Document printed from the website of the ICRC.
International Committee of the Red Cross
Frequently asked questions
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FAQ in version PDF
What is the ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled?
Its structure-oriented activities primarily aim to promote capacity building by:
How to apply for SFD support?
Physical rehabilitation centres in low-income countries without a permanent ICRC presence can contact either SFD headquarters or one of its field offices. (see “How to contact the SFD?”).
Each new request is subject to a standardized procedure, involving a questionnaire, consultations between SFD heads of regional projects and ICRC heads of (regional) delegations, a project visit by the SFD, the assessing of the selection criteria, and a project proposal including a budget, addressed to the SFD’s headquarters in Geneva.
What are its selection criteria?
The SFD intervention criteria include the needs, the partner’s performance, the context, and the SFD’s funding capacities.
The requirements of the population in need of physical rehabilitation services are compared to the capacity of the existing providers.
An essential criterion is the partner’s performance. The centre needs to function at an acceptable level of technical and management autonomy, adapted to the local circumstances, and should have a potential for improving mutually identified points. The partner's financial autonomy should be such that the centre does not overly depend on the SFD. It is also very important that the partner organization demonstrate transparency with regard to the way in which it operates. The collaboration between the requesting organization and the SFD is based on mutual trust.
The context of the region and project should also favourable to long-term action.
Last but not least, the SFD's ability to fund the project depends on the costs and the estimated duration of the project.
What is the duration of SFD support?
The duration of SFD support is directly linked to the ability of the local partner to develop its capacity to provide services to the population, and to its ability to become completely autonomous. Like other development projects, SFD projects can stretch over several years.
How are projects monitored?
Assisted centres are required to provide regular information to the SFD regional office, including patient statistics.
Centres are visited by SFD specialists at least twice a year for a few weeks or months. On these occasions, people with disabilities who received treatment with SFD support are systematically interviewed. The action plan drawn up to implement the objectives of the cooperation agreement is reviewed together with the partner. Partners systematically receive a full copy of the visit report and ensuing recommendations. The implementation of the recommendations or lack thereof is the basis for the initial and the final discussion with the partner during these regular follow-up visits.
Besides ensuring standard reporting (yearly Appeal, Annual and Mid-term Report), the SFD has its financial accounts reviewed yearly by an external auditor and its projects are regularly assessed by independent evaluators.
What are the key factors for a successful, autonomous centre?
Although many skills, activities and cooperating mechanisms are required to maintain a well-functioning rehabilitation centre, experience from successful projects has shown that two specific factors are indispensable.
First of all, each successfully autonomous centre always has at least one local "driving force" who leads the project. This can be the manager of the centre, or a higher placed person. The SFD's training policy helps increase the pool of such potential "driving forces".
The second indispensable factor is the degree of political support and ownership for the project at local, regional and national levels. Where required, the SFD supports the partner in its attempts to increase the level of political support.
How is the SFD governed?
The SFD's Board exercises the overall surveillance of the SFD and determines its general policy. It meets twice a year and can count up to 11 members, of whom at least six shall be ICRC representatives.
The Executive Committee, composed of four members of the Board, ensures the implementation of the SFD’s general policy and meets eight times a year.
The SFD Director is responsible for the day to day activities of the SFD, coordinates the field staff and implements the decisions of the Executive Committee.
Besides ensuring standard reporting (yearly Appeal, Annual and Mid-term Report), the SFD has its financial accounts reviewed yearly by an external auditor and its projects are regularly reviewed by independent evaluators.
How is the SFD financed?
The SFD relies exclusively on voluntary contributions to cover the costs incurred both in the field and at its headquarters. Its donor base consists of governments, Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, foundations and private donors. The SFD aims to obtain funds from sources complementary to those of the ICRC.
The ICRC, besides its initial donation of 1 million Swiss francs in 1983, still provides support in a number of respects: office space and other facilities for the SFD-staff working in the field and at headquarters in Geneva, including training of staff, and logistical and administrative support.
Why support the ICRC's SFD?
The SFD’s main strong points are: its long-term commitment to persons with disabilities and centres providing rehabilitation services; its reliance on local partners with a minimum number of SFD expatriates and its low administrative and production costs. Moreover, the SFD's projects contribute to the fulfilment of the Millenium Development Goals and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.