The former Information Officer of the Lesotho Red Cross Society Ms. Mandisa Kaloko Williams had a pleasant surprise when she learnt that a delegation of the Southern Africa Partnership for Red Cross Societies (SAPRCS) had paid a visit to the National Society again.
“No, this is not the first time they come here. The delegates even enjoyed a dinner hosted by the former President of the Society, Dr. Mokete together with his wife Mrs. Mokete,” said Mandi as Mrs. Williams is popularly called.
She added that the Patron of the Society, Her Majesty the late Queen Mother ’Mamohato Bereng Seeiso hosted a gala dinner for the female delegates.
“Wow! I still have sweet memories of the first meeting held in 1989. I remember the trees we planted with the SAPRCS delegates at the Ha Majara forest on the way to TY. The federation had come to Lesotho with a view to close down the Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) but when the delegates saw the kind of support it enjoyed throughout the country, they were stunned and had a change of heart,” Mandisa recalled.
The second meeting was held on May 28 – 29, 2019 in Maseru.
Nineteen instead of 20 participants consisting of nine Presidents, nine Secretary Generals from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) including the secretariat.
“We are sorry that the National Society of Angola could not make it due to visa challenges,” said the Secretary General of LRCS Mr. Kopano Masilo, who is also the outgoing Chairperson of SAPRCS.
The aim of the meeting was for the participants to share problems each National Society encounters when delivering humanitarian assistance during disasters, their success stories and to learn from one another.
Head of Cluster of IFRC Dr. Michael Charles, welcomed the delegates.
In his welcome address Dr. Charles said the aim of the meeting was to ensure that the National Societies (NS) discussed their different challenges and found solutions together and offered support to those who needed it.
“Yes, we do have challenges in some NS, but the question is, how do we collectively support each other, how do we ask for help externally if need be?” Dr Charles asked.
Apart from the challenges he talked about a recent visit to Mozambique, where the NS was going through a crisis.
He informed the meeting that the Movement received a two-year funding from the Nigeria Appeal to the tune of 5 million Swiss Francs for two years.
“We were happy about it, but we noticed that the World Vision received 100 million Swiss Francs, while Save the Children received 80 million Swiss Francs.”
“What could be stopping us from receiving similarly huge funding like that when we have been in existence longer than them?” he wondered.
When officially opening the meeting, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Mr. Temeki Ts’olo said challenges facing countries were getting more complicated and severe than before.
“Our memories are still overwhelmed by the recent disasters that occurred in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi along with some parts of the Republic of South Africa,” Mr. Ts’olo said.
He showed that the cyclone that devastated Mozambique added to the already struggling region hard hit by the El-nino and drought, adding that Lesotho also felt the effects.
“We will always continue appreciating the role that the Red Cross plays in saving lives of the vulnerable in our communities,” he said.
He added: “I would like to acknowledge the fact that the scarcity of resources in Africa, especially in the southern African region forces leaders to make tough choices, on how to reach out to the neediest without leaving many others outside the humanitarian province.”
He said the Government of Lesotho has been in discussion with the LRCS to find means of a more closer collaboration, beyond the current governmental subvention-support towards the Red Cross clinics.
He pledged his commitment to advocating for more profound support of the National Society.
The following were resolutions made at the meeting:
- Need to intensify communications and publicity to the world
- Need to raise resources locally using more innovative ways
- Development of the National Society