This report covers the period 1 January to 31 December 2014.
Overall, 2014 has been a year of progress and learning for the Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC). MRC has strengthened their disaster preparedness and resilience capacity to respond to emergencies in an effective manner through disaster management, health and organisational development programmes. Most of the planned outputs contributed to achieve outcome results, especially the strategic branches implemented community level initiatives. Under the scope of disaster management, health and social care, MRC continued to provide its services to the communities (mainly those with MRC presence at local level) in raising awareness, celebrating important days, events, first aid, implementing mitigation and adaptation work, youth development programmes in schools and communities through trained staff and volunteers. In addition, branch capacities for response work were also built with a focus on strategic branches as per the plan. MRC also worked closely with branches and national stakeholders in raising awareness and implementing community level programmes. Several of these resulted in formal agreements such as those done with the Ministry of Transport, local television channels and print media.
In 2014, MRC has responded to a number of emergency situations such as Male
water crisis in early December. MRC response in capital Male was the first crisis response of this young National Society since its formation. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) – South Asia regional delegation (SARD) supported MRC through technical guidance, short-term deployment of a relief delegate, as well as by mobilizing Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). MRC has successfully used this operation to profile itself with the Maldivian government and public as one of the key service providers in times of disasters. While celebrating the international volunteers’ day on 17 December 2014, MRC volunteers and staff were awarded by the President of Maldives during the ceremony. In the event, the First Lady and some of the key ministers expressed their appreciation for MRC’s response work and congratulated MRC for actively supporting the government in managing the water crisis.
In 2014, several projects that have been in place were concluded. In order to continue capacity building initiatives as well as to retain the knowledge, MRC will undergo some structural changes in 2015. Notable among these, is the creation of a specific PMER position. The youth health and well-being project, and the violence prevention project ended in December 2014 and March 2015 respectively. The OD programme will focus on humanitarian diplomacy, whereby targeted advocacy forums will be created for various partners and stakeholder for marginalized populations in times of humanitarian need; especially for people with special needs, migrant workers, children, women or other people who are stigmatized. Furthermore, the function of volunteer management and youth were merged for effective coordination.
Factors affecting the operating context:
Maldives’ Disaster Management Bill is still pending for approval over the last eight years. The bill was re-drafted by the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) in early 2013 and the current finalised draft sets MRC as a key stakeholder in disaster management. As the bill has not been approved by the Maldivian parliament, understanding MRC’s roles and responsibility to respond to national or local level emergencies as an auxiliary to the government is still unclear during or after an emergency.
The geographical structure and location of the islands in Maldives makes travel and accommodation costs more expensive than any other countries in the region. As a result MRC feels that it is unable to provide the opportunity for more volunteers to participate. Additionally, rough sea conditions due to bad weather prevents sea travel – which limits volunteer and staff travel to island communities resulting in delayed branch-level activities. In addition, it is challenging to carry out planned events due to human resource constraints.
Renewal of membership in the branches is a challenge. Most members are occupied with their daily jobs and have difficulty in sparing their time to volunteer for MRC. This issue has prompted MRC to rethink its approach towards getting new members and sustaining them. In addition, it is challenging to carry out planned activities due to human resource constraints, especially with the low amount of hours given by members and volunteers to the branch activities.