GENEVA, Switzerland /African Press Organization (APO)/ – 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 communities.
“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 funding.”
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. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)