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North Africa: Plan 2009-2010 (MAA82001)

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Executive summary

The regional support plan for North Africa for 2009-2010, in line with the Global Agenda Goals of the International Federation, focuses on facilitating the development of the five National Societies by building their capacities and providing technical support to the four core programmes of disaster management, health and care, the Fundamental Principles and humanitarian values as well as organizational development. Assistance will be provided at regional level through knowledge sharing, exchanges of best practices, and strengthening of effective networks. At national level, tailored assistance will be provided to meet the National Societies' priorities and needs, ensuring that both approaches complement and are coherent. Forging new and effective partnerships within and outside the Movement to mobilize the resources needed and to effectively advocate on behalf of the vulnerable, remain vital for achieving the outlined objectives and outcomes.

Disaster management has been identified as a main concern by all five North African National Societies due to the frequency of disasters in the region and has been selected as a priority area for the regional representation's support. The capacities of the National Societies to prepare for and intervene in disasters have been upgraded significantly in recent years in Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Libya but need to be further strengthened so they can play their role as auxiliaries to the public authorities. The National Societies gained a lot of knowledge through the past years' disasters but have also recognized the need to strengthen and expand their disaster management capacity at local and community levels. Such initiatives have included promoting better recognition of their mandate and role by developing contingency and capacity building plans, building effective structures at national and regional level, strong disaster management networks and regional intervention teams at the local level and through vulnerability and capacity assessments (VCA) and disaster risk reduction programmes.

The programme will continue to focus on being more regionally integrated and adapting current disaster response and preparedness strategies to future challenges (climatic changes, population movement, migratory fluxes, and avian influenza). Specific focus will be put on the National Societies' community based disaster risk reduction (CBDRR) projects, actively involving communities at risks, empowering women and youth and integrating social aspects related to disasters.

A two years migration programme is being developed since early 2008 with the Moroccan RC. The aim is to build stronger advocacy and promote the Fundamental Principles and humanitarian values within the host communities.

The health and care programme will continue to focus on the priority components identified by the Red Crescent Societies in the region: HIV-AIDS and other infectious diseases; first aid and community based first aid (CBFA); psychosocial support; community based social projects including literacy, school and vocational programmes, road safety; and special assistance targeted to group at risk such as children, youth, women, elderly, handicapped, homeless and migrants.

Over the last few years, most North African National Societies have increasingly shifted and continue to shift from curative health towards health education and preventative work. The National Societies are now actively developing HIV/AIDS programmes in close partnerships with key players such as the Ministries of Health, the United Nations agencies and networks of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The Red Crescent Societies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia continue to benefit from Global Fund to fight Tuberculosis, Aids and Malaria (GFTAM) grants. First aid remains one of the strongest and best known programmes in the region. The last two years have seen the Egyptian, Algerian and Moroccan National Societies undertake serious reviews of their programmes, revisiting their respective first aid manuals, updating their policies to bring them into line with the regional CBFA manual. This exercise is conducted in close cooperation with the Ministries of Health and NGOs in each country and has facilitated the development of an integrated approach linking first aid to other related health areas such as road safety, community health, psychosocial support and HIV/AIDS. Through this programme, the work conducted at community level by the volunteers continues to be reinforced, improving the quality of the services and increasing the number of services delivered by the volunteers.

An important milestone was reached in encouraging work at community level and integrating health and disaster preparedness through VCA training, promoting and enhancing individual and community capacity and resilience to cope with existing risks, to respond to present needs and to address new emerging health challenges that arise during natural disasters. Specific attention is provided to the avian influenza pandemic preparedness programme. Support was provided at country level to the Egyptian, Moroccan and Tunisian Red Crescent Societies. Regional activities will be developed in 2009-2010 building on these experiences to reinforce the National Societies' preparedness and response capacity and bolster monitoring together with other national and international actors.

The organizational development programme is instrumental in assisting National Societies in strengthening at branch, headquarters, governance and board levels. It provides staff with the skills required to make the National Societies more effective and accountable in a world of complex, constant changes. There are different levels of organizational development needs across the region, related to the specific context in which they plan and manage their services. The regional programme will continue to consult, support and offer capacity building services in areas such as governance and management development, strategic planning, branch development, human resources including youth and volunteer management as well as gender. Support is also sought for the National Society community development programmes. Several Red Crescent Societies are involved in successful community based literacy, vocational, educational, health promotion and environmental programmes which empower the communities to address and respond to real vulnerabilities.

Tensions and recourse to violence often affect communities in North Africa. The need for promoting humanitarian values is self-evident in such a context. The North African Red Crescent Societies have engaged over the past few years in large public anti-stigma campaigns mainly in the field of HIV/AIDS. Faced with new humanitarian challenges such as migration and avian influenza, the North African Societies have expressed their interest in developing appropriate communication and advocacy strategies, to develop their structures and own tools. Working in a safer environment within communities affected by these challenges has been identified as a key and necessary step to better reach the groups targeted and to provide them with effective services.

The two-year plan will focus on supporting the National Societies to develop programmes and structures to increase the understanding of the Fundamental Principles within their organization as well as externally, raising awareness at the public and corporate sector, highlighting the new challenges raised by new sources of vulnerability in the region - migration, increased violence, health risks - and influencing behaviour in the community.

The total 2009-2010 budget is CHF 4,159,773 (USD 3,802,352 or EUR 2,649,537).