Tom Buruku - Chairman (Chairman, Uganda Red Cross Society)
Shimelis Adugna - Vice Chairman (President, Ethiopian Red Cross Society)
Paul Birech - Governor, Kenya Red Cross Society
Monique Coulibaly - President, Cote D'Ivoire Red Cross
Peter Hangula - Vice President, Namibia Red Cross Society
Chief Nweze - Vice-President, Nigerian Red Cross Society
Dalmari Steward - Vice President, South Africa Red Cross
Peter Kabanda - Board Member, Rwanda Red Cross Society
Andrews Frimpong - Secretary General, Ghana Red Cross Society
Abbas Gullet - Secretary General, Kenya Red Cross Society
Takele Jemberu - Secretary General, Ethiopian Red Cross Society
Abbas Mohammed - Secretary General, Sudanese Red Crescent Society
Michael Nataka - Deputy Secretary General, Uganda Red Cross Society
PARTNER NATIONAL SOCIETIES
Nicholas Young - Director General, British Red Cross Society
Leopoldo Suarez - Secretary General, Spanish Red Cross Society
Luke Greeves - Sr. Director, International Programs,
American Red Cross Society
Martha Keays - Regional Representative, Nairobi, American Red Cross
Ibrahim Osman - Director General, British Red Cross Society
Asha Mohammed - Chairman, PACT
Lynn Fritz - Director General, Fritz Institute
Winnie Ngugi - NEPARC Coordinator
Desiree Bliss - Program Manager, Fritz Institute
Markku Niskala - Secretary General, IFRC
Ole Jørgen Krohn-Nydal - Deputy Secretary General, Norwegian Red Cross Society
Muctarr Jalloh - President, Sierra Leone Red Cross Society
Anselme Katiyunguruza - Secretary General, Burundi Red Cross Society
Emma Kundishora - Secretary General, Zimbabwe Red Cross Society
Fernanda Texeira - Secretary General, Mozambique Red Cross Society
Chrystold Chetty - Board Member, NEPARC
The Chairman welcomed all attendees and commented that NEPARC members and Partner National Societies are two sides of the same coin, working closely with the Federation towards the same goals. He highlighted the 8 in Africa Initiative as a continuation of the NEPARC process, through which a new and better way of working with each other is being developed. He then presented his Chairman's report (Appendix A). The Chairman invited PNS and Federation representatives to speak briefly about their expected outcomes from the meeting.
British Red Cross Society
Nick Young, Director General of the British Red Cross Society and Co-Chair of the meeting, expressed his continued support of NEPARC and commended members for their commitment to funding the NEPARC Secretariat and for ratifying the Constitution. As a participant in the 8 in Africa Initiative, he confirmed that the initiative had grown out of NEPARC and the work of the Norwegian Red Cross in order to focus on capacity building and new ways of strengthening the ways in which PNS' work together to build the capacity of ANS'. The initiative seeks to transform the PNS-ANS relationships into real partnerships in which the host African National Societies are in charge, and together with the PNS', identify both the steps and strategies required to build capacity effectively in a sustainable manner over a 5-year period. He asserted that the initiative was not seeking to exclude any ANS or PNS, but that the pilot was the best way to test the new approach.
American Red Cross
Luke Greeves, Senior Director of International Programs at the American Red Cross, suggested that the work being done by NEPARC is important for Africa as well as the Federation. He also declared that the foundation of NEPARC in accountability, performance and partnership is shared with the Federation. He expressed his Society's eagerness to learn more about NEPARC and how it will link into the Operational Alliances initiative of the Federation. While acknowledging the fact that the American Red Cross has not had a strong presence in Africa in the past, he said that the Society is committed to making Africa its top priority around the world. To do so, the organization wishes to work through established networks such as NEPARC to contribute to what is working well and to refrain from duplicating efforts.
Spanish Red Cross
Leopold Suárez, the Secretary General of the Spanish Red Cross, reported that his Society has a large presence in Africa and expressed its commitment to making Africa its highest priority in its future work. He said that he appreciated the opportunity to participate in the SGS audit process on which he will present during the meeting.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Ibrahim Osman, Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, voiced his support of NEPARC and the fact that from the very beginning NEPARC has provided the opportunity for societies to learn from each other's knowledge and experience. He commended the initiative for developing excellence, transparency and effectiveness and maximizing African resources.
Partner Perspectives on the Governance Audit
In his presentation, the Secretary General of the Spanish Red Cross described the origin of the SGS audit, the audit scope, outcomes of the audit process and their experience. He shared the fact that the Society received a total score of 72.9%, with its highest scores in the areas of continuous improvement, fundraising, resource allocation and financial controls, operations, strategic framework, and outcomes. Areas which the audit demonstrated opportunities for improvement included human resources, integrity management, communication, advocacy and public image, and board of trustees. He emphasized how much the Society had learned from undergoing the audit process and recommended all other Partner National Societies undertake the audit.
Uganda Red Cross and the Governance Audit
Michael Nataka reported that Uganda Red Cross had reviewed many of its activities as a result of participating in the SGS audit in 2005. The Society had held a board and senior management retreat last year which was facilitated by NEPARC. As a result, the Society has now developed a Code of Ethics with zero tolerance of corruption and conflict of interest forms. The Society has also reviewed its policies in areas such as logistics, procurement and finance. A headquarters master plan has also been developed and a private company has been registered to handle the fundraising of the Uganda Red Cross. The Federation representative commented during the discussion that he had been very impressed by the way in which the Uganda Red Cross demonstrated transparency at a recent governance meeting in which he participated and a difficult situation affecting the Society was deliberated.
South African Red Cross and the Governance Audit
Dalmari Steward reported that the SGS audit process enabled her Society to prioritize areas needing improvement against international standards. The Society had invited Abbas Gullet, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross, to a meeting of the board and management to facilitate identifying key areas needing improvement and the person responsible for each area of improvement both in the board and management. Since the audit, the Society has finalized six policies which have already been adopted by the General Assembly. Presentations for dissemination describing each policy have been created and distributed to all of the branches.
Building Successful Partnerships in a Relief Operation:
The Experience of the Kenya Red Cross
The Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross presented his Society' s experience in responding to the drought to the General Assembly. He emphasized the issuance of the appeal early on in the drought as well as the leveraging the media to increase the organization's visibility. The Kenya Red Cross benefited from the fact that the Red Cross brand is trusted, known and respected in Kenya and that the Society enjoys the goodwill from the Government. Through its lead agency role as established by the Kenyan Government, the Society was able to coordinate the collection and distribution of relief as well as enhance its partnerships with the corporate sector, the UN and other donor agencies. He also voiced some of the challenges that have resulted from the Society' s response to the drought including increased expectations from the government and general public.
In order to meet its goal of paying its core costs by 2010, the Kenya Red Cross has begun the construction of a Disaster Managing Training Centre (DMTC). The presentation to the NEPARC members included an overview of the new construction the Society is engaged in that will result in an extra floor in the old office building, a new office building, conference hall, health club, and an accommodation wing. The Centre will improve the Society's financial sustainability.
After commending the Kenya Red Cross Society's initiative with Barclays Bank and the Coca-Cola Foundation, the British Red Cross suggested that all Partner National Societies should identify ways in which multinational companies based in their respective countries can provide support to African National Societies. Historically, he said, corporations and governments have not wanted to provide support for Society's core costs, but this must change and the PNS have the responsibility of ensuring that change takes place. When asked about the evaluation of its drought operations, the Kenya Red Cross said the operation remains underway and that a review should be completed before the end of the year. The American Red Cross applauded the Kenya Red Cross' ability to take advantage of the fact that Nairobi is a hub for humanitarian agencies and the private sector. The Society was praised for its very efficient coordination efforts through bi-weekly coordination meetings. An additional discussion took place around the importance of Societies appealing for support within their respective countries. Ibrahim Osman suggested that Societies should first make a national appeal and then an international appeal after a disaster.
ANS & PNS Partnerships: The 8 in Africa Initiative
The Secretary General of the British Red Cross discussed the 8 in Africa Initiative which resulted in an open and frank round-table discussion. He highlighted the way in which his Society was developing a prioritized and agreed-upon action plan which will see the Partner National Societies working in the same direction to build the capacity of the Sierra Leone Red Cross. The British Red Cross has recognized the significance of focusing on core costs and core capabilities. He recognized that PNS activities were fragmented with too many of them doing different things in different parts of the country. He raised concern about the cost of maintaining a Federation Office in Sierra Leone and wondered whether the National Society could not provide the services the Federation is currently providing. He asserted that such an approach would be more cost-effective with the money going directly to the Society. He also lamented that only two PNS were currently bearing the cost of the Federation Office while the others enjoyed the services without making any contribution. He emphasized the fact that host societies must own and lead the 8 in Africa Initiative and that their leadership must make some tough financial and management decisions in order to move forward.
NEPARC members suggested that the Secretariat should be informed of all of the meetings related to the 8 in Africa Initiative. NEPARC has a role facilitating learning and peer support within the four participating ANS and other African National Societies. The Federation representative discussed the importance of a long-term vision for such partnerships and the establishment of what resources should be made available. In addition, he emphasized the importance of performance indicators and the implementation of a mid-term evaluation in making the initiative successful. The British Red Cross asserted that the 8 in Africa Initiative has meant a much more intense way of working with one another and that there is great potential for the initiative to lead to a more coordinated and cost-effective approach to partnerships.
The NEPARC & Federation Partnership
The Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Ibrahim Osman, spoke about the constructive relationship between the Federation and NEPARC. He emphasized that NEPARC is a body with which the Federation can and will effectively partner. He reiterated the Federation's offer of CHF 100,000 for leadership development within NEPARC member Societies. As part of its new operating model, the Federation will promote and support networks such as NEPARC and focus on performance and accountability. He said that the Federation would like to share learning with NEPARC and Fritz Institute in this area. He also expressed the Federation's interest in the development and implementation of the three audit tools. Finally, he reiterated the commitment to Memoranda of Understanding between NEPARC and the Federation, and the Federation and Fritz Institute.
A representative from the American Red Cross stressed that the interest of donors in Africa has peaked and that there is a large amount of funds available for Africa from organizations such as the Gates Foundation and the Global Fund. He emphasized that donors must find the right ways to cultivate the African National Societies, understand how all of the initiatives in Africa are mapped together and ensure that all stakeholders are learning from them. He highlighted the need for a standard reporting process. The development of a certification process for Partner National Societies was proposed by PNS.
Helios: Managing Relief Operations with Technology
Remi Carrier of Fritz Institute presented on Helios, a new supply chain technology for humanitarian relief organizations. He explained that Helios was designed not for a specific organization, but is flexible for use in any organization, field-focused, user friendly, and covers all major logistics functions. Benefits of Helios include reducing the response time to beneficiaries, maximizing organizational effectiveness, improving the quality and speed of decision-making, enhancing accountability, lowering costs and increasing donation efficiency. The modules included in Helios include project management, request processing, mobilization, procurement, logistics and tracking, and warehousing. The technology is web-based, but has off-line capabilities for work environments with sporadic internet connections or without internet access. The technology has the potential to facilitate collaboration among national societies.
In their concluding remarks, attendees recognized the contributions of the NEPARC leadership, Fritz Institute, Partner National Societies and the Federation for contributing to the success of the organization and the General Assembly meeting. The representative from the newest NEPARC member, Ghana Red Cross, commented that the level of transparency and warmth attendees had demonstrated was excellent and affirmed that NEPARC was here to stay.
Many attendees committed to raising awareness around NEPARC and its activities and some suggested that each Society designate a focal point with whom NEPARC can communicate. The PACT representative committed to making a presentation on NEPARC at the upcoming PACT meeting. The Rwanda Red Cross representative resolved to discuss NEPARC membership with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Several attendees cautioned that NEPARC membership should be judged by the quality of its membership rather than the quantity.
Member Societies present pledged to continue to strengthen their organizations based on the results of the Governance Audit. Both the Ghana Red Cross and Sudanese Red Crescent committed to participating in the Governance Audit in 2006. The Kenya Red Cross committed to a formal peer mentorship program with the Ghana Red Cross. Members also expressed their interest in helping to refine and pilot the two remaining audit tools in organizational sustainability and program effectiveness. Members also expressed their gratitude for the presentation on the Helios technology, with the Uganda Red Cross inviting Fritz Institute to present at its headquarters.
The Director General of Fritz Institute thanked the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of NEPARC for showing the potential of African Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He also emphasized that since the inception of NEPARC, he has seen how validating standards and measurement tools can be in underpinning aspirations. This audit process has highlighted the infrastructure needs of NEPARC members and resulted in the emergence of new ways of supporting African National Societies.
Partner National Societies in attendance expressed their appreciation for the invitation to participate in the learning and sharing at the General Assembly. Each emphasized that there are many difficulties in these partnerships and thus a lot of discipline, clarity and honesty are necessary. They asserted that NEPARC members must continue to push the Partner National Societies and continue to think big because the funding is available. All of the Partner National Societies reaffirmed their commitments to participate in the SGS audit.
The Federation representative declared that NEPARC has taken accountability in the Federation to a new height, demonstrated by its willingness to take membership away from Societies that do not abide by its membership requirements. He also suggested that the group has the potential to identify and develop the characteristics of effective partnerships.
In his closing remarks, the Vice-Chairman of NEPARC said that he was pleased by the meeting because partnerships with the Partner National Societies and the Federation have been clearly defined and all have a common understanding of NEPARC. He also said that NEPARC activities are going in the right direction. The NEPARC Chairman concluded the meeting by asserting that the meeting had been substantive and had proved to members that NEPARC is serious about its membership requirements. He commended attendees for committing to take ownership over NEPARC and its Secretariat and for abiding by its membership requirements.