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Strong national societies

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In our mission countries, we work hand in hand with the local Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. We help them improve their organizational capacity, volunteer management or their project work. So that they can help their local populations.


There are 192 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world. Each one faces different challenges because every country is in a different situation.

Organizations change

Almost all national societies have their internal challenges. They grow and evolve, offering new services. They may change leadership, need to cope with financial bottlenecks or find new ways of working with their governments.

Outside influences

National societies also face challenges from outside influences, such as extreme weather events caused by climate change, humanitarian crises and conflicts, social and health inequalities, poverty and vulnerability. But they are the ones who best know the situation on the ground, the local culture, challenges and opportunities.

Help in the field

For the Red Cross, it is a priority to be well rooted in the local community, and this is also part of our work at the Swiss Red Cross. Because it is only when we have strong partners on the ground that we can help the victims in the longer term.
The other national societies are therefore our natural partners: with around 14 million volunteers and 165,000 regional offices, they are well rooted in the local communities, so in an emergency they can provide support even in remoter regions, and reinforce the resilience of the local population.

Our goal

Sustainable development requires strong local partners. By strengthening our partners we ensure that the national societies of the Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement are sustainably positioned. They are able to support themselves and so be there for the local population, regardless of whether there is support from abroad.

We thereby support the 17th UN sustainable development goal «partnerships to achieve the goals».


UN Global Goals

What we do

We strengthen our Red Cross partners in various sectors: organizational development, programme work and volunteer management. This pursues the long-term goal of enabling them to offer their services to people in need throughout the country with appropriate volunteers and staff and to maintain these services for as long as necessary.

Individual cooperation

In concrete terms, this is as individual as the needs of our sister organization. In Lebanon, consolidating our partner involves building up the blood donor system. In Kyrgyzstan, it involves training volunteers, while in South Sudan we are helping the local Red Cross to boost the capacity of its regional offices.

We support our Red Cross partners to help them receive broad recognition as important players in the humanitarian aid sector.

Swiss Red Cross

In the context of our long-term strategic partnerships, the SRC provides support for select sister national societies in the following areas:

  • Leadership and strategy

  • Institutional deployment and response capacities

  • Fundraising

  • Strengthening volunteer engagement

  • Project management


The SRC’s National Society Development (NSD) programme provides support for its sister organizations. Find out more in the video.

Strengthening partners at all levels

Organizations are complex and there are many different opportunities for strengthening our partners. That is why we distinguish between two different areas:

The SRC team is super. Even though cooperation is often a challenge, they support us 24/7. Even when they don’t share our opinion. It is a really wonderful example of partnership within the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

Senior manager at the Lebanese Red Cross

Why it is so important to strengthen voluntary work

Volunteers are the basis of any Red Cross or Red Crescent organization. They are the ones with access to people living in remote regions and know what concerns them, what help they need and what the opportunities and challenges are.
For this reason, we strengthen the commitment of volunteers in our sister societies. For example, in Kyrgyzstan, where young volunteers are trained to look after elderly people and provide important support in their lives.


Integrated thinking

Organizational development and capacity building are complementary and must be thought of together. For example, if a national society trains volunteers in childminding but is overwhelmed with volunteer management, the knowledge accumulated cannot be put to good use.

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