance officer visited the sub-regional office in August to implement long-term preparation procedures for the national society's move from the working-advance to cash-transfer system. The quality of the expenditure receipts presented was analyzed and solutions were proposed for its improvement. Thus, the sub-regional office has established a checklist and sent to the national societies for each financial project report received. This checklist could also be presented to the RFU to cover the other regions.

The Mali Red Cross possesses externally audited financial accounts which permit the national society to reinforce its management capacity.

The 2000-2002 audit report contains consolidation recommendations for the Mali Red Cross management. Such recommendations focused on fixed assets registers and management procedures that were not regularly followed (bank reconciliation statements, physical cash inventory, processing cash documents, etc.). The audit report was presented at the last General Assembly that adopted these recommendations. The financial procedures manual is under revision with an auditing firm's collaboration.

The national society's executive and finance staff views this auditing exercise as a means of improving the Mali Red Cross's financial and budget management. The national society has Federation's support for its 2003 and 2004 audits.

The absence of a job description for the assistant accountant has led to his involvement in too many and varied tasks. There is a need to clarify the tasks assigned to the accountant and his assistant.

Through the logistics officer's support, the national society's finance service was strengthened based on its needs and the audit recommendations. The officer will handle procurements and fixed assets issues, stock management, fleet management within the National Committee and the branches.

Three regional branches (Kayes, Sikasso and Segou) have become more dynamic in finance and resource development as well as management and capacity building to complement bilateral project support.

The Mali Red Cross strategic planning led to the revision of this objective. A Governance-Management workshop is due for the first quarter of next year in collaboration with the Organizational Development regional delegate. The workshop is targeted at elected members, the National Committee's permanent staff and eight regional branches.

Mali Red Cross co-ordinates revenue-generation activities according to a resource development plan.

Within this framework, a dynamic approach can be identified: the equipment of three conference rooms for renting; the implementation of the kindergarten project inside the Headquarters and the improvement of the guesthouse management. Other ideas include: the setting up of an Internet center, the conversion of a dispensary into a private clinic through improving the technical services and aggressive marketing strategy through the print and electronic media.

This initiative is part of a broader reflection with the implementation of a comprehensive communication plan. There were two prerequisites for such a project: the development of a strategic plan and the recruitment of a staff dedicated to fundraising. Having met both prerequisites, a resources development plan will be available in 2005.

Mali Red Cross strengthens its image and develops an effective public relations and marketing strategy.

The national society's challenge is to consolidate its human resources through the establishment and follow-up of a communication and marketing plan for all the activities and the funding of a position for one year. This contract period could be renewed based on two essential criteria: compliance with performance and self-funding.

Mali Red Cross diversifies its revenue sources for achieving greater financial independence.

This objective's pursuit will depend on the previous ones.

Impact

The finance department has improved its equipment and management systems and has been restructured with additional staffing.

The financial officer and the Executive Secretary are better informed about the working advances and cash transfers systems and the efforts necessary to improve the financial reports.

The audit reports resulted in recommendations which were implemented in the review of the manual and daily Management staff schedule. In addition, the planning of an audit for the 2003-2004 accounts has created a sort of auditing culture developing over time.

The national society now has a strategic plan and a resource person to better organize its activities and develop an efficient fundraising policy. The Mali Red Cross 40th anniversary in 2005 will help to improve its visibility.

Constraints

The OD officer's tight schedule has caused the postponement of some activities (governance-management workshop) with the finance/resource development officer until next year.

Footnotes:

1 Mali Red Cross - http://www.ifrc.org/where/country/check.asp?countryid=112
2 UN News Service November 2004
3 IRIN November 2004

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Mali: Sibiry Diarra, Executive Secretary, Mali Red Cross, Bamako; Email crm@afribone.net.ml ; Phone 223.224.45.69; Fax 223.224.04.14
In Senegal: Andrea Wojnar-Diagne, Federation Head of Sahel Sub-Regional Office, Dakar; Email ifrcsn03@ifrc.org ; Phone. 221.842.23.41; Fax 221.842.23.39.
In Geneva: Christophe Grospierre, Federation Acting Regional Officer for West and Central Africa, Africa Dept; Email christophe.grospierre@ifrc.org; Phone 41.22.730.43.13; Fax 41.22.733.03.95.

This Programme Update reflects activities to be implemented over a one-year period. This forms part of, and is based on, longer-term, multi-year planning (refer below to access the detailed log frame documents).

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 in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programs or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org

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