Sahel Development Operational Report (MAA61004)

1. Executive Summary

The Sahel Regional Representation, based in Senegal, supports National Societies in ten countries: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. It is part of the larger IFRC Secretariat present in Africa and reports to the Africa Zone office. The Sahel Regional Representation also acts as an operational support hub, providing technical programme support on request to IFRC and National Societies throughout West and Central Africa. The Sahel regional office addresses both established and emerging vulnerabilities. Therefore, a particular attention is paid to the technical support in Disaster Risk Management (DRM) which encompasses the entire cycle, including hazards and risk mapping, early warning, contingency planning, disaster risk management, development of tools and standard operating procedures, dissemination of policies, standards and guidelines. During the reporting period Food Insecurity and Health programmes were given priority.

Regarding Food Insecurity, IFRC’s activation of large scale emergency response led in 2012 to the launching of seven Emergency Appeals across the region (in Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Niger, Gambia, Chad and Burkina Faso). A twin-track approach was used during a three phased approach that has provided life-saving interventions whilst simultaneously focusing on long-term resilience building solutions.

Most of these Emergency operations have been completed during this 2013 half-year period. Yet, it remains still relevant for the Sahel Region to support its National Societies to develop preparedness and response plans to similar future crisis and encourage Red Cross Societies for a regional commitment on long-term food security and nutrition programmes. Despite a good humanitarian response to the food crisis and an overall better than average agriculture harvest in 2012, food insecurity will continue to affect vulnerable communities unable to build resilience in the Sahel. During the emergency, a larger focus was on food aid rather than on longer-term programming, meaning that support to building the resilience of communities was only minimally achieved in certain specific regions of the seven countries. The overall IFRC operational success beyond saving lives has been in the recovery and support to livelihoods are to be found mainly in Gambia, Mali and Mauritania, where support to mostly women-led community gardens have improved the nutrition intake and income generation for families.

As far as health is concerned, tremendous results in the Global Polio eradication initiative have been achieved in the Gambia since 2000. From 17 to 27 May 2013, the Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to sensitize parents and care givers on the importance of vaccinating children against polio. Although the country is declared polio free, there still exist emerging wild polio viruses within the sub region. The emerging risk of infection made health authorities continue to join neighboring countries of the sub region to participate in the synchronized approach to mass vaccination against the Polio virus.

The Sahel Organizational Development (OD) department continues to work closely with National Societies by using the results of ongoing Organizational Capacity Building and Certification (OCAC) evaluations to elaborate capacity building plans. The Senegalese Red Cross Society (SRCS) is well under way as a plan is drafted based upon the findings of their evaluation to improve financial controls and adherence to policies and procedures. The OD department is also working with the Senegal Red Cross Society to review their youth and volunteer policies. The Gambia Red Cross Society held its OCAC workshop and is expecting the results. The Red Cross Society of Guinea (RCSG) and the GRCS have shared their draft Strategic Plans and received guidelines from IFRC on strategic plan review scheduled for the second half of the year. GRCS General Assembly is planned for end of 2013 and the National Society has requested technical and financial support from the IFRC.

After the joint mission conducted by ICRC and IFRC heads of delegation and Cooperation/OD delegates, terms of reference have been developed for a resource person to be deployed to support the NS’s organizational development. The recruitment process is completed and an experienced consultant has been identified. Discussions are ongoing regarding contract conditions and IFRC/ICRC joint funding process.

Regarding the Mali crisis support in capacity building, due to the scale of activities being undertaken by the Mali Red Cross (MRC) and the number of Participating National Societies operating in the country, the IFRC Sahel Representation is supporting MRC to strengthen its institutional response capacities and ensure effective coordination and partnership within the Movement. An effective response has required emergency systems and procedures to streamline decision making processes. The International Federation deployed a Delegate to Mali to coordinate the response to improve the emergency systems and procedures of the National Society through technical advice, recruitment of temporary staff, training of additional volunteers and staff and material support to have effective and operational departments. With the support of the International Federation, the Mali Red Cross has finalized its response master plan to the conflict including different interventions of Movement partners in the field. An operational plan is also developed and presented to all Movement components to harmonize the various activities of each actor.

Regarding OD support, Mali Red Cross has been supported to review their finance, administration and logistic procedures Manual for a better response to emergency situations since all partners in the field have pointed out very slow pace procedures and administrative bottlenecks delaying implementation of emergency activities.

Given that the Mali Red Cross General assembly will be held in December 2013, the NS statutes have been revised and the last version submitted to the Joint Commission for statutes review in Geneva. A workshop was held from 25 to 28 June for a mid-term review of the Mali Red Cross Strategic Plan for 2010-2014 to assess the level of implementation of planned activities and the organizational process in place. This exercise was possible thanks to the technical support of the IFRC, and the contribution of all Movement partners present in Mali and technical departments of the Ministries of Health, Humanitarian and Social affairs.