The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, ZRCS, was founded in 1981. The Society existed as a branch of the British Red Cross for 49 years until it was established by an act of parliament, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Act number 30 in 1981.
ZRCS is an apolitical and purely humanitarian organisation which is neutral, impartial and independent in its operations. Its function is both national and international in character. As part of the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, its strength is derived from a worldwide network of sister national societies in 189 countries. Its activities are guided by the Four Geneva Conventions of 19
Operating as usual
Matabeleland South Provincial Education Director Mrs Beatrice Manjere yesterday commissioned a classroom block retrofitted by the by Zimbabwe Red Cross Society at Kwite Primary School, in Mangwe District, Matabeleland South Province.
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, with support from Finnish Red Cross, Belgium Red Cross and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office piloted the comprehensive school safety project in Mangwe District since 2018 and it has a national outlook through advocating for the increased adoption and embracement of Disaster Risk Reduction in schools.
Through this project, targeted schools were supported in constituting school disaster management committees which are trained in Disaster management, school Risk assessment and contingency planning.
Read more about this initiative on https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/10/shot-in-the-arm-for-mangwe-school/
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ZRCS Youth leadership inducted #unstoppable
Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) has the strategic ambition of young people doing more, doing better and reaching further in their local communities and beyond in line with the organisational mantra “strong youth engagement for a strong National Society”.
To reach this goal, Youth Leadership and strengthening of youth volunteer structures is a priority for ZRCS to enhance youth engagement within the National Society and in the communities. This ambition is also an integrated part of the Danish Red Cross (DRC)/Danish Red Cross Youth (DRCY) supported Youth Project which is working to strengthen the resilience of youth through promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). A key objective of this project is to strengthen ZRCS to develop supportive structures and networks for youth volunteers in ZRCS.
Over the weekend, a three-day master training in Youth Leadership was held in Harare in order to strengthen leadership skills for the recently elected ZRCS National Youth Council so that they will have the necessary skills to take on their responsibilities and take an active lead in developing the Society's youth structures.
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Zimbabwe Red Cross joins the world in commemorating World Food Day #unstoppable
“Trust me, after eating this banana dish you won’t be able to stop,” says Lucky Mazangesure. The meal she is making is more than just filling. It gives her body the nutrients she needs to keep herself and her child healthy in a region hard-hit by drought, storms and other impacts of Climate Change.
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and British Red Cross helped start gardens like these at health clinics and hospitals around Zimbabwe to improve nutrition among children and pregnant and nursing mothers. Learn more at 👉 https://bit.ly/3oSHYCW
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ZRCS reconstitutes National Disaster Response Team #unstoppable
THE Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, ZRCS, is conducting a National Disaster Response Team, NDRT, training as it revitalizes its strategic response mechanisms meant to minimize losses in disasters through effective and efficient response mechanisms.
The National Society has over the years lost some members of the NDRT trained staff and volunteers hence this timely training will play a key role in filling this void as it capacitates its members to be able to prepare and respond to disasters.
Among participants in this training are officers, managers and volunteer representatives from across the country with plans to cascade this important training to all structures.
Speaking during the official opening of the week-long workshop, ZRCS Secretary General Mr Elias Hwenga said through this training, the organization is hoping to setup a National Disaster Response Team in line with IFRC guidelines for National Societies as they also develop the capacity of ZRCS in disaster preparedness and response so that the ZRCS’ work meets a global set of disaster preparedness and response standards.
“As enunciated in Article 4 of the Red Cross Act, on the Objects of the Society, we are mandated to organize emergency relief to victims of disasters, however caused, where possible in accordance with a national plan. And we are readying ourselves to be able to play this statutory role.
Natural disasters, accidents, and tragedy are bound to strike any time. While you can’t avoid them completely, you can help brace the impact when disasters occur. Emergency preparedness is the easiest way to lessen the damage when something bad happens,” said Hwenga.
“Disasters strike in every area of the world, during every season, and in many different ways. In many cases, there are instances when there isn’t enough time or notice to prepare. That’s why planning now can be beneficial. While you might never need to use any of the resources you prepare, it’s better to have them and not use them than to need them and not have them. This is the reason why this training is critical for us,” added Hwenga.
The Finnish Red Cross (through the Muzarabani resilience project) and the International Committee of the Red Cross provided financial and technical support towards the hosting of this workshop while other partners, including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have also chipped in with technical support.
Key stakeholders from Department of Civil Protection, Meteorological Services Departments, UN OCHA and other humanitarian players are also facilitating at the workshop.
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Red Cross partners ZAS, ZITF in vaccination drive #unstoppable
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, ZRCS, this year partnered with the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, ZAS, and the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, ZITF, for the provision of free health and first aid services as well as COVID 19 vaccinations at this year's editions of the annual business showcases held in Harare and Bulawayo respectively.
In support of the government accelerated and decentralised vaccination drive, the ZRCS deployed a team of medical doctors and nurses who were providing COVID 19 vaccinations for free within the exhibition centres, bringing the much-needed services closer to the people who might have missed an opportunity to get vaccinated due to other commitments.
The organisation also deployed first aid action teams who were responding to first aid casualties. Those in need of assistance managed to get closer attention at the Red Cross clinics which were situated near the main arenas.
The ZRCS Secretary General Mr. Elias Hwenga said as an auxiliary to government’s humanitarian efforts, they are playing a complimentary role and will continue providing such services whenever possible.
"As an auxiliary to government and a humanitarian player whose sole mandate is to serve humanity, providing heath and first aid services at ZAS, ZITF and other national events is in sync with our mandate and mission. This need has been even more evident this year as we are grappling with the COVID 19 pandemic and in line with the government’s accelerated vaccination drive, we strongly feel bringing the vaccines closer to the people will go a long way in the attainment of the herd immunity we intend as a nation so that we might return to our normal activities,” added Hwenga
The vaccination program brings the much-needed service closer to those who are formally and informally employed. In line with the government policy, the vaccinations are being availed for free.
“Our main thrust through this vaccination initiative in support of the government’s COVID 19 accelerated and decentralised vaccination drive is to ensure that everyone has access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“There is no time for waiting, we need to vaccinate as many people as we can immediately. The need to vaccinate as many as we can is crucial for us as a country so that we reach the goal of herd immunity,” added Mr. Hwenga.
The Red Cross Clinic has been identified as one of the National Society’s key income generating projects for self-sustenance whilst simultaneously fulfilling its social protection mandate by providing quality affordable healthcare to the population, especially those in the low- and medium-income bracket. The Clinic is essentially a low-cost primary healthcare facility offering quality medical services at significantly low, affordable rates compared to other private and public healthcare institutions.
“We have been offering COVID antigen test at the Red Cross Clinic and our laboratory department is comprehensive, offering haematology, microbiology, serology and chemistry and is also referral from local surgeries, clinics and hospitals. With the trusted Red Cross brand and favourable pricing model, the Red Cross Clinic and healthcare projects are poised for major growth. The Society plans to leverage on the success of the Harare Clinic and proposed Hospital to duplicate this model in other provinces country wide,” said Dr Joel Tapi, the ZRCS Clinic Practitioner in Charge.
The Clinic which operates every day except on Sundays, offers a wide range of medical services including general practitioner and gynaecology consultation, laboratory services, pharmacy, ultrasound scan, radiology services, x-ray, cardiography, ECG, specialist services including gynaecologist, Neuro, Physician, Physiotherapy, Orthopaedics, counselling and dental services.
Plans are afoot to decentralise and expand these medical and pharmaceutical services throughout the country so that the general public can access these quality services at an affordable cost and closer to their communities.
ZRCS provides free first aid coverages at key national events including Independence and Heroes Day celebrations, Harare Agricultural Show, provincial agricultural shows, ZITF as well as political rallies and elections.
Zimbabwe Red Cross Society has over the years continued to champion community-based disaster risk reduction programmes and initiatives that provide community-based solutions to everyday challenges, with the organisation providing top of the range first aid and nurse aide training services at its various centres around Zimbabwe. These trainings target communities, industry and the mining sector.
As an essential humanitarian services provider, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society has remained operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and developed protocols to keep beneficiaries, partners, volunteers and staff safe while maintaining continuity of operations through the provision of uninterrupted support to vulnerable populations’ needs throughout this challenging period. Since the outbreak of the COVID 19, the ZRCS has been working closely with the government and other development partners in a bid to save lives through donations of Ventilators, PPEs, and other essential equipment while raising awareness at community level through its wide volunteer base.
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Increasing disaster preparedness of vulnerable districts in Zimbabwe #Unstoppable
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) with the support of the Finnish Red Cross, Belgium Red Cross and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office is implementing a Resilience project (DRR) in Matabeleland South Province, Mangwe District.
The overall objective of the intervention is to increase disaster preparedness of vulnerable districts in Zimbabwe through schools, community and institutional capacity building. The overall expected outcome being to ensure children and youth, and their home communities, are more resilient to disasters and have safer learning environments (are better able to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters).
‘” We piloted the comprehensive school safety project in Mangwe District since the inception of the phase one of the project in 2018. The project has a national outlook were the ZRCS is working closely working with key government stakeholders to advocate for the increased adoption and embracement of the DRR in schools. The comprehensive school component of the project has a two-pronged approach that is software and hardware,” said ZRCS Secretary General Mr Elias Hwenga.
The software approach has seen the targeted schools selecting and constituting school disaster management committees constituted by schools’ development committee members representatives, community leadership, community members, Red Cross volunteer and learners. These committees are trained in Disaster management, school Risk assessment and contingency planning. The training is done by experts from the Department of civil protection, Ministry of Primary and Secondary education, Ministry of Health and Zimbabwe Red Cross society.
The other key stakeholders on risk assessments are the Department of public works in charge of school buildings and ensures compliance with minimal expected standards of buildings that guarantees safety of school communities. Mangwe being prone to strong winds and adversely affected by climate change has seen most of the school’s class room blocks being destroyed by strong winds and some schools in the district suffered even human losses due to lighting as such the department of Metrological services has also been romped into the project software components. The major stakeholder of the project is the district disaster management committee chaired by the District Development Coordinator
“Under the hardware component, some school with blocks destroyed by strong winds and other weather element have being built back better, in compliance with the required standard of construction that ensures among other things good ventilation through insertion of standard size windows, replacement of asbestos’s sheets with iron sheets for roofing and also insertion of two door per class to ensure easy exit in times of disasters,” said Hwenga adding that the retrofitted classroom blocks have access ramps by the doors for easy access by the disabled members of our communities especially learners on wheelchairs.
All the class room blocks in 10 schools targeted under phase one replaced their door staps with access ramps making them user-friendly for all.
The project also under this component constructed girl child and disabled friendly latrine toilets in all the 10 school under phase one. As the school safety begins in the community and through the journey to and from school. Zimbabwe Red cross following the school risk assessments report done by the community together with the school disaster management committee at Kahlu Primary, which ranked flooded rivers as a high risk to learners and community at large during the rainy season managed to get assistance from the Zimbabwe Red Cross which so the construction of Kahlu foot bridge on Gamela river. The foot bridge was constructed with funding from Red Cross while technical skills and man power was provided by Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA)
The project is currently in its phase two and has seen incorporation of 5 more school making the total target of 15 schools in phase two. The schools were selected through a consultative process with the district civil protection committee comprised among other key stakeholder District development coordinators office (DDC), Magwe Rural District Council (RDC) and the district school’s inspector (DSI) office.
The second phase of the project is largely software components which encompasses trainings in Disaster management. The five new schools have set up their School Disaster Response committees, trained in Disaster management, school risk assessments theory, first aid and have since conducted their school risk assessment using tools such as class room hazard hunt, Historical time lines, seasonal calendar, school hazard mapping and community assessment tools amongst other tools. The schools are this week in the process of compiling a consolidated school risk assessment report. A team of specialist from various government departments were also engaged to come up with their technical assessments of the five school their findings will also be consolidated with the assessments by the schools DM committees. These reports are helpful in prioritisation of school plans.
The schools will be trained in contingency planning so that they are able to come up with their individual school DRR plans. It is the expectation of the project that schools will translate the teachings and skills imparted to them into practical actions to address the gaps identified through the assessment’s and also through exchange visits other schools could adopt the concept of building better and foster the teaching of DRR which is a cross cutting component of the new curriculum.
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