Appeal No. 05AA062; Programme Update no. 1, Period covered: 01 January to 31 April, 2005; Appeal coverage: 48%; Outstanding needs: CHF 1,711,564 (USD 1,334,553 or EUR 1,106,019).
Appeal target: CHF 3,295,095 (USD 2,744,768 or EUR 2,154,360)
The socio-political situation of the Pacific region seems to have stabilised over the past few months, although there are still slight undertones of unrest in some of the countries. Disasters nevertheless continue to strike the region . In Papua New Guinea, a Federation emergency appeal has been launched to combat the repercussions of two volcanic eruptions, one on Manam island and another on Langila. The Cook Islands were also hit by no less than four major cyclones. In both cases, local Red Cross national societies and its network of volunteers played a crucial role in providing immediate relief to the affected people. Federation-supported programmes have proceeded well, and there have been some exciting new developments, exemplified by the Papua New Guinea Red Cross' innovative youth first aid project, which reaches out to youth in squatter settlements.
National societies in the Pacific region engaged in active fundraising in support of those affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami and contributed in excess of FJD 1 million (approximately CHF 762,600) to ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts. Although it was, for a majority of national societies, the first time they engaged in this type of fundraising, per capita contributions in some countries ranked amongst the highest globally, reflecting both the strong solidarity in the region and the recognition and respect for the work of the Red Cross in general.
In February and March, the Cook Islands were hit by four major cyclones -- three of which reached category-five intensity -- in just four weeks . The Cook Islands Red Cross activated its volunteers and contributed to early warning and preparedness activities, respond ing quickly by providing relief to those affected in the weeks that followed. The Papua New Guinea Red Cross finalised relief distributions to people displaced from the island of Manam, following volcano eruptions and heavy ash-fall there.
The improved law and order situation in the Solomon Islands has allowed further implementation of economic and social development programmes. The impact of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Is lands (RAMSI) is being reviewed formally, and there continues to be widespread popular support in general.
A new secretary-general and director general were appointed in the Australian Red Cross and New Zealand Red Cross societies respectively.
The government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) enjoyed a period of relative stability in the first quarter of 2005. Reported criminal activity in the capital, Port Moresby, has increased, despite the presence of Australian police officers deployed in PNG as part of the Enhanced Cooperation Programme (ECP). There is uncertainty about the future of the AUD800 million ECP however, as the constitutionality of some immunity provisions was successfully challenged in court. Tribally-based violence and the proliferation of smuggled firearms continue to contribute to insecurity elsewhere in the country, particularly in Enga and Southern Highlands provinces. Disputes centre on the distribution of the proceeds of the exploitation of oil and gas reserves and demands for changes to political boundaries. In response to the ongoing insecurity, the government of PNG has set up a national committee on gun control.
The Fiji government announced plans to introduce a new "Reconciliation, Tolerance, and Unity Bill", focusing on restorative justice to deal with the aftermath of the 2000 coup. The proposed legislation is strongly opposed by various sections of Fiji society including the army, with sections relating to the possibility of granting amnesty for coup-related offences proving particularly controversial.
Health and care
Throughout the Pacific, national societies place considerable importance on the first aid component of health programmes. Since the addition of a first aid delegate in 2004, the regional delegation has been able to provide a higher level of support to these programmes. Both the regional health and first aid delegates have provided assistance in national societies' efforts to strengthen the foundations of their health and care programmes and to address issues of sustainability. The expansion of the youth first aid programme into squatter settlements in PNG is a particularly exciting development, providing the national society with an entry point into communities is considered seriously at risk.
The delegation continues to promote the mainstreaming of key HIV/AIDS messages throughout the health and care programme, and the continued presence of an Australian Red Cross (ARC) HIV/AIDS technical advisor at the delegation's Suva office has been very valuable in this respect. In this reporting period, a second ARC HIV/AIDS technical advisor, working out of the Federation's PNG office, has been deployed as a bilateral delegate to work with the PNG Red Cross (PNGRC). Further support was secured from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) for work focusing on safe blood and HIV/AIDS (see below for details). S ome support for Pacific Red Cross HIV/AIDS programmes has also been secured from the Foundation of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (International Federation Foundation).
Regional health, organisational development and disaster management delegates are providing ongoing support to the Solomon Islands and Kiribati national societies for their community-based projects, which include health-related activities. The regional health delegate also made visits to Kiribati and Papua New Guinea during this reporting period, and the regional first aid delegate visited Tonga, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, providing technical and programme management support.
Efforts to strengthen Red Cross HIV/AIDS programmes in the Pacific continue to be greatly assisted by the placement of an ARC bilateral technical advisor at the regional delegation's office, and the delegation has begun to assess how it will work to maintain the momentum when that position comes to an end later this year. The present funding arrangement for the PNGRC HIV/AIDS programme ends in June 2005 and an ARC-funded HIV/AIDS technical adviser has begun a review of the programme, while assis ting the PNGRC to find new funding sources .
At the time of writing, the health and care programme had secured approximately 60 per cent of the funds required to complete its activity plan for the year.
Goal: Well functioning national societies deliver effective and relevant health and care programmes, improving overall health and wellbeing of vulnerable communities.
Objective: Pacific national societies develop and deliver effective and sustainable programmes on commercial and community based first aid (including health promotion, basic emotional support and health in emergencies), HIV/AIDS and voluntary blood donor recruitment.
Expected result 1: National societies have increased capacity to design, implement and evaluate their respective health programmes.
First aid: Work to support Pacific Red Cross first aid programmes continued strongly into the new year, with visits by the regional first aid delegate to Tonga, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu as a follow up to last year's first aid instructor courses. It was encouraging to find that in each of these national societies, almost all current first aid instructors had been active since the start of the year. This is not the case right across the region, however. The PNGRC, which has initiated a branch-level quality audit, has already identified the need to keep its instructors active as an issue requiring attention. The Kiribati Red Cross (KRC) first aid programme is facing a critical lack of qualified instructors and the Federation has assisted in the development of a plan of action and discussions are continuing regarding further support.
Guidelines and a policy on the recruitment, retention and professional development of Red Cross first aid instructors in the Pacific have been developed and were formally adopted at the 7th Pacific First Aid Quality Management Committee (PFAQMC) meeting in April. The development and dissemination of the Pacific Red Cross first aid code of practice has commenced, but further discussion will be required before the process can be completed.
New manikins funded by the New Zealand Red Cross (NZRC) have been provided to national societies in Tonga (eight manikins between two branches) and Fiji (four manikins). The NZRC has also provided technical support on a bilateral basis to the Fiji Red Cross in areas such as instructor training, marketing and database development.
HIV/AIDS: The regional delegation has provided support with financial administration and liaison with the main donor (Global Fund) for a project providing advanced training in peer education to be conducted in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Kiribati, in partnership with the AIDS Task Force of Fiji (ATFF), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Global Fund. The International Federation Foundation has provided interim financial support for HIV/AIDS programmes in the PNG RC, the KRC and the Micronesia Red Cross, and is providing assistance in securing future HIV/AIDS funding.
The HIV/AIDS programme officer of the PNG RC has recently resigned, so much of its HIV/AIDS activity plan to date remains to be completed. Key messages continue to be disseminated through other programmes, however, highlighting the importance of integrating HIV/AIDS issues into other programme areas.
Recommendations from the October 2004 evaluation of the pilot youth peer education project have been implemented as the national society prepares to extend the project.
Voluntary blood donor recruitment: The regional delegation has distributed a range of new resource materials to each national society, including tools to assist in self -assessment and formulating action plans, materials for guidance in narrative and financial reporting on workshops as well as a voluntary blood donor register and database. Sample memorandum of understanding (MOU) documents and blood officer position descriptions have also been made available.
Preparations have begun for safe blood workshops in the Cook Islands and FSM. A series of cyclones struck the Cook Islands during the reporting period, however, so the workshop originally scheduled for the Cook Islands Red Cross (CIRC) in April has been postponed until June.
Cooperation: Discussions have been held with the Australian Red Cross regarding the inclusion of health initiatives in the strategic engagement. Meetings of the blood and HIV/AIDS committees have been postponed to the second half of the year.
Activitie s planned for next reporting period
- First aid: Further support for Tuvalu
Red Cross, development of a model of structured career progression for
first aid instructors, April meeting of the PFAQMC.
- Voluntary blood donor recruitment :
World Blood Donor Day, safe blood workshop in the Cook Islands.
- HIV/AIDS: Peer educators' workshops
in FSM in April and in Kiribati in May.
- Cooperation: Global Fund meeting in May, Pacific Health Summit in June, Pacific Red Cross partnership meeting in May, proposal for Global Fund fifth round of financing (2007-2011).
Importance of first aid to national societies in this region has already been noted above. Federation support to the Vanuatu Red Cross (VRC) has therefore been crucial, as it rebuilds its first aid programme and works towards gaining national training accreditation. The Federation has also provided vital technical and administrative support during visits to the Tonga Red Cross and the Solomon Islands Red Cross as they implement recommendations from the first-round quality audit. The first aid programme in the Solomon Islands in particular has experienced encouraging growth, financially as well as in terms of instructor capacity and the number of people being trained. There has been real commitment shown by several national societies to address issues identified by the audits, and the regional delegation expects several national societies will continue to need support as they work on audit compliance.
Several national societies in the Pacific have recognised that better financial management of their first aid programmes would help them maximise their income. Assistance in improving the financial management of first aid programmes has therefore been an important element of all country visits undertaken in this reporting period, and the audit tools have now been adapted to reflect the importance of transparent accounting practices.
The first aid programme in PNG also continues to gain strength and sustainability. Two more senior instructors are working toward national training council accreditation, and the programme's policies and procedures have been updated. The PNGRC's innovative youth first aid project is also expanding, with a focus on youth from squatter settlements, where unemployment and social problems are rife. In addition to its practical applications, the training gives participants an opportunity to contribute to their communities and a sense that they are able make a difference in their own lives and those of others. Four national societies have reported growth in their community-based first aid (CBFA) programmes. In the Solomon Islands, for example, courses have been conducted in conjunction with the vulnerability and capacity assessment (VCA) pilot, while in Tonga, plans have been developed to extend CBFA to outer islands.
International Federation Foundation funding for HIV/programmes in Kiribati and FSM has meant that work has been able to continue as planned, and the peer education programmes are expanding their reach. Advanced-level peer education training being offered in partnership with ATFF, SPC and the Global Fund is therefore an important development, helping to promote consistency in the content and quality of Red Cross HIV/AIDS peer education throughout the Pacific. It is worth noting that despite the present hiatus in HIV/AIDS programme activity in PNG, key HIV/AIDS messages have still reached a vitally important segment of the PNG population through the youth first aid programme, particularly in squatter settlements.
The collection of tools and resources available to national societies in relation to safe blood and voluntary blood donor recruitment was expanded significantly in this period. This should enable national societies to improve the quality of their programme delivery, as well as ensure a greater degree of consistency and coherence in the activities undertaken in blood programmes throughout the region.
Two country visits planned by the regional first aid delegate to the Tuvalu Red Cross (TRC) in December and January have had to be postponed. Given the need to provide support for first aid in Tuvalu, arrangements were made for one TRC instructor to work for a short time in another national society, a solution that proved mutually beneficial.
Demand presently outstrips the capacity of the PNGRC youth first aid programme. As this activity directly targets one of the most vulnerable sections of the PNG population and also provides immense positive visibility for the national society, it is important that this situation be addressed or an important opportunity may be lost.
The PNGRC presently has no designated HIV/AIDS programme officer. Recruitment of a new programme officer has begun, and the PNGRC has also undertaken a restructure that it expects will help to minimise the impact of staff turnover in the future. Several other national societies in the region have expressed a keen interest in establishing HIV/AIDS programmes, but have indicated that a lack of funds is a critical constraint preventing them from doing so at this time.
The regional delegation continues to collect blood donation statistics but challenges remain where disaggregated statistics on donors are unavailable or national societies have not provided data. The difficulty in obtaining relevant statistics makes measurement of impact problematic.
Finally, the growing number of donors contributing to health and care programmes in various countries has meant that several national societies have experienced some difficulty in planning and managing programme finances. This proliferation of funding sources is likely to continue, making Federation support for the development of good financial management practice increasingly important.
Expected result 2: National societies have improved their capacity to address community health needs using community health tools and activities.
The regional health delegate travelled to Kiribati in January (along with the regional disaster management delegate) to analyse the results of the VCA conducted by the Kiribati Red Cross and ass ist in the development of an action plan for projects based on the needs identified. The projects have chosen to focus on youth development and health promotion (diarrhoea prevention and care).
A new health assessment form has been developed by the regional delegation to provide guidance in needs assessments for community projects, monitoring and evaluation, and emergency responses. It will be tested during VCAs to be carried out in the Solomon Islands in April and May.
As a first step toward the introduction of a health in emergencies plan for the region, a questionnaire has been developed that will be used to ascertain the level of available Red Cross health expertise in the Pacific. The regional delegation has also collected a range of basic resource materials and tools dealing with provision of psychological support and health in emergencies for further discussion and planning.
The regional health delegate has also been instrumental in the production of a case study following the first major phase of the pilot of the integrated community-based approach undertaken in the Solomon Islands (see disaster management section for further details).
In addition to the coordination and cooperation efforts already discussed above, the regional health and first aid delegates have held discussions with relevant health authorities during country visits (e.g. the World Health Organisation, UN agencies and national ministries of health).
Activities planned for next reporting period: A field trip to Kiribati; preparation of health education materials for the Solomon Islands Red Cross (SIRC) and KRC community projects; distribution of the health expertise for; Emergency Management Core Group in the Pacific (EMCG Pacific) and Pacific Red Cross disaster managers' meetings.
One of the most positive developments from this part of the programme has been the establishment and strengthening of relationships with groups ranging from international donors to grassroots community support groups.
Through the close support and guidance provided by the Federation in the pilot projects carried out by the SIRC and KRC, staff and volunteers have greatly enhanced capacity for VCA data analysis and project design. Whether it is for the replication of the process in future projects or in responding to emergencies, these are skills that will be immensely valuable.
The survey of Pacific health expertise will provide a valuable reference when planning any emergency response or planning the provision of training. It will also allow an analysis of current capacity in health in the Pacific, including an identification of the strengths and weaknesses, and the development of a long-term plan for appropriate capacity building.
For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:
- In Fiji: Mr. Leon Prop, head of Pacific regional delegati on; email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Suva; phone: +6793311855; fax: +679331 1406.
- In Papua New Guinea: Mr. Ervin Bulathsinghala, head of Papua New Guinea delegation, Port Moresby; email: email@example.com; phone: +6753112277; fax: +6753230731.
- In Geneva: Asia and Pacific department, Ms. Hyun Ji Lee, Pacific regional officer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: +41227304260; fax: +41227330395.
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 logframe 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 programmes 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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