The value of our volunteers

Article
Articles
  • Organizational Development
    Department
    MRCS

Executive Summary
In June 2012, inter-communal violence in the Rakhine State erupted with a series of violence conflicts between Buddhist and Muslims causing deaths and displacing 150,000 people. The sensitive environment made it very challenging for the Myanmar Red Cross to access all communities. In order to deliver its mandate of serving the most vulnerable from all sides of the conflict, MRCS mobilized a total of 320 volunteers from other states/ regions and deployed them to Rakhine for a 25 to 30 day mission.
The study highlights the economic value of volunteers based on the volunteering hours they have rendered during the same period. The study underscores as well the key role of volunteers as front liners in the inter-communal conflict- translating Movements as they went about helping those in need, giving priority to most urgent causes regardless of race, religion and parties involved in the conflict. The unwavering courage of volunteers has heightened people’s respect for Myanmar Red Cross as an impartial and neutral humanitarian organization that is capable of helping everyone and anyone in need even in times of communal conflict.
This study focuses on this significant volunteer mobilization covering the period from June 2012 to April 2013.

Key Findings
• Total number of beneficiaries reached 70,651 of beneficiaries reached
• 847 people were assisted for emergency evacuation.
• Total number of volunteers mobilized: 320
• Total number of volunteering hours: 87,320 hours at an average of 273 hours per volunteer
• Equivalent full paid staff :45
• Total volunteers investment: MMK 151,684,550 or CHF 166,853.00 and average of investment of MMK 474,014/ CHF 521.40 per volunteer
• Total volunteer value of the Rakhine operation is MMK 295,164,315.97/ CHF 324,660
• VIVA ration: 1:2, meaning that for every one MMK spent for each volunteer, MRCS received two MMK’s worth of services from each volunteer.

“Red Cross volunteering is very interesting and inspiring and gives me a long term commitment to support the lives of the vulnerable”
U Thet Naing, volunteer with 35 years of RC experiences.

Objective of the studies:
1. Determine the economic value of the services rendered by the volunteer mobilized for the MRCS Rakhine operation.
2. Provided evidence based recommendation to improve volunteer management in MRCS
Myanmar Red Cross Society
Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) was established in 1920 as the branch of Indian Red Cross Society. Burma (Former name of Myanmar) separated formally from India in 1937 and in 1939 the society obtained national status. The organization was renamed MRCS in accordance with legislative change of Burma to Myanmar in 1989. Today MRCS is the leading humanitarian organization in Myanmar and it is committed to improve the lives of the most vulnerable to promoting humanitarian values and community based Health and Care and Disaster Management.

Volunteer development for the Rakhine operation
Description of situation in Rakhine
The unrest in Rakhine State in Myanmar began in June 2012 with a series of violent conflicts primarily between Buddhists and Muslims. The Myanmar government authorities have responded to the conflicts by imposing curfews and by deploying their troops in the region. The government announced a state of emergency on 10 June 2012 allowing military to participate in the administration of the region. The conflicts have caused approximately 240 casualties and about 150,000 people have been displaced due to the unrest.
The sensitive environment in Rakhine made it very challenging for local MRCS volunteers to access all communities affected by the ethnic conflicts. In order to deliver its mandate of serving the vulnerable from all sides of the conflicts, MRCS mobilized volunteers from other states/ regions and deployed them to Rakhine for a 25 to 30 day mission. This caused the increase in transportation and per diem costs for volunteer mobilization. However, this also made the MRCS the only recognized and respected aid organization that could access to all areas without needs for armed escorts. Red Cross volunteers are doing their utmost best to preserve their acceptance among all communities by providing impartial aid.
In the Rakhine conflicts, MRCS is demonstrating the seven fundamental principles in action, emphasizing neutrality and impartiality, by providing aid to both sides of the conflicts regardless of the ethnicity, religion, sex, age and beliefs. This is essential ensure safe access to the conflicts site in Rakhine and in order parts of the country at all times.

Rakhine Operation volunteer profiles
A total of 320 RC volunteers participated in the Rakhine operation between June 2012 and april 2013. The volunteers were divided into four groups, each doing different role depending on their previous experience and skills. The four groups were: First Aiders, relief workers, health educators and administrative and reporting volunteers.
While a lot of female MRCS volunteers wanted to participate in the Rakhine operation, they were deliberately not include in favour of male volunteers. The focal point for volunteers cited the following reasons in making this decision:
1. The accommodation place in hall type, 80′ x 70′ extension of relief warehouse, only one room for 35 volunteers.
2. There if no separate bathroom and latrine for male and female.
3. Deploying female volunteers in this specific situation will require a different safety and security arrangement which the organizers are not yet able to do.
A significant majority of those who volunteered for this operation are under 30 years old. Majority of them were longtime volunteers of the MRCS. But there were newly recruited volunteers as well. They all come from different races.

The recruitment of Red Cross volunteers deployed in Rakhine
The minimum requirements for a volunteer to be mobilized in the Rakhine operation are:
• Between 18 and 65 years old.
• Has completed Basic First Aids training within the last two years.
• Physically, mentality and emotionally fit.
• Willing to work with both sides of the conflict according to the 7 Fundamental principles.
• be able to work at least 30 days in Rakhine.
• Must act according to the Volunteer Code of Conduct.
In addition, it is preferred that the volunteer:
• Has undergone Emergency Response Training or National Disaster Response Training/
• Is a First Aid Instructor of health educator.

Volunteer management
The MRCS-OD Department has the responsibility of recreation, briefing, deploying, supporting and debriefing volunteers for the Rakhine Operation. The key tasks of the department include:
1. Deciding how many Red Cross volunteers are needed, what kind of experience and skills they should have and how long they will be volunteering.
2. With approval from the secretary general, coordination with the state/region Red Cross Committees to recruit volunteers that fits the deployment criteria.
3. Developing security guidelines for Red Cross volunteer working in communal conflict situation.
4. Developing and implementing a volunteer deployment pal for each state/reion to ensure sufficient number of volunteers are available in every batch that is sent to Rekhine .
5. Sending of letter of reminder to state/region Red Cross to keep local authorities always properly informed and updated to MRCS could get their full support.
6. Collecting of Red Cross volunteer data and making practical preparation for their deployment (accommodation, transportation, local support ect.) and for their going home.
7. Calculating budget and ensuring financial support to the deployed team.
8. Getting insurance coverage for the deployed team.
9. Organizing a briefing ( before deployment) and debriefing (after they have completed their mission) for Red Cross volunteers at Yangon office.
10. Organizing a briefing session in Sittwe on the tasks ahead for each volunteer.
11. Ensuring that OD Department will actively participate in the monitoring an evaluation of volunteer management issues raised in Rakhine.
12. Ensure that all deployed volunteers are well appreciated and recognized.

Volunteer duty hours
The Reakine operation volunteers work form 8 am to 4 pm seven days per week. All volunteers have one or two recreation time visits to view point, Sittwe during 30 days of deployment. The recreation time visits were organized after a full day volunteer work and to ensure they did not affect the actual volunteering hours.
“We facilitated and educated group of children and woman at IDP camps on personal hygiene and hand washing practice. We heard that community people said “they are getting more confident than before.” This makes me happy and I promised to join again the deployment team going to Sittew.”
The duties of Red Cross volunteers in the Rakhine IDP (Internally displaced persons) camps:
1. Provided First Aid services and health care education.
2. Organise mobile health clinics.
3. Organise water and sanitation activities such as water collection, distribution, water purification, installation of water tanks and fumigation of latrines.
4. Conduct hygiene promotion.
5. Relief goods distribution (participation in rice distribution donated by Qater Red Cross Crescent, Turkish Red Crescent and World Food Programmme.)
6. Emergency medical evacuation, when necessary.
7. Provided psychosocial support to IPs.
8. Gather relevant data and prepare report to be submitted to team leader.

Services delivered by volunteers in the Rakhine between June 2012 and April 2013
For the period under study, the volunteers have reached 70,651 beneficiaries, broken down as follows:
• 35,400 people received First Aids treatment.
• 25,347 people received health eductation.
• 9,030 people got psychosocial support.
• 847 people were assisted during emergency evacuation.

Analysis of the volunteer investment and value audit

A. Total volunteer investment
The total volunteer investment shows all the expenses associated with having volunteers. It must be emphasized that these expense, were incurred by MRCS because of the involvement of volunteer in the Rakhine operation.

To be countinued

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