Volunteering in the International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent begins from the origins, in 1859, when the Swiss young man, Henry Dunant, managed to convince local people to provide voluntary care to all wounded and dying men left on the battlefield after the Battle of Solferino (northern Italy), with impartiality, regardless of the army they fought. What happened then, was something amazing for Europe.
After he returned to Geneva, Henry Dunant wrote "A Memory of Solferino", a book describing the battle and wounded in the Chiesa Maggiore, concluded with a question: “Would it be possible, in time of peace and quiet, to form relief societies for the purpose of having care given to the wounded in wartime by zealous, devoted and thoroughly qualified volunteers?”.
This question Henry Dunant posed to humanity led to the creation of Red Cross, having the volunteers at its foundation, who saved millions of people with their compassion. Founded originally as a voluntary organization to help the wounded on the battlefield, during its existence the Red Cross diversified the activities, in present time being an International Movement that helps people affected by disasters, social crisis, promotes humanitarian values, contributes to mitigate the consequences of armed conflicts, etc. The basis of all these activities is, as it was in the beginning, the volunteers, who represent the core activities of National Societies. Volunteers are involved in youth projects, first aid, disaster management, assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons, health campaigns, etc., all activities having the same goal – to improve the lives of vulnerable people in the community.
Volunteering is an activity of public interest carried on own initiative undertaken by any individual, in the benefit of others, without receiving a payment or material gain.
Volunteering in the International Red Cross/ Red Crescent Movement is an activity:
- Motivated by the free will of the person volunteering, and not by a desire for material or financial gain, or by external social, econimic or political pressure;
- Carried in the benefit of vulnerable people and their communities in accordance with the Fundamental Principles of International Red Cross/ Red Crescent Movement;
- Organized by recognized representatives of a National Red Cross/ Red Crescent Society.
In order to ensure an efficient volunteers’ management, Moldova Red Cross will undertake the following measures:
- Approve the Code of Conduct that sets out the rights and responsibilities of Moldova Red Cross volunteers;
- Recruit volunteers for specific and clearly described roles or tasks;
- Recruit volunteers on their potential and commitment;
- Recruit volunteers without any discrimination of race, ethnic group, gender, religiuos belief, disabilities or age;
- Ensure the gender balance in volunteering programs;
- Provide appropriate trainings that will enable volunteers to meet their responsabilities towards the Movement and any other activity they will carry out as a Red Cross volunteer;
- Provide volunteers with appropriate equipment for the activities they carry out;
- Motivate volunteers whenever possible and necessary, and offer them opportunities for personal development;
- Take in consideration the volunteers’ ideas and views at all stages of program design, development, implementation and evaluation;
- Reimburse reasonable expenses incurred while carrying out volunteering tasks;
- Provide appropriate insurance protection for volunteers against the risks that may occur while carrying out the task;
- Not accept that the volunteering activity replace or lead to loosing a paid staff;
- Promote the cooperation with other NGOs, public and private institutions that encourage volunteering.
The rights and responsibilities of Moldova Red Cross volunteers
Volunteers need to know both in the moment of recruitment, as well as during the voluntary activity, that:
- Their motivations/ needs are compatible with the mission of Moldova Red Cross;
- Their contribution is appreciated;
- Their dedicated time and energy are appreciated;
- They are involved in designing the volunteering activities;
- They benefit of support in carrying out their responsabilities;
- Their abilities are improving;
- They are members of a team;
- They have a friendly environment to work;
- People know them and call them by name;
- Their expences are reimbursed;
- They know how are used the money they collect;
- The Red Cross personnel have time to explain them why the things are done in a certain way.
Moldova Red Cross volunteers should:
· act in conformity with Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and ensure their dissemination;
· comply with the provisions relating to the use of emblem and to prevent the abuse of emblem;
· work at the highest quality standards;
· sign and act in accordance with the Code of Conduct for volunteers;
· be available in case of emergency, under conditions agreed with Moldova Red Cross and in accordance with their skills;
· meet the needs of beneficiaries.
What can you do as a Red Cross volunteer:
As a volunteer in the largest humanitarian organization worldwide, you can get involved in a variety of projects and areas, depending on your skills and preferences:
• Disaster preparedness and response:
- Receive training to become a member in Disaster Response Teams;
- Receive training to provide first aid.
- Social programs to assist vulnerable people;
- Preparing and distributing food packages, clothing or toys for vulnerable people;
- Information on various social issues;
- Support for street children, children in orphanages, children from vulnerable families;
- Moral and material support for lonely elderly with minimum income, people in elderly asylums;
- Home care services for elderly/ disabled people;
- Community development programs;
- Campaigns to prevent human beings trafficking;
- Training for institutions/ communities in creating safe environments without violence for youth and children.
- Health promotion campaigns (to prevent HIV infection, tuberculosis; sexual education, healthy lifestyle, prevention of substance use, etc.).
• General activities in Moldova Red Cross:
- Promotion and dissemination of International Humanitarian Law;
- Campaigns for the promotion and protection of the red cross emblem;
- Campaigns to prevent trafficking of human beings;
- Organizing youth and volunteers camps;
- Organizing trainings and thematic informative sessions;
- Organizing events during the Red Cross Month in the Republic of Moldova (May).
• Administrative activities:
- Layout of materials, preparing publications;
- Mass-media communication;
- Organizing events.