Collaboration with other Red Cross Societies

FL Answers for tracing work

In the aftermath of natural disasters or major conflicts, people can become separated from their loved ones. The tracing services of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement track down missing people, reestablish contact and reunite them with their families through the worldwide Red Cross network.

With the Restoring Family Links Strategy, the Red Cross Movement aims to address the needs of people without news of their families. We do that by improving information exchange, among other things.

To this end, the International Committee of the  Red Cross (ICRC) has launched a new website. It has also developed a data management system, which is made available to National Societies. This application is called FL Answers: “Family Links Application for National Societies for Worldwide Enquiry and RFL Services”.

FL Answers enables National Societies and ICRC delegations to exchange data and share case files efficiently. It takes tracing work into the digital age and prepares it for new technological developments.

The ICRC chose Belgian Red Cross-Flanders and five other National  Societies to test the new system. After an extensive consultation phase, we were actively involved in the prototype test phase from the second half of 2012.

From summer 2013, Belgian Red Cross-Flanders will use FL Answers for digital file management. It will be gradually rolled out to other National Societies worldwide from 2014. The ICRC delegations and the pool of experts – a team of tracing workers who can be deployed in emergencies within 36 hours – will also be able to use the system in future.

Red Cross volunteers: cross-border exchanges


In 2012, three enthusiastic volunteers from Red Cross-Ostend travelled to the Gambian capital Banjul to work with the local Red Cross.

Gambia was a deliberate choice, as the city of Ostend has been twinned with Banjul since 2003. The two cities cooperate in the areas of education, environment and healthcare. A partnership between Red Cross-Ostend and Banjul was the perfect complement to this.

The three volunteers from Ostend were impressed by the work being done by the Red Cross in Gambia and exchanged experiences and information with their Gambian counterparts. Following the successful meeting with their Gambian colleagues, Red Cross-Ostend decided to work together on AFAM (African First Aid Materials). AFAM is a set of first aid guidelines tailored to the African context. The collaboration enabled them to support Gambia in developing first aid activities, based on our first aid expertise.

More information about the exchange can be found on the Facebook page.


In 2009, Red Cross-Harelbeke got involved with the twinning arrangement concluded two years previously between Harelbeke  and the Namibian city of Eenhana. Its collaboration with the Red Cross in Eenhana is mainly focused on strengthening and promoting ties between the two Red Cross Youth branches.

In 2012, a delegation of four Red Cross Youth leaders from Eenhana visited the branch in Harelbeke. For a month they were immersed in the world of Belgian youth. They learnt about the Red Cross’s work in Belgium, youth policy in Harelbeke and Belgian culture. They also went on camp with Red Cross Youth-Harelbeke, where they played an active role in activities.

More information about the exchange can be found here.


Early 2012, two Flemish Red Cross Youth members got the chance to go on a two-month exchange to Uganda, with support from the European Union. In August and September 2012, two volunteers from the Uganda Red Cross Society made the return trip to Belgium.

During these visits, the participants learnt about their host country, local youth work and local Red Cross operations.

Related items:
Collaboration with external organizations
Collaboration with the government