November 23, 2020

EastAfrica Herald

East African Views on Global News.

Red Cross Red Crescent Prioritize Africa

Hundreds of Red Cross Red Crescent leaders representing
African National Societies and their partners today united in Addis Ababa for
the 8th Pan African Conference (PAC).
Held every four years, the conference is an opportunity for
delegates from across the continent to come together to discuss humanitarian
and development challenges facing Africa, to exchange ideas and experiences,
and to pave a way forward for the coming years.

The predominant theme of PAC 2012 is “Investing in Africa”.
With economic growth and private sector investment steadily overtaking the
traditional model of aid dependency in Africa, it is vital for Red Cross Red
Crescent leaders to work together and develop a business model that is
self-sustainable, healthy, and designed and owned by the African people.

“We need to encourage National Societies to become
self-sustaining,” stresses Paul Birech, Vice-President for Africa of the
International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies. “If they are to
thrive in the years to come, they need to attract new types of investment by
forming new and innovative partnerships with local governments and the private
sector. They need to be attractive to investors and make wise choices about
leadership, management and pride in service. They also need to have more of a
say in how funding is spent. This conference allows us to come together,
discuss these issues and map out a way forward.”

The Red Cross Red Crescent has deep local roots. As
independent auxiliaries to government, our 1.4 million volunteers are able to
work in communities without obstacle, in a neutral and impartial atmosphere,
contributing more than 117 million US worth of services across the continent.
With the right investments, the Red Cross Red Crescent network can empower
local leaders to do more and reach further in building stronger African

 “Africa has all the resources that it requires to
grow,” said Daniel Tegenu, President of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society. “We
need to tap into those resources and begin building relations with local
partners to broaden our stakeholder base. It is up to us to make this happen.
We need to take ownership and begin relying less on traditional sources of

Investing in Africa also means investing in youth to ensure
young people have a voice at the decision-making table. The first day of the
Pan African Conference is dedicated to youth, focusing on the diverse ways
young people are investing in Africa, such as using information technology to
improve access and quality of service to those most vulnerable.

“This conference is an opportunity for us to harness the
energy that comes with youth, to hear their ideas and compile them into a
concrete action plan through 2016,” said Geoffrey Korir, co-chair of the Red
Cross Red Crescent Youth Commission in Africa. “Young people have a lot of
enthusiasm and, collaboratively, can be strong instruments of change.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network,
reaching 150 mil¬lion people each year through its 186 member National
Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and
health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable
people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious
beliefs, class and political opinions.