National Society cooperation: linking hands between China and Africa
On 8 May, more than 150 representatives from the RCSC and Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of Africa gathered in Taicang, Jiangsu Province, to participate in the first Sino-Africa Red Cross and Red Crescent Forum.
Representatives from 21 African National Societies and 31 provincial branches of the Red Cross Society of China shared experiences and explored the possibility of cooperation in the future. As Movement members, the ICRC and the International Federation were invited to participate in the event. Delegates from the ICRC told participants about its operations in Africa and the cooperation between the ICRC and African National Societies.
Mr. Ren Hao, Deputy Director-General, Department of External Liaison, RCSC
"I am very glad to meet some old friends in this forum, because I used to work in Africa. One of them is Mr. Richard Hunlede, the Chief Executive Officer of the New Partnership for African Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (NEPARC). We worked together in Gao, Mali, 26 years ago. How wonderful we can meet each other again after all these years!
“In the forum, both sides have expressed willingness to cooperate with each other. For now, they have broadened their views and been inspired by sharing their experiences. Currently, the RCSC is in a key transitional period. If it wants to become a stronger National Society, it should be more active in international humanitarian aid; and international aid should include not only money and goods but also human resources, experience and technology. "
Mr. Fawzi Azowai, Head of Libyan Red Crescent, Tripoli
"I wanted to participate in the event for several reasons. First, I would like to share with you the humanitarian aid experience during the crisis in Libya. Despite all the pain and sorrow associated with it and in spite of the big price which is paid by individual Libyans and the people at large, important lessons have been learned by our communities and relief organizations and the most important of them all is the unity of the relief effort at national and organizational level. I hope that National Societies might be inspired by our experience. Moreover, I want to have your advice and comments on our work. Thirdly, I want international humanitarian organizations to pay more attention to the nutritional problems of newborn babies in armed conflict and other situations of violence."
Mr. Ma Long, Executive Vice President, RCSC Xinjiang Branch
"The event definitely facilitates communication and cooperation between the RCSC and African National Societies and it helps us to build our own capacity. In the first three days, I have already learned a lot from the African side, such as their ways of thinking and operating. Especially, I am very impressed by the presentation given by the Kenya Red Cross Society. They shared with us a good example of internal reform."
Mrs. Monique Coulibaly, President, Red Cross Society of Côte D'lvoire
"Côte d'lvoire has been through a ten-year conflict and we have gained quite a lot of experience in this time. In coordinating with the ICRC and the International Federation in Africa, we found more approaches for fundraising. Three years ago, we established "Friends of Red Cross" as well. The conflict was still going on back then but we survived because we had hope. After listening to all your presentations today, I am more determined than ever that we should assist vulnerable people. A better future depends on today's action."
Ms. Asma Kiiojali Yousif, Director of International Cooperation, Sudan Red Crescent Society
"I think many National Societies in Africa need some help with institution-building. Our government and the ICRC support us a lot, now the question is how can we benefit more from their support. In addition, I want to know how we can get assistance from the international organizations and other National Societies regarding capacity building and resource mobilization. We also need guidance and specific training in project planning. Afterwards, we need to integrate the training into the local scenario."
Mr. Patrick L'Hôte, Head of Operations for Central and Southern Africa, ICRC
"In 2012, 50 per cent of all NS-ICRC operational partnerships are in Africa. Therefore, it is very important for us to maintain a close relationship with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies throughout the continent. Equally important, we look forward to learning more about the plan of the RCSC to become more involved in international humanitarian activities in Africa, including the participation of staff in ICRC operations.”