The Cayman Islands Red Cross (CIRC) has launched an initiative to coordinate the NGO COVID-19 response in an effort to better serve those most impacted by the virus.
Since the start of the COVID-19 response the CIRC, which sits as the chair of the Volunteer Agency Responders (VARs) under the National Disaster Response Plan, has been undertaking the coordination of the National COVID-19 Volunteer Response by creating an entirely virtual recruitment, training and deployment system that has support various initiatives, among them: drive-thru testing done by HSA, assisting in the running of the government isolation facilities, providing support to the emergency travel helpline, and more directly via the mask-making initiative for frontline workers.
Now, in light of the impact of COVID-19 and in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season, the CIRC has embarked on a large scale project to coordinate the NGO sector response in an effort to maximise available aid and support the changing needs of the vulnerable communities on our Islands.
“NGOs play a tremendous part in assisting the most vulnerable communities year-round,” explained CIRC Director Jondo Obi.
“And for many agencies the work-load only increases in times of emergencies. The COVID-19 crisis has been no different as the impact of the virus on the community have both exacerbated existing vulnerabilities as well as created new ones. However, the reality is that the stark reality and grim projections of COVID-19 have not yet taken into account any additional disasters, and as we move into hurricane season we must do our utmost in helping to build systems that will maximise humanitarian assistance while helping to build local resilience,” added Obi.
The first step of such an undertaking begins with the creation of a knowledge bank which documents the agencies that are providing assistance during COVID-19 as well as some details about what type of assistance is provided, what is the beneficiary criteria, as well as uptake of services and whether there is a waiting period for access.
NGOs providing assistance during COVID-19 are being strongly urged to register their efforts via an online form ( https://forms.gle/nQ8vAtikjE7Ztf176 ). The information collected will serve as a starting point to connect these agencies and begin discussions on how the NGO sector can best work together to meet the
current and changing needs of the community as well as start planning for the ever-changing landscape of emergencies.
“We are working towards laying down a foundation for a coordinated, national referral system that will minimise duplication of services, eliminate double dipping, facilitate the referral process between agencies, and improve beneficiary access to a holistic range of services. This is a real opportunity for us to
reshape the way which we assist those in need, not only in times of disasters but also in times of peace,”
Carolina Ferreira, Deputy Director, added.
The form can be found on the Cayman Islands Red Cross’ facebook page and HMCI’s facebook page and can be requested directly from the Red Cross Disaster Manager on [email protected]