The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian network that reaches 150 million people in 189 National Societies through the work of over 17 million volunteers.Together, we act before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. We do so without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.Guided by Strategy 2020 – our collective plan of action to tackle the major humanitarian and development challenges of this decade – we are committed, in this fast-changing world, to ‘saving lives and changing minds’.Our strength is in our volunteer network, our community-based expertise and our ability to give a global voice to vulnerable people. By improving humanitarian standards, working as partners in development, responding to disasters, supporting healthier and safer communities, we help reduce vulnerabilities, strengthen resilience and foster a culture of peace around the world.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was founded in 1919 in Paris in the aftermath of World War I. The war had shown a need for close cooperation between Red Cross Societies, which, through their humanitarian activities on behalf of prisoners of war and combatants, had attracted millions of volunteers and built a large body of expertise. A devastated Europe could not afford to lose such a resource.It was Henry Davison, president of the American Red Cross War Committee, who proposed forming a federation of these National Societies. An international medical conference initiated by Davison resulted in the birth of the League of Red Cross Societies, which was renamed in October 1983 to the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and then in November 1991 to become the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The first objective of the IFRC was to improve the health of people in countries that had suffered greatly during the four years of war. Its goals were "to strengthen and unite, for health activities, already-existing Red Cross Societies and to promote the creation of new Societies"
There were five founding member Societies: Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the United States. This number has grown over the years and there are now 189 recognized National Societies - one in almost every country in the world.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, providing assistance without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. Founded in 1919, the IFRC comprises 189 member Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, a secretariat in Geneva and more than 60 delegations strategically located to support activities around the world. There are more societies in formation. The Red Crescent is used in place of the Red Cross in many Islamic countries.