Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has created an ad hoc committee to supervise and regulate the work of volunteers in the current fight against Covid-19. It is a sub-committee of the larger Covid-19 Crisis Management Committee, created early in the crisis to respond to the pandemic.
Chaired by Muna Fadel al-Sulaiti, executive director of QRCS’s Volunteering and Local Development Division, the new 12-member committee is closely watching the work done by QRCS’s dedicated volunteers to protect the country against the virus.
It is assigned to plan and manage all volunteer-related programmes and activities, keeping an eye on local and international updates, recommendations of relevant organisations, government decisions and schemes, and decisions of QRCS’s Covid-19 Crisis Management Committee.
Also, the ad hoc committee undertakes short-term and medium-term strategies, outlining of volunteer management contingency plans, budgeting and resource mobilisation. It co-ordinates with both the government and private sectors on any community-oriented initiatives where QRCS’s volunteers can make significant contributions.
“Our responsibilities include directly administering the approved contingency plans and procedures; identifying risks and challenges; finding out solutions; and making the necessary amendments based on the situation on the ground, priorities of work, safety of our volunteers, and optimal effectiveness of intervention,” said al-Sulaiti.
Dr Youssef Ali al-Kazim, director of the Arab Federation for Voluntary Activities and vice-chairman of the ad hoc committee, commended the results of the ‘Help Me to Help You’ initiative, launched by QRCS two months ago.
“Now, you can see QRCS volunteers stationed around shopping centres, to help in the organisation of consumers, take temperatures, distribute masks and gloves and advise social distancing,” he said.
He believes this mechanism helped avoid crowds and made shopping easier and safer. “In this initiative, the diversity of volunteers is considered in order to cater to visitors from different backgrounds and walks of life,” Dr al-Kazim commented. “Our volunteers are trained in how to deal with and guide the public. As per the government instructions, everyone who wants to enter a shopping centre has to show their ‘Green’ status on the Ehteraz application.”
Ahmed Ali al-Khulaifi, head of QRCS Volunteers Section and member of the committee, highlighted the “exceptional success” of the Volunteer for Qatar campaign, with more than 18,000 male and female volunteers registered within just a few weeks.
Among the areas in which the volunteers actively engage are providing services at quarantine facilities (mainly the Mekaines Workers’ Quarantine Centre), taking part with teams of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment in street sanitisation and hygiene inspection, offering health information and masks to the public, and conducting field health screening in the most prone districts.
Ahmed Ismael al-Zyarah, head of the 9th Disaster Management Camp and a member of the committee, noted that specialised training was crucial for those responding to such an unusual situation. “QRCS adopts an annual training programme to build the capacity of its volunteers in many fields, particularly disaster preparedness and response.”