GHANA RED CROSS MARKS WORLD WATER DAY

commissioning of a hand pump at Kofipare in the Eastern Region

Ghana Red Cross Society in partnership with Nestle Ghana has held a community durbar to commission a hand pump water at Kofi Pare, to join in the celebration of UN World Water Day, on Friday, March 22, 2019, with the theme ‘ Leaving no one Behind’. The event was used to raise awareness on the importance of water, sanitation and good hygiene which in all contributes to the economic development of the community, and also to raise global awareness on how nature can be explored to address water challenges, including pollution threats of new and re-emerging water-related and sanitation-related diseases which are threats to livelihoods.

The project evolved from the Ghana Sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project (Gha- WASH), a long term partnership between Nestle Ghana and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) that started since 2002. This partnership is in accordance with Nestlé’s Creating Shared Valued concept and the IFRC Global Water and Sanitation Initiative (GWSI), which recognizes the importance of fostering a more favourable environment for rural communities with a special focus on helping communities sustain development through improved water, sanitation and hygiene services.

Nestle Ghana; main sponsor of the project was happy to be part of such a life-changing initiative by IFRC. Mr Benjamin Paintsil, communications specialist for Nestle Ghana indicated that this project is their quota to helping Ghana attain the Sustainable Development Goal 6, which calls for clean water and sanitation for all people by 2030. He further explained that the people contributed to making this vision a reality by purchasing products like Ideal Milk, Milo, Maggi cube and the rest and urged them to continue to buy from them so the project can reach other neighbouring communities that lack access to safe drinking water.

IFRC Delegate for WASH project Mr Abel Augustinio, however, gave a background of the wash project, “IFRC has pledged to reach over 30million people globally with clean water and sanitation within the next 10 years of which Ghana is inclusive”, he further explained.

He further applauded Nestle Ghana for their support so far and called on all Ghanaians to make this vision of IFRC a possible one.

Mr Bikinteeb Annang, WASH Coordinator for Ghana Red Cross Society urged the people to try as much as possible to protect the hand pump water constructed for the community and most importantly their water bodies. He further explained that in their fishing activities, it is necessary to exercise caution not pollute the water bodies with harmful chemicals.

Kofi Pare is a small Akim town, about ten miles north of Asamankese, they are mainly cocoa farmers and fisher folks. Nana Kwame Opare Amaadi on behalf of the chief of the town expressed his joy over the project and he believes it will go a long way to improve the lives of the people in the community. He commended Red Cross for their love for humanity and also said a big thank you to all donors most especially Nestle Ghana. He also called for such developmental projects in the community and other communities within the municipality to enhance the lives of the people.

Parents also expressed their joy of having the hand pump water in the community as it will not just give them access to safe water but also improve their lives. “Our children had to travel all the way to Ayensu River to get water before going to school, hence they are always late for school and not doing well in class. Having this water will really help us”, Madam Margaret Bene Boakye, a mother of four expressed.

Ghana Red Cross under takes Relief Operations to support Families and Communities affected by the Northern Floods – October 2018

The recent heavy rains in the North and the Spilling of the Waters in the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso caused massive disruptions in the lives of the People and Communities in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
Lives were lost (over 15 deaths have so far been officially recorded). Destroyed also were Houses and other Properties. Livelihoods including thousands of hectares of farmlands were also not spared the destruction.
Ghana Red Cross executing its mandate of providing relief and humanitarian support to the vulnerable during Emergencies and Disasters as a Government auxiliary launch an appeal to its partners to enable it provide support to the most vulnerable victims identified during its needs assessment.

Swiss Red Cross, a Partner National Society of Ghana Red Cross responded positively. This support has resulted in the following relief response by the National Society.

The Ghana Red Cross undertook a rapid needs assessment of the most affected communities in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO). The objective was to provide evidence based data to support planning, decision-making and appropriate support for the affected. The Red Cross trained volunteers in the communities are currently providing Emergency First Aid.
Based on the Needs assessment, the National Society decided to focus on the following areas using the Swiss Red Cross Support. In the Northern region the support covers the following districts; kassena –Nankana, Bulsa North, Binduri, Talensi and Garu Tempane. In the Northern region the support targets Central and Norther Gonja districts. In all 2000, families (average of 5 persons per family) are benefiting.

So far temporary shelter has been provided to a few of the most affected families. In the Upper East region, a total of twenty (20) family tents were pitched for sixteen (16) most affected families in Kologu Zuo and Kologu Tor. These affected families were sleeping in a Community Centre and a School respectively. The Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia who also donated some food and non-food items to the communities on seeing the temporary shelter commended the Red Cross for the shelter support to the two communities.

Transporting Shelter kits to affected communities Leader of CDPRT in Adape receiving the kits
In Sandema North District, four (04) most affected families as a result of the torrential rainfall also benefitted from the tents.
The destroyed house of a family in Sandema. Temporary shelter for the displaced family Sandema
Furthermore, thirty (30) families in four communities have been assisted with shelter kits. The communities are, Adape (a DRR community), Nyame ndaaye, Avogome, and Camp.

Shelter kits provided for temporary refuge after the floods
In addition to the Shelter support, the Ghana Red Cross has deployed Volunteers to the affected communities on social mobilization for promotion of Personal Hygiene and sanitation towards Epidemic prevention and Control. The volunteers’ activities include house-to-house campaigns, Community durbars and Community Radio talks and programs with Phone in sessions.

To add up to the above activities, Ghana Red Cross under the Swiss Red Cross Support is currently providing the under listed Nonfood Relief items to 2200 families ( Average of 5 persons per family.
I. Key Soap ———— 10,0000 pcs
II. Blankets ————- 4000 pcs
III. Mats …………. …….4000 pcs
IV. Plastic Buckets (20 Lt) with lid ————- 2500 pcs
In the Upper East the support covers 1700 families and in the Northern Region 500 families. The items are already in the field and are pre-positioned for distribution.

Further to the Swiss Red Cross support, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has also approved support of Relief items to cover 1000 families. The package also includes Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programs (WASH). Volunteers will mobilize the community and sensitize them on Wash. In addition, contaminated boreholes will be decontaminated and the broken down ones repaired.

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Regional Mother’s Club facilitator forum held in Sunyani

A regional Mother’s club facilitators, forum has been organised for the regional mothers of the Ghana Red Cross Society in Sunyani. The purpose of the meeting was to meet the women to discuss issues affecting their programmes and also take decision to help the executives run the affairs for the development of the club.

The mother’s club was formed to train mothers in their regions and communities and also to provide them with the materials needed to help them take good care of themselves and their children.

Regional Mothers Club facilitators from the regions attended the forum. At the forum, Mr. Obeng National First Aid Coordinator advised that first aid programmes should once a while be organized for the mothers to take them through the training and also give them other motivational materials to work and also do community cleaning and other health educations in general.

He also went further to explain that the collaboration between the various regions and their districts mother’s club facilitators has poor communication towards the programme and its activities and therefore measures are to be taken to improve the communication between these regions and their mothers club facilitators.

The Vice President of the Ghana Red Cross Society, Dr. Jacob Abebrese as part of his working tour in the Region addressed the mothers and drew their attention to the fact that their lamentations have reached the National Headquarters, he said explain that, there have been massive changes in the Ghana Red Cross society, at the headquarters and some regional offices but it was unfortunate that The mothers club are facing certain temporal challenges.

He further stated that it was not of best interest for the various ranks to work in isolation, they are all linked together and working hand in hand, In the districts they should know who tasks should be reported to ”The good work Red Cross is doing should be acknowledged everywhere in the country. The harm had already been caused and it was our duty to protect what is left”.

At the forum, resolutions were made by the executives that the mothers’ club facilitator should be a council member and the involvement of mothers’ clubs facilitators in meetings and decision making at all levels.

The forum members suggested that there should be a reporting system that works directly from the district to regions and to the head office, that way it will be easier for the heads to know when there is a broken link so that measures will be taken to correct and fix these hindrances.

They also agreed that there should be monitoring and reporting format for the regional mother’s clubs facilitators for visiting the districts and communities. It was also brought to the notice at the forum that, communication is something that is hindering the work between the regional MCFs and their managers and the district MCFs. The communication must continue to the district level so that there will be free flow of information’s and other things necessary.

In his last statement Dr. Abebrese opined to the women that they are the executive leaders of the mothers club and urged them not to stick to the status quo and always challenge the works that were being done with the interest of knowing every details and questioning them and with well organisation, proper planning, well coordination, control, proper monitoring and evaluations the mothers club facilitator is going to be a success.

Red Cross holds Youth Camp in the Upper West Region

About 100 youths from all over the country participated in this year’s biennial youth camp meeting organized by Red Cross society of Ghana in the Upper West region. The camp was held under the theme, “Rekindling the volunteer sprit for humanitarian action”.

The theme was aimed at sustaining the interest of the Ghanaian youth through volunteerism in the country. This year’s youth camp targeted on health education in selected areas in the Upper West Region under the project name “Mecfa”.  The camp meeting was to train the youth in Leadership Skills, Entrepreneurial Skills, First Aid, Health Promotions and Community Development Skills to ensure that the youths are able to educate their communities on how to manage disasters and also to reduce risks of disasters in the community.

In a speech read by the Deputy Regional Minster for the Upper West, Dr. Mohammed Mushiebu Alfa, said, it is very sad that the youth in the country are fast losing the spirit of volunteering. He also went ahead to state that due to the sudden craze for money in the society, the youth has turned up to be an individual society just thinking about money and this attitude must be put to a stop.

Dr. Alfa commended the Ghana Red Cross society for holding the youth camp there for the first time in the Upper West region stating that this could be a gateway for the Upper West region to market itself to other parts of Ghana and the outside world. At the opening of the camp meeting, Red Cross was encouraged to create the awareness on the effects of HIV/AIDS and its prevention amongst the youth.

The Secretary General for the Ghana Red Cross Society, Mr. Samuel Kofi Addo, with his team comprising Mr Alex Lanbon (Finance and Administrative Manager), Mr. Francis Obeng (First Aid Coordinator, Mr Louis Anopong Okyere ( Communications Manager) was at the camp

Mr. Addo, advised the youth to take the trainings at the camp very serious and must also show a spirit of volunteerism in to support the Society, he said they should gain more information from the Health Department to get the massages on Cholera, Ebola among others so that when need arises they can bring to bear the t skills and that they should take it serious. He recommended them for their time invested in the camp especially those travelling from far to attend the camp.

Ghana Red Cross elects national executives at the general assembly

Ghana Red Cross Society has held its General Assembly at Koforidua in the Eastern Region of Ghana, and has elected the following members as it’s National Executive Members for a two term in office to stair the affairs of the National Society.

Dr. Micheal Agyekum Addo the incumbent President was re-elected as the President (1st from Right) Dr. Jacob Abebrese who was keenly contested by Mr. Emmanuel Djan Ashley was also re-elected as the Vice President, Mr Kingsley Yaw Pereko was elected as Health Adviser, Mr. James Addy was elected as Public Relations Adviser, Mr. Albert Agya Anochie was elected as the Hon. Treasurer and Mr. Kwame Gyimah Akwafo elected as the Legal Adviser. The youth at their meeting unanimously appoint Master. Mr Silas Quarcoo Barawusu as the National Youth Representative to the national executive.

The following five additional members were also elected as council members as per constitutional requirement, Mr Patrick Owusu Awuku, Mr Kwame Darko-Asumadu, Mr Ebenezer K. Addae, Naa Robert Loggah and Nana Adjei Addo for a two year term as well.

The General Assembly brought together about 75 delegates and observers from all the ten regions to take stock of its activities for the past two years as a National Society and the way forwards.
In his address, the President, Dr. Michael Agyekum Addo reminded members that currently there is a donor fatigue and foreign funding is no longer forthcoming, this was the sustainability of the Ghana Red Cross Society.

He therefore psyched members on the need to be innovative to raise funds through Red Cross activities in the country stressing on the need that there are more initiatives available which we can develop to stay relevant and sustainable.

He therefore projected that by next year, The Ghana Red Cross Society should be able to raise one million Ghana Cedis (GH¢ 1,000,000.00) through its activities and the society at national level would establish Red Cross Shops among others to keep us sustainable.

The Society pledged to reduce its debts, and with volunteers and its own staff spread information on First Aid and impart other life-saving skills to the general public, to prevent and control accidents, mishaps and catastrophes, in the country.

The Society pledged to be financially transparent, cost effective in its operations and with volunteers and its own staff spread information on First Aid and impart other life-saving skills to the general public, to prevent and control accidents, mishaps and catastrophes, in the country.

International Humaniterian Law

International humanitarian law is a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare. The law is also known as the law of war or the law of armed conflict and it is part of the international law, which is the body of rules governing relations between States.

International law is contained in agreements between States, treaties or conventions, in customary rules, which consist of State practice considered by them as legally binding, and in general principles. International humanitarian law applies to armed conflicts. It does not regulate whether a State may actually use force; this is governed by an important, but distinct, part of international law set out in the United Nations Charter.

International humanitarian law is rooted in the rules of ancient civilizations and religions; warfare has always been subject to certain principles and customs. Universal codification of international humanitarian law began in the nineteenth century. Since then, States have agreed to a series of practical rules, based on the bitter experience of modern warfare. These rules strike a careful balance between humanitarian concerns and the military requirements of States.

As the international community has grown, an increasing number of States have contributed to the development of those rules. International humanitarian law forms today a universal body of law.

A major part of international humanitarian law is contained in the four Geneva Conventions of 1949. Nearly every State in the world has agreed to be bound by them. The Conventions have been developed and supplemented by two further agreements: the Additional Protocols of 1977 relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts
Other agreements prohibit the use of certain weapons and military tactics and protect certain categories of people and goods.

These agreements include:

  •     The 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, plus its two protocols;
  •    The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention;
  •    The 1980 Conventional Weapons Convention and its five protocols;
  •    The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention;
  •    The 1997 Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel mines;
  •    The 2000 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

Many provisions of international humanitarian law are now accepted as customary law, that is, as general rules by which all States are bound
International humanitarian law applies only to armed conflict; it does not cover internal tensions or disturbances such as isolated acts of violence. The law applies only once a conflict has begun, and then equally to all sides regardless of who started the fighting. International humanitarian law distinguishes between international and non-international armed conflict
International armed conflicts: are those in which at least two States are involved. They are subject to a wide range of rules, including those set out in the four Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I.

Non-international armed conflicts are those restricted to the territory of a single State, involving either regular armed forces fighting groups of armed dissidents, or armed groups fighting each other. A more limited range of rules apply to internal armed conflicts and are laid down in Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions as well as in Additional Protocol II.

It is important to differentiate between international humanitarian law and human rights law. While some of their rules are similar, these two bodies of law have developed separately and are contained in different treaties. In particular, human rights law – unlike international humanitarian law applies in peacetime, and many of its provisions may be suspended during an armed conflict.

International humanitarian law covers two areas:
The protection of those who are not, or no longer, taking part in fighting;! restrictions on the means of warfare – in particular weapons – and the methods of warfare, such as military tactics.
International humanitarian law protects those who do not take part in the fighting, such as civilians and medical and religious military personnel. It also protects those who have ceased to take part, such as wounded, shipwrecked and sick combatants, and prisoners of war. These categories of person are entitled to respect for their lives and for their physical and mental integrity. They also enjoy legal guarantees.

They must be protected and treated humanely in all circumstances, with no adverse distinction. More specifically: it is forbidden to kill or wound an enemy who surrenders or is unable to fight; the sick and wounded must be collected and cared for by the party in whose power they find themselves. Medical personnel, supplies, hospitals and ambulances must all be protected.

There are also detailed rules governing the conditions of detention for prisoners of war and the way in which civilians are to be treated when under the authority of an enemy power. This includes the provision of food, shelter and medical care, and the right to exchange messages with their families.

Iran Red Crescent Society Supports Construction of Ghana Red Cross Society office Complex

The Iran Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has committed $150,000 to Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) two-story multi-purpose office complex. The office, when completed, will accommodate all the departments, units and members of staff, as well as the logistics and materials used in training emergency response and first aid instructors and first aiders.

It will also have a well-equipped resource center to support its research staff, students and the public. The construction of the office complex stalled due to lack of funds.
Addressing the gathering, the President of the Ghana Red Cross Society, Dr. Michael Agyekum Addo, said the relationship between the two societies dates back to 1989.During the period, he said, the two national societies had shared experiences and that had benefited the GRCS, as it received a lot of technical support from a lot of technical and material support from the Iran Red Crescent.

Iran Red Crescent Society has helped the GRCS to conduct medical outreaches in many vulnerable communities and also provided consultancy services. “They have also borne the cost of medical treatment of the staff and volunteers of the GRCS at the Iran Clinic in Accra”, he said.  Dr. Agyekum lauded the continued support from the IRCS to the GRCS and pledged to expand the scope of cooperation and strengthen the relationship between them.

Cutting the tape to mark the resumption of work on the office complex, the Head of the Iran Red Crescent Society, Mr. Mohammed Farhadi, expressed satisfaction with the relationship between the two organizations. He said the IRCS would continue to provide support for the GRCS in order to achieve the ultimate goal of providing services for humanity. He was optimistic that the completion of the office would also expand the operations of the GRCS for it to be able to extend a hand of support to other organizations when the need arose.

National disaster response team formed in Accra

A national disaster response team has been set up by the Ghana Red Cross society in the country that will be able to give immediate attention and assistance to emergencies and disasters in the country. A five day training program was held in Accra to train volunteers on the management of disasters and emergencies.

30 participants comprising two (2) volunteers from nine regions and five from the project region (Western Region) took part in the training. The participants were trained on how to manage disasters and emergency situations and also to equip them with the right skills on how to deal with diseases like Malaria Cholera, Ebola, Yellow Fever and other epidermal related diseases.

The program was sponsored by the Japanese government through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, started from the 7th to 11th of September 2015. Official opening ceremony done and the objectives of the training was outlined to participants, they were also taking through government policies on disaster management in the country, and this was handled by the National Disaster management organisation (NADMO). Coordinator Mrs. Ruth Arthur.

Mr. Thomas Aapore, the Health Coordinator for the Ghana Red Cross society said that the team will be in all the ten regions in Ghana and will work hand in hand with other emergency relief agencies from the Fire Service, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the Ghana Ambulance Service to help solve emergencies and disasters in the country.

Participants were taken through epidemics topics like, Ebola, Cholera, Sanitation and Hygiene in emergencies, a facilitator from the Ghana Health Service. Mr. Daniel Ato Ashong he took members through the technical aspects handling of safe drinking water and water treatment and sanitation.

Participants at the end of the training expressed the preparedness to volunteer their time and energy to support the project in their communities and have learnt a lot about the management of emergencies and disasters.

Ghana Red Cross distributes relief items to flood victims in Accra

Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) has distributed relief items to 264 families who were seriously affected by the June 3 flood victims in Accra. The provision of the support to the affected persons was through a Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to the tune of about GH¢106,000.00 Ghana Cedis.

The beneficiaries were drawn from Nima, Aworshie, Alajo, Adabraka and McCarthy Hill the suburbs of Accra and they comprise, The Aged women, Pregnant Women, Children, Widows and Lactating Mothers. The items distributed included: Sleeping Mats, Blankets, Bed sheets, Cloth ½ Piece, Hygiene Kits and Water treatment.
This is just a start of funds to support the most vulnerable people affected by the flooding and our volunteers will still continue with the assessment in the communities to enable us gather more information on the most vulnerable, then we will update our operations, meaning putting more funding to support the affected
Target Beneficiaries

The assessment exercise was  conducted with the use of the RAMP, information gathered showed that the affected families even though need food yet, this did not come out as the most priority needs for them but Rather non- food Items were the most pressing needs of the people

The Red Cross assessment figures indicated that up to 46,370 people were affected in some way in five localities (Nima, Aworshie, Alajo, Adabraka, Low McCarty hill). On the other hand, the Inter-Agency Working Group for Emergencies (IAWGE) assessment, of which the RC is a member, indicates that 9,255 people have been displaced by the floods.
The action plan for the exercise is on evidence based plan, based on the information we gathered from the field assessment which really inform our action plan this distribution exercise.

The Assessment exercise will continue in the various communities  provide continued support to the needs of people affected by floods as well as those affected during a fire /explosion at a petrol station during the rains killing more than 96 people and injuring several others.