Drought, hunger, violence, conflict, discrimination and climate change. These are just a few challenges being addressed daily by volunteers around the globe but according to a new report launched by the Red Cross Red Crescent, little is being done to ensure those volunteers are adequately protected.
“Volunteers are first responders during nearly every single crisis our country has faced, most recently the flooding in Dublin and Wicklow.” says Donal Forde, Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross. “Volunteers from the Irish Red Cross, along with sister organisations, are vital to the country’s major emergency plan and have proven their worth on many occasions.”
According to the report, ‘Protect. Promote. Recognise - Volunteering in Emergencies’, volunteers that intervene during the most crucial moments following an emergency are equally vulnerable to the risks faced by those they are assisting. Internationally the Red Cross is calling for better protection for Volunteers.
A major step towards strengthening the protection and recognition of volunteers was recently taken during the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, where 189 National Societies and 194 governments gathered in Geneva, Switzerland and endorsed a resolution calling for all parties to review existing legislation on volunteering and work to develop more enabling environments for volunteering to grow.
The Irish Red Cross has a national network of 5000 volunteers and is part of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. The global network of the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies is made up of more than 13 million active volunteers that contributed 6 billion US dollars—nearly 90 cents for every person on earth in 2009 alone.