Belize Red Cross Builds Capacity

Belize Red Cross Builds Capacity

The Belize Red Cross is holding a four-day workshop to improve its disaster management and humanitarian assistance services. A delegation from the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) is working with the organization to launch a cash and voucher system. The international red cross is leaning toward ensuring fifty percent of its disaster relief aid is provided in cash to affected persons by 2025. The IFRC’s Regional Coordinator, Daniela Funez, says this program is part of the organization’s way to ensure that people maintain a sense of autonomy even when they find themselves in vulnerable positions. 

Daniela Funez, Regional Coordinator, International Federation of Red Cross: “For so much experience we see that cash is the most dignified and direct and efficient way to deliver cash to people. We know sometimes when you’re delivering food it gets bulky, you need to import things from other places and sometimes you’re not really covering the needs of that population. So when a disaster arises you know not everybody is gonna have the same needs. Some people might have their house destroyed, other people have their food source that is not being available anymore, some people have to cover food, medicine, sometimes people have debts because they’re not able to work so we see that all of these necessities are different from family to family. So cash is the best way that people know what they’re necessities are, what their priority are and we’re dignifying them because we’re not telling them you know this is a food you need to eat, this is the materials you need to use to build your house back again, you know this is best way that we’re saying we trust you, you’re the best person that knows how to steer your future and we trust that you’re gonna do this in the best way possible. And also this also has indirect benefits because sometimes we cannot target everyone for cash assistance but by delivering cash they’re able to start buying locally and keep the markets moving.”

 During the workshop, the NGO will also be disusing the success of its efforts to assist persons who were impacted by hurricane Lisa. The Belize Red Cross’ Communication and Community Engagement Officer, Tanya Hulse, says that they have already begun implementing this program in Belize.

Tanya Hulse, Communication and Community Engagement Officer, Belize Red Cross: “We want to really build on that momentum and just build the skills and the capacity within the Red Cross and hopefully you know people watching out there will look at this interview and think okay you know it’s not a disaster now but I can afford a little twenty dollars, a little fifty dollars I can give it to the Red Cross, we can hold that in what we called our Disaster Relief Emergency Fund and when the time comes and when it’s most needed we can quickly jump on that and start helping people out there. We have several criteria as Daniela had mentioned but on top of that you also have SOPs the International Federation  gives to us that we have to follow in terms of guidelines as how cash is received, how it’s processed, how it’s accounted for it’s a very strict process and that has to be followed every single cent we receive we do have to account for all of that.”

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