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International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian network, helping people in around 150 countries. Founded in 1919, the Geneva-based Federation brings together 192 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and some 100 million volunteers.

The IFRC’s mission is to improve the situation of the most vulnerable, coordinating emergency international assistance to people affected by natural and man-made disasters, including the forcibly displaced, and in health crises.

The Federation also helps vulnerable communities to overcome crises and become more resilient through disaster preparedness activities.

Its mandate includes strengthening the capacities of its member Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to conduct effective emergency relief, disaster preparedness, and health and community care programmes. It also represents these societies at an international level.

The IFRC and UNHCR have been working together for more than 50 years and the Federation, then known as the League of Red Cross Societies, was given the Nansen Refugee Award in 1957 for its invaluable help in responding to the needs of Hungarian refugees.

The partners have signed several accords, including a 2002 Memorandum of Understanding covering the development of guidelines on training and equipment for UNHCR field personnel. It also covers the first aid training which Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies provide to UNHCR staff.

Under the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s cluster approach to humanitarian crises, the Federation and UNHCR co-chair the emergency shelter cluster.

Staff and volunteers with the national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, meanwhile, sometimes help displaced populations. They provide food, water, relief items, health care and psycho-social support to vulnerable people in UNHCR-run camps.