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Empress Shôken Fund: helping National Societies respond today, plan for tomorrow

12-04-2010 News Release 10/61

In 2010, the Empress Shôken Fund will grant more than 111,000 Swiss francs to three projects carried out by Red Cross Societies on three continents.

The initiatives include a road safety project, called “A safe way to school” in Georgia, a youth brass band project in Sierra Leone and the development of community-based health and first aid in Tuvalu.

The Empress Shôken Fund was established in 1912 by Her Majesty the Empress of Japan to support Red Cross and Red Crescent activities worldwide. Since then, it has grown thanks to contributions from the Japanese government, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Imperial Family. The annual allocation of grants traditionally takes place on 11 April, the anniversary of the Empress’ death.

The projects are selected by the Joint Commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Preference is given to applications from National Societies in greatest need or from those that have least benefited from the fund in previous years. A reasonable regional balance is also maintained. Despite the global financial crisis, this fund continues to support new Red Cross and Red Crescent activities to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable.

Here is a brief description of the projects supported by the Empress Shôken Fund in 2010.


  Road Safety project "A safe way to school" - Georgia 17,056 CHF  

The number of cars in Georgia has increased over the last three years by 90%. In addition to aggressive driving and low respect for traffic rules, this has led to a significant increase in road accide nts. The current project targets school children, in particular those aged between 8 and 12, who usually walk to school on their own. It will be implemented in nine schools in Tbilisi and is aimed at reducing the children’s vulnerability on the roads by informing them and their parents about good road safety practices, by creating safe walking areas around schools, and engaging local authorities.


  Youth brass band project - Sierra Leone 49,008 CHF  

Young people make up the largest percentage of the membership of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society. Following years of war during which youth have often been both perpetrators of violence and victims, they need support in order to change their attitude and behaviour and achieve social integration. The youth brass band project will provide these youngsters with a social forum, and will include the dissemination of life skills and Red Cross principles. In addition, these traditional bands will give the Sierra Leone Red Cross increased visibility, create a valuable social forum for the youth and generate income for other youth activities.


  Community-Based Health and First Aid (CBHFA) in Tuvalu 45,601 CHF  

Tuvalu is comprised of isolated islands that are prone to disasters. Tuvalu Red Cross activities to improve community health, prevent disease and mitigate suffering have so far focused on the capital. The implementation of the new Community-Based Health and First Aid project will allow the Red Cross to expand these programmes to the rest of the country. The Tuvalu Red Cross will recruit and train 10 local staff who will then be sent to different islands to each train 100 volunteers in first aid.


  For further information, to set up interviews, please contact:  

Marie-Françoise Borel, Information Officer, IFRC Tel: + 41 22 730 43 46 / + 41 79 217 33 45

Florian Westphal, Head of Media Services, ICRC Tel: + 41 22 730 22 82 / + 41 79 217 32 80



  The International Federation, Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross together constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. For more information, please click on and