May 20, 2024

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Phyllis Kachere
Government has applauded the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) for its work in alleviating human suffering through their critical and timely contributions in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable members of the community.
In a speech read on her behalf by her deputy, Rtd Brigadier General Levy Mayihlome at a belated World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day commemoration in Gweru over the weekend, the Minister of Defence and Security Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the Red Cross and Government have worked together for decades.
“The Government and people of Zimbabwe have had a long history of cooperation with the Red Cross and the Red Crescent dating back to 1980, on attainment of independence. The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society was established in 1981 through an Act of Parliament as an auxiliary to the Government of Zimbabwe’s humanitarian interventions. This is why it is a permanent member of the country’s disaster preparedness mechanism at all levels,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is commemorated on May 8 annually and the theme this year is “Keeping Humanity Alive”.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri commended the excellent cooperation and symbiotic working relations that exist between the ZRCS and the International Federation of the Red Cross, urging the two humanitarian organisations to continue to cultivate and foster an enabling environment not only for their mutual benefit, but society at large.
She said the work of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent is increasingly becoming important given the recurrence of conflict and natural disasters the world over.
“The SADC region in particular has not been spared as it has experienced in the recent past, irregular rainfall patterns that have resulted in droughts and flooding which has negatively affected the region’s food security situation. The region is also grappling with a cholera outbreak. These calamities mostly affect vulnerable members of communities, including women, children, the elderly and those living with disabilities.
“Dealing with emergency situations of this nature demands a multi-sectorial approach. The ZRCS is an important player in the national disaster preparedness architecture in Zimbabwe. As a permanent member of the Civil Protection Unit (CPU), it has contributed immensely to disaster preparedness and alleviation in the country.”
She also commended the ZRCS for joining hands with Government and other stakeholders to combat the scourge of drug and substance abuse in the country.
“Drug and substance abuse has become a major health challenge as it is threatening to decimate the youth population. It is also encouraging to note that the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society incorporates youths in its programmes and structures. Given that youths constitute the bulk of the population, they constitute a critical cog in our collective efforts to respond to humanitarian situations.
“The Society’s collaboration with schools, colleges, universities and school leavers is indeed commendable. I urge youths in Zimbabwe to be part of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement programmes as this will equip them with useful skills and experience to tackle humanitarian situations and community development work, more so, as Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers embody the values of neutrality, compassion, and respect for human dignity.”
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri lauded the ZRCS for being instrumental in fostering and maintaining family links for migrants as exemplified by its activities at Tongogara Refugee Camp, Beitbridge Border Post and at the Roadport in Harare.
“The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society is also engaged in a variety of humanitarian interventions aimed at alleviating the plight of vulnerable communities. These include but are not limited to the Climate Smart Resilience project in Binga, Zero Hunger Crises Project in Mwenezi, Water and Sanitation Project in Mudzi, Integrated Strategy for Cholera Risk Elimination in Harare and low cost medical and pharmaceutical services in Harare, Karoi and Mutare.
“The programmes are in tandem with His Excellency, President ED Mnagagwa’s vision for Zimbabwe to become an upper middle income economy by the year 2030 and the philosophy of leaving no one and no place behind. It is equally gratifying to note that the ZRCS has responded positively to President Mnangagwa’s call for engagement and reengagement with the international community.
“In March, the ZRCS hosted the Donor Advisory Group which is constituted by the leading donor communities globally. The aim of the visit was to explore effective ways of collaboration between the donor community and the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society in humanitarian work.
“As you interact with other national societies in the region and beyond, I urge you to raise the country’s flag high and preach the gospel of engagement and re-engagement with the global community,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
She said her ministry has also benefitted from the ZRCS in international humanitarian law training.
“We wish to resuscitate our partnership in demining operations. We believe that your expertise in humanitarian work and wide network within and outside the country is critical in mobilising resources for demining operations in the country, particularly with regards to the rehabilitation of victims of landmines,” said the Minister.
She commended Red Cross Society volunteers whom she said are the foot soldiers that make the movement tick.
“Without you, there is no Zimbabwe Red Cross Society to speak about.”

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