The Netherlands Red Cross

Prevent disasters with the Princess Margriet Fund

Natural hazards occur every day and often affect the same vulnerable people. Time and again homes are damaged, crops are lost, and families are torn apart. Billions are spent to repair damages and save lives at the last moment.

We cannot prevent natural hazards from happening, but we can limit their consequences by acting in advance. This is why the Princess Margriet Fund was founded: to enable the Red Cross to take action before disaster strikes.

The Princess Margriet Fund develops and funds projects that support communities to become more resilient. By making preparations with local communities before disaster strikes, we can save lives and prevent damage and suffering.

Do you wish to contribute to disaster prevention? You can by donating to IBAN NL67INGB0000007447 by name of Rode Kruis Prinses Margriet Fonds.

Donate to PMF

1.7 billion

people were affected by natural disasters from 2010-2019

About the Princess Margriet Fund

Why wait with aid until disaster strikes? By taking measures in advance – like training volunteers, installing an early warning system or planting mangrove forests – we can save lives and prevent damages. On top of that, preventive action is much more efficient economically.

Still, taking preventive measures requires financial input. That is why the Netherlands Red Cross founded the Princess Margriet Fund in 2011. This Fund develops and funds innovative projects focused on sustainable disaster prevention, allowing the Red Cross to take action before disaster strikes.

  • Princess Margriet

    Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands has been involved with the Netherlands Red Cross since 1966. She started as Red Cross assistant first class (nurse) and worked both in the field and behind a desk, from holiday projects on the Red Cross vessel Henry Dunant to the Standing Commission of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

    From 2000 onwards, Princess Margriet devoted herself to highlighting the link between climate change and natural disasters. “The discussion was about the causes, not the consequences,” she says. “So when we pointed out the disastrous consequences of climate change-related disasters for the world population, we managed to get this subject on the humanitarian agenda.”

    The last twenty years, Princess Margriet worked as vice-president of the National Board of the Netherlands Red Cross. She resigned from this position in January 2011. To thank her for her tireless efforts, the Red Cross established a Fund in her name: the Princess Margriet Fund. To this day, the Princess devotes her time and energy to the Fund and its mission.

  • Mission

    The Netherlands Red Cross Princess Margriet Fund enables the Red Cross to take action before disaster strikes. This way, we prepare people for disasters and aim to prevent damage and suffering.

  • Vision

    Disasters affect all sectors of society. So should our preparation. This is why we don’t just train disaster response teams, but also take the natural environment into account and work on business models that increase household income. By investing in healthy ecosystems, safe communities and economic opportunities, we build disaster resilience on all fronts.

    Many disasters can be traced back to (sometimes unavoidable) mismanagement of natural resources. Deforestation, for instance, increases the risk of floods and landslides. Landscape restoration and Nature-based Solutions are therefore crucial to sustainably improve community resilience. Because the Red Cross is not specialized in these matters, we work together with environmental organizations and other partners.

    The Princess Margriet Fund supports innovative, sustainable and scalable projects with a strong long term vision. Local populations are at the center of the design, implementation and continuation of each project. After all, nobody knows the risks that a community faces better than the community members themselves. And by providing the community with materials, skills and knowledge, they can continue building their resilience after the project has finished.

The STREAM Programme, Nile River Basin

From protection against hazards to providing essential goods and services, healthy ecosystems are crucial to the safety and wellbeing of communities. Nature-based Solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore these ecosystems.

But in the humanitarian sector, work on such solutions is still limited. We seek to change that by testing and implementing Nature-based solutions at scale in the Nile River Basin.

  • Goal

    STREAM stands for STrengthening Resilience through Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Management. With this programme, we aim to unlock the humanitarian potential of Nature-based Solutions in the Nile River Basin. The end goal: healthy ecosystems, safe communities, and sustainable economic opportunities.

    Starting in Egypt and Sudan, we will test and then scale solutions together with communities. Over the course of 20 years, we want to expand the programme to work with communities in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda as well.


  • Approach

    The programme shifts from sectoral projects, limited in time and space, to locally initiated experimentation that addresses underlying causes of vulnerability.

    We take a long-term approach, broken up in distinct phases. From problem and opportunity identification, to testing solutions and implementing them at scale.

    We jointly design, experiment with and implement Nature-based Solutions. Everything is done together with local communities and partners.

    Nature-based Solutions are one of the means in our humanitarian toolkit, alongside Early Warning Early Action systems, improved water management, first aid trainings, and other interventions combined in an integrated approach.

  • Nature-based Solutions

    The IUCN defines Nature-based Solutions (NbS) as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously benefiting people and nature.” Proper implementation of NbS requires time, scale, and involvement of local communities and experts.

    There are many examples of Nature-based Solutions, including soil conservation, forest restoration, restoring river flows and certain forms of climate-smart or regenerative agriculture. For more information, consult the IFRC Nature Navigator Handbook.

  • Planning

    We are currently in the first phase, focusing on engagement, co-creation processes, research, and developing the first pilots in Egypt and Ethiopia from mid-2022 to mid-2024.

  • Partners

    The programme is currently being set-up by The Netherlands Red Cross, Egyptian Red Crescent and Ethiopian Red Cross, with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies (IFRC).

  • Join us

    To support the development of pilots and scale-ups as well as expansion of the programme to other countries, we are actively looking for additional funding and partners from civil society and knowledge institutes. You can reach us through our contact details at the bottom of this page.

The Green Pearl Programme, Haiti

Our dream is to see Haiti become the Green Pearl of the Caribbean again.

A green and prosperous nation in which the inhabitants live in harmony with their natural environment. Propelled forward by a new generation of Haitians who are resilient to natural hazards, develop a green economy and have hope and ambition for the future.

  • Context

    Once called the Green Pearl of the Caribbean, Haiti was renowned for its great natural wealth and lush tropical forests. Today, that nickname seems mostly a distant memory. Only 2% of the original forest remains and the country is regularly affected by natural disasters.

    Hurricanes, floods, droughts and earthquakes all occur in Haiti. In addition to this, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. This deadly combination affects Haitians over and over again. People hardly have enough time to rebuild their houses or sow their crops before the next disaster strikes.

    The country is stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty and vulnerability. Deforestation and overgrazing result in less and less rainwater being absorbed by the soil, leading to more frequent flooding and landslides. In periods of drought, this arid soil is not able to support the crops which the population depends on for survival.

  • Goal

    Our goal is to break the vicious cycle of vulnerability and poverty in Haiti. In a period of twenty years we aim to support thirty Haitian communities in becoming more resilient to natural hazards, restoring their hope for the future.

  • Approach

    With sufficient land available for forestry and agriculture, enough rain, and a young population that yearns for a better future, the possibilities for Haiti are enormous.

    We want to assist communities in creating this better future by working together on green pearls: safe and thriving communities that are supported by a healthy balance between human needs, natural resources and economic development.

    In 2019 we started activities with communities in La Vallée-de-Jacmel, in southern Haiti. Work on a second pearl in Corail (northern Haiti) began in 2022. These initial pearls will serve as the foundation and inspiration for the thirty pearls to be created in the next twenty years.

    Landscape restoration is central to our approach. In collaboration with the local population and experts, we aim to reforest eroded mountainsides, install small dams to regulate the flow of rainwater, and work to identify and establish new sources of income. Alongside this, disaster response teams are trained and contingency plans updated.

    This approach has already proven itself. In a similar project in Côtes-de-Fer, a system of small dams protected the lower-lying areas from flooding and landslides when Hurricane Matthew struck in 2016. Rainwater now also better infiltrates in the soil, which in turn increases agricultural yields. The situation in Côtes-de-Fer has improved so significantly that people who previously moved to the city, returend.

  • Planning

    This programme began in 2019 and is currently in the first phase, which will continue until 2024. The entire programme (realization of thirty pearls) will last twenty years.

  • Partners

    Our main implementing partner is the Haitian Red Cross. We have also worked with Commonland, an organization which specializes in landscape restoration. For the second pearl in Corail, we collaborate with local organization Aquadev and receive technical guidance from The Nature Conservancy. Finally, we use the analyses of 510 (Red Cross data & digital initiative) for the identification and monitoring of project areas.

Nature-based Solutions, Zambia

From protection against hazards to providing essential goods and services, healthy ecosystems are crucial to the safety and wellbeing of communities. Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore these ecosystems.

But in the humanitarian sector, experience with such solutions is still limited. That is why we work together with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to develop Nature-based Solutions for the Kafue Flats ecosystem in Zambia.

  • Goal

    Recognizing how nature can protect people and reduce the impact of disasters, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have joined forces. This partnership explores how Nature-based Solutions can strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities and landscapes in the face of climate change and natural hazards.

    Multiple initiatives are being set-up under this worldwide partnership. In this initiative, the Zambian and Dutch WWF and Red Cross work together on Nature-based Solutions in Zambia. Our goal is to develop compelling NbS propositions to reach immediate and long-term climate resilience of communities and their natural environment in the Kafue Flats.

  • Approach

    The programme starts with a 1.5 years proof of concept project. In this project, the main question is which Nature-based Solutions are most suitable to address floods and drought, raising the resilience of people and nature in the Kafue Flats. The project has three key outputs:

    1. Three concrete value propositions for effective Nature-based Solutions to address flood and drought in the Kafue Flats. Local stakeholders are closely involved in researching these propositions.
    2. A position paper on the potential humanitarian, economic and environmental benefits of linking disaster management and Nature-based Solutions. This paper is meant to encourage governments, communities, donors, practitioners and the private sector to incorporate nature in climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction action.
    3. A collaboration and resource mobilization strategy to catalyze the next phase of the programme.


    If the proof of concept project is successful, the programme will continue by implementing the selected interventions together with local communities and preparing a pipeline with funding propositions in 4-5 additional landscapes.

  • Nature-based Solutions

    The IUCN defines Nature-based Solutions (NbS) as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously benefiting people and nature.” Proper implementation of NbS requires time, scale, and involvement of local communities and experts.

    There are many examples of Nature-based Solutions, including soil conservation, forest restoration, restoring river flows and certain forms of climate-smart or regenerative agriculture. For more information, consult the IFRC Nature Navigator Handbook.

  • The Kafue Flats

    The Kafue Flats ecosystem is a mosaic of wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands that provide critical habitat for a diverse array of flora and fauna, including several endangered species. Approximately 1 million people live in this area, with many relying on it for their livelihood.

    The functioning of the ecosystem is largely dependent on the seasonal flooding of the Kafue River. These floods support the growth of aquatic plants that provide food and shelter for a range of fish species, which in turn support local fisheries. The floodplains also provide grazing areas for wildlife and livestock, and support the growth of a range of crops, including rice, maize, and vegetables.

    Climate change is already affecting the Kafue Flats ecosystem, with rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and more frequent and severe droughts and floods. Human modifications to the ecosystem, including land-use changes, dams, and infrastructure development, have also had significant impacts on the functioning of the ecosystem. This affects people as well, as the inhabitants of the Flats depend on the ecosystem for water, fish, irrigation, grazing land, transport, energy and tourism.

    Restoring the natural system will allow it to fulfill these functions, while also reducing the risk of natural disasters by absorbing excess water during floods and releasing water during droughts.

  • Planning

    The proof of concept project started in January 2023 and will continue for 1.5 years until mid-2024. If the research is successful and resources can be mobilized, we will continue our 10+ year programme from mid-2024 by implementing the selected Nature-based Solutions and preparing a pipeline with funding propositions in 4-5 additional landscapes.

  • Partners

    This project is developed by the Zambia Red Cross Society, the Zambian World Wildlife Fund , the Dutch World Wildlife Fund  and the Netherlands Red Cross. Additionally, 510 (the data and digital initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross) plays a major role in researching the feasibility of various Nature-based Solutions.

    Local stakeholders such as authorities, knowledge institutes and communities will be closely involved in researching the NbS propositions.

Coastal protection in Tacloban, the Philippines

Every year the Philippines are hit by natural disasters. The population is plagued by typhoons and monsoons, as well as the disastrous floods which often accompany these storms.

Proper preparation for these disasters can prevent a great deal of suffering. This project aims to establish such preparation in the Philippines, specifically in the city of Tacloban.

  • Context

    Large parts of the city of Tacloban were destroyed by typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Buildings were demolished by strong winds and floodwaters travelled many kilometers inland.

    Leyte, the island home to Tacloban, was the most heavily affected island in the Philippines. More than 6,300 people died and more than 26,000 were injured. In all, 1.6 million families were affected by typhoon Haiyan.

    Although Haiyan was an exceptionally devastating typhoon, this type of natural disaster is unfortunately not a rare occurrence in the Philippines. Approximately 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, while storms and monsoons result in frequent flooding. The population lives under constant threat due to these disasters, and faces extreme difficulty building a safe and stable life.

  • Goal

    With this project we aim to help more than 30,000 people in 7 neighborhoods in and around Tacloban to become more resilient in the face of the typhoons and floods that will most certainly reoccur.

  • Approach

    We aim to increase the resilience of communities in and around Tacloban through a range of activities:

    • Restoration of mangrove forests. These trees grow in coastal water and anchor the soil, which blocks wind and creates mud banks. By restoring the coast with mangroves, natural breakwaters are formed, thus reducing the risk of flooding during storms. The forests are planted and maintained together with local residents and with expert consultation to optimally position the mangroves and use the most suitable plant species.
    • Better warning systemseducation about disaster risk reduction and emergency response trainings. With better warning systems for bad weather, more information about disaster preparation, and training for emergency response teams, the local population will be equipped with the knowledge of what to do when disasters strike.
    • Trainings and projects regarding hygiene, clean drinking water, and waste. Hurricane Haiyan destroyed numerous toilets and water pumps. Furthermore, many displaced people moved to live with others in more densely populated areas. In such situations, the health risks become much higher, as diseases can spread much more rapidly. We therefore train volunteers to raise awareness and maintain sanitation facilities.
    • New, more diverse and sustainable sources of livelihood for the local population. We support people with trainings or microcredits for business associations.
  • Planning

    This project started in 2018 and will finish mid-2023. A follow-up project is currently being developed.

  • Partners

    Our most important implementing partner is the Philippines Red Cross. Additionally, we collaborate with international organizations such as Commonland. We also collaborate with local stakeholders such as the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, the Department of Education and the local water district.

The Pintakasi Hub

The Pintakasi Hub is a network of stakeholders serving as a technical group that supports the advocacy, collaboration, organization, and implementation of nature conservation activities in and around Tacloban City, the Philippines. The group aims to restore, protect and preserve the city’s natural environment through a landscape approach, stressing the importance of ecosystem restoration throughout the upland, downstream and coastal zones.

  • Members

    With a total of 41 members, the group’s committed volunteers from multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary organizations and institutions aim to empower volunteers, communities, civil society organizations, and other groups as change makers. In this way the Hub increases capacity and understanding on disaster risk, resilience, and nature-based solutions.

  • Areas of focus

    The Pintakasi Hub works on three main areas of focus:

    Lobby and advocacy: Through dialogue meetings and consultations the Landscape Programme has worked with stakeholders to create a strong multi-stakeholder participation and continuous advocacy for collaborative efforts and integrated programs on disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and environmental management and restoration.

    Capacity strengthening: Pintakasi Hub is able to identify the challenges and gaps in the landscape, and developed a strategic action plan through workshops, webinars and learning visits. The plan includes sharing of knowledge and practices that deepen the awareness of environmental returns, as well as reflecting on stakeholders’ approaches, processes, and progress to enhance and replicate potential programs, practices, and policies for the landscape.

    Partnership and collaboration: Initiated by the Philippines Red Cross, the Pintakasi Hub has worked on a series of activities, together with other institutions. These efforts are now recognized and supported by many organizations, resulting in continued partnership support and collaboration of activities and future programs.

  • Future plans

    The Pintakasi Hub aims to implement a landscape restoration project that will have an emphasis on nature-based solutions, eco-tourism, and livelihoods using innovative approaches to mitigate and adapt the impact of climate change.

    Climate-smart agroforestry:  promotion of native species of hardwood trees, fruit-bearing trees, bamboo, to improve ecosystem functions that will generate economic, and social benefits. This fosters ownership and responsibility among community members on agricultural production and protection of forest lands and restoration of river systems.

    Renewable energy: application and promotion of solar technologies to minimize electric consumption and maximize utilization of natural resources to establish a model community.

    Sustainable livelihoods and food security: supporting community members at the household level to integrate productivity and profitability using backyard or household gardening techniques. This enables them to access food sources using sustainable materials that will then contribute to healthy and sustainable landscapes.

    Community-based knowledge and resource center: a facility that will encourage learning, sharing, and development for communities, cooperatives, youth and other sectoral groups. This will serve as a resource pool to have cost-effective and accessible local and science-based data and information.

    Mangrove ecotourism and conservation: increasing the appreciation of biodiversity through ecotourism is a practical way to promote protection and preservation of mangrove forests. It also creates social and economic benefits for local communities empowering them to build sustainable alternative sources of livelihood.

Living with Floods in Beira, Mozambique

In the city of Beira, floods caused by heavy rains, full rivers or tropical storms are a yearly reality for many vulnerable urban dwellers. These recurring floods severely impact people’s lives, homes and livelihoods.

Strengthening a community’s resilience to flood risks can prevent these negative impacts. In this project, local and international partners work together to increase the capacity of local communities and other actors to take climate adaptive water risk reduction measures and ensure they can take timely flood risk preparedness & anticipatory action.

  • Context

    Over the last twenty years flooding alone accounted for 47% of all weather-related disasters. Climate change will further increase flood risks in the future. If no action is taken, flood disasters will continue to harm many vulnerable people in Beira. As recent as March 2019 cyclone Idai caused major floods in areas around the city, leading to hundreds of deaths and 1.7 million people affected.

    While cyclone Idai was an exceptionally disastrous event, many communities in Beira experience multiple flooding events in their streets and homes every year during the rainy season. There are multiple causes for these flood events, but local partners and affected communities point out that many areas are not well connected to existing drains and that a lot of waste is blocking the discharge of flood waters during rains.

  • Goal

    Through our collaboration with local and international partners, we aim to help the inhabitants of three urban areas in Beira (appr. 60,000 people) to become more resilient to urban floods.

  • Approach

    In 2020 the Netherlands Red Cross called out to private sector partners, knowledge institutes and local organizations to join the Living with Floods challenge. The question to be answered: how can vulnerable people become better able to anticipate and act, minimizing the impact of floods?

    Through our support to two initial pilots in 2020-2021, we have now built up a local network of flood resilience actors supported by global partners to continue work on two priority areas:

    • To help flood-affected urban communities to build their capacity on flood risk awareness and taking climate adaptive water actions. This includes a strong focus on restoring and managing the (informal) community-level drains, expanding green & blue infrastructures where possible.
    • To support communities and local actors to develop their capacity to take flood risk preparedness and anticipatory actions. Support will include increasing local early warning & early action capacities, and improving flood evacuation services.
  • Planning

    The pilot period started early 2020 and was finalized by the end of 2021. The current stage focusing on the two priority areas will continue until December 2023.

  • Partners

    Our local implementing partner is the Mozambique Red Cross Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).We work very closely with local partner Associação FACE and with international organizations such as HKV and UNESCO-IHE. We also collaborate with local stakeholders such as the Municipality of Beira, Sanitation Services, and the Water Board.

Liselotte de Koning

Lead Princess Margriet Fund

Stanley Fu

Business Developer Princess Margriet Fund