International Community for the Relief of Suffering and Starvation
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International Community for the Relief of Suffering and Starvation (ICROSS) is an international non-governmental organisation that provides health and development services for pastoral communities in East Africa.
The organisation was formerly known as CROSS between 1979-82, standing for Community for the Relief of Suffering and Starvation. ICROSS, a Kenya-based international non-governmental organization, charity, and private voluntary organization founded by Dr Michael Elmore-Meegan and Dr Joseph Barnes. The organisation was formally established in Kenya, East Africa with the support of the Irish priests Paul Cunningham and John Hughes, both C.S.Sp. ICROSS specialises in long term primary health, community healthcare and public health programmes. The organisation's headquarters are in Ngong, Rift Valley, Kenya. ICROSS has an established research programme with a number of different partners and research collaborators. According to the ICROSS Annual Report 2014, Dr. Elmore-Meegan is the International Director. ICROSS closed in Ireland in 2010.
ICROSS areas of programming
ICROSS is as an International development NGO, registered under the Kenyan NGO act and regulated by the Kenyan Government, with a focus in the field of health, with key international lectures including the Red Future shocks lecture. ICROSS has most recently lectured at International conferences in the Nordic countries, Cambodia and Nepal.
ICROSS is responsible for a large terminal care programme and a series of public health programmes. One of ICROSS's key research streams has been investigating means of solar disinfection (SODIS) of contaminated drinking water, and has helped conduct a number of control trials of SODIS.
ICROSS stresses traditional tribal values, building development programmes through the existing decision systems and creating locally driven agendas. In 2015-16 the key areas of ICROSS programming are:
- Community-based primary health care
- Training traditional birth attendants, reduction of maternal deaths, gender rights awareness, commercial sex workers support, female circumcision harm reduction, safe motherhood education and girls.
- Poverty reduction
- Training health workers in desert areas, trachoma blindness control, diarrhoea control, tribal community health programmes, surgical training, desertification projects.
- Children’s rights and gender and development
- Child-to-child sanitation and hygiene, pediatric disease control, child survival, immunisation, primary health care, infant mortality control, AIDS orphans and vulnerable children’s rights, child health promotion.
- Community strengthening
- Disease surveillance, women group developments, technical support to small organisations, legal and material support, water and sanitation projects, ICROSS resource leverage, partnership development and networking.
- HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria prevention
- Homecare of terminally ill, AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, TB awareness, detection and control, malaria control, maternal transmission education, voluntary counseling and testing, training in disease control.
ICROSS campaigns since 1979 have included Africa awakes which tries to change the stereotypes and negative perceptions of Africa. These exhibitions have received wide media coverage in Italy and France. ICROSS public health work has been cited internationally, medical work has appeared in key scientific journals since 1981.
Dr. Elmore-Meegan, currently International Director, was featured in BBC's Hardtalk current affair's programme for his work for ICROSS while in 2006 the organisation was the subject of an award-winning documentary by Irish Television. ICROSS and its Founders have received widespread recognition for their work, especially in long term public health and creating lasting community development programmes.
In 2013 ICROSS extended its programmes internationally building on over three decades of disease control experience. It established a new Overseas Internship programme extending its 25-year history of Internship support. In May 2013 it extended its localisation strategy and began a radical low cost innovation plan with local tribal communities. In Fall 2014 ICROSS launched its radical Strategic plan 2015-20 that has seen dynamic changes in its Global direction. ICROSS work is widely cited and the administration is entirely Africanied since August 2000.
Doubts were expressed about ICROSS Ireland financial accountability, resulting in an inquiry about how Irish Aid's money was being allocated. Key donors became unsatisfied with the organisation's financial probity. Finally, the Irish ICROSS (separate from the Kenyan ICROSS) was wound up in 2010 after returning E97,000 "omitted from its accounts" to Irish Aid. Meegan personally instituted court proceedings in Ireland, winning the last one in November 2012. ICROSS Kenya, the main Organisation remains fully compliant with the Kenyan Government NGO regulators (including and up to March 2017).
- "Solar Disinfection (SODIS) of Drinking Water for Use in Developing Countries or in Emergency Situations - Full Text View". ClinicalTrials.gov. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- "Africa '05 - Michael Meegan". BBC News. 12 July 2005. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- "RTE Documentary Wins ANGEL AWARD". Superannrte.ie. 1 November 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- "Irish charity folds after repaying €97k omitted from accounts". Irishexaminer.com. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- Tim Healy (13 November 2012). "Charity worker gets settlement and apology from Irish Daily Mail over sexual misconduct claims". Independent.ie. Retrieved 6 November 2015.