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One Movement strategy

In 1999 the Council of Delegates asked the Standing Commission to set up a working group to draft an overall strategy for the Movement. This November it will be presented with the results. The aim is to fill a long-standing gap. While the various components of the Movement have drawn up their own plans and strategies over the years, there has been no overall strategy for the Movement itself.

The Movement does have a mission statement (in the 1986 statutes) and since the 1997 Seville Agreement, clearer guidelines for working together in emergencies. The draft strategy wants to take that further. In the words of the working group chairman, Dr. Claude Jean-François, it reflects "the Movement's growing ambition to be stronger together in reaching vulnerable people with effective humanitarian action throughout the world. Simply put, this strategy is not about what we do, but about how we can do it better."

The draft includes 17 specific actions grouped under five strategic objectives. The first objective is to strengthen the components of the Movement themselves, in particular the weaker National Societies. This would mean the global network would function better. It covers issues such as management, sharing knowledge and skills, and institutional integrity.

The second aim is to improve coherence and efficiency, especially the level of coordination in emergencies, and the third, to build a global image and shared identity for the Movement.

More effective working with governments, partner organizations and business is the main focus of the fourth objective, while the fifth aims to improve understanding of the complex and constantly changing humanitarian scene in which the Red Cross and Red Crescent works. The strategy for the Movement is intended to be an ongoing process with the Council of Delegates monitoring progress and updating it every two years.

Algeria's psychological first aid

The Algerian Red Crescent (ARC) and the ICRC held the second national seminar on psychosocial care of child victims of violence in Algiers in April. The event brought together 150 psychologists from the region as well as representatives of relevant public authorities. The seminar drew mainly on the participants' daily experiences and fostered an in-depth discussion on exploring new areas of treatment and care.

The seminar is part of a cooperation agreement concluded in November 1999 between the two institutions. Given the magnitude of psychological needs among children traumatized by violence, the ARC and ICRC committed to support the facilities of the Ministries of Health and Social Affairs engaged in the care for such children. The ICRC assists with training of psychologists and equips the counselling booths and day centres with psychopedagogical materials. The institution also supports the Algerian Red Crescent's social activities for traumatized children, such as the Red Crescent's summer camps.

Afghan mine awareness teams

A four-day training workshop was held in Kabul for mine awareness teams of the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) in June. The training focused on the methodology for mine awareness as well as on dissemination on Movement awareness. A first of its kind, the workshop was organized by the ICRC and was attended by 17 members of the National Society.

So far, the ARCS has established two mine awareness teams. One team will focus on quick response in areas known as highly mine-contaminated. The other team will continue to cover the provinces around Kabul city, reaching out to the at-risk population. Both teams are working under the auspices of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) Afghanistan Mine Action Programme.

 

hiv/aids on the agenda

Representatives from the National Societies of Central Africa gathered in Cameroon in June for their annual partnership meeting. They watched a performance by the community theatre of Cameroon Red Cross volunteers who demonstrated how drama is an effective way of communicating information on HIV/AIDS, promotion of safe sexual behaviour and tolerance in the workplace. Seven of the eight National Societies in the region have community theatre programmes in their plans for next year. At the meeting participants also recognized the potential for building an effective HIV/AIDS programme based on the successful methodologies of the polio eradication campaigns in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chad.

The fight against HIV/AIDS was also on the agenda at the partnership meeting in the Caribbean. A revised regional strategy agreed by the leadership of 16 Red Cross Societies meeting in Trinidad in June recognized the increasing spread of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.

Although this region is known mostly for its devastating cycle of hurricanes, the Caribbean is, after Africa, the second worst-affected region per capita in the world. National Societies committed to response readiness for both sudden and perpetual disasters such as HIV/AIDS which continue to affect millions of people around the world.

MENA meets in Tehran

The third annual regional conference of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) National Societies, held in Iran, in May, welcomed participants from over 40 National Societies, and representatives from the Federation and the ICRC. The conference celebrated volunteers and promoted dialogue among cultures and civilizations.

MENA National Societies confirmed their commitment to addressing the needs resulting from HIV/AIDS, sharing manpower in disaster management, and establishing a Regional Strategic Relief Centre in Tehran, drawing on the capacities of the Iranian Red Crescent Society in this sector, with the support of the Federation.

 



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