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Content THE HUMANITARIAN WAY TO LEADERSHIP 3 Training of young leaders from the Americas region 4 CREPD receives certification ISO 9001:2015 5 OPERATIONS 6 Facts and figures 7 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. One year on 8 Build back stronger 9 Puerto Rico: in Maria´s wake 12 Sint Maarten: One year after Irma 14 Cuban Red Cross: Hurricane Irma response 15 Guatemala: Volcan de fuego 16 Americas: Population Movement 17 Humanitarian needs grow with “overwhelming” movement of people 18 Ecuador: Human mobility plan 19 RED CROSS IN THE AMERICAS 20 Red Cross promotes the consolidation of an Emergency Volunteering network 21 Costa Rican Red Cross obtains international certification for its organizational capacity 22 Red Cross adds to its environmental sustainability initiatives the technological recycling 23 IFRC signs a cooperation agreement with the Salvadoran Red Cross 24 Red Cross Youth carries out Lessons Learned Workshop of the CBF project 25 Red Cross evaluates the future of the prehospital services model 26 Peruvian Red Cross provides aid in the northern border of Peru 28 Ecuadorian Red Cross support the Disaster Preparedness 29 Bolivian Red Cross helds the first workshop in Restoring Family Links (RFL) in Bolivia 30 All together against influenza 31 Suriname Red Cross hosts PHiE Training and Book Launch 32 St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross 70th Anniversary 33 Everywhere for Everyone. Smile! 34 Venezuelan Red Cross: Different but not inferior 35 Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross, motivating agents of change 36 Creating Safe Spaces in Barbuda 38 World First Aid Day 40

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Americas Regional Office City of Knowledge, Clayton. Panama. Dir +507 317 3050 Many thanks to all who have contributed to this number of Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean.

The Humanitarian Way to Leadership

The Positive and Renewing Mark of the Red Cross The Humanitarian Way to Leadership is a reflection that seeks to analyse how we should promote leadership in our Federation and which might be a way to do so. To this end, it is understood that leadership is not a static concept or a tool, but that it is possible to transform and adjust it to our realities contributing to a sustained improvement and “resilience” of our Federation, of the systems that we use and the communities we serve. Therefore, it is argued that individuals within their great diversity can and should be based on an ethic and morality of doing things right for the benefit of others. And they must also seek a collective welfare, where we support each other within the dynamic of leader-followers. To understand the individual through leadership means to see that one can lead at any level, there is no distinction for it and therefore, there is no distinction of levels to be sensitized to the people’s realities and to adopt a shared responsibility as a human being to leave a footprint wherever we go. Emphasis is placed on the fact that leadership groups must be positive, promote impacts on the fundamental pillars of society and, especially in IFRC, they should be considered as active “volunteering cells” to carry out concrete actions on the ground. These groups must go hand in hand with the governance in their functions of responsibility and internal and external control. Governance must achieve that all decisions involve a reflection and that bonds of trust are created between those who are benefited (impacted) by that governance. The “humanitarian way” also has a foundation on leadership management because it allows us to show that we are an organization that, thanks to its management, seeks to develop “leadership cultivation” in practice, where, through example, we are forged with principles to generate step-bystep processes towards a united, efficient and flourishing organization. This leadership management, if it is effective, will show us that there are many ways of leading and adapt to times, contexts and different individuals to be exercised in a positive and renewing way. For this, it is important to have a balance, look for the accomplishment of the mission and the positive influence of future leaders with understanding and empathy. When the way to leadership is followed, assuming we work in a humanitarian organization, we must add a “humanitarian touch” to everything we do. This forces us to work so that the lives of suffering people change, and modify their realities daily, understanding the essence of what we do, what we are and why do we exist.

Walter Cotte W.

Americas Regional Director

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Training of young leaders from the Americas region As part of the “Strategies for Strengthening Volunteering and Youth Development� in the Americas region, the second edition of the Inter-American Youth Leadership Skills Development Workshop was held as part of the celebrations of the Fiaccolata in Solferino, Italy. Twenty-four young people from the National Societies of Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the United States, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Mexico, Paraguay, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Uruguay and Venezuela, met from June 18 to 23 in Castiglione delle Stiviere, near Solferino, for this workshop that included practical and experiential sessions on leadership, along with the exchange with other participants. While the participants strengthened and developed their leadership skills, they were also able to discover the history of the Red Cross Movement in the places where the ideas of the Movement were born. To end the activity, the young people actively participated in the Fiaccolata where they shared with more than 5 thousand young people commemorating the battle of Solferino. The International Federation of the Red Cross, Regional Office for America, was in charge of preparing and developing this workshop through the Regional Unit of Volunteering and Youth Development and the Cluster of the Andean countries. In Solferino and Castiglione delle Stiviere, participants were also able to share with leaders and volunteers from other parts of the world and take advantage of the relevant meaning of that place for our Movement. They also participated in sessions on the 2030 Strategy. This workshop is part of our process of the Youth Leadership Programme in the Americas region and includes several stages that last around 8 months. In order to obtain the certificate of the programme, participants must complete all tasks that include preparatory work before the Inter-American Leadership Skills Development Workshop for young people, active participation in the workshop, conducting interviews with leaders, online training through of the elearning platform and carrying out replication projects in their National Societies. The process consists of 6 stages to obtain the certificate and then an extra stage of involvement in leadership issues and monitoring of personal growth through the network of participants in the programme. This is inspired by the regional leadership processes that have taken place to date.

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CREPD RECEIVES CERTIFICATION ISO 9001:2015 The Reference Center for Disaster Preparedness (CREPD) received the ISO 9001 certification, version 2015, based on the continuous improvement of processes, products and services. The ISO 9001: 2015 standard certifies the center’s quality management system. The CREPD processes certified by this standard are: training actions, technical assistance, development of tools and tools and generation of knowledge. The CREPD was awarded two certificates, one for the Quality Management System, delivered by the company AENOR, and a Quality Management Management Certificate granted by the company IQNet. This process began in 2015 and culminated in an audit in May of this year with the joint participation of the IFRC and the support and technical assistance of the Spanish Red Cross. “The Spanish Red Cross is the one that has helped us to implement the entire quality system at the Center,” said the Center Coordinator, Jose Edgardo Barahona. A “Quality Commission”, composed of seven officials of the RCDP, two officials of the Federation: representative of the Political Unit, Strategy and Knowledge; and Cluster for Central America, will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the standard within the organization. “Everyone has roles and are responsible for implementing and enforcing the rule,” said Barahona. Additionally, the CREPD celebrated 13 years since its foundation “It is a joy that, to celebrate the 13 years of work of the Center in support of National Societies in America, we reach this standard that will allow our processes to be of higher quality, we can seek the continuous improvement of our work to offer better products and services to National Societies, volunteers, communities and external partners with whom we work” Barahona said. Throughout these years, the Center has supported 29 countries in 26 thematic areas in which it works. It has developed nine tools that seek to facilitate the actions of the Red Cross in the region. In addition, the CREPD has carried out more than 6000 certifications and has trained more than 700 facilitators in the National Societies in person and in a virtual way. In addition, through webinars, coverage of topics of interest is given to more than 3000 people in 79 countries in three languages.

LIsten the interview

Innovative Tools, Studies and Systems

Strengthening Emergency Response Capacity in the Americas - CERA Feasibility study to install Emergency Operations Centers (EOC)

Virtualization of DRCE evaluation tool

Information management diagnostic tool

Study of radio communication network

Budgets for response and contingency plans

Curriculum design by competences

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APPEALS People affected:

13,801,000 People assisted:

193,000 Budget:

34,867,309 CHF Actual appeal coverage:

21,424,819 CHF (77%)



Pop. Affected Pop. assisted

Budget (CHF)


Closing Date

Cuba Costa Rica Colombia Guatemala Regional Antigua y Barbuda y St. Kitts y Nevis Dominica

Hurricane Floods Pop. Movement Volcanic Eruption Pop. Movement Hurricane

10,000,000 509,000

92% 105%

Mar 31, 2019 Oct 11, 2018

1,714,000 1,500,000 3,000


9,588,965 1,127,953 4,890,382 2,036,967 7,400,000 3,316,893

82% 0% 93%

Jun 11, 2019 Sep 03, 2018 Dec 31, 2018






Dec 31, 2018

25,000 24,000 120,000 6,000

DREF OPERATIONS Country Nicaragua Bolivia Ecuador

Emergency Civil Unrest Influenza outbreak Pop. Movement

Pop. Affected 165,015

Pop. Assisted 1,200 8,250 3,000

Budget (CHF) 333,319 72,274 150,646

Closing date Oct 26, 2018 Sep 16, 2018 Oct 07, 2018

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018

HURRICANES IRMA AND MARIA ONE YEAR ON Hurricane Irma was an extremely powerful and catastrophic Category 5 hurricane. On September 6, Hurricane Irma left several small islands in the Caribbean devastated. The eye of the hurricane passed over Barbuda, damaging approximately 95% of the buildings on the island. Irma caused widespread and catastrophic damage, particularly in northeastern parts of the Caribbean and the Florida Keys. Two weeks later, hurricane Maria, another category 5 hurricane, followed a similar path, aggravating recovery efforts on the islands already hit by Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Maria is considered the worst disaster in Dominica and caused catastrophic damages and a great humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.


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Build Back Stronger: One Year After the Hurricanes in the Caribbean

The 2017 hurricane season was an extremely active and costly one as unprecedented number of people were displaced as a result of the devastation. On September 6th, 2017 Irma, a category 5 hurricane, hit Barbuda and destroyed or damaged most of the buildings on the island. With the threat of Hurricane Jose following soon after, all two thousand residents had to be evacuated to Antigua. Twelve days later, Hurricane Maria, another category 5 hurricane, caused significant damage to Dominica which was cut off from the rest of the world for two days as all communications in the country went down. These two storms caused catastrophic damage in a number of islands in the Caribbean including Anguilla, the Virgin Islands, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico. There were also numerous fatalities resulting from these hurricanes. “Hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked unprecedented havoc on the lives, livelihood and social capital in Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica. Unfortunately, climate scientists point to phenomena such as these as features of the ‘new normal’ in the future, and with the footnote that they will bring added uncertainty”, said the Head of the Country Cluster Support Team of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Josephine Shields-Recass. However, over the last year (IFRC) along with Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica Red Cross have worked very hard to assist the residents of these islands in their recovery from this disaster. Recass went on to say, “We are extremely grateful for their expressions of confidence, which allowed us to provide needed goods, services and hope in the face of the significant adversity that was occasioned by these hurricanes. We are also grateful for the many professional and community members who lent their skills and energies in supporting us to implement our respective plans action from day one, to the end of year one. It has been a major achievement, and one of which I am extremely proud and humbled.”

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018

Barbudans have started returning despite the fact that at this time the island remains without electricity. The Operations Team of the IFRC has provided four hundred households in Barbuda with cash via a Cash Transfer Programme as well as assisted two hundred and fifty home owners to repair their homes. The Shelter Recovery Programme was a unique one that has never been done before as the logistics proved to be quite a challenge as everything had to be transported from Antigua. Brennan Banks, IFRC Operations Manager in Barbuda, indicated that “We have experienced many very unique challenges and obstacles on this humanitarian operations. However, the Red Cross has found innovative ways to support the affected community and be advocates for Barbudans in a way that has exceeded my expectations. One year later, I can say that Red Cross has delivered meaningful assistance that has directly and indirectly reached every Barbudan and has been a key partner in the recovery process for Barbuda.” He hopes that “Barbudans can return to a community that still reflects the unique culture and way of life Barbuda is known for. We want Barbuda to also enhance its preparedness for future disasters and continue to strengthen its resilience in a manner that complements and protects this beautiful paradise.” There was also a Livelihoods Programme through which thirty-one fishermen were assisted with repairs to their boats which were damaged or destroyed. An additional forty-one fishermen were provided with upgraded fishing kites to replace their lost equipment. In Dominica, the situation was a little different, as this island has a significantly greater population of around seventy-three thousand people. Here, 1,949 people were supported through a Cash Transfer Programme. The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion team provided 955,000 litres of water to 1,498 households and relief distributions have reached 8,719 households. There was also a Shelter Recovery Programme, where more resilient roofs are being constructed, that is still ongoing. According to the IFRC Dominica Operations Manager, James Jones, “Thousands of families were assisted during the emergency phase, through relief distributions of non-food items and whole towns and communities were provided with Red Cross purified water services, until municipal systems could be repaired and put back into service. A crowning achievement during the emergency and recovery phase was the ATM card cash transfer program (CTP). Over a six month period, the program provided approximately one million dollars in immediate needs cash assistance to nearly 2,000 most vulnerable households in Dominica. This was the largest scale CTP program to date in the Americas Region.” Despite the fact that a lot has been achieved in the recovery efforts of both Barbuda and Dominica there still remains a lot to be done. There is still the lack of infrastructure, services and necessities on Barbuda even though residents have started returning. There are many who are without shelter as their homes were completely destroyed. In Dominica there is also a need for more funding as thirty percent of houses that were assessed cannot be supported owing to a limited funds. Jones indicated that, “The impact of Hurricane Maria affected the entire population of Dominica and spared no one. This was the most intense Hurricane to hit Dominica in 40 years and full recovery will take some time. However, a great deal of progress has been made over the past year, as response operations have shifted from direct emergency relief to medium and longer-term recovery activities. People`s needs for food, clean water and basic shelter have been met, although much more work needs to be done on household roof repair, so that these communities will be more resilient and better prepared for the next storm season. We need to build back stronger!” One year later, in the midst of what is shaping up to be another active hurricane season, some islands in the Caribbean will never be same. However, while it may take them some time to recover from the destruction wrought on them by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, they are working hard on becoming more resilient to these hydro-meteorological event. They are also building capacity as residents are being trained not only in hygiene and first aid but in carpentry as well. This augurs well for the future as improved construction methods and an increased skills bank will mean less damage to buildings and an enhanced ability for repairs. Therefore, by utilizing better construction methods, developing their capacity and simply not giving up in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, they are embodying the mantra of ‘build back stronger’.


Puerto Rico

In Maria’s Wake, Red Cross Aid Still Meeting Urgent Needs One Year Later

One year ago, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other parts of the Caribbean. In response, hundreds of Red Cross volunteers and employees worked around the clock to support hurricane survivors. Through the extraordinary support of the American public, the Red Cross has raised $71.7 million including the value of critical donated goods and services, to help Hurricane Maria survivors. A year later, the American Red Cross and our partners are still working to ensure affected communities have consistent access to power and water in emergencies. Severe damage to infrastructure left tens of thousands virtually isolated for weeks and even months. “When I visited Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, I was truly heartbroken by the extent of the damage. Power was still out in San Juan and other places across the island, and many areas were extremely difficult to reach because of the damage to roads and infrastructure,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “Despite the destruction I witnessed, I was deeply inspired by the resilience and fortitude of the people I met, including the incredible volunteers who worked tirelessly in challenging conditions—serving millions of meals and snacks, and delivering bottled water, bulk food supplies and cooking equipment so people could prepare meals for their families. Over the past year, the Red Cross has continued to stand with Maria survivors, providing relief supplies and support for urgent needs—such as generators to power life-sustaining medical equipment for families who still lack electricity. We’re also funding vital recovery programs that will strengthen vulnerable communities, helping them become more resilient against future crises.”

Emergency Relief 12

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018

Maria was the most intense hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years, causing devastating losses for residents and massive damage to key infrastructure across the island. Hundreds of American Red Cross disaster workers from across the U.S. responded to help hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Powered by the generosity of our donors, the Red Cross: • • • • •

Helped reconnect nearly 15,000 families in 51 Puerto Rican municipalities Served 12.8 million meals and snacks with the help of our partners Distributed more than 5.2 million relief items Delivered more than 40,800 health and mental health services Provided more than 2,700 generators for people with medical equipment needs

Recovery efforts ongoing The Red Cross is working with federal and local officials, as well as other nonprofit and faith-based organizations, to identify the most urgent unmet needs caused by Maria and coordinate long-term recovery efforts. We will use donated funds to strengthen communities across Puerto Rico, with a focus on four key recovery areas: consistent power, clean water, community health and community resiliency. Concentrating on these key areas through a community centered recovery approach will help mitigate the devastating impact to key infrastructure and the resulting effects on home life, families, health and the local economy. Many Red Cross projects will also be aimed at individual and community preparedness for the hurricanes that may come later this year or in the years to come.

Full details are available in the Red Cross´ Hurricane Maria One-Year Update. View personal stories of how the Red Cross helped people after this devastating storm in this moving video. 13

One year after Irma support is still needed on Sint Maarten One year ago Hurricane Irma hit Sint Maarten with devastating power. Today, the people on the island are still coping with the aftermath of the disaster. The Red Cross helps the Sint Maartiners rebuild their lives with the 19.9 million euros donated by the Dutch public during the ‘The Netherlands help Sint Maarten’ fundraiser. In the first months after the hurricane the Red Cross helped more than 25,000 people with supplies such as food, drinking water and tarps. Later, vulnerable families were given food vouchers, and schoolchildren were provided breakfast and a warm lunch every day. The focus has shifted more to long-term aid such as repairing homes in a hurricaneproof way. “On Sint-Maarten you can still see the damage inflicted by Irma. Boats thrown on shore, roofs covered with tarpaulins, and debris. After a hurricane of this scale, long-term aid is needed. There are people who have lost literally everything—their job and their home. That is why the Red Cross will invest at least three years in this aid,” says Marieke van Schaik of the Netherlands Red Cross. To support the people of Sint-Maarten, the Red Cross provided more than 3,000 schoolchildren with a daily breakfast and warm lunch. In total 875,782 meals were served to children at 18 primary and 5 high schools. Many parents lost their jobs and this program took away the worry about providing healthy meals for their children. Supermarket vouchers were given to support vulnerable families, as well as the elderly, sick and unemployed. Four vouchers worth USD $83 each enabled them to purchase food and other items to meet their daily needs. A total of 16,888 food vouchers were distributed. Shortly after the hurricane, more than 116,700 litres of drinking water, 11,800 tarps and 8,000 food packages were handed out. Help for kids After the hurricane it was apparent that children needed more support. Some of the funds donated in the Netherlands went to UNICEF and the government to help schools with disaster preparedness programs and reinforcing school buildings. Additionally, teachers have been trained to give children psychosocial assistance. “We help children by supporting them in different ways. If you look around you on Sint Maarten you still see the impact of the hurricane everywhere, also in the lives of children,” says Marieke Roelfsema, Aid Coordinator for UNICEF in the Netherlands on a recent visit to Sint Maarten. Repairing homes Many people in Sint Maarten still have to repair their homes. ‘Build Back Better’ workshops enable the Red Cross to share the necessary expertise, after which attendees get vouchers to purchase the right building materials. Hurricane Irma hit the whole region, so building supplies have to be brought in from long distances and there is a shortage of skilled contractors. Consequently, the Home Repair program has been delayed. The Red Cross wants to deliver sound technical advice and needed to recruit personnel from abroad. With staff now in place, the Red Cross is working hard to help as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018


CUBAN RED CROSS: HURRICANE IRMA RESPONSE Less than a year after Hurricane Mathew struck Cuba, Hurricane Irma impacted the country from 8 to 10 September, causing extensive damage. More than 11,000 volunteers of the Cuban Red Cross were deployed throughout the country - part of a massive regional response from the Red Cross and has worked throughout this year to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable.



The humanitarian work continues September 3 marked 3 months of the eruption of the Volcan de Fuego that affected thousands of people in Guatemala. Since day one, the Guatemalan Red Cross, with the support of national and international donors, has carried out various humanitarian activities, fulfilling in each of its actions the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Among the actions carried out are: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

122 people attended with Psychological First Aid 138 transfers to Health Centers 232 units of blood collected in Voluntary Blood Donations 240 Restoring Family Links 5,308 people benefited with medical care 3,928 people benefited with psychosocial support 269 people benefited with prehospital care 2,388 people reached with hygiene promotion 45 showers installed in shelters 97 sessions of sexual and reproductive health 16 collection centers enabled 33 tanks installed as water tanks in communities 45,826 gallons of water distributed 8, 958 families benefited with humanitarian aid 7,756 food kits delivered 4,183 hygiene kits distributed 709 families benefited with the Cash Transfer Program Management of corpses and support in the administration of 10 shelters.

The response provided has been effective and timely. The Guatemalan Red Cross will continue to work efficiently to protect the lives of people affected by the emergency of the Volcán de Fuego.


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Population movement

The Appeal The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and National Red Cross Societies in the Americas need your help to support people on the move and host communities in several affected countries.

Millions of people are currently moving across Venezuela and several other countries in the Americas, and the humanitarian needs are growing. National Red Cross Societies in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay are being supported by IFRC to deliver muchneeded assistance. A 4.8 million Swiss franc appeal for Colombia was launched earlier this year.

Americas Population Movement Emergency Appea Colombia Population Movement Emergency Appeal

This new regional appeal will support 200,000 people on the move and in host communities for 12 months with shelter, livelihoods and basic needs, health, water and sanitation, and protection, gender and inclusion.

Key figures CHF


7.4 millones

2.3 millones


people in desperate need of help

Swiss francs needed

people are on the move

months support

Humanitarian needs grow with “overwhelming” movement of people The largest movement of people across the Americas in recent years is causing growing humanitarian needs across the region. According to the United Nations, around 2.3 million people are believed to be on the move. The situation is especially increasing in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, Chile, and several countries in the Caribbean. Mr Walter Cotte, IFRC Regional Director for the Americas, said: “America is a continent of migrants, but the volume of people on the move at this time is overwhelming – and so are the humanitarian needs. “We are especially concerned about emerging health needs among migrants and host communities, including the emergence of life-threatening diseases such as measles, diphtheria, malaria and tuberculosis, among others. It is imperative that people have access to basic health care, clean water and sanitation.” In addition to concerns over disease outbreaks, Red Cross volunteers and staff are also warning that people who have non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are especially vulnerable due to the long delay in getting proper treatment. It is also important to consider actions to promote social inclusion, to enhance mutual awareness and understanding between migrant and transit and host communities. IFRC has launched a 7.4 million Swiss franc regional appeal to bolster the Red Cross response. In addition to health services, the appeal is also seeking funds for efforts to strengthen social cohesion, and to respond to needs created within host communities. Mr Cotte said: “The fast rise in the number of migrants has put a lot of pressure on the region’s public health systems and on the social dynamics of host countries. “Our regional appeal and the assistance we provide will focus on the dignified and safe treatment of people across the migratory cycle. The human rights of migrants – particularly children, women, and people affected by human trafficking – must be protected and promoted.” IFRC and National Red Cross Societies are working closely with Governments, national and international humanitarian actors and other partners, including from the private sector. In July 2018, IFRC launched a revised 4.8 million Swiss franc Emergency Appeal on behalf of the Colombia Red Cross, to support 120,000 of the most vulnerable people on the move over a 12-month period.


ECUADOR: Human Mobility Plan Volunteers from the Ecuadorian Red Cross provide Basic First Aid services, Restoring Family Links and Psychosocial Support in two points on the northern border (Rumichaca and Sucumbios) and one on the southern border (Huaquillas).

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018


Costa Rica

Red Cross promotes the consolidation of an Emergency Volunteering network

The Costa Rica Red Cross is developing a process called: “Volunteering in Emergencies”, which seeks to promote actions for strengthening and preparing for disasters. This initiative aims to influence civil society and the private sector on the importance of supporting the Red Cross in emergency situations. For the development of this theme, companies and organizations that have volunteer teams and have been strategic partners for the Red Cross were called. The work under partnership models is achieved through a close intersectoral collaboration that contributes to the recognition of qualities and competencies of the public sector, the private sector and the citizen. “We have launched a seminar with working sessions that conects our Institution (Costa Rica Red Cross) with several organizations related to volunteering, and that try to link their efforts to the preparation, the promotion of resilience, the capacities to respond, and the exchange of knowledge and experiences in the field, in order to consolidate a voluntary network for emergencies in the country,” explained Glauco Quesada, President of the Costa Rica Red Cross. Some of the companies that participated in the Emergency Volunteering workshop were: Irex, Unilever, Grupo Soluciones, DHL, Grupo Servica, Dos Pinos, ProSalud, Florida Bebidas, Holcim, Coopenae, Allergan, among others. “One of our Fundamental Principles is volunteering, for us it is extremely important that citizens, but also all the private sector and strategic partners, know what our auxiliary role is, but also, how a citizen can make a voluntary contribution in the case of an emergency”, said Jason Sanchez, Director of Youth of the Costa Rica Red Cross. During 2016 and 2017 product of the national emergencies (Otto and Nate), many entities and organizations offered their support to the Costa Rica Red Cross. This valuable support was given through volunteer personnel and supplies that contributed to the humanitarian work during these emergencies.


Costa Rica

Costa Rican Red Cross obtains international certification for its organizational capacity

The Costa Rican Red Cross obtained an international certification that makes it the only Red Cross in the American continent, and the third in the world, that complies with a series of processes and requirements that guarantee the capacity and performance of all its competences, and it also recognizes the contribution and impact of its humanitarian work to the benefit of groups of vulnerable people. The international certification was granted in plenary session of the Governing Board of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). This recognition is known as Organisational Capacity Assessment and Certification, OCAC. Since 2015, the Costa Rican Red Cross underwent an evaluation of 85 indicators and attributes of skills and competencies. Each of these tests was qualified and approved by representatives of other Red Cross National Societies in the region and representatives of the IFRC who recommended that the IFRC deliver this important certification to the Costa Rican Red Cross. “I stand before this Board proud and with a heart full of emotion, representing each and every one of the more than 6,500 volunteer members and 1,100 members of the operational staff of a National Society in Central America, which has assumed the commitment and the risk of change; to adapt its traditional daily practice, through a historical process of transitions and management, generational adjustments, as well as alignment with the great aspirations and strategic instruments of the International Movement�. This process seeks to focus efforts and enhance the activities and institutional competencies of the National Society of the Costa Rica Red Cross, assumed and committed in the framework of our auxiliary role, to face and contribute to the attention of the great humanitarian, social and environmental challenges of the country or those inherited from the dynamics and economic, political and cultural realities of the Americas and the Caribbean, which negatively impact its incipient model of development, idiosyncrasy and democratic tradition, whose complexity, inequities and impacts on the social fabric, especially in the more vulnerable, demand us to participate actively as first responders to emergencies and crises, as promoters of community resilience capacities or as generators of opinion and humanitarian impact,� said Glauco Quesada Ramirez, President of the Costa Rica Red Cross, in Geneva, Switzerland, invited by the IFRC to receive this valuable recognition. The OCAC International Certification is received by every member of the Costa Rica Red Cross with great joy. For the Institution, this is a key moment to continue working from each auxiliary committee of the country and


International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018

remember that the true meaning of achieving this accreditation is linked to the actions that the National Society promotes to maintain and improve its services, humanitarian actions and contact with the people they help and who need it so much. There are 191 Red Cross National Societies in the world, and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is the only competent body to grant this recognition, hence the importance and impact of obtaining such certification. In addition to the Costa Rica Red Cross, only the Macedonia Red Cross and Georgia Red Cross have obtained this accreditation. The Costa Rica Red Cross will have the OCAC Certification for a period of 5 years, and it will be valid until 2023.


Red Cross adds to its environmental sustainability initiatives the technological recycling The Costa Rica Red Cross, through the Departments of Procurement and Information Technology, participated in a recycling campaign whose main purpose is the treatment of obsolete computer equipment. The waste equipment was delivered in a Technological Recycling campaign called: ECO-IT, managed by Componentes El Orbe, a company of integral information technology solutions, in agreement with the Transfer and Transformation of Materials Center of the TEC. “We support the issue of climate change through the provision and treatment of obsolete and damaged technological equipment for the benefit of the environment,” mentioned Diego Hernandez Castillo, Head of the Procurement Department. The Costa Rica Red Cross urges all its agencies to look for these types of spaces and take advantage of an excellent opportunity to contribute to environmental sustainability, and in the process, to give an adequate treatment to waste material and technological equipment. The Departments of Procurement and Information Technology received a certificate from the ECO-IT campaign, which recognizes their participation and contribution to the environment. 23

El Salvador

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018

The International Federation of the Red Cross signs a cooperation agreement with the Salvadoran Red Cross

The President of the Salvadoran Red Cross (SRC), Dr. Benjamin Ruiz Rodas and Regional Director of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for the Americas (IFRC), Walter Cotte, signed an agreement to increase and improve the quality of work done from the Reference Center on Institutional Preparedness for Disasters (CREPD). The agreement is aimed at establishing a financially solid and well-managed Reference Center, with the capacity to effectively deliver high-quality programs and services to all interested National Societies in the Americas. In addition, the agreement seeks to strengthen the capacities of National Societies in disaster preparedness under the technical coordination of the IFRC Americas Regional Office. The CREPD is a Technical Center, with approximately 12 years of operation in the facilities of the SRC Headquarters: “(the Center) does methodological research work, develops curriculums, research, evaluations and advises projects to have higher quality, better incidence and efficiency in everything they do”, said Cotte. According to the authorities, the agreement is to update the role of the CREPD in El Salvador, which will also benefit the 35 Societies throughout the Americas, thus improving: “knowledge, training, advice and consultation technique to be done for health issues, violence and risk management in general”, said Cotte. The signing of the agreement seeks to strengthen the Salvadoran Red Cross and all the National Societies of America to help the most vulnerable people, with a better job, more efficient and of better quality. “We have done a very good job and I want to thank and congratulate the Salvadoran Red Cross for all that has been achieved and we will continue walking together this long path in this region full of vulnerabilities and problems,” Cotte concluded. 24

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018

For his part, the President of the Salvadoran Red Cross mentioned that the meeting with the authorities of the Federation was to unify the work: “we have fought to be partners. We have reviewed the financial, administrative agreement, the Federation and National Society agreement; we have analyzed and reviewed each point to reach a consensus that concluded with the signing of the agreement”, said Dr. Ruiz Rodas. “The CREPD is organizing internships, workshops, courses, congresses, forums nationwide and for the 35 countries of America,” added Dr. Benjamin Ruiz Rodas. The president of the SRC ended by saying that work is being done to obtain the accreditation of the quality standard in the training topics. “We would be the only Reference Center with this ISO 9001 certification” if we achieve the accreditation that “is 80% approved,” he said.

Red Cross Youth carries out Lessons Learned Workshop of the CBF project Youth volunteers held the Lessons Learned Workshop of the Institutional Capacity Building project (CBF). The CBF project in Youth consisted in training three School Brigades: First Aid, Evacuation and Psychosocial Support, in 28 schools in different areas of the country. Volunteers from 14 branches nationwide participated in the development of the activities. The activity consisted of analyzing the phases of the project: Planning, Execution and Closing. The volunteers commented on the difficulties to develop the activities during the project execution period. Within the aforementioned phases, the activities of Socialization of the CBF with presidents of the 14 sectionals, Workshop of School Protection Plans, elaboration of activity plan, purchases and budget stand out. In addition, technical meetings were held to enter schools, training volunteers in Risk Management and Social Inclusion, visits to MINED and sectionals to implement the project, launching of the CBF, training of brigades and drills in the 28 schools. With the project, the Youth volunteers carried out in the participating branches actions on topics of Social Inclusion with a focus on protection, strengthening their actions, leadership and philosophy. It should be noted that in addition to the training through the project, a first aid kit equipped with supplies was given to provide First Aid in emergencies that occur within the benefited schools. The aforementioned actions were led by the Youth National Headquarters, with support from the Institutional Development Planning Unit of Salvadoran Red Cross, with the financial support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.


Costa Rica

Red Cross evaluates the future of the prehospital services model

The Costa Rica Red Cross summoned brought Red Cross memebers from all regions of the national territory to analyze the status and future of the Pre-hospital service model in the country. The exercise was carried out in the National Congress of Pre-Hospital Care 2018, in San Jose. The valuable scope of the service offered by the Red Cross to the Costa Rican population is reflected in the number of incidents that are atended year after year. In 2016 there were 330,642 incidents attended, in 2017 there were 373,869, while in the first six months of 2018 there were already 186,213 incidents. Although the Costa Rica Red Cross is a private humanitarian organization, and has a leading role as an auxiliary to the powers of the State, it is aware that the changing dynamics in which the pre-hospital service operates requires a serious, responsible and urgent rethinking. It is increasingly necessary to show what are the challenges, limitations and real scope that can be available and offered to the population. “The Ministry of Health recently announced the promulgation of the new regulations for ambulance services in general, which opens the sectorial and interest groups’ debates on types, operating conditions, responsibilities and sustainability of these services, in a context of increasing complexity and social vulnerability, which deserves to be conceived not only from the perspective of universal access to health services, but also from available offers, system operators, regulation and health facilities that receive victims suddenly affected by accidents, traumas, heart diseases or other ailments. For the Costa Rica Red Cross, as a private institution, meeting this set of new regulations is a must, given its reiterated commitment to provide neutral and independent services, without any type of discrimination or profit motive to the inhabitants, especially the most vulnerable or in need,� explained Glauco Ulises Quesada Ramirez, President of the Costa Rica Red Cross. The Prehospital Care Service is one of the strategic axes of the Strategic Red Cross Development Plan 2017-2020, and this time the topic of analysis of all the actions that make up this axis has to do with the ambulance service, rescues and the wide range of operations carried out by the Institution.


International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018

The new regulations and requirements of the Pre-Hospital Care Service demand a review of the institutional task focused on the challenge of maintaining the sustainability of this service, but also of quality. The National Congress of Pre-Hospital Care led by the Costa Rica Red Cross is a great opportunity to make a thorough review of institutional capacities, and with it, make corrections and launch new concepts, ideas, trends and care that need to be incorporated into a new way of doing, sustaining and offering a service that is so demanded by Costa Ricans. The Red Cross held ten Pre-Congresses in each region of the country that served as a preamble to collect opinions, information, analysis and reflection from the local perspective. These inputs and knowledge come to strengthen the work that will be developed in the National Congress, since each region experiences a different reality, so the results that were achieved in each Pre-Congress strengthen the final evaluation. The resolutions obtained from the work carried out in the National Congress of the Costa Rican Red Cross on Prehospital Care, will optimize and build a model of care that allows the assurance of services of scalable, relevant and efficient quality, not only in the face of institutional commitment, but also for the fulfillment of the institutional regulation within the framework of the law and of the capacities currently installed.



Peruvian Red Cross provides aid in the northern border of Peru

Since May, the Peruvian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, with the support of the UN Refugee Agency – UNCHR, have been providing humanitarian assistance to people in human mobility situation, in the Binational Border Care Center (CEBAF by its initials in Spanish), located in the border between Peru and Ecuador, in the province of Zarumilla, Tumbes. This work seeks to guarantee the access to integrated care services for the migrants and population with protection needs in the border area of Tumbes; in this context, medical attention is being provided every day of the week, as well as basic psychosocial support, mainly thorough recreational activities with children. Also, information for users, support for cell phone charging, and access to Wi-Fi connection, are being provided. Finally, water for human consumption has been distributed in the posts in Peru and Ecuador, and it is planned to deliver personal hygiene kits in the coming months. On the other hand, coordination has been made to work jointly with international agencies in the area, such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR), to carry out a comprehensive approach for the population in mobilization condition.



Ecuadorian Red Cross support the Disaster Preparedness

In the cities of Quito and Guayaquil the “International Forum and exchange of experiences of Civic Military coordination models of Spain and Colombia” was held. The event was organized within the framework of the project “Sumando fuerzas ante los desastres – Strengthening of disaster risk management systems in South America, through civil-military relations and the updating of the regulatory framework” implemented by the Ecuadorian Red Cross, with the support of Spanish Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, ECHO. Within this initiative, 120 members of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces and 120 volunteers of the Ecuadorian Red Cross have been trained in Psychosocial support, with the aim of training those responsible for emotional support who can provide help to their peers during emergency work. Six rounds of workshops where organized, where participants learned stress management techniques, basic skills to provide emotional support, prevention and emotional ventilation techniques. As well, five representatives of the Armed Forces and two from the Secretariat of Risk Management participated in the Catastrophes Management workshop, in Spain. Throughout the month of April they received talks facilitated by the Spanish Armed Forces. The International Forum that took place on July 24 in Quito and July 26 in Guayaquil, had the objective of promoting a better organization and professionalization of the response to emergencies and disasters in Ecuador. For this, facilitators of Spanish, Colombian and Ecuadorian Red Cross, Civil Protection of Spain, National Disaster Risk Management Unit of Colombia, Secretariat of Risk Management of Ecuador and Armed Forces of Spain, Colombia and Ecuador, participated. In the first part of the event, Spain, Colombia and Ecuador exchange their actions in risk management. The three countries presented their experiences from a civil and military perspective, their successes, limitations and future goals. In the second part, a road map and actions for Ecuador developed by the technical team of the Armed Forces, the Secretariat of Risk Management, and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, were indicated. Finally, the participants shared recommendations, identified the critical points and described the requirements for the implementations of this action plan.



Bolivian Red Cross helds the first workshop in Restoring Family Links (RFL) in Bolivia

Volunteers and staff of the Bolivian Red Cross (BRC) of the nine departmental branches and two municipal branches (El Alto and Guayaramerin) met to participate in the Restoring Family Links (RFL) workshop, which was given by professionals of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This activity was held in the Panamerican Hotel for three days, in which six modules related to the thematic were addressed, between Friday 20 and Sunday 22 of July. After the three days, the members of the BRC acquired the knowledge and strengthened their response capacity in the task of facilitating the reunion between people in contexts of natural disaster and emergencies, violence, migration and after the moments of these types of situations. Fanny Diaz, Protection Officer of the ICRC, begun the workshop on July 20th, where she addressed the subject of restoring family links, highlighting the mission of the project, the fundamental principles with which this work should be carried, and the intervention phases of the first responders team. She highlighted the necessary work of RFL in an emergency situation, which includes the preparation and distribution of the forms and assistance processes for that purpose. The module “Management of dead bodies�, given by Dr. Jose Michel Alarcon, was held on July 21st. Dr. Alacrcon explained how to act in case of having one or more deaths, according to the international law of the Red Cross and respecting national regulations. Another addressed topic was the RFL Services and Tools, what and how the services should be implemented in each case, as well as the advantages, limitations and requirements that telephone calls, messages and search service require. In the afternoon, Maria Rosas Mamani, Focal Point for RFL of the BRC, explained how the organizations currently works within the framework of family recovery, highlighting the lines of action corresponding to the institution, as well as the importance of data protection when working with vulnerable population. Meanwhile, Luisa Soriano, ICRC staff, reinforced the theme, talking about the working methods, database, reports and statistics that should be managed to facilitate the process, thus fulfilling the responsibility and speed necessary for each case. 30

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018

The third day begun with the topic of Mental health in the context of RFL, by Lic. Wanda Herrera Urnia, who presented the importance of care in emergency situations and psychological support, leaving volunteers ready for practical activity. The entire team went to Casa del Migrante, located in Ciudadela Ferroviaria, to carry out the drill where they managed to implement all the knowledge acquired during the training, learning in a practical way and facing the real needs of the population. The person in charge of the place, together with migrant residents and youth people, supported the exercise pretending to be the victims of a hypothetical “earthquake in Trembling City”. The course ended with the feedback of the drill experience, where the facilitators resolved doubts and highlighted aspects to improve. Finally, the closing ceremony of the workshop was held by Dr. Gonzalo De la Fuente, BRC president, who highlighted the importance of training departmental representatives so that they can be reference in RFL in their branches. Also, the corresponding replica was developed so that the volunteers are prepared in case of any type of emergency or disaster.

All together against influenza Due to the unusual outbreak of influenza occurred in the department of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Bolivian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, have activated an Emergency Plan of Action, which seeks to contribute to the mitigation of influenza morbidity and mortality, through prevention actions. As part of this plan, a community engagement and accountability strategy was developed, whose purpose is to promote healthy habits for the prevention of influenza, among the population at risk in Santa Cruz. For the elaboration of this strategy, a communication diagnosis was made, where focus group and interviews were conducted with people belonging to risk groups and health agents, and observation of the communication places, to create messages that respond to the needs of the population. In addition, a workshop was held with volunteers of the Santa Cruz branch, to review the basic concepts of CEA and share the strategy, which will be implemented during the next two months, and includes face-to-face activities, such as home visits and interventions in fairs and parks, to be able to start a dialogue and respond to the doubts of the population. To this date, four outreach campaigns have been carried out in different parts of the city, such as Parque Urbano, Barrio Lindo Fair and 24 de Septiembre Main Square, in which the volunteers talked with the population about prevention measures against influenza. Also, two radio spots have been broadcasted for the same purpose.



Suriname Red Cross hosts PHiE Training and Book Launch

The Suriname Red Cross Society (SRCS), in collaboration with the Canadian Red Cross, hosted the Public Health in Emergency (PHiE) Training, on Monday 30th July, 2018. The training, which saw eighteen participants from all over the world, representing varied national societies, journey to Paramaibo in Suriname, was a week-long activity. It began with welcome remarks from Wbeimar Sanchez, the Public Health Delegate for the Americas Region. Thea Smith, Director General of the Suriname Red Cross Society also welcomed everyone to her country. Regional Director, Walter Cotte gave a brief address that focused on the importance of Health, describing it as “one of our DNA components.� He spoke to the four main factors; Health in Emergencies, Community Health, Health in Complex Settings and Healthy Lifestyles. He made sure to thank the facilitators and their Partner National Societies. This PHiE training will equip the health officers with skills across a wide range of technical areas from waterborne diseases to sexual and reproductive health in emergencies and prepare them to join surge pools that support Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies to respond to the health issues faced in disasters and crises in the Americas and around the world. This training is particularly important for the Caribbean in the midst of its hurricane season which has often brought with it destructive winds, flooding, and landslides. The training was provided in English, however, is expected to adapt it to the Spanish in the near future in order to get coverage through the region. The Suriname Red Cross Society also hosted a book launch at the SRCS headquarters on the evening on Monday 30th July. The book, entitled, Saving Lives, Changing Minds, covers seventy-five years of the history of the Surinamese Red Cross Society. It is divided into three periods of twenty-five years and begins in 1940. The launch featured addresses by notable persons including Chiara Wirht, a youth volunteer, the Medical Director of the Blood Bank, Maria Tjon A Loi, as well as Regional Director, Walter Cotte. President of the Suriname Red Cross Society, Marja Naarendorp, detailed the process of getting the project off the ground and Thea Smith, Director General, gave a sense of what the accomplishment means to the SRCS. The book was presented to specially invited guests and a toast. The evening ended with dinner and mingling of the attendees. The events were part of the celebrations for the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Suriname Red Cross Society.



70th Anniversary of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross


Trinidad and Tobago

Everywhere for Everyone. Smile! Youth Red Cross in Tobago

Forty-seven children from schools across Trinidad came to Tobago for the week-long, live-in, youth camp held by the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross (TTRC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The camp was located at the Roxborough Secondary School in Parlatuvier, Tobago. 2018, marked the twenty-first year of the existence of the camp and the theme was Everywhere for Everyone Smile. The youth camp, which teaches a combination of red cross and life skills, began as a replication of a disaster shelter then additional components were built in to it subsequently. It was a highly-structured week beginning with a rising whistle at 6:30 am every day. There was a beach visit, French conversation, health lectures as well as evening entertainment. Lights out was at 10:30 pm and there was strict enforcement of the camp rules by Mrs. Gail Austin-Pinder, Camp Director. There was a presentation on disaster preparedness by Stephan Kishore, Disaster Management Coordinator of the TTRC. Mr. Kishore began his presentation by differentiating between a hazard and a disaster and then the children were asked to indicate hazards which were found in Trinidad and Tobago. The students of various schools in the eastern education district proved themselves to be knowledgeable as one of them easily answered Kick ‘Ém Jenny in response to a question about underwater volcanoes in the Caribbean. They were also quite informed on the work of the Red Cross, as they indicated that it was to “help the sick and suffering”. Josephine Shields-Recass, Head of the Country Cluster Support Team in Port of Spain, who came to observe the camp, expounded on the seven principles of the IFRC and explained how the different symbols, cross, crescent and crystal came about. The children, who ranged in age from nine to fourteen years old, were shown videos on hazards, flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis and even practiced their earthquake drill. They were also tasked with making a ‘go-bag’ out of a pillowcase so they would be prepared and have the necessary supplies in the event of a disaster. One of the youngest participants, Sydney George, age nine, demonstrated the finished result as she had already completed her pillowcase project.


International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018

Hannah Meloney, a thirteen-year-old student of Coryal Secondary describe the camp as “fun” and found it “pretty interesting that they took the time out to come here, to travel from Trinidad.” The most important lesson she would take away was “how to behave in an emergency.” In the end, the campers graciously performed a few pieces to thank their visitors from coming and these included poems, dramatizations and even a song sung in Spanish. Out of the many positive outcomes of the camp, like making friends playing games, learning French, one thing is certain, the youth campers are now prepared to “Be Red Cross Ready – get a kit, make a plan, be informed.”

Venezuelan Red Cross: Different but not inferior

watch VIDEO


Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross, motivating agents of change

Did you know that the Zika virus is spread, not only by the aedes egypti mosquito but by the aedes albopitcus as well? The girls of Holy Name Convent Point Fortin certainly did! They demonstrated this by enthusiastically shouting their answers during a workshop on Zika that was conducted by the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross (TTRC). The workshop, which was held in the school’s library, began with a forty-five minute discussion and ended with a spirited game of Charades. First, Rayanthony Warner, a volunteer from the TTRC, tested the girls’ knowledge by asking them what they knew about Zika. The girls, approximately thirty-two of them, tried to give him their answers, sometimes all at the same time, forgetting in their excitement the rules of engagement. After listening to their suggestions and prompting them to try, Warner gave the correct answers and shared some interesting bits of information including the fact that there are over three thousand species of mosquitoes. He also informed them, much to their surprise, that a mosquito can lay up to three hundred eggs at a time, all of which can fit in the cap of a bottle. The one thing that seemingly stumped them was the name of the appendage that the mosquito uses to suck blood. It was the only time they were really quiet and they listened intently as Warner explained about the probocis. Upon the conclusion of the session the real fun began as two more TTRC volunteers, Akeisha Benjamin and her sister Vilma Benjamin-Watts (who was celebrating a birthday that day) took over and refereed the spirited games of Charades. The girls were split into two teams and then chose their captains. The questions were based on what Rayanthony had just told them about Zika and the activity involved them pantomiming actions such as rubbing their arms to communicate insect repellent or putting on and removing a sweater to signal long sleeves. Both of these actions symbolised the answers to the question of how can you protect yourself. Team Two, which was captained by fourteen year old Nickeisha Richins, won the game by a landslide. Richins said she felt ‘good’ about the win as she had been ‘confident’ of victory from the start.


International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018

The workshop was an opportunity for Carol Gaskin, Development Outreach and Communications Specialist from USAID to observe how the funds from the donor are being used to educate and assist beneficiaries. It also allowed newly-installed Project Manager of the Zika Response and Prevention project, Abdul Nasir Khan, to hit the ground running as he only took up his post the day before. Khan was very impressed with the talents of fourteen-year-old Anilka Williams who is an aspiring writer, Navy Seal and anime producer. Anilka showed him some stories that she had written when she engaged him in a discussion about her life aspirations. Dr. Surendra Dhanraj, Medical Director of the TTRC was the person responsible for setting up the workshop in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. He explained that the workshop was part of the TTRC’s efforts to pitch different messages to the primary and secondary school children as they are ‘the agents of change’. The programme started in March 2017 and so far they have done about twenty-five schools and reached approximately fifteen hundred children. Dr. Dhanraj hopes to embark on a volunteer engagement drive as the TTRC currently has about four hundred active volunteers but needs twice that amount. He hopes to obtain that number in the next year which would help the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross grow. One student, Alicia Gopaul, when asked about the visit by the TTRC, described it as ‘fun’and said that it would change my class’. The day ended on a particularly sweet note as Form Teacher, Shelly Ann Dhanraj, conspired with the students to surprise Vilma with a cake for her birthday to thank her for all that she had done for them. .

Regional Workshop on Finance and Administration


Antigua and Barbuda

Creating Safe Spaces in Barbuda

With funds donated form the Australian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago, the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross (ABRC) established Safe Spaces, a play area designed to offer a place for Barbudan children, returning and resident, to play safely and imaginatively. Located in the yard of the Holy Trinity Primary School, the play area contains a number of play equipment purchased from a portion of a USD$500,000 from the Australian High Commission. They include: wooden slides, swing sets, monkey bars and other playground equipment; kid and adult picnic benches with umbrellas; a trampoline with an enclosure; a volleyball set; a soccer goal and other toys and games. “Safe Spaces are a secure and safe environment for children to play and feel free. It is usually provided to help children thrive and grow when in emergency or conflict environments,” said Lorena Jean, ABRC Psycho-Social Support Officer and Safe Spaces organizer. On a recent donor trip, Australian High Commissioner His Excellency John Pilbeam was able to witness the launch of the project on July 17th. With the sound of happy kids in the background he said, “Today, we see and hear a playground full of kids, trampoline, swing sets, slides etc. These kids look like kids anywhere in the world having fun but of course they went through a traumatic experience less than 12 months ago and this is just one step – it doesn’t solve everything – but it is one step on the way back to normality and rebuilding the resilience of this community… as a whole and providing a space that they can come together. “It is really important that this type of project happens and the Australian government should be really proud of how its money has been spent here….this is really about the future. These kids are the future of Barbuda and [we] are really proud to have played a part in that.”


International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean • September 2018

Safe Spaces is part of a larger UNICEF-Red Cross Programme Cooperation Agreement called ‘Return to Happiness’ that is targeting approximately 420 children and adolescents that were living in Barbuda before Hurricane Irma made landfall in September 2017. It has 3 components: provide psychosocial support (P.S.S) through a photographic and filmmaking project; provide safe spaces for children through arts, sports and robotics; and support the Ministry of Education in developing the national preparedness plan for the education sector. The inspiration behind the collaboration was that both institutions had similar activities. Following Hurricane Irma, both UNICEF and the Red Cross offered psychosocial support. UNICEF and the Ministry of Education did it for children 6 to 11, and the ABRC worked with adolescents 12 and above in a 16-week Psychosocial Support (P.S.S) programme. Planning and Evaluation Specialist of UNICEF Panama Alma Jenkins said, “As children and adolescents start to transition back to Barbuda and find their environment significantly different, it is an important time to put in place an initiative that will support them in sharing the collective memories they have of Barbuda. This will assist them in building their resilience and that of their community.” Jean expects that the provision of such a creative space will bring emotional safety to the children of Barbuda, a still recovering disaster zone, which will eventually lead to a rise in self-esteem. “…[Bringing] about thriving, happiness, safety, balance and feeling safe and open to play and explore and express, that is what the goal of the child friendly space once it has been launched,” she said. She further said that P.S.S is an important service to provide as part of disaster recovery because it helps in healing the psychological wounds that come with disasters and supports returning to normalcy. Marsha Williams, 38, mother to 4 boys ranging from 20 to 8 years, is of the opinion that Safe Spaces is very much needed in Barbuda. “I feel that they [the children in Barbuda] are left behind…in recreational things. Everybody has forgotten about the children that are here….. [Right now] they occupy their time down by the basketball court but I think that some kind of well-structured body [is needed].” Her family had returned to Barbuda on December 15th and so has had struggles with even having no school for a time let alone recreational activities. The launch was attended by Brennan Banks, Operations Manager for the International Federation of the Red Cross for Hurricane Irma, ABRC President Michael Joseph, ABRC Acting Director General Tiona Joseph, Chair of Tourism, Culture, Sport and Youth Affairs on the Barbuda Council Asha Frank, other ABRC staff and members of the Barbuda community.


communication World First Aid Day

Upcoming events and IMPORTANT dates 13 october International Day for Disaster Reduction More information

5 november World Tsunami Awareness Day More information

19 november World Toilet Day More information

In response to road traffic crashes taking around 1.25 million lives per year, the theme of World First Aid Day (celebrated on 8 September) in 2018 is ‘First Response to Road Crashes’. The fact is that every day, whether as pedestrians, riders, drivers or passengers, each one of us is a road user. And tragically each day, around 3500 people are killed on the road, and tens-upon-tens of thousands more are injured, often with life-changing outcomes.

1 december World AIDS Day More information

5 december International Volunteer Day More information

Learn more about the campaign and share this message!

18 december International Migrants Day

visit the web site

More information

 Contact information:

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Americas Regional Office Diana Medina, Regional Communications Manager | Diana Arroyo, Senior Communications Officer |





Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean. September 2018  

Newsletter of the Americas Regional Office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Voices of the Americas and the Caribbean. September 2018  

Newsletter of the Americas Regional Office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.