Blue Cross Founder Pastor Louis-Lucien Rochat
In many countries, the harmful use of alcohol and drugs hinder sustainable social and economic development. People live in precarious conditions in need, unemployment and without perspective. International Blue Cross (IBC) is therefore committed to reducing the negative impact of alcohol and drug use worldwide and to enabling a constructive coexistence in societies - free of violence, oppression and addiction-related diseases! From Switzerland to the Faroe Islands, from Congo to Brazil - since 1886, IBC has been committed to those who live on the margins of society and seek to alleviate their hardship.
As a non-governmental and non-profit umbrella organisation, IBC coordinates the activities of 40 affiliated member organisations. In an advisory capacity, we support them primarily in the financing, planning and implementation of various projects in the field of alcohol and drug prevention. The members are all independent, non-denominational Christian associations.
Together with more than 1000 social workers, prevention experts and other professionals around the world, we form a network that helps people on four continents to lead addiction-free lives.
As a global health organisation, IBC also implements international development cooperation programmes in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The focus lies on alcohol and drug prevention, treatment and counselling for people with substance abuse problems, as well as international policy advice and lobbying. Currently we are running three prevention programmes with partners in Africa.
The origins of the Blue Cross movement and thus of the international umbrella organisation IBC go back to the 19th century. Alcohol problems were widespread in the society of that time. This prompted the Swiss pastor Louis-Lucien Rochat to get involved for those affected. Together with his colleagues, he tried to alleviate the suffering of alcohol-dependent people. His commitment led to the official founding of the Blue Cross on 21 September 1877 in Geneva.
Soon, the Blue Cross movement spread beyond the Swiss borders. This created the need to unite the individual groups under one international umbrella organisation. That's why the "Comité International" was founded in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland) in 1886 - and thus the International Blue Cross was born. Soon the movement not only crossed national borders but also spread beyond Europe: in 1906 the first non-European Blue Cross organisation was founded in Ghana. Today, more than 40 national organisations from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America are part of the International Blue Cross.
Structural prevention of substance abuse harm requires evidence-based alcohol and drug policies. IBC is committed to take action, encourage monitoring of local progress, and highlight the need to protect alcohol policy development from interference by commercial interests. IBC supports WHO-led initiative SAFER with aim to support global target of reducing harmful use of alcohol by 10% by 2025.
IBC promotes a comprehensive approach on prevention that combines individual (behavioral) prevention with community action and structural prevention.
Behavioural prevention through life-skills approach is a successful IBC solution to prevent drug and alcohol harm and equip people for good wellbeing.
IBC implements life skills approach for youth within their development cooperation programmes.
Different Blue Cross organisations provide brief intervention, treatment and counselling services to people and significant others effected by alcohol drugs and gambling. Blue Cross organisations acknowledge a bio-psycho-social-spiritual aspects of human being and there is a variety of treatment models used to respond to these needs.
IBC encourages the development of healthy living communities through mutual and self-help activities. People with the same disease or similar life situations connect together in a mutual support group.
The groups are an important part of motivational work during the recovery process after treatment and rehabilitation, effective to prevent a relapse into addiction. Groups are facilitated by Blue Cross professionals or volunteers and are based on the mutual support that leads to an experience of community, personal growth, more confidence and sense in life.
National Blue Cross organisations are involved in activities that do not fall within the four main categories. Examples of these are ‘Drop in Centres’ Homelessness and Pre-Employment schemes that all aim to support a person to take positive steps towards independent and meaningful life.
The International Blue Cross (IBC) is a non-governmental organisation that unites 40 national Blue Cross organisations under one umbrella, creating a worldwide network for advancing a common cause. We bundle professional expertise and know-how of the various Blue Cross organisations, allowing us to utilize and integrate each organisation´s experiences effectively locally and on the international level. The member organisations are the main provider of Blue Cross services and are represented by the board (Network Committee).
The General Secretariat of IBC coordinates the networking with the member organisations and supports them in topics such as programme implementation, fundraising and strategic planning. Furthermore, the Secretariat implements international development projects with local partners and member organisations in Africa.
The headquarter of the international secretariat of the International Blue Cross is located in Bern, Switzerland. Besides our presence in Switzerland, secretariat staff is also placed in Germany and Finland.
Anne Babb, General Secretary
Katrin Schmidt, Finance Officer
Flavia Ganarin, Program Officer
Sonja Pönisch, Networking and Administration
Anja Tuchtenhagen, Fundraising and Public Relations
Noemi Zulauf, Administrative Support
The Network Committee is the governing body of IBC.
Albert Moukolo, Switzerland
Ph.D. External Staff of the University of Lausanne
President of the International Blue Cross
Member of the Network Committee since 1999
Reinhard Jahn, Germany
Managing Director Blue Cross Germany
Vice President of International Blue Cross
Member of Network Committee since 2008
Rolf Hartmann, Brazil
President Blue Cross Brazil
Member of Network Committee since 2008
Hans Eglin, Switzerland
Central Board Blue Cross Switzerland
Member of Network Committee since 2016
Palesa Phelane, South Africa
Chairman of the Youth Blue Cross South Africa
Member Network Committee since 2016
Fanjanirina Holiarisoa Rasolomanana, Madagascar
Priestess and Program Coordinator of Blue Cross Madagascar
Member of Network Committee since 2012
Ingalill Söderberg, Sweden
Journalist and Community Representative
Member of the Network Committee since 2012
Holger Lux, Romania
Managing Director, Director of Rehabilitation Center for addicted Men of House of Nazareth in Romania
Member Network Committee since 2008
Revocatus Nginila, Tanzania
Project Coordinator Blue Cross Tanzania
Member of Network Committee since 2016
Our main representative and deliberative organ is the General Assembly, the supreme decision making authority of the International Blue Cross. Each member organisation is entitled to send one representative to the Assembly. The General Assembly congregates every four years, at which time it elects and delegates governing authority to the Network Committee (board) of the International Blue Cross. The General Assembly also takes decisions that provide direction and guidance on key issues affecting the strategy and activities of the Blue Cross movement worldwide.
The International Blue Cross is the non-governmental umbrella organisation that represents the work of its around 40 national member organisations at the international level. Each of these organisations is independent and dedicated to further the mandate of the Blue Cross movement as articulated in its vision and mission, according to specified standards of professional ethics and core Blue Cross values - namely respect, dignity, solidarity, inclusiveness, and care for others.
All Blue Cross national member organisations are required to adhere to a set of membership criteria agreed by the General Assembly. These criteria cover:
Blue Cross national member organisations are expected to exist before applying for membership or to quickly develop into locally accountable and self-sustaining organisations. This means that in addition to having a local membership base they need to implement viable activities that are contributing to addressing issues relating to alcohol- and illicit drug-related harm.
Requests for affiliation are received and examined by the Secretariat and following initial inquiries are submitted to the Network Committee (board) of the International Blue Cross for consideration, acceptance or rejection.