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Solferino, 150 later

Published on 09/07/2009

24 June 1859: the battle of Solferino. Henry Dunant, a young Swiss man, was confronted with the desolating scenes of an endless procession of carts carrying thousands of wounded. This led to the idea of creating a neutral organisation of first aid, recognised by various nations and which could intervene in all places of war.

150 years later, from June 23 to 28, thousands of Red Cross/Red Crescent members gathered in Solferino. The Solferino event was divided into the Youth on the Move workshops and the Humanitarian Boulevard. Therefore, the European Reference Centre for First Aid Education provided both information and activities in the IFRC Health and Care space on the Boulevard and led a first aid workshop for youth.

Youth on the Move

The First Aid education workshop drew 50 youth participants nominated from their respective National Societies.

The objectives of the workshop were:

- to share what first aid means for youths, in particular first aid with vulnerable groups;

- to gain a better understanding of the First Aid Policy and what it means for youths;

- to learn and practice first aid techniques;

- to discuss on how to harmonize first aid best practices and techniques across regions.

The workshop participants discussed three topics:

- What are the new first aid activities for your National Society among youth into 2015?

- What can be your contribution as youth volunteers?

- What will be the key messages included in the final Solferino Youth Declaration?

The key messages chosen by the youths for the Declaration were the following:

We call on our National Societies to:

- Include the “most-vulnerable” groups in decision-making processes.

- Increase peer education to reach more young people.

We call on governments of the world and on the international community to:

Include first aid and road safety in national education curricula, and allocate appropriate financial and logistical resources.

In addition to the practice and sharing of concrete first aid techniques, the discussions between the very active youth participants and the first aid instructors from the British, French, Spanish Red Cross were very fruitful. In particular, the presence of youth interested in first aid from five continents provided a wealth of diverse opinions and perspectives.

Humanitarian Boulevard

Sharing space with the IFRC Health & Care Department, the European Reference Centre for First Aid Education provided information, brochures, and handouts to the thousands of Humanitarian Boulevard participants and visitors. In addition, the Reference Centre staff scheduled informal discussions on a variety of First Aid topics for small groups of interested participants. The presence of the Reference Centre provided the unique opportunity to directly inform and exchange information with thousands of Red Cross/Red Crescent members of all nationalities.



European Reference Centre for First Aid Education

98 rue Didot

75014 Paris


Tel.: +33 (0)1 44 43 12 96

Fax: +33 (0)1 44 43 12 49