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Building capacity, strengthening Red Cross societies

When we say CERA, we’re talking about Capacity Building for Emergency Response in the Americas Initative, part of the Strategic Partnership between Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Red Cross to enhance Canada’s international humanitarian assistance.  The CERA Initiative is a five year program to strengthen the emergency response capacities of Red Cross National Societies in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica and Nicaragua, enabling them to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from crisis situations and lead humanitarian response efforts.

In January 2016, senior leadership and CERA project coordinators from the five National Societies met in Panama along with organizational development and disaster management experts from the Canadian Red Cross and the IFRC. This workshop aimed to help participants acquire a common understanding about organizational development and how it can strengthen National Red Cross societies to be ready for emergencies, disasters, day-to-day operations and long-term humanitarian efforts.  The workshop also explored how to improve CERA program implementation and coordination with other National Society programs and projects.
 
Maria Mercedes Mejía is the coordinator for CERA in Honduras. When asked what CERA represented to National Societies such as the Honduran Red Cross, Maria said it, “allows us to strengthen all the support systems of the Red Cross and through the strengthening of our systems we are able to provide better services to the vulnerable population. No one can give what they don’t have, and as a National Society we need to strengthen each and all of our areas. We should remember that in spite of what can be said, humanitarian aid is changing constantly....and we need to change they way we act, change our capacity and how we project ourselves to serve the most vulnerable."

Another participant at the workshop, Chantal Pitaud, manager of the organization development department for the Haitian Red Cross, said that, “the CERA project is very important because it allows us to reinforce response mechanisms...[and] strengthens the different structures within the Haitian Red Cross.”

CERA workshop
CERA workshop and training
CERA workshop
CERA workshop and training
CERA workshop
CERA workshop and training


Workshops like this are one of the ways the CERA initiative aims to help build stronger and more effective National Societies. 
 
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