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Updates for the Board + Guidelines for Collective Trauma Events

17 October 2018

Hi everyone,

Last night we received heartbreaking news that our ICRC colleague Hauwa Mohammed Liman was murdered by her captors. Hauwa was abducted in an attack in the north-eastern town of Rann in Nigeria on 1 March together with Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa and UNICEF nurse Alice Loksha. Saifura’s execution was reported on 16 September, while Alice remains in captivity. No words can describe such tragic loss of young lives. Hauwa and Saifura’s deaths are not only tragedy for their families but will be felt by thousands across the Movement.  


We are now preparing for the Board meeting in late October with papers going out this week for another packed agenda. In my CEO report I talk about what’s on my mind, what’s interesting from an external perspective and updates on what’s happening internally. I also include items of ‘good news’ and ‘interesting snippets’. I thought I’d share these with you.

The good news

Our proposal for the Peaceful Pathways project in Tasmania was awarded a grant of $306,000 over three years. The project aims to address the needs of people traumatised by the hardship and stress of seeking asylum and resettling; specifically working with people who show potential for acts of violence, and people who could become a victim of violence, due to their experience.

After 6 years of separation a mother restored contact with her first-born son. “I cannot tell you what this news means to me – my son is alive! May God bless Red Cross and all of you working to help us. There are no words, only joy today.”

Welcome Crew up and running in WA: Welcome Crew in WA is a team of friendly faces meeting new arrivals at the airport, and supporting refugees in their first few weeks in Australia. Support includes setting up the Short Term Accommodation (STA) for new arrivals. The next phase of the program will build a network of volunteers from similar cultural backgrounds to the new arrivals who will meet them at the airport along with Red Cross staff.

The new Galiwinku Community Hub was launched where we heard first hand from Elders, Traditional Owners and other service providers about how our team has respectfully and patiently worked with the community over a decade, to support the community to lead the changes they want to see.

Digital Springboard is a new joint initiative from Infoxchange and Google with the intention of increasing the digital literacy of Australian communities with low digital literacy ratings. Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine were amongst the locations identified in the NT. We have a partnership with Infoxchange to deliver the training, and two days of face-to-face training has already taken place at the Red Cross office in Darwin in August. A number of volunteers participated in the training, including two volunteers from the Tiwi Islands.

Our very own Bruce Moore has been awarded General Counsel of the Year in the 2018 Australian Law Awards.

Interesting Snippets 

Be My Eyes is revolutionising the way people can volunteer. Using a person’s mobile phone 1.5 million volunteers around the world can support vision-impaired people to be active and independent.

A data-scoping mission to IFRC and the Netherlands Red Cross explored the “510 data project” at the Hague. We are completing and mapping key opportunities for Australian Red Cross on data preparedness services, a possible flagship area for the new IP model.

“Killer robots: Why banning autonomous weapons is not a good idea”. The final paragraph of this article is particularly interesting: “Imagine if we could automate the recognition of protected symbols such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent symbol and that this could be built into "killer robots" to enable the automatic protection of the persons, vehicles, ships and buildings bearing them, immediately reducing casualties and limiting unwarranted destruction.”

Koda Capital snapshot of Australian Giving – a research paper sharing key insights and changes on donation behaviour in Australia. Definitely worth a read.

The Maranguka project has been working with the community to reduce crime rates in Bourke, New South Wales through redirecting resources spent on policing and punishment to projects that help prevent offending behaviour. Between 2015 and 2017 rates of offending fell by 35% for driving offences and 39% for domestic violence related assaults.

Poverty in Australia 2018 - ACOSS: We provided financial, analytical and research resource to this report. “We find that despite Australia enjoying consistent economic growth over the last three decades, and currently ranked as the second wealthiest country in the world, poverty rates have remained entrenched at a high level. There are more than 3 million people living below the poverty line in Australia, including 739,000 children (17.3%).”

New NDIS mental health support: The Federal Government announced a new ‘psychosocial disability stream’ under the NDIS in order to better support the 64,000 Australians with psychosocial disability.

ICRC Global Crowdfunding Platform launched“Our Global #Crowdfunding Platform is born! You’re only a couple of clicks away from helping people affected by war and violence through critical projects supported by ICRC and Red Cross.”


Update on the drought

Welcome rains in parts of New South Wales and Queensland are bringing some hope for farmers. Dubbo received 62mm in two days, which is more than its normal monthly October rainfall. Further rain is still required to break the drought. The outlook, unfortunately does not look positive with higher than average temperatures and lower rainfall expected across the country.

We have now extended drought assistance into parts of Victoria and South Australia. The appeal has raised $11.2 million, and we have distributed $4.5 million to the Country Women’s Association (CWA) in New South Wales and Queensland. Of this, 1,841 grants have been paid for a total of $2,779,836.65.

The CWA will be helping us deliver the assistance in South Australia, and in Victoria we are partnering with the Rural Financial Counselling Service of Gippsland.

We are also in the process of finalising a longer-term community support plan, which will help with broader community support, and also have a climate change adaptation focus.

All of this is in addition to the great work Red Cross members do with the Let’s Talk program in drought affected areas.


Best Practice Guidelines for Collective Trauma Events

Last week, we launched the Best Practice Guidelines: Supporting Communities Before, During and After Collective Trauma Events. Collective trauma events are events that don’t fit the traditional parameters of emergency management arrangements. They can have major impact on communities: challenge public norms, undermine perceptions of safety and provoke significant public grieving.

The document is a set of psychosocial guidelines based on current best practice to support communities and organisations to be prepared for, respond and recover from these events. It includes case studies from Australia and abroad looking into communication channels, support and service delivery as well as learnings from these events.

You can read more about the guidelines here.

Talk to you soon.