Pacific Island National Societies sustainability planning pushing ahead

9 April 2024

Pete Scott, our Pacific Programmes Lead, International Operations is just back from a three-day hui in Fiji with Pacific Island National Societies and funding partners.  

The 19 participants got together to progress ideas and designs for the next five years which will forge a path for Pacific National Societies to become self-sustaining. 

Seven Pacific Island National Societies attended this hui - Kiribati, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Fiji, Tonga and Palau, along with Australia, New Zealand and American Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). 

“The initiative has been running for the last five years and is going from strength to strength,” says Pete.  The bulk of funding to cover the National Societies’ gap between core revenue and expenditure comes from Australia, New Zealand and American Red Cross’ with additional funding from ICRC, while IFRC acts as secretariat.  

Recently, Pacific Island National Societies have started their own efforts to generate income, but they have limited capacity in country. Examples are First Aid training programmes, Tuvalu’s Kitchen Garden Cafe, the Solomon Islands’ Kaikai Haus Cafe and the Cook Islands Red Cross has a government grant to help cover their administration costs. While these projects help, they are still small for revenue raising. This means they have to acquire grants for core costs such as key staff positions and even utilities – funds to ‘keep the lights on’. The ultimate goal is to get to a stage where there is a real sense of independence and a move towards financial sustainability.    

“Through the initiative, Pacific Island National Societies are now acquiring knowledge and using systems to meet required international standards to obtain grants. They now have more competent financial management - annual plans and budgets, annual account auditing, and evaluation reporting. Everyone is keen to build on these achievements.” 

Image of the members of the Pacific Island National Societies in a planning meeting

Pacific Island National Societies planning for sustainability


Pete also adds “many National Societies have gone from being behind in compliance to being very much up to date on a regular basis."  

“The core costs of running a Red Cross National Society in the Pacific decides the basic capacity of the Society.  None of us are financially sustainable, but with the support of IFRC and our partner National Societies through this core cost and financial sustainability initiative, we are able to sustain local capacity, keep our doors open, and continue to serve our respective communities,” says Fine Tu’itupou-Arnold, Secretary General, Cook Islands Red Cross. 

“Our hui was all about starting to design a process with Pacific National Societies at the heart of the planning process towards their financial sustainability hereon in”, says Pete.  

When Red Cross National Societies, like any other organisation, meet best practice financial management requirements and standards, donors are more likely to treat funding applications favourably. 

The hui in Fiji set the path for the future - it’ll be very much donors and National Societies who are being funded working in the same room and working out how to design a programme. “We learn from one another, share ideas and jointly visualise what is viable in Pacific Island countries,” says Pete.  

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Back row left to right: Depweh Kanono, Secretary General, Kiribati Red Cross, Richard Sesebo, Treasurer, Solomon Islands Red Cross, Romit Maharaj, Chief Financial Officer, Fiji Red Cross, Peter Scott, Pacific Programmes Lead, NZRC, Adrian Prouse, Head of International Programmes, Australian Red Cross, Patrea Ryan, Finance Practitioner,  Australian Red Cross, Claire Hallas, Senior Manager Pacific International Programmes,  Australian Red Cross, Katie Greenwood, Director, IFRC Country Cluster Delegation Suva, Erica Peter, Secretary General, Marshall Islands Red Cross, Juan Garland, National Society Development Manager, IFRC Country Cluster Delegation, Suva, Fine Tuitupou-Arnold, Secretary General, Cook Islands Red Cross.

Front row left to right: Maki Igarashi, Country Director, IFRC Papua New Guinea, Ellen Kuper, Resource Mobilisation, Solomon Islands Red Cross, Maireng Sengebau, Executive Director, Palau Red Cross, Amelia Baro, Business development manager, IFRC Country Cluster Delegation Suva, Winnie Monouluk, ICRC, Papua New Guinea, Sini Latu, Deputy Secretary General, Tonga Red Cross.  

Online screen: Stephanie Wallace-Parthasarathy, Deputy Director Asia Pacific Division, American Red Cross.