RED CROSS CALLS FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF EMERGENCY FUND

 

Red Cross Sec.-General, Mr. Addo [in while lacoste] presenting

The Ghana Red Cross Society [GCRS] has presented assorted relief items to some 42 victims across four communities in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region. The communities included Tindonmologo, Sorkabisi, Tanzui and Zorbisi. These recipients were mostly persons that suffered in the devastating floods in the just-ended 2019 rainy season.

Speaking at a brief ceremony held this Tuesday in Tanzui, Secretary-General of the GRCS, Mr. Samuel Kofi Addo revealed that, funding for the procurement of the relief items came from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund [DREF] at the International Federation in Geneva valued at about 150 thousand Swiss Francs. He mentioned kitchen sets, blankets, hygiene kits, water jerricans and mats among others as the package of items given out per beneficiary.

The Secretary-General apologised to the affected families for the late arrival of the relief items saying per the emergency response protocols of the Red Cross, help should have reached the victims latest within 48 or 72 hours. He explained that resources and some other requisite materials were not readily available for distribution and therefore, called on government, corporate Ghana and other vital stakeholders to immediately help in establishing a Disaster Fund and to adequately resource it to run an effective disaster emergency stocks as a quick and a ready first-response to the needs of victims in times of disasters.

Mr Samuel Addo also noted that, several hundreds of houses were destroyed in the 2019 floods across the Upper East region but that the Red Cross had been able to assist in rebuilding only 100 while it anticipates additional support from donors to scale up the number. He said the Red Cross had signed a pact with the Department of Rural Housing which lends expertise and technical assistance for the reconstruction of houses assuring that from past experiences, the reconstructed houses had stood the test of time.

According to him, the Red Cross does not rush into disaster zones immediately the unfortunate happens. He explained that, his outfit first triggers its standard operating procedures such as mobilising volunteers, training them and dispatching them to the field for data collection on the affected especially, the vulnerable and the severely affected. Based on this he added, is what then gives the Red Cross an informed background to the particular disaster type, the list of victims and damage caused and subsequently, to move to solicit appropriate support.

Giving details about the Upper East situation, Mr Addo revealed that a total of 600 families averaging five to six persons per family, were identified by an assessment team in 32 communities across nine districts. He disclosed that the type of support his outfit was giving to the victims was in three phases: the first being the relief items, the second being a house-to-house hygiene and health education by volunteers whilst the last, will be the reconstruction stage where victims will be aided to rebuild their collapsed houses with funding to be provided by the Swiss Red Cross.

Upper East Regional Manager of the Red Cross, Mr Paul Woomah in his remarks at the Tanzui distribution of the relief items disclosed that, the team was scheduled for a similar engagement with victims in the Yorogor community and its environs. He emphasised that the principle of the Red Cross in distributing relief to beneficiaries was strictly neutral and devoid of political, religious and tribal attachments. He remarked that, what the Red Cross does was “to see the affected as people who were suffering and who needed help to mitigate their suffering”.

Recipients of the relief items at Tanzui

Mr Woomah stressed that, the Red Cross was always “methodical and procedural in its approach to issues particularly, disasters” and that, its volunteers were diligently trained and equipped to collect data on the floods and to identify persons who were genuinely affected. He said it was thus based on those records that the relief items were eventually sourced and brought in.

He mentioned the Binduri, Bongo, Kassesna-Nankana Municipal, Kassesna-Nankana West, Bolgatanga Municipal, Garu, the Builsa North and South districts as well as the Nabdam district as those that were hit by the 2019 floods across the Upper East region. He also acknowledged that, it was impossible to reach out to all the affected and to meet their needs satisfactorily and thus appealed to the donor community and corporate entities to come on board with additional assistance.

Municipal Chief Executive for Bolgatanga, Hon. Joseph Atura Amiyuure commended the Red Cross and its partners as well as the National Disaster Management Organisation for effectively teaming together to mobilise support for the flood victims saying, it had come at a good time to augment government’s efforts.

Red Cross sensitises stakeholders on International Humanitarian Law

The Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) has organised a sensitisation workshop on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for allied institutions in Cape Coast engaged in offering security and humanitarian services.

The IHL is a set of rules, which seek humanitarian reasons to limit the effects of armed conflict, protect persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare.

It was attended by personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Prison service, Ghana Ambulance Service and the media.

Highlighting the demands of the law, Mr Louis Ampong Okyere, the National Communications Manager of GRCS, encouraged participants to thoroughly see to its implementation to protect the rights of all citizens.

Mr Samuel Kofi Addo, the Secretary General, said the Red Cross, the largest volunteer-based humanitarian service organisation in the country, was operating in 216 districts and 10 regions.

Members are dedicated to supporting the vulnerable and the needy in communities and train volunteers in first aid, disaster management, and disaster risk reduction with reliable support services in times of emergencies and rescue missions.

The GRCS is also providing shelter, water, school infrastructure and effectively building the capacity of traditional birth attendants on safe motherhood with well-equipped tricycle services for hard to reach communities.

Mr John Ekow Aidoo, the Regional Manager of the GCRS, stressed the need for the public to respect the emblem of the RED CROSS and give it the needed recognition as its abuse or misuse could have legal implications.

“The Red Cross has become a generic sign of medical aid and it is a universal logo for health and help. It serves as a protective use and an identification for staffers and also as an indicative sign.”

GRCS to constructs one hundred 2-bedroom housing units for flood victims

Mr Kwame Gyimah Akwafo, President of Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS), has said his outfit with support from Swiss Red Cross would be constructing one hundred 2-bedroom housing units for affected flood victims in some parts of the Upper East Region.

This, he said, would hopefully alleviate their burden.

Mr Akwafo said the new structures would add up to the previous one hundred 2-bedroom housing units constructed at the Kologu-Zuo, Kologuo-Torand Doba in the Region.

He said the heavy rain that fell between 6th and 12th October this year damaged many houses and rendered many homeless in the region.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Mr Akwafo said a joint assessment by the GRCS and the National Disaster Management (NADMO) said 19 deaths were recorded and a total of 26,083 people were affected and out of which 10, 890 were children.

He said the report calls for the urgent delivery of items such as food, water, mattress, blankets, and beds which were provided by the GRCS with the assistance of Swiss Red Cross to the affected victims.

Mr Akwafo said the GRCS has over 65,200 volunteers, 50 staff and 10 regional offices across the country working effectively to provide all the necessary support to the flood victims to enhance their living condition.

“With regards to the floods in the Upper East Region, GRCS has engaged 100 volunteers who are conducting health and hygiene promotion effort and assist with data collection for assessment. However, due to lack of adequate materials, it has not been able to provide an additional support to the other affected communities” he said.

Mr Akwafo said the International Federation of Red Cross Crescent Societies has also made contributions to support the affected flood victims across the country.

He called on the public and all corporate institutions to support the effort with relief items and funds to enable the Red Cross to reach out to all affected families.

“The overall objectives of the operation is to provide rapid life-saving support to 600 households completely displaced and 4333 and partially affected by floods focusing on shelter, wash and health interventions through social mobilization and the distribution of food items,” he said.

Social Mobilization reaches 56,711 children with Polio Vaccine

One hundred and forty-three thousand, four hundred and seventeen people have been reached with Polio messages in the second phase of the Polio Emergency Response in the Northern, Upper East and Greater Accra Regions.

Among this, a total of Fifty- six thousand, Seven Hundred and eleven children between the age of 0 to 59 months were identified to be eligible for the vaccination.

The active Social Mobilization Campaign undertaken from the 11th to 14th September 2019, came after the Ministry of Health pronounced an outbreak of the Poliovirus in Ghana.

Before the discovery of the virus in the Capital on 8th July 2019, Type 2 circulating Polio Virus was confirmed from an environmental sample obtained on 11th June 2019 from a drain in Koblimahgu in the Northern Region.

Data from the Ministry of Health revealed that on 17th August 2019, a polio case in a two-years eight-months-old girl in Chereponi, Northern Region was recorded, triggering a national emergency response including advocacy, communication and social mobilization on vaccination and environmental hygiene.

The Red Cross Society of Ghana as part of its key mandates trained and deployed 336 volunteers in all three regions comprising 186 volunteers in Greater Accra, 80 volunteers in Northern and 70 volunteers in Upper East region, to embark on a social mobilization campaign to create awareness on the distribution of the Polio vaccines.

Activities that were earmarked by the National Society for the campaign was door to door demand generation, community durbars, school sensitization and sensitization in Mosques.

Ghana Red Cross Society holds Governance and Orientation Workshop

The Red Cross Society of Ghana has held an orientation workshop for its newly elected Board Members and Management Staff to apprise them of their roles and responsibilities for their two-year term.

The two-day orientation came off, Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th September 2019 at Koforidua, in the Eastern Region.

The programme was facilitated by the Head of Policy, Strategy and Knowledge for IFRC, Mr. Samuel Asamoah and the Regional Movement Cooperation Adviser for ICRC, Ms. Wangari Kiluva.

In his presentation, Mr. Samuel Asamoah dilated on the topic National Society Development framework-2013 and called members to work to achieve and maintain an organization that will consistently deliver through its volunteers and staff.

He entreated the national society to urgently focus on diversifying and to look for a sustainable domestic support and to provide service to vulnerable people as the key driver to promoting effective national Society image.

Mr. Asamoah said for the national society to become effective, it should have a strong leadership, of which management is an integral part, with the primary responsibility to grow the national society.

To ensure high-level performance and efficient operating and prudent financial management. Mr. Asamoah advised that the Board should be availed of all activities, regular and annual reporting to fully strengthen the society.

He said the optimal relationship between Board and Management should be strong and mutually reinforcing. A well-functioning Board needs a strong Management team and a strong Management team, a strong Board and the senior manager, the Chief Executive officer, he asserted.

The Board and Secretary General should recognize that optimal relationship is a partnership and therefore clearly defined roles, responsibilities and lines of authority and the Board members formulating the mission and policies for management to achieve the goals of the society.

Mr. Asamoah asked the national society to develop a risk management framework to help the society to envisage all forms of risk within its activities and take the necessary steps to combat them. The Board should again institute a code of conduct to ensure integrity at work, he advised.

Ms. Kiluva said it was important as a National Society, to inculcate the principles of the Red Cross Movement into the everyday activities of both members and the society.

Ghana Red Cross calls for review of act that established the society

The President of the Ghana Red Cross Society, Mr Kwame Gyima-Akwafo, has called for the review of Act 10 of 1958, the act that established the Society in the country.

He was speaking to the media at a two-day governance orientation workshop organised by the Ghana Red Cross Society for its newly elected executives in Koforidua.

The workshop was also intended to build the capacity of the participants on governance and expose them to certain targets and strategic directions of the Society.

Mr Akwafo said the workshop will also afford the Red Cross the opportunity to do a self-examination and appraisal to position themselves to be able to better serve the nation.

He said the Society currently lacks needed resources and called for a meaningful framework to enable the society to mobilize resources to serve communities better.

Mr Akwarfo said the Society is currently not getting much governmental support but they are engaging with some public institutions including the Ministry of Health and have had some positive response.

He said the Ghana Red Cross Society will forever insist that government open doors so that they will be able to get more resources.

Mr Akwarfo said the Society has survived based on the benevolent support from external sources such as the International Federation of the Red Cross, the International Community of the Red Cross and the Red Cross community Worldwide.

Lawyer Kwame Gyimah-Akwafo President Elect for the Ghana Red Cross Society

The General Assembly of the Ghana Red Cross Society has elected Lawyer Kwame Gyimah-Akwafo as the New President for the National Society for the next two years, he took over from Nana Dr Michael Agyekum Addo who served for six years in three terms.

Mr Gyimah-Akwafo has over 33 years’ progressive working experience in the public and private sector. He holds an LLM in Alternative Dispute Resolution (University of Ghana, Legon), LLB and BL from the Ghana School of Law.

He further holds a Postgraduate Diploma from the Institute of Housing & Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam, Netherlands as well as other professional certificates from the Royal Institute of Public Administration, UK; Crown Agents, UK; Institute of Capacity Development, Pretoria, South Africa; London Corporate Training, and the International Law Institute, Washington DC.

He is a member of the Ghana Bar Association and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Nigeria Branch) and has wide experience in youth and voluntary service having once served as Chairman of the Coalition of Youth NGOs in Ghana (comprising The Ghana Red Cross Society, Ghana Girl Guides, Ghana Scout Association, Head of State Award Scheme, YWCA and YMCA); as well as a former National President of Ghana YMCA.

Until his election as President of Ghana Red Cross Society, he held the positions of Honorary Legal Adviser of the Society and a Member of the African Legal Advisers Forum.

He is also a trained estate and valuation surveyor as well as a goal-driven skilled project management person with in-depth experience in public and private sector management, organisational systems and strategic management.

Currently, Lawyer and Head of General Services of the Forestry Commission, Ghana

HOBBIES

Reading, volunteering, youth work, sports (esp. football, table tennis) and sightseeing.

New National Board Members Elected by the General Assembly of the Ghana Red Cross Society for the next Two years

The General Assembly of the Ghana Red Cross Society has elected New National Executive to run the affairs of the National Society for the next two years.

The elected members were:

  1. Lawyer Kwame Gyimah-Akwafo –  National President
  2. Dr. Kingsley A. Preko  –  Vice President
  3. Mr. Emmanuel Ashley Djan –  Hon. Treasurer
  4. Mr. James Dodoo Addy –  Hon. Public Relations Adviser
  5. Mr. Abeka Adjei – Botchwey       –  Health Adviser
  6. Mr. Patrick Asante-Nuro  –  Legal Adviser
  7. Kamara Hussien – National Youth Rep
  8. Mr. Kwabena Nketia Addae  –  Member
  9. Dr. Christiana Baah        –  Member
  10. Mr. George Kwaku Ankomah –  Member
  11. Mr. Patrick Awuku Owusu –  Member
  12. Dr. Mawuli Dzodzomenyo    –  Member

Congratulating the new executives, the Outgoing President, Nana Dr Michael Agyekum Addourged them to work relentlessly with the staff and volunteers to make the humanitarian activities of Red Cross more visible to the society.

Dr Addo assured them of his preparedness to support them with the valuable experience he acquired during his tenure as the President of the Ghana Red Cross Society to propel the society to a higher pedestal.

Speaking on behalf of the elected executives, the president-elect Lawyer Kwame Gyimah-Akwafo congratulated all outgoing executives for the good work done and indicated that the new executives are ready to tap from the rich experience of the old executives to place the Ghana Red Cross Society on the world’s map. He charged the new executives to see their victory as a forward march for the Society and not their individual honours.

 

GHANA RED CROSS SOCIETY HOLDS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The Ghana Red Cross Society has held its annual General Assembly at Abba Bentil Lecture Hall, Koforidua in the Eastern Region on the theme “Applying Business Models to Deliver Humanitarian Services”.

The annual event which took place from Thursday, 15th to Friday,16th August 2019, served as an occasion for officeholders at the national level to account for their stewardship.  It also served as a platform for the Secretary-General of the Society to address delegates, staff and volunteers on the state of the society and the way forward.

Speaking at the forum, renowned entrepreneur and outgoing President of the Society, Dr Nana Michael Addo Agyekum outlined some remarkable achievements his team chalked since they assumed office in 2013.

He said the issue of sustainability of the operations of the Society and also the public image which was very low has now been salvaged. He disclosed that the Act which established the Society had been reviewed and is awaiting cabinet approval.

Dr Addo explained that the new Act would among other things, seek government support to meet some of the Society’s administrative expenses and obtain tax waivers for vehicles including ambulances and other equipment used for humanitarian services.

The outgoing Red Cross President said his team provided a new facelift to the headquarters of the Society by putting up a new three-storey structure and renovated some regional offices including the Northern, Central, Upper East, Western and Eastern Regions.

He said about a thousand youth have been given some entrepreneurial training and hoped it would make them earn income and prevent them from engaging in social vices.

Dr Addo urged the incoming executives to continue to support projects for the internally-generated funds which his team introduced such as the Aqua-Red Filtered Water project, the corporate membership drive and the ‘3701’text message system.

He appealed to officers and volunteers of the Red Cross to uphold the integrity which would push them to higher heights

The Krontihene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Nana Baffour Tutu Boateng congratulated Dr Nana Michael Addo Agyekum who is also the Nkabomhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area for his meritorious services for the Red Cross Society and his subsequent nomination to the Mediation Committee of the Federation of Red Cross and charged the chiefs present to emulate his example

GHANA RED CROSS SOCIETY DONATES CASHLESS WATER SYSTEM FENASO NKWANTA

Nana Yaw Asare cutting the ribbons

The Ghana Red Cross Society in collaboration with Nestle Ghana has installed a Cashless Water System (CWS) in Fenaso Nkwanta in the Ashanti region following the perennial water storage in the community.

The intervention, which is the first of its kind to be rolled out as part of the Ghana WASH Phase II Project, is intended to be a Sustainable Water Project which will be installed in 11 selected communities in the Ashanti and Eastern regions respectively.

Fenaso Nkwanta is a cocoa growing community in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region. With a population of one thousand and twenty-one people (1,021), majority of the people in the community are youth of school-going age.

There are currently four hand pumps that serve the people in the community out of which two are non-functional.

The CWS constructed by Maji Foundation, which includes an iron removal plant, is expected to serve six hundred (600) people in the community.

The CWS was dedicated to the chief and the people of the community to help ease the stress that comes with using the hand pump, and to improve the sanitation situation of residents.

Madam Afia Konadu, a cocoa farmer and a mother-of-eight, lamented that her children had to wake up as early as 4:30 am to join the queue of early birds at the standpipe before they could get a bucket of water each to bath before going to school.

She said they could no longer fetch water from the river because of the activities of illegal miners, so the entire community depended on the two hand pumps functioning in the community which was not sufficient to serve all of them.

The Odikro of Fenaso Nkwanta, Nana Yaw Asare, expressed joy at how the Ghana Red Cross Society had remembered them in their series of projects to be undertaken in the region.

He also commended the National Society for installing the water system in the community.

Nana Yaw Asare, said they would cherish the water system, ensure its usage to the benefit of the people and will go all out to sustain it as well.

He further appealed to the Ghana Red Cross Society to help build an additional toilet facility for the community.

Addressing the people, Mr. Kenneth Frimpong, the Technical Engineer of Community Water Sanitation and Hygiene (CWSA) said they would help the community set up a committee to oversee the smooth running of the Cashless Water System.

He also urged them to maintain the Cashless Water System.

The Project Director for Maji Foundation, Mr. Sunil Lalvani, acknowledged their partnership with the Ghana Red Cross Society, saying they have constructed a number of Cashless Water System in many communities in the three Northern Regions of Ghana but this is the first time they have included an iron removal plant and will inculcate this plants in all their subsequent projects.

Dr. Eric Asamoah Darko, the Head of Business Operations Management for the Ghana Red Cross Society, applauded the chief and people of Fenaso Nkwanta for maintaining the boreholes and toilets which were donated to the community two years ago.

He entreated them to preserve the water system and encouraged people to buy the token.

Dr Darko called on the chief and people to place a premium on the Cashless Water System and went on to appeal to the chief to help increase Red Cross’ membership in the community.

The aged in the community were also very much delighted as the water system was closer to them.

“Crossing the road has always been difficult for me, but now that the water system is closer to my house, I am really happy” said Agya Kojo Osei, a 58-years old farmer.