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Red Cross commended for people-driven programmes

Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) has been commended for championing people-driven programmes as it seeks to address humanitarian challenges facing disadvantaged communities.

By Our Correspondent

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Speaking at the launch of a two-year Finnish Red Cross funded community-based health and disaster management project in Muzarabani on Thursday, assistant district administrator for Muzarabani, Douglas Hungwa said ZRCS had carved an indelible niche in communities.

“The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society has earned its place in the local humanitarian space and the Zimbabwean government is happy to be working with such friendly and people-centred institutions in championing community development,” Hungwa said.

“Red Cross programmes are not imposed on communities, but are a result of wide consultations with beneficiaries and stakeholders so that the real issues are addressed when implementation starts.

“Today marks yet another remarkable feat in the work of the ZRCS as we launch yet another milestone in the organisation’s humanitarian endeavours.”

Hungwa said ZRCS was not new to Muzarabani and its humanitarian footprints remain visible.

ZRCS in partnership with Finnish Red Cross is running a community-based health and disaster management project, which has transformed lives in the district.

Another phase of the project ended last year. The new phase (2016-2018) of the project incorporates two more wards — Kaerezi and Chiwenga — at the same time consolidating the interventions in other wards — Chadereka and Dambakurima — where the project was first implemented.

The new phase will promote community resilience and ensure healthy and safer communities. The project will also strengthen capacities in disaster preparedness and response of communities in Muzarabani.

ZRCS secretary-general, Maxwell Phiri said their projects were people-centred and tried to address real issues affecting people.

“The risk treatment measures of the previous project entailed small-scale micro-mitigation projects identified through the needs assessments and community action plans developed through the community prioritisation of risks which were implemented by communities,” Phiri said.

“Notable milestones include the footbridge construction in Chadereka, safe learning structures, toilets, and boreholes rehabilitations along with first aid trainings and awareness raising campaigns driven by village- based Red Cross volunteers.”

Phiri said these largely community-resourced micro-mitigation activities indirectly created an enabling environment for a resilient community.

“The project allowed the communities to champion their own resilience, by determining the solutions to the priority risks that face them,” Phiri said.

He thanked government for the unlimited space which ZRCS is enjoying and pledged to continue working with like-minded partners in enhancing sustainable development through tailor-made humanitarian programmes.

Celebrated musician and ZRCS humanitarian ambassador, Alick Macheso, who was part of the delegation, thanked the community for embracing development by working with Red Cross.

Macheso capped the project launch with a donation of tuition fees to gifted students that showcased their dancing skills when songs from his trailblazing album, Tsoka Dzerwendo, were played to entertain people who turned out for the project launch.

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