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IRCS Plan of Action in Strengthening Red Cross Volunteer Capacity

Volunteering in itself is a world, which needs to be explored as it brings not only the sense of fulfilment but also contentment. The Indian Red Cross Society, since its inception acknowledges volunteering and its strength too, lies in the twelve million volunteers and members spread all over India.

The IRCS in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Partner National Societies (PNS) has been engaged in addressing health issues in communities through volunteers. Therefore a Community based First Aid training programme (CBFA) was evolved for the same. Somehow, it did not take into consideration some of the important issues required for any medium-term and long-term development projects. The lessons learnt from CBFA training helped to redesign the RCV programme.

The National Headquarters' IRCS along with IFRC has developed a strategic plan of action in strengthening the Red Cross volunteers' network capacity in preventive health and public health in emergency.

Initially the programme will be implemented in four States. In each of the selected State, three Districts will be identified to implement the activities. It would have a backup of 72 Red Cross Volunteers (RCV) at the District level and 576 Red Cross Volunteers at the Community level. The IRCS will designate an RCV point person and one additional nodal person at NHQ. She/he would be responsible for coordinating all RCV activities with IFRC, India delegation and RCV States.

The programme would focus on the capacity of the branch to maintain and sustain the volunteers and their involvement in community development related activities, as follows:
• By developing cadres of State and District level trainers
• By strengthening the RCV network and provide continuous training according to situation/need/programme
• By deploying trained RCV's in case of need (public health emergency/outbreak/disaster)
• To focus on strengthening RCV network capacity at District and community level through training and follow up.

Dr. S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, IRCS stated that “Our mission is to promote Volunteering as volunteers are a core resource of the branch available to carry out the activities at a grassroot level. Therefore to strengthen Red Cross Volunteer capacity network is one of our pilot project as IRCS also depends on the support of the volunteers”.

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