By Mark N. Mengonfia- email@example.com
MONROVIA-Liberia National Red Cross this month joins the world over in observance of what is known as World Red Cross and Red Crescent Month.
Each year, the group of Volunteers at the Red Cross celebrates May as World Red Cross and Red Crescent Month to commemorate the birthday of the Founder of Red Cross, Henry Dunant.
This year, it is being celebrated under the Theme, “World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is: Everything we do come from the heart.”
Speaking at a press conference on May 11, 2023, the Secretary-General of the Liberia National Red Cross Society, Gregory T. Blamoh told journalists that the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is a time to celebrate the spirit of humanitarianism and recognize the individuals who make a difference in their communities.
“This year, we want to focus on the people in our communities, the people next door, who often are the first ones to step up and support those in need around them – a colleague at our respective workplaces; a neighborhood, a vendor or a Red Cross Red Crescent community volunteer; someone at the gym, a clerk at a store or market we go to; or someone living close by who has always been by our side” he stated.
According to him, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s underlying principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality guide its activities worldwide, and at the heart of these principles, he said is the belief that every individual has inherent dignity and worth.
The Red Cross SG stated that when responding to emergencies or addressing ongoing challenges, the volunteers and staff demonstrate a genuine concern for the well-being of others.
“Whether providing emergency relief, supporting community health initiatives, promoting disaster preparedness, or advocating for the rights of vulnerable populations, they are motivated by a deep sense of empathy and compassion” he intoned.
He indicated that by operating from the heart, they give priority to those who need it the most.
Looking back at what they have achieved, the SG pointed at their recently conducted Enhanced Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (EVCA) in 12 Communities across Sinoe, Grand Kru, and RiverGee Counties, identifying key vulnerabilities and capacities in each community.
He said, “These communities are facing similar challenges; limited access to basic sanitation, safe drinking water, and food insecurity as well as exposure to natural disasters.”
He added, “Our teams and community members, working together, identified action and designed strategies to address the needs and build community resilience.”
According to him, everything they do comes from their hearts and recently, they have also responded to speed up recovery and preserve the dignity of affected people in Gbarpolu and Grand Bassa Counties after violent storms hit over 14 communities leaving at least 478 people including seven disabled and a number of children affected in February.
Additionally, he said recently the group launched the Saving Lives and Livelihoods project to enhance high Covid-19 Vaccine demand and increase uptake in four Counties, including Grand Gedeh, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, and Gbarpolu.
According to him, the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative is a partnership with the Government of Liberia, the Africa CDC, MasterCard Foundation, and the IFRC, designed to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa and accelerate the economic recovery of the continent in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In Liberia, we are focused on risk communication and community engagement, aimed at addressing vaccine hesitancy and ensuring high vaccine demand in the country.
With all of their achievements, the SG said all those would not have been possible if their volunteers have not volunteered their services over the years.
Although it has achievements, he also pointed at some challenges such as the lack of funding from the national government to support their activities.
According to him, for the last five years, they have not received any funding support from the Government of Liberia, although the institution should be supported by the government.
“We have repeatedly emphasized the need for actionable steps not only to speed up recovery but to protect and preserve the dignity of affected people and help communities to build back better and withstand future shock.”