The value of our volunteers

  • Organizational Development Department
    (Continued from yesterday)
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The figure showing the different costs were actual costs and the information was obtained form the OD team, The calculated do not include personal costs of the regular paid staff of the MRCS OD department. The calculation included only the costs of briefing, capacity building training and debriefing conducted by the OD team.

Transportation costs covered the volunteer’s transport from their local branch to the training venue in Yangon.
As well as their transport to an form the operation area. This was the highest cost due to the fact that all volunteers mobilized and deployed in the Rakhine operation
came from other MRCS branched.
If it were local volunteers who were mobilized, the costs of transportation would decrease tremendously. Most of the volunteers deployed came from remote areas that took three days to travel by air to reach Rakhine State. With the high cost of plane fare plus additional expense for extra days at the transit place, MRCS had to spend MMK 76,405,550 (50.37%) of total investment.

Per diem
Per diem was MMK 5,000 per day per volunteer covering meal expenses. This was the second hightest investments after the transportation costs.

Supporting materials
Supporting materials referred to personal hygiene kit provided to every volunteer. The materials included plastic box towel, toothbrush and tooth-paste, soap, detergent powder, comb, body powder, hair cream, disposable hand gloves, mask, nail clipper, ear plugs and shampoo.

Insurance cost MMK 1,000 per volunteer for 2013 and all Rakhie volunteers were insured in the IFRC insurance scheme in line with MRCS’s “Supporting Guideline for RCVs working in emergency/disaster management.”

Accommodation costs included accommodation during transit and training days in Yangon and onsite in Rakhine.

The training expense covered the Basic First Aids training (refresher) of the volunteers as well as the more advanced capacity building training conducted by the OD tram and technical department.

Briefing and De-briefing
Briefing and debriefing were organized in Yangon by the OD team. The briefing part consisted of informing the volunteers about the practical issues and safety guideline for working in field operation. The debriefing included costs of a farewell dinner for the volunteers.

B. Total volunteer value
This section analysis the functions carried out by volunteers and time spend on each activity, and matches it to the equivalent paid work at the market wage. This produces and estimate amount- what Myanmar Red Cross Society would need to pay if it were hiring staff to carry out the same work.
The table below presents the equivalent positions or paid works a volunteer was doing during the course of their duties.

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The average wage rates were based on the most current wages MRCS pays its employees. Howere these wage rates are substantially lower than the average wage rates in private market and other national NGOs in Myanmar. Should the study consider average wages in private sector, the economic value of volunteering would be obviously higher.
First Aider was the most common role of the volunteer during Rekhine operation. First aids provided first Aid services and refer other cases to respective appropriate offices.
Relief workers focused on water and food distribution rescue and relief, evacuation needs assessment, relief good distribution, logistic works, loading and uploading of relief goods and restoring family line.
“Red Cross volunteering is very noble work and I value it more than anything else. I will work for Red Cross till the end of my like”
U Kyaw Naing Oo, RC volunteer since 1973
Health educators advised the community about health care, water and sanitation, and personal hygiene. They also educated the people how to avoid rish and harm and how to prevent communicable diseases in mass crowded population.
Administrative volunteer’s duties included registration of Red Cross volunteer participation in daily volunteering supervision and reporting, assigning duties and responsibilities, daily office management, arranging meal and refreshment for the volunteers, arranging transportation, financial clearance and other insurance issues if required.
C. The VIVA ration
The VIVA ratio is computed using the formula:
VIVA ratio = Total volunteer value
Total volunteer
Using the values obtained during the VIVA exercise, we can reach the following calculation:
VIVA ratio: = 295,164,315.97 151,684,550.00
= 1.945 ~2:1
The VIVA ration calculation means that for every Myanmar kyat spent on each Rakhine operation volunteer, the Myanmar Red Cross Society received two kyat’s worth of services from each volunteer.

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E. Full-time staff equivalent to the total number of volunteer hours
In order to carry out the work of the 320 volunteers, the OD Department would need the equivalent of 45 full time paid staff. This was computed as follow:
F. Per capita costs and contributions
• Each volunteer mobilized has rendered 273 hours.
• MRCS has invested and average of MMK 474,014 per volunteer.
• Each volunteer mobilized during the year was valued at MMK 922, 388

1. Other Findings

The Rakhine operation has a wide range of benefits to MRCS are not directly measured in terms of economic value:

• Dissemination of the seven principles of the Red Cross through action showing, especially impartiality and neutrality of the volunteers in providing help in a conflict situation.
• Media coverage of Rakhine conflict showing Red Cross volunteers in action thus increasing then visibility and good image of MRCS in the community.
• The volunteers gained more self-esteem, learned new skills and felt important having been given the opportunity to help the most vulnerable.
• The volunteers exposed to the conflict have become more committed to the Red Cross and its Fundamental Principles.

2. Conclusion

This value of volunteers study shows that 45 full time paid staff would be needed to carry out the work provided by the Rakhine operation volunteers. The volunteers provided help to 70651 people in total and the services included First Aid, food and water distribution, health education and emergency evacuation. The total cash value of the work of the volunteers is estimated to be MMK 295,164,315. The study shows that for each Myanmar kyat spent on the operation, MRCS received two kyats’ worth of services provided by volunteers.

3. Recommendations

Most of the programmes and activities of MRCS rely entirely on volunteer participation.
Therefore, it is vital to provide regular volunteering opportunities, training and recognition of volunteers’ contributions to the Movement. This is a key to ensure enthusiastic and committed volunteers now and in the future.

Key recommendations

• The current volunteer management system should be reviewed and enhanced in the light of the revised MRCS Strategy 2015.

• Volunteers working in situations of armed conflict and violence should be further motivated by consulting them on issues related to their work.
This gives further importance to their role as volunteers.

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• MRCS should give priority on volunteer retention strategy.

• Volunteers’ well-being should be taken care of. They must be given more free time to avoid getting burnt out from too much work in a stressful situation as communal conflict.
They should also provide psychosocial support during and after the deployment.

• Conducting regular value of volunteers study is recommended to review and assess the cost effectiveness of the projects and to illustrate the economic value of the projects.


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