AUXILLIARY ROLE OF THE R.C MEETING PARTICIPANTS

Published: 16 September 2016

How important is it for the national authorities to support the Red Cross in their countries? Extremely vital for public authorities to work with the Red Cross not only because they are bound by the Geneva Conventions but because the Red Cross is the “people’s organisation”, therefore , it is everywhere where there is anyone with its volunteers.

Lesotho Red Cross Society saw this is very important opportunity to discuss the auxiliary role of the Red Cross to public authorities by holding a one day meeting with Heads of Government Departments in Leribe as part of celebrating the World Red Cross Day in May 2016.

The discussions that ensued during the meeting revealed that the Red Cross is perceived as a donor agency hence some government departments refer victims of disasters to the Red Cross. The misconception was immediately dealt with by explaining the law; the Geneva Conventions, the Act of Parliament of Lesotho number 31 of November 9th , 1967. According to one volunteer, it is high time Lesotho Government plays its role in supporting Lesotho Red Cross Society so that it can continue reaching the unreachable areas like it does so proudly.

It became clear during the discussions that Lesotho Red Cross Society is counted on by government during disasters but as a donor with material to help during disasters. It was made clear that the Red Cross is not a donor agency but a service provider which depends on government and business communities in Lesotho to support with resources so that it can support government whenever there is a disaster.

Meanwhile, plans are being made to hold a similar meeting for the central government in the near future. Also present at the meeting was ICRC represented by Ms Thembekile Madonna and members of Leribe Divisional committee. The Secretary General Prof Teboho Kitleli officially opened the meeting and had a heart to heart talk with the participants.

 

FINANCIAL SUSTTAINABILITY IS KEY TO ENSURING LRCS CARIES  OUT ITS MANDATE – SG

Lesotho Red Cross Society held its annual Partnership meeting from January 11 to 12 in Maseru Lesotho this year. The Meeting was attended by the Norwegian (Norcross) and British Red Cross Societies (BRCS), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (referred as The Federation) both regionally and in Geneva, staff of the Society and local partners. participants. A communiqué was signed and sealed after much deliberations about what the future of Society is after the partners cease from assisting . The following issues under the theme – “Sustainability”;
• That the OCAC recommendations will be implemented. They included the following; In the immediate future, the priority should be to get a transition process set up that maps out the steps the National Society will take in the worst case scenario that its two major donors stick to their promises and cease their support in 2018:
Ø Before the elections to the Governing Board, it should be a priority for the NS to try to identify and attract candidates with experience of leading significant organisational change to stand for Board positions, or who could be co-opted by the new Board
Ø Together with partners, and possibly with professional external support, start to prepare a detailed transition plan for re-focusing the organisation and developing a new operational model for presentation to the new Board During a transition phase (2016 – 18), activities are likely to include:
Ø Agree the transition plan with the new Governing Board, including a monitoring plan for Governing Board oversight
Ø Start restructuring and adapting the organisation according to plan; this will need to include some sort of external HR review
Ø Consult with relevant domestic partners, in particular National Society volunteers and members, government and communities as to what the National Society should do as its core activities
Ø Re-design chosen core activities to be sustainable with realistic resources available and test these through the branch network; based on these, design a national coordination structure to support branch activities
Ø Carry out a survey of the opportunities for fundraising in Lesotho, including reviewing existing income generating activities and the National Society’s capacity to manage these; start to build a professional fundraising function within the National Society Long term (2018 and beyond)

Ø Continue the process of strengthening core activities, domestic fundraising and the national system to lead and coordinate Red Cross action in Lesotho Lesotho Red Cross expressed its challenges in implementing some of the recommendations due to insufficient funding and requested assistance both financially and technically. As a result of the discussions that transpired during the Meeting both parties came up with a communiqué that state the following; “Lesotho Red Cross Society acknowledges the sustainability challenges facing the National Society, and therefore commits to the following;
• Preparing a detailed plan for the change management process based on the OCAC recommendations by Quarter One of 2017
• Review the current Strategic Plan and develop the new plan by the Quarter three of 2017 for five years. Norwegian Red Cross and British Red Cross as well as the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies at the partnership meeting committed to the following;
• The Federation commits to support the development of the change management plan and the Strategic Plan.
• The Norwegian Red Cross commits to providing financial and technical assistance to the Federation in their efforts to support Lesotho Red Cross Society with these initiatives for 2017
• British Red Cross commits to support LRCS with the change management plan and strategic plan both financially and technically for 2017 -2018 The partners present at this meeting encourage other partners including Belgian Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross to support LRCS in these initiatives, and commit to corporate and coordinate through a Steering Committee to be established.
The Meeting recognise the valuable role played by local partners in the work of LRCS. The was cordially officiated by the Honourable Minister of Finance Mr Tlohang Sekhamane.” Partners who signed the Communiqué were; Ms Lorraine Mangwiro – the Federation Head of Southern Africa Country Cluster Team, Mrs Marcos Diaz NorCross Regional Representative Africa and Ms Evelyn Moore head Country Manager of the BRCS .
Other partners present were Mr Peter Hoff of Norwegian Red Cross and Mr Roger Fischi who is the Senior Officer of National Societies Development Coordinator based the Federation office in Geneva, while local partners were represented by Ms Tiisetso Mary Piet of Water Aid Lesotho and Ms Malijane Litabe who is the Principal Technical Officer of the Department of Rural Water Supply. Lesotho Red Cross Heads of Departments also added while the local media covered the meeting.

 

POEM BY YOUTH PRESIDENT – MR AMAD CLIFFORD TARR

We thought of you with love today,

But that is nothing new.

We thought about you yesterday.

And days before that too.

We think of you in silence.

We often speak your name.

Now all we have is memories.

And your picture in a frame.

Your memory is our keepsake.

With which we’ll never part.

God has you in his keeping.

We have you in our heart. RIP Mr President

 

BY MR KHOTSO MASHEANE – A MEMBER IN MOKHOTLONG

Greetings Brethrens!

Lesotho Red Cross President Ntate Sekhobe Letsie has passed away and will be laid to rest at his home 30 August 2014 in Mokhotlong, Lesotho.

In his death the world has lost a great leader, whose steadfast and unflinching determination played a key role in getting Lesotho Red Cross where it is today. Under his leadership Lesotho Red Cross was transformed and achieved what I could easily describe as Excellent and world class humanitarian service in Lesotho.

History will remember Mr. Sekhobe Letsie as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation, and for humanitarian devotion. We will remember him as a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries was not just a leadership strategy but a way of life

I personally miss a dear friend and elder, whom I had hoped to meet again and for whom I had great admiration and respect. Ntate Sekhobe was a man of courage, principle and unquestionable integrity, a great human being, someone of whom we can truly say, “He lived a meaningful life.” I pray for him and offer my heartfelt condolences Lesotho Red Cross Society, the members of Letsie family and entire people of Lesotho.

Even-though Ntate Sekhobe Letsie had physically departed, his spirit will go on. The best tribute we can pay to him is to do whatever we can to contribute to honoring the oneness of humanity and working

My father was a chief. My mother was ever busy with her sewing machine. They had five fields. More than 10 people, man and women worked in these fields from planting to harvesting seasons. They got their daily meals from their chief`s family; and after harvest they were provided with big shares of production from different crops like wheat, maize, beans, peace and potatoes.

Were these people labouring subject to their chief`s orders, or were they only being loyal to their chief; or was there any special agreement in between? Whatever the answers could be here …. was no child`s business; and what a child of my age could observe was the prevailing peace and harmony.

Leprosy was a threat at that time; but my mother had regular visits by one old and deaf lady who lived with leprosy. My mother sometimes made new dresses for this lady mostly on the eve of Easter or Christmas. Curious and afraid one could ask for reasons supporting these visits and gifts; but it was sufficient for my mother to say the lady was her friend.

It was around 1994 when I met a young lady by the name of Nts`iuoa Nts`umane, later  to be Nts`iuoa Sello after marriage, who talked to be about the Lesotho Red Cross Society, its mission, activities, but in the whole story I was fascinated by the Principles of Neutrality and Voluntarism. Nts`iuoa provided me with a copy of the Society`s Constitution, and I read the document. Before getting to the last full-stop on the document I was a volunteer and I joined the Society.

The Fundamental Principles of this society are a commanding force in my life since I feel bound to; make everybody happy at all times; give what I have to the needy; safeguards the rights of individuals; create a warm environment amongst all volunteers and staff of the society; establish relationship between the Society and the Government and other Partners, Locally, Regionally and Internationally.

I am proud to say Nts`iuoa, Mokhotlong volunteers and some of the staff members of the Lesotho Red Cross  Society have changed my life to an extend that I understand that every  person next to me  has answers  to my problems in life and that I am also important to every person; and therefore  we all need each other. I now recall the Life-style of my late parents and I understand the value of supporting the vulnerable. Could I be wrong to say the doctrine of the Red Cross movement is: True love, true friendship, true partnership, but improvement of life? But do we ever think that “Every person in vulnerable”

MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE!

 

DPPR holds Dispute Prevention and Resolution Training for LRCS

Lesotho Red Cross Society held a three-day in house workshop facilitated by the Directorate of dispute Prevention and Resolution representative (DPPR) a semi-autonomous labour tribunal, established in terms of section 46B of the Lesotho Labour Code, as amended in 2000, to among other things resolve trade disputes through conciliation and arbitration, advise employers,   organizations, as well as trade unions on the prevention and resolution of trade disputes,

Participants at the workshop included middle and senior managers of the LRCS. The central piece of the workshop was a topic on how to properly conduct a disciplinary hearing in the event of a misconduct by any one of the employees of an organisation . This part of the training ran for two days. The other topic was on how to handle workplace grievances, which lasted for a day.

It emerged during the training that a disciplinary case starts with an investigation, which could be in a form of oral interview and statements, trapping and entrapment, while the last piece should comprise an investigation report.

Furthermore, the participants learned that while the issue of suspension is being upheld during an investigation, care must be taken that it (suspension) is neither of a non -punitive nor unfair nature, while rules for formulating charges should also be followed by all participating in the enquiry.

These include e the Presiding Chairperson, the Charged Officer and their Representative, Witnesses, the Interpreter, as well as an observer. The workshop also looked at the substantive fairness of the investigation, and to establish whether dismissal is an appropriate

On the other hand, the formal and informal grievances that the participants learned about ranged from those caused by Interpersonal conflict, lack of recognition, lack of motivation, poor management as well as unfulfilled expectations.

Finally, the possible consequences of inadequate handling of grievances may lead to breakdown in trust, reduction in production, resignations, increase in workplace accidents, strikes, legal actions, bad reputations, increase in theft and other types of misconduct.

The training was hailed by those who took part, as having been very useful to the organization, with the participants declaring that it had fulfilled their expectations and objectives, and were adamant that it had increased their individual knowledge regarding how to creates a  conducive and stable environment in the organization.

 

MEDIA AND RED CROSS CAN WORK TOGETHER FOR THE BENEFIT OF VULNERABLE PEOPLE

 As part of celebrations to mark fifty years of existence, the Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) is also seeking to forge stronger relations with the media.

A Media Sensitization Workshop to this effect was held between the two parties on November 10, a day after the 50th Birthday of the LRCS.

The objective of the Workshop was to create a platform for networking and engaging with strategic media practitioners in Lesotho for positioning of the Movement and putting humanitarian issues of the media agenda.

The media was informed about the humanitarian work of the Movement and more importantly programs of Lesotho Red Cross Society through presentations of the Disaster Management Coordinator Mr. Maine Makula who was fired with questions regarding the selection criteria of beneficiaries. Another presentation was done by the Health and Social Services Coordinator Ms Moluoane Ramakhula who highlighted the activities of the health department, ie the cancer screening project going on in four health centres of the Society, the Water and sanitation project in two districts of MohalesHoek and Mokhotlong and the Menstrual Hygiene Management Project for rural schools where toilets and water systems are build, with focus on girls and menstrual hygiene.

The Society wants to create a networking opportunity for positioning itself with key media practitioners for increased coverage and visibility in media

Addressing participants, drawn from local media houses, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent ICRC Communications Officer, Mr. Hilton TafadzwaZvidzayi, dwelt on the principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, namely, Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality.

Zvidzayi indicated that the Movement is normally active where there is war and violence, while its mandate is continuously inclined to First Aid training, Disaster Management and Preparedness in areas not prone to war and conflict.

He said although National Societies such as the LRCS work hand in hand with governments, they are not arms of governments, adding that this is in a bid to ensure that national societies are independent, as “We work with governments, and not for Governments, even if they give us money’’.

He pointed out that as National Societies also strive to maintain human dignity through the provision of water and food among other things, while these are also expected to come to the aid of any persons in who might be in need of their attention, regardless of their politics, religion or social standing.

Zvidzayi also cautioned that the Red Cross emblem is often misused for combat operations as well as by drugs companies, despite the fact that those who use it are bound by the principles of the movement once they put on the cross.

Mr. Haretsebe Mahosi, of the Disaster Management Authority (DMA), when officially opening the workshop  indicated that the Lesotho Red Cross Society is one of the first humanitarian organisations in the country, adding that the very fact that it was established by an act of parliament is clear proof that it has to be recognised as a credible property of Lesotho.

Mr. Mahosi stated that the word “Cross”, is quintessentially humanitarian, and chimes so well with most of the values of the Basotho Nation.“ We go to the cross and source out life. There is security and safety in the Cross, while we also swear by the Cross. First Aid is also given free of charge, as LRCS is always on the ground before everybody else because of its preparedness‘’.

He indicated that the LRCS is unique in that, it bears the characteristics of locals, while at the same time bears those of other nations, adding that, what is today known as the DMA was tailored around the activities of the LRCS, hence why “ LRCS is a member of the Board of Directors of the DMA’’. .

Some of the Journalists participating at the workshop noted that the era of sensationalism among journalists is rapidly being replaced by responsible and sensitive reporting. The journalists also pointed out that the greatest enemy of local journalists is submission to adulteration of the profession by politicians.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa, Lesotho Chapter Director, Mr Tsebo Mat’sasa welcomed the initiative of the LRCS to take on board local journalists as part of its strategic planning processes.

He said the envisaged partnership accentuates the role of the media in disaster preparedness and management.

‘’ Our expectations out of the workshop is access to information in between disasters, so that we are on board the strategic planning processes to sensitize the nation’’.

When officially closing the workshop, the Society’s Acting Secretary General and also the Programmes Coordinator, Mrs.‘ Matsepo Moletsane said the workshop is also aimed at quelling such accusations as lack of transparency often  levelled against the National Society. She said the workshop has been an eye opener on what the media expect from organisations such óurs’. She expressed her gratitude for the open discussions that went on and thanked the participants for making the workshop successful.

‘’ We have been accused several times that LRCS does not report its activities, including not addressing what is expected of us, hence why we are engaging the media fraternity to sit together with us, and use the workshop as a plenary platform’’.

The workshop was facilitated by the Media Consultant and guru Mr Keketso Lawrence who also presented on the ‘Dangerous Assignments of the media’.  Mr Pheello Selinyane also made a presentation on the same topic.