Introduction and background
The youth activities in Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) was started in 1975 in the name of Junior Red Cross (JRC) and in 1980 it was renamed as Red Crescent Youth (RCY). At Present BDRCS has 3500 trained and skilled Red Crescent Youth volunteers and approximate 7, 20,800 RCY members, who are very motivated and actively involved in Red Crescent activities throughout the country. BDRCS has its Youth and Volunteer Department at NHQ that is responsible for coordinating all Y&V management and development activities.
RCY Co-Curriculum Activity
In order to accelerate Red Crescent Youth activities, the Ministry of Education of the Government of Bangladesh has introduced Red Crescent Youth movement in all the educational institute as co-curriculum activity since 2009. As part of this RCY Co-curriculum activity, the educational institutes (grade VI – XII) from a 53-member team to conduct youth activities. The Y&V Department undertakes measures for the capacity building of RCY volunteers and members and organizes basic training on RCRC Introduction, First Aid and arrange earthquake and fire drill with the support of Civil Defense authority. These RCY teams are also engaged in institution base social activities such as gardening, cleaning and literature competition. Under Co-curriculum activity BDRCS reached approximately 13,800 educational institutes and formed RCY teams in each institute. All of these institutes RCY members received training on RCRC Induction and FA training. Among these many institute organized earthquake and fire drill with the active support of local unit RCY volunteers. Last year BDRCS organized Trainer Training for 271 RCY volunteers of 68 units. These volunteers nowadays playing active role to organize training RCY members in 68 units.
RCY volunteers in BDRCS
BDRCS has 69 strong and dedicated volunteer groups in 68 units and NHQ. Most of them are trained on RCRC Induction, First Aid, Search & Rescue, leadership, and Disaster Response. Some of those volunteers are also member of National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) and support BDRCS during different emergency operations.
RCY volunteers in BDRCS
BDRCS is well recognized as a volunteer based humanitarian organization and all its activities at all levels are carried out by the volunteers. The Volunteers assist the Units and NHQ Departments in the day to day work, implementation of project & programme and as well as delivering emergency operation during cyclone, flood, fire incident, building collapse, other situation of violence, landslide and different part of the country. Besides, the volunteers keep themselves engaged in different civic activities like road safety, cleaning campaign, tree plantation, service in hospital, hand wash and various awareness campaign.
Importance of systematic Y & V development and management system
Considering the importance, the engagement and development of youth and volunteer have been an ever evolving priority for BDRCS. Despite having a healthy pool of youth and volunteer throughout the country, there are still some areas of improvement specially to establish a comprehensive youth and volunteer management and development system with their retention and recognition issues built-in. The organizational capacity assessment and certification (OCAC) has also identified the same and has recommended to formulate a volunteering policy with its accompanying implementation guide that will cover the issue of youth as well as volunteer development. The OCAC report also emphasized on establishing a standard system for recognition, involvement in the planning and decision-making process, regular capacity and leadership building training and modern database for volunteers. Youth and volunteer management at the Branch level needs also a lot of improvement. BOCA result analysis shows that most of the branches have scored below benchmark in all 6 youth and volunteer related topics i.e. safety-security, volunteers recruitment, volunteer record, diversity etc.
Yet, the formation of Youth Commission very recently in BDRCS is a big and positive move toward involving the youth and volunteer in the decision-making process at national and branch level.
Development and Management of RCY, a strategic priority for BDRCS
The current Strategic Plan 2017-2020 of BDRCS has also recognized the importance of Y&V volunteer in attaining in strategic goals and outcome and put stress on management and development of Youth and Volunteers. And to ensure volunteer management system the SP 2017-2020 HAS Defined a specific outcome of “Increased meaningful engagement of RCY and volunteers and systemic investment for their management and development.”
Image building of BDRCS through RCY activity
Youth and Volunteers program of BDRCS has got reputation in the country. The volunteers nowadays are not only involved in implementing BDRCS programs and activities but also contribute in different District and National level workshops, seminar and other events of the Government especially MoDM&R and different INGOs. The increasing interest among the youths to be associated with BDRCS as a volunteer at the district and NHQ level also depicts that the program has a high reputation to the common people.
The Y&V Department has taken an initiative recently to harmonize and standardize BDRCS National Youth and Volunteer Policy in line with the IFRC and National Youth Policy of Government with a special focus on youth engagement in civic activities, leadership and decision-making process. The TOR of National Youth Commission has the same reflection.
Key achievements in last 5 years
Emergency Operation of Monsoon Flood 2017
More than 1200 youth and volunteers were mobilized in 32 flood affected districts to provide emergency assistance to the most affected people of monsoon flood 2017 which is the worst flood in last 4 decades inundating almost half of the country. The volunteers, since the beginning of the flood, assisted community people in evacuation to the safer place and also provided drinking water using water purification kits, distributed emergency dry food, food items and non-food items.
Population Movement Operation
The humanitarian crises triggered from the fresh influx of people from Rakhine is the worst and biggest in the world in recent times . More than 300 youth and volunteers of Cox’s Bazar Unit and as well as from other Units are on the ground and working tirelessly to deliver humanitarian assistance in this massive crisis.
Contribution to South Asian Youth Network (SAYN)
BDRCS Youth representative was involved in working group to finalize SAYN TOR. Participated in “The Difference- Global Volunteering Forum, Bangkok 1-4 December 2014. Actively participating in SAYN Face to face Meeting at Dhaka and contributed as working group member to develop SAYN working plan for 2016-2017.
Support to Emergency Care (SEC)
BDRCS youth volunteers played very active role during the other situation of violence during past three years in different parts of the country . With the support of IFRC, BDRCS organize comprehensive S&R training for 307 youth volunteers of 3 major units/branches. These trained volunteers were also deployed in different incidents such as fire, building collapse and boat capsize etc.
Volunteer Registration and Insurance
BDRCS introduced annual registration system of all volunteers by fill-up specific forms which will help to use in RMS data. Society also arranged accident insurance of all volunteers under IFRC Global Insurance Scheme. ICRC Bangladesh Delegation is funding for insurance. Moreover, respective PNSs also funding of CDRT (community volunteers) members.
Two Youth members of BDRCS appointed as member of the IFRC Youth Commission respectively from 2009 to 2015, That shows BDRCS nominated one Youth volunteers for IFRC constitution review advisory group as youth representative and later he is appointed as member of the advisory group.
Bringing Youth in the Governance
Following the IFRC general assembly decision BDRCS appointed one youth representative in the Managing Board to share youth perspective in the governance discussion 2013.
National Youth Commission
BDRCS Governance has approved the structure of BDRCS National Youth Commission to develop the future leader and that first in the region.