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Thank you Real Life Heroes | Going Without | Learning to ‘dance’ with COVID-19

20 August 2020

Thank you Real Life Heroes

Hi everyone,

Yesterday we marked World Humanitarian Day. Each year on this day we pay tribute to people helping people, and raise awareness of humanitarian assistance efforts. 

Click on the video above for a quick message from me to you. I want to thank you, and all our Red Cross humanitarians, and acknowledge your part in our work at this challenging time, especially those adapting to continue to provide support, and those not able to do their normal work or volunteering because of restrictions. Your tireless efforts are so appreciated. 

Today, please take a moment of pause and reflect. Remember why you choose to be a humanitarian. Let another humanitarian know you appreciate their efforts. And use your voice to shine a light on those who have commit their time and talents to helping others. Use the hashtag #RealLifeHeroes.

It is in the darkest times that heroes are made. Ordinary people, stepping up to do extraordinary things, intent on making this world a better place for all. This World Humanitarian Day we celebrate our real life heroes. Their strength, their compassion, and their everyday deeds that help keep the darkness at bay.  Watch this video we made to honour them. You'll find it on all our socials for sharing.

Learning to ‘dance’ with COVID-19

With the likelihood of a vaccine some time away, we have to learn to ‘dance with COVID-19 for some time. I find this challenging to accept at times. You may feel like that too. However, it is important that we take the practical steps that will help us to get through it.

To start, we continue to embed new partnerships and foster deeper ones with existing partners. We continue flexible working, with tools and supports to help. We keep embracing digital offerings to grow the reach of our services to support more people, and keep investing in systems to make more possible, in addition to our necessary face-to-face approaches. We are also working diligently to ensure we can continue to be there to support people and communities impacted by other disasters, during this pandemic. We're also working with other national societies and the IFRC Solferino Academy on scenarios to help our thinking.

Finally, amidst this pandemic we are determined to recognise and seize opportunities to further our humanitarian objectives, and improve the ways we work, volunteer, and connect, into the future. Read more in our Pandemic Plan. And as part of the Movement, we will continue to work alongside our colleagues to share knowledge, provide support and connect so we can all bounce forward. Hear what Jagan Chapagain (Secretary General, IFRC) has to share about global recovery post COVID-19.

Going Without Challenge

With pandemic restrictions, we may already feel like we're living without. But it’s sobering to pause and think about the people who go without even more every day.

Each year we encourage Red Cross people, friends and families to walk in the shoes of people affected by disasters and emergencies with the week long Go Without Challenge. From 21-27 September participants will be asked to go without everyday essentials that are usually at our fingertips.

This challenge will invite participants to be innovative and resourceful in the face of adversity, and help them to think about what tips and tools are useful and necessary when a disaster happens.

Register now as an individual or team and please spread the word.

What is the culture we want to build together?

There is so much about who we are and how we do our work that is wonderful.  There are also aspects that drive us crazy or undermine our ability to be our collective and individual best. 

In all organisations, the culture is about ‘how we do things around here’. It involves the systems, structures, behaviours and processes that lead people to believe they should behave in certain ways. It can be positive or negative but in almost all cases, it is a mixture of both.

Believe it or not we can measure culture. We can measure what’s good about ‘how we do things around here’ and where there are gaps between the culture we have and the culture we want. By being able to measure it, and thereby understand it, we can then work on it, collectively. Measuring our culture will allow us to build our self-awareness, challenge our assumptions, monitor what is working and adapt what is not.

So, that’s what we’re going to do.

All of us, our Board, our Divisional Advisory Boards and groups of our volunteers and members will participate. 

First, we’ll answer a bunch of questions which will help us understand what culture we want in order to be our best selves at work and maximise the humanitarian impact Red Cross can have.

Then, we’ll answer the same questions but to help us all understand what we think the culture is today – the good, the bad and everything in between.

With both of those pieces – what we want our culture to be and what we think it is, we will then set about working on how we maximise the good bits and close the gaps on the cultural elements we need to consciously change so we can be the best we can.  

The tool we will use is called a Organisational Culture Inventory (OCI) and the Organisational Effectiveness Inventory (OEI). These are tried and true tools which have been developed and adapted to help organisations achieve constructive cultures that enable the best outcomes. These surveys have also been used across the globe so we know they are culturally relevant to an organisation as diverse as ours. We will roll this out in a staggered way starting in September.

By participating we all have the opportunity to shape our organisational culture into the future. We’ll provide more specific information in the coming two weeks.

Stepping out and moving more 

If you’re needing a little incentive to move more, especially during lockdown, I recommend the Red Cross 10,000 steps competition. 

Open to all ages and ability levels.  

Together we’ll complete a virtual walk from the east side of Australia to the west, Byron Bay to Carnarvon. Sign up now.  

Registrations close today! Use your Red Cross email address when you sign up, and then email Guy Turner (Work Health and Safety Manager) to let him know you’re in! 

Steps count from 1 September.  

Resilience Workshop by Guest Speaker Dr Jill Klein

You are invited to join the Resilience Workshop on Thursday 27 August at 1.30PM.

Our guest speaker for the day is Dr Jill Klein, a professor at Melbourne Business School who has kindly offered to work with us on building our own resilience. She is particularly passionate about volunteering following her personal experiences with the Boxing Day Tsunami.

You can submit a question in advance via email before COB Wednesday. Join the session by phone - 02 8318 0090 then conference ID: 477 516 035#

I hope to see you there.