By Cherno Omar Bobb
The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) on Saturday celebrated World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day at its Headquarters in Kanifing, with the theme; Unstoppable.
The day was dedicated to staff and volunteers of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement that are reaching and supporting people affected by COVID-19. It was also meant to inspire, facilitate and promote all humanitarian activities that are carried out by the Red Cross Movement.
Speaking on the occasion, the president of the Gambia Red Cross Society, Jatto Sillah, said this year’s theme carries a special message because together they can show that their commitment to make the world a safer and more peaceful place is unstoppable. He added that the Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff know that to change the world lies within people and communities, noting that they work every day to ensure communities have the knowledge and means to protect themselves, reduce their risk, and live safely and with dignity.
Sillah further said that the volunteers also take the lead in responding to all emergencies in humanitarian contexts. He thanked the volunteers across the globe that give their time and apply their skills to make their communities safer, more resilient, and more inclusive. He also encouraged volunteers and staff to sustain the momentum by volunteering new skills to communities.
“It only takes simple acts of kindness and volunteerism to transform lives and small gestures can make a world of a difference”, he stated, while encouraging those joining the Red Cross movement to be agents of positive influence in their communities.
Mr. Sillah further noted that humanitarian issues the world faces can only be solved by people who are passionate and determined to come together to alleviate human suffering.
On his part, secretary general of the GRCS, Alasan Senghore, said throughout their interventions, volunteers and staff of Red Cross continue to plan an integral role in their programmes with so much commitment, determination and enthusiasm. He highlighted that they are unstoppable when it comes to alleviating human suffering, building resilience communities, and getting to hard-to-reach communities to improve lives and livelihood of people.
Senghore also noted that the volunteers have been delivering services under difficult and critical circumstance during the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore thanked them for their services. He said among their achievements during the Covid-19 response includes fumigation, sensitization, safe and dignified burials, contribution to stopping the chain of transmission, provision of handwashing stations, provision of ambulances assigned to handle transfer of complex cases, and provision of cash support to vulnerable households, among others.
“We believe in disaster management continuum process”, he said, adding that pandemics and disasters will continue to occur in the future.
Senghore then thanked all their donors and partners who supported them during the pandemic in ensuring that they are able to deliver what is expected. He also thanked the volunteers who risked their lives and that of their families daily in delivering services during the pandemic. He further said that they are not only delivering under Covid-19 but also their development and humanitarian services.
Isatou M. Bah, the Gender and Diversity Focal Point said they respond based on needs but in the process, they also factor gender and diversity which is key in humanitarian response. She described the volunteers’ role as very vital in ensuring that no one is left behind, saying the Gambia Red Cross Society’s operation is beyond First Aid and disaster response.