IPE Focus 2019

It is 2019 and the Inclusion, Protection and Engagement (IPE) Unit is re-focusing on engaging better with national societies and our constituents.

For many of us, 2019 started as 2018 ended, responding to crises with volcanoes, tsunamis, floods, people on the move.  A number of our brothers and sisters in the movement, volunteers and staff have been involved in responding day and night to these emergencies, sacrificing their time, families in order to respond to those in need.  We salute them for their efforts and we stand in solidarity with them.

Sadly, these incidents are not going to diminish and if anything, for a variety of reasons, there will be a need to scale up our response to humanitarian crises as the world faces globalising fragility.  Our youth and volunteers are the most important people as they need to be equipped, empowered, skilled and supported in this response.  It is not only just in the big humanitarian incidents that we need this support but of course also in the day to day work that we do across the world whether it is in looking after the elderly, taking blood, running homework clubs, providing first aid or enabling youth to be agents of change.

Creating the enabling environment to support and equip National Societies to engage better with their youth and volunteers, providing safety and security whilst ensuring that the dignity of those that we serve is preserved so that no one is left behind, left unsafe, left out, remains the primary focus of the Inclusion, Protection and Engagement (IPE) unit.  So, as we have done for the past two years, our aim for this year is to continue to focus on providing support to the secretariat and national societies through tools, training, policies and technical expertise because a secretariat and network of national societies fit for purpose means that we are able to reach farther and more efficiently making a difference to the lives on the ground.

In making a case for a fit for purpose Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, we are also cognisant that motivations and incentives for people volunteering and civic participation is changing.  Now more people want ownership and involvement in identifying local solutions to problems in their communities.  They want to co-create and self-organise.  This poses a challenge for us at IFRC and with National Societies in terms of creating a space for people especially a motivated youth constituency to be the change they want to see in their communities.  We need to be able to inspire radical hope to people and communities who are increasingly facing vulnerabilities brought about by the globalisation of fragility.  In this sense we need to revisit the Fundamental Principles which are the bedrock of our movement and which inspire the values of civic engagement and provide a platform for humanity.

These should be at the forefront of our thinking especially this year as the Federation celebrates its 100-year anniversary.  It is a special time for us as we will be celebrating what we have done for the last 100 years and the impact we have made on people’s lives, yet part of the celebration is to look forward to the next 100 years.  This will be a time of dynamic change with differing vulnerabilities and challenges than what we have faced over the last 100 years ago. WE need to be ready for this challenge and this requires everyone (leadership, volunteers, staff, Federation and National Societies) to come together to reimagine how we can provide desperately needed hope and inspiration for humanity to overcome the future vulnerabilities brought about by challenges of climate change, social cohesion, migration and so on.

So as we celebrate our 100th birthday, we give thanks but renew our commitment to help the most vulnerable to ensure no one is left behind. This has to be our collective commitment.  For those on the front line of response, our thoughts, prayers are with you as is our support to ensure you can deliver to the best of your abilities.  As the IPE unit this will also be our focus for 2019 and this is a journey we want to take with you.