Building Resilient Communities in Southern Africa
Along the Zambezi River basin in Southern Africa, vulnerable communities are frequently exposed to natural disasters, particularly flooding. Since late 2011, the American Red Cross has been working with communities to identify and mitigate common hazards, and implement small-scale resiliency projects such as improving drainage in flood-prone areas, helping to flood-proof homes and planting trees to slow erosion and storm runoff. At the same time, the American Red Cross is strengthening the capacity of national societies through trainings and community contingency planning. A partnership between the American Red Cross and Red Cross partners in Namibia and Zimbabwe, this project aims to reach more than 15,000 people in these two countries including 5,900 in Namibia and more than 9,800 in Zimbabwe.
Our local partners in the global Red Cross network have immediate, first-hand knowledge of and access to the communities they serve and, like the American Red Cross, work to make communities in their countries safer and more resilient. However, these partners themselves are also vulnerable to factors, such as social, economic and political conditions, competition for scarce resources, and demographic changes, which can reduce their ability to effectively respond to disasters and emergencies. To mitigate the effects of such factors, the American Red Cross provides support in organizational development - planned, organization-wide efforts led by local partners to increase their effectiveness, adaptability, and sustainability. This support builds on our partners’ existing strengths and capacities to help them better fulfill their mission. Organizational development support focuses on research-validated areas such as effective communication, adaptive planning, efficient systems, human resource development, making connections with other key organizations, monitoring and evaluation, and organizational learning. The American Red Cross is working with Red Cross partners in Colombia, El Salvador, Namibia and Uganda on Organizational Development initiatives, with each project being tailored to the specific country’s needs.