This year would mark 18 years of my being with the National Society. I joined the Solomon Islands Red Cross Society in 2002. In my capacity as the SG, it is my task to be able to ensure the understanding of the Society’s auxiliary role is well understood by authorities. This is to ensure the national society is a partner in the efforts towards addressing issues pertaining to disasters. Having to respond to a natural disaster and a global pandemic has been a challenge in taking on the new role as SG. Integrally my role is primarily to coordinate the society ensuring a timely and effective response. Government advocacy and consultation is a vital factor for the support of our efforts.
A steppingstone to this is the active inclusion and participation of the society in the national arrangement, particularly, the NDOC Committee (which is the decision-making body that also performs the oversight for the response to both TC Harold and COVID-19). One of my tasks is to actively ensure that teams and managers internally continue to perform their roles. Likewise, to ensure the society is undertaking its mandated work of supporting authorities both at the national and provincial levels. Overseeing the operation and functioning of the organization, frequent communication between partners and with my program managers and staff is essential.
Being the current Chairman of Secretary General Network in the Pacific. The need for continuity and sharing ideas is fundamental and having to perform this whilst dealing with a global pandemic.
Carrying out routine and 2020 planned functions and activities during this time amidst the disruption to the economy has been a challenge. Delays and disturbance of basic service providers, traditional fundraising initiatives and the provision of technical support to the society has been majorly. Despite the challenge’s steps have been taken to address them and ensure flexibility in discussions with service providers, donors, continuous online engaging. Most importantly making a difference in the lives of the communities that we serve is vital.
Providing lifesaving immediate response is what Red Cross is about. Conducting immediate assessments for distribution of nonfood items to ensure the reach is felt in the communities. “Ensuring our community volunteers are part of the work in both the TC and COVID-19 doing assessments, verification of data and awareness and messages sharing”. Engaging in this approach will create a culture of ownership of leading activities in their own communities. Advocacy is paramount in ensuring that our issues are heard and seen.
Furthermore, I know that as the leader of the organisation, my continuous presence with volunteers and staff who are leading the response is important. Thus, I continue to be available even during odd hours to provide moral support to national society officers and volunteers in front line to the response to TC Harold as well as to COVID-19.