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 190 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.
The IFRC vision is to inspire, encourage, facilitate and promote at all times all forms of humanitarian activities by National Societies, with a view to preventing and alleviating human suffering, and thereby contributing to the maintenance and promotion of human dignity and peace in the world.
The IFRC carries out relief operations to assist victims of disasters, and combines this with development work to strengthen the capacities of its member National Societies. The IFRC's work focuses on four core areas: promoting humanitarian values, disaster response, disaster preparedness, and health and community care.
The unique network of National Societies - which cover almost every country in the world - is the IFRC's principal strength. Cooperation between National Societies gives the IFRC greater potential to develop capacities and assist those most in need. At a local level, the network enables the IFRC to reach individual communities.
The role of the secretariat in Geneva is to coordinate and mobilize relief assistance for international emergencies, promote cooperation between National Societies and represent these National Societies in the international field.
The role of the field delegations is to assist and advise National Societies with relief operations and development programmes, and encourage regional cooperation.
The IFRC, together with National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, make up the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.