Apr 2, 2009, 5:16 AM
The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) yesterday organised a three-day training session for their members in the community disaster response team, with the theme: “invest in community resilience”, held at Manjai Lodge.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Bai Cham the secretary general GRCS, said the training course marks yet another important manifestation of the Gambia Red Cross Society’s institutional commitment in disaster risk reduction.
He acknowledged the crucial role played by IFRC in the sub-region in building the capacities of national societies, to enable them fulfill their mandates in responding and managing disaster.
“As we gathered here in this training course to build capacity of volunteers to have the ability to get ready for any humanitarian challenges, that we may face as a country, it gives us the opportune moment to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses of the past and the current challenges of disaster management in The Gambia,” he said.
According to him, GRCS is one of the largest voluntary organizations in the country, with over 15000 registered volunteers covering every single community in the country.
He added that this has earned their national society the capacity to cope and respond to disease epidemics, disaster and other situations ranging from hazard mapping, community disaster preparedness and response, vulnerability and capacity assessment, food security programming, climate change, HIV/AIDS, health promotion and protection, promotion and protection of the red cross emblem, refugee crisis management and first-aid.
“As a national society, we have been dealing with issues of vulnerabilities since our inception as a branch of the British Red Cross in 1984, championing the course of humanity in The Gambia.
“The governance and management of the society is committed to continue to build on the momentum, in addressing critical challenges that are faced by human beings whilst maintaining the image, integrity, confidence and competence of our national society,” he said.
Katim Nget, program manager of GRCS, in his remarks to welcome participants, said the purpose of the training session was for the volunteers to understand the disaster cycle in order to build their capacity.
He noted that the role of the active volunteers of a national society is crucial to enable them fulfill their mandate within their dynamic initiatives to alleviate human suffering.
He assured them of GRCS support at all times, especially their regional office in Dakar, and urged them to make good use of the training course to help in the transformation of acquired knowledge and skills into practices in times of disaster.
Mballow Chune from regional office in Dakar hailed the participants, and urged them to always be prepared in dealing with community disasters.