For Immediate Release
April 11, 2005

Recognizes Excellence in Kenya and Uganda Red Crosses and Sets New Standards for the Continent

SAN FRANCISCO and NAIROBI - Fritz Institute completed the first step in creating a third-party quality certification to recognize excellence among African NGOs. The Kenya and Uganda Red Cross Societies were certified for achieving world-class standards in management capability, transparency and accountability. This marks the first time an external audit has been used to assess humanitarian organizations in Africa and the first time a certification has been done in the Red Cross movement worldwide.

"This certification process puts into practice our commitment to bring private sector expertise to strengthen the effectiveness of organizations doing critical work. This audit emerged from a summit sponsored by Fritz Institute last summer with leadership from the Pan African Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that lead to the creation of Fritz Institute's Africa Initiative: NEPARC (New Partnership for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies)," according to Anisya Thomas, Fritz Institute's managing director. While SGS has completed the first four audits under the auspices of Fritz Institute, the Institute's Africa team has lined up the next 10 Red Cross Societies to be audited by the summit's anniversary, including all 15 of NEPARC's founding members.

SGS's benchmarking process assesses organizations for their transparency and accountability on dimensions such as: management, operations procedures, continuous improvement, board member independence, fund raising efficiency, resource allocation, and staff and volunteer assessments.

"We want to seriously thank Fritz Institute for making this contribution, which has been an important eye-opener for us in Kenya, in the African region and globally," said Mary Kuria, secretary general of Kenya Red Cross, which achieved certification with their first-ever audit. "We didn't realize that we could hold our heads up and count ourselves among the world's certified institutions."

Audits to achieve certification are standard operations practice among corporations. "This certification means that we have had an objective evaluation of our capabilities, procedures, and cost effectiveness, which will help us renew existing partnerships and open avenues for new resources," Kuria proclaimed.

According to Robert Kweisga, secretary general of the Uganda Red Cross, which also received certification, "This certification will help our society in two ways: 1) provide an internal check to see how we are doing and help us identify where we need improvement, and 2) reposition African humanitarian organizations as institutions that the world can rely on to serve African humanitarian needs." This is expected to help all participating organizations strengthen their images and credibility with donors and other key domestic and international stakeholders.

"It helps the African humanitarian community hold themselves to the best practices in the business and humanitarian arenas," stated Abbas Gullet, director of Fritz Institute's Africa Initiative. "The Societies that did not pass the audit the first time are clear that they have learned a great deal; the audit has helped them to identify their strengths and gaps, and they are actively working with their partners to build their capacities and offset their gaps."

Fritz Institute is already working with the Namibian Red Cross, bringing in private sector partners to address needs identified in the audit. Plans are underway to provide similar technical support throughout NEPARC.

About Fritz Institute
Fritz Institute addresses complex challenges in the delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people around the world by collaborating with the private and academic sectors to mobilize expertise, technology and resources. For additional information visit

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