Our Board meeting
Our National Board met last weekend. As I’ve said before, we are really fortunate to have 16 committed, passionate and highly professional volunteer board members who devote time to helping us succeed.
The board checked-in with how we’re going halfway through the year. They reviewed progress on data security, health and safety, our mid-year financial results and our forecast to the end of the financial year and approved updated policies on privacy, advocacy and child protection.
They also talked about some of our recent successes and I thought I’d share a few with you:
- Our Myanmar appeal has so far raised approximately $2.4 million (a large portion of which has been matched dollar-for-dollar by the government).
- Our Christmas Season of Belonging campaign raised more than our target. It also sparked a lot of humanitarian discussion in the media, making it our second successful strengths-based campaign.
- We now have live online chat on some pages of our website.
- Red Cross Calling launches in March. Last year we had around 7,000 fundraisers registered. Currently there are about 14,200 registrations (including 306 Red Cross branches, 40 community groups, 70 schools, 15 workplaces, 13,800 individual collectors). We’re aiming for 14,500 contributors.
- We’ve done a lot of preparedness and emergency activation training with people living in Daly River in the Northern Territory. This was a key contributor to a successful evacuation of the entire community during their recent floods.
- We have made submissions for accreditation to the Department of Foreign Affairs and our ACFID Code of Conduct self-assessment. Both are critical for us.
Our community-based health and first aid prison program pilot has started. In New South Wales, 25 prisoners at the St Heliers Correctional Centre have expressed interest in being volunteers. The program will start at Townsville Women’s Correctional Centre in March 2018.
Almost 500 people are contributing through Facebook and LinkedIn to our new In Work Australia mentoring program for recent migrants. In the past few months we have brokered 21 jobs, referred 36 people for employment, developed 28 business partnerships and supported seven people into volunteer placements
The Android version of the Get Prepared app is live.
We have Skype in 22 meeting rooms across the country. We have completed a pilot of Skype on 100 desktops and we’re on track to have everyone connected to Skype by June. We have decommissioned our old video conferencing saving $85K per year.
We are piloting a volunteer-supported hotline for the restoring family links program in Queensland and Western Australian. So far there have been 128 calls to the hotline.
The Board had dinner at STREAT café, a social enterprise giving young people a sense of belonging. Hear about their great work in this podcast episode with the café’s co-founder.
Dire situation unfolding in Syria
There’s been horrendous news coming out of Eastern Ghouta, near Syria’s capital Damascus over the last week. The situation is so dire our colleagues at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) along with the UN are calling for emergency humanitarian access to allow aid to get in and the wounded can be treated.
“Wounded victims are dying only because they cannot be treated in time. In some areas of Ghouta, entire families have no safe place to go,” says Marianne Gasser, ICRC’s head of delegation in Syria. “On the other side of the frontline, people in Damascus are in constant fear that their children will be hit by falling mortars. This is madness and it has to stop. Civilians must not be targeted.”
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has described the rebel enclave as a “hell on earth”.
Update on the Myanmar Crisis Appeal
In the last few days we have gone out to the thousands of Australians who have so far donated to our Myanmar appeal to let them know about all the great work they have helped us achieve.
There are now almost 900,000 people living in the camps in Bangladesh and the need for humanitarian aid is huge.