The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) published its mid-year January – June 2023 report for Turkmenistan. While the report summarizes the progress achieved by the Red Cross Society in Turkmenistan, it lacks data and details to substantiate this progress.
There is no data and information of substance on priority areas to understand the extent, the scale and the severity of problems IFRC works on such as tuberculosis and humanitarian disasters. Achievements are provided as generic statements rather than measurable results supported by data and specific examples. We have raised some of the shortcomings of the organization’s reporting in our previous article.
Devastating storm in Lebap and Mary in 2020
The report highlights the National Society’s commitment to and involvement in humanitarian diplomacy and highlights the provision of humanitarian aid to Turkey as a significant milestone for the organization. However, the National Society is not reporting on any activities aimed at helping the nationals of Turkmenistan. The National Society failed to respond to and support the victims of severe storms in Lebap and Mary regions in April 2020.
In its 2020 annual report the organization claimed to have supported 43 people in Lebap and 57 people in Mary regions who were affected by disasters. But it is not clear if these people were the victims of the April storm. Likewise, in 2020 as an effort to improve its image in the media the National Society has published 98 articles in newspapers and magazines and produced 128 TV reports and 17 interviews on radio. Nevertheless, none of these mentioned the April disaster.
Moreover, the report mentions that the National Society has established emergency stockpiles in order to respond timely and effectively to disasters and provide essential relief supplies to affected communities during crises. Despite this, the organization has not provided any in kind, financial or other support to the victims of the 2020 natural disaster in Lebap and Mary. Until today there are no statistics on the number of people who were impacted, lost their lives or on the extent of economic loss they have incurred.
No details of cooperation
The report emphasized the need to continue the project funded by the USAID that provides humanitarian assistance and support to vulnerable populations. However, it does not clarify the duration and the budget of the project or who exactly are the beneficiaries. It briefly mentions the Crisis Center which is funded by Winrock International, a US based nonprofit organization, to fund staff salaries.
The National Society has also collaborated with the Canadian Embassy and the OSCE to design projects focused on gender, domestic violence, human trafficking, and the establishment of a crisis center for victims. Nevertheless, no details are provided on ‘crisis center’ and the funding details neither in the report nor on the organization’s website.
The report also highlights the Tuberculosis (TB) Prevention and Support project in Turkmenistan, supported by the Global Fund and UNDP to control and manage the disease in the country. But it is unclear to what extent TB is a problem in Turkmenistan, how many people are diagnosed with it every year, how many people have been treated and if there is any improvement. For instance in its 2022 annual report the National Society mentions that 1,535 TB patients and their relatives were trained through the “School of the Patient” module and 7,029 home visits were made to patients for the purpose of psychological support and successful completion of treatment. Does this number correspond to the total number of people diagnosed with TB?
The National Society claims that they use the organization’s website to disseminate information about its activities and to promote transparency and engagement with the community. However, the organization has not published any research on real challenges faced by people in Turkmenistan. Their website does not provide any statistics or monitoring and evaluation reports that assess the organization’s effectiveness, while many of the resources listed on the site do not open such as their annual reports for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Although the National Society claims to have undergone an external audit in 2022 to enhance its financial transparency, the results of the audit and scale of the problems have not been publicly shared.