CUSO INTERNATIONAL, CANADIAN RED CROSS AND PHILIPPINE RED CROSS TO WORK TOGETHER ON BUILDING RESILIENCE AND ADAPTABILITY THROUGH VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS
OTTAWA – Three respected international organizations are coming together to increase the effectiveness of first-response volunteers during humanitarian events. A new project, entitled Building Resilience & Adaptability Through Volunteer Organizations (BRAVO), will be piloted in the Philippines, a country prone to natural disasters. As pioneers in recruiting, training and deploying volunteers to support programs in developing countries, Cuso International, the Canadian Red Cross and Philippine Red Cross will collaborate to build new volunteer management systems in the Philippines aimed at first-response volunteers.
“In every disaster, the first response is made by local community volunteers,” says Jacques Rajotte, Senior Director of Programs for Cuso International. “However, evaluations of past emergencies identify poor management of volunteers as an obstacle to an effective and coordinated disaster response. Cuso International and the Red Cross will combine the knowledge and skills of our organizations to ensure the better use of volunteers in the humanitarian context.”
Effective volunteer response is critical in the Philippines, a country that is considered the most disaster-prone country in South East Asia. The Philippines is susceptible to earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and is hit by approximately 20 typhoons every year. Rainy seasons often bring on floods, landslides and tidal waves.
“In times of disaster, such as Super Typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall in 2013 affecting millions, local Philippine Red Cross volunteers provide humanitarian aid, including food, shelter and water to those in need,” says Oscar P. Palabyab, Secretary General of the Philippines Red Cross. “The Philippine Red Cross has more than 100 chapters across the country ready to respond. We need to build innovative ways of retaining our trained volunteers so that they can respond to humanitarian needs effectively.”
“BRAVO will pilot innovative activities to strengthen the recruitment and retention of the Philippines Red Cross volunteers using a similar model to the Canadian Red Cross’ community resilience project, CA-ANAK. The three partners recognize the value of an engaged and mobilized volunteer base. The Red Cross Society’s ability to respond to those hardest to reach is supported by a network of trained volunteers,” says Douglas MacDonald, Head of Asia Region for the Canadian Red Cross. “The BRAVO project provides the opportunity to build on experience while exploring innovative approaches to volunteer management, thereby maximizing the humanitarian response in the Philippines.”
The BRAVO project is being supported by Cuso International’s VOICE Innovation Fund, which is supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.