OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 18, 2013) - Canada's development efforts in Afghanistan are focused on meeting basic needs in health and education, delivering humanitarian assistance and increasing the resilience of the Afghan people, especially women and children. Following the visit to Canada of Ms. Fatima Gailani, President of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, announced that the Canadian International Development Agency will achieve these goals by helping the Afghan Red Crescent Society become more effective at delivering and coordinating humanitarian assistance across the country.
"Through innovative partnerships, Canada is ensuring that the needs of the most vulnerable are met with appropriate, timely and effective assistance," said Minister Fantino. "This initiative will help save more lives, alleviate suffering and maintain the dignity of those affected by conflict and natural disasters in Afghanistan."
In addition to improving the organizational structure of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, this new initiative will help create a comprehensive national disaster response system. It will also increase the number of disaster response units and the number of mobile health teams to allow for the delivery of on-site emergency response services to women, men and children equitably.
"The Afghan Red Crescent Society relies on tens of thousands of volunteers throughout Afghanistan to deliver assistance," said Ms. Gailani. "This support from the Government of Canada will help us respond effectively to large and small disasters, and it will allow us to train additional female volunteers, who will be able to help more women and children."
This project will be implemented over five years, in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross Society. This organization has been an active supporter of operations in Afghanistan for more than eight years, providing both technical and financial support to humanitarian efforts. For this project, the Canadian Red Cross Society will provide oversight on all activities and will provide direct support to the Afghan Red Crescent Society during emergency operations.
"The strength of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is its network of trained volunteers," said Conrad Sauvé, secretary general and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. "Building community health and disaster response capacity across Afghanistan will allow the Red Crescent to reach more vulnerable communities with life-saving services."
For more information about CIDA's support to development initiatives in Afghanistan, please visit the CIDA website.