PRESIDENT of the St. Lucia Red Cross (SLCR), Hubert Pierre, says the society is not at its best and but is working towards changing that.
During a three-day workshop hosted by the SLRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Pierre said, “When you look at the whole thing and you seek to strike a balance, experience will tell you you’re not at 100%, nor are you somewhere beneath 75%. I think the society is doing well and it’s a matter of trying to make sure that the society gets healthier and that’s why we are doing what we are doing.”
With his level of expertise, Pierre said he believes the SLRC is currently operating at 80%. He said that while the SLRC has been working arduously to keep up with its mandate, the work has been one-sided.
Pierre said: “The management has been working but the governance has not been up to speed. So once that had been changed, we decided to look inside and get it done outside so that we would get the true picture of what is really relevant and absolutely necessary in enabling us to help the population of St. Lucia.”
It was with this aim in mind, Hubert said, that the workshop was held, as a well- functioning national society is the key to understanding what needs to be done and undertaken. This, he said, includes looking at strengths and weaknesses.
Representing the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was Country Coordinator for Guatemala and El Salvador, Marissa Soberanis. She said assessments like these have been taking place for numerous years and that this year St. Lucia was in the spotlight.
She said they are currently supporting the St. Lucia Red Cross and during the exercise, they will provide tools to improve the services and the mandate in the country.
Soberanis said: “For us, this is very important because the national society is trying to enhance all the services and programmes, as well as trying to innovate what they need for the future. The changing world causes you to have humanitarian trends that are necessary to reflect and to build key activities that could help the vulnerable people more.”
Another reason why she said the workshop is important is because: “I think that the world has changed and we have more variety in the climate change issues. Natural disasters are happening more currently and frequently, so the national society needs to be better prepared to respond.”
Soberanis added that there is also the issue of poverty and so more options must be made available to continue providing a good level of development to the country.
“National societies are working closely with the governmental authorities and other donors to compliment the Red Cross Movement, to enhance and encourage all the needs, especially with the vulnerable people,” she said.
She said while it was not easy being or finding volunteers with all the changes of the world and economics, the Red Cross tries to encourage people to come and support or simply be a part of the movement from the comfort of their own homes.