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Reporting back from our Leadership Team meeting; how to save billions on disaster recovery; and more

29 November 2017

Hi everyone,

Last Thursday and Friday the Leadership Team held its quarterly strategic review meeting – an opportunity to come together, focus on our Strategy 2020 outcomes and what we need to do collectively to achieve our goals. 

Here’s some of what we covered over the two days:

We worked on how best to ‘surge’ on four priority initiatives to achieve four of our outcome targets for this year (250,000 additional people taking humanitarian action, 500,000 Australians equipped for disasters, 75% of migrants in transition having their humanitarian needs met, and 100,000 people supported to overcome their deep social exclusion).  We agreed to capitalise on the great work already underway in the following, and maximise the impact of:

  • Our digital ‘Get Prepared’ app
  • Our upcoming Red Cross Calling peer-to-peer challenge fundraising campaign – for so many more to take humanitarian action
  • A new ‘belonging’ campaign that will build on our current Christmas campaign – and encourage more Australians to reach out, connect and support others
  • The development of a new approach (the ‘Dream Team’) that will help connect people to peers and support them to overcome their deep social exclusion

The leads of these major initiatives will now come together to plan and integrate across these approaches so we can really maximise their reach and impact.

I am so proud of all the effort, passion and enthusiasm occurring right across the organisation to achieve our outcomes, and look forward to us collectively meeting our goals at the end of this financial year.

An update on our Myanmar Crisis Appeal

We’re nearly three weeks into our joint appeal for the Myanmar Crisis, working with seven other agencies, the Australian Government and ABC to respond to the fastest growing humanitarian crisis in the world.

If you’ve shared our messages with your networks, thank you very much. You’ve helped us surpass $1 million. With dollar for dollar matching from the government, that’s more than $2 million for shelter, clean water, health care, protection for women and children and other emergency aid efforts.

Donations will be matched up to 9 December. Here’s how you can help:

Our teams have been receiving a number of moving accounts from the camps in Cox’s Bazaar. This one is from Red Cross water and sanitation aid worker Mark Handby:

"It's hard to work here, but almost unimaginable to live here. Narrow, slippery and muddy paths run over steep hills. All too often I find myself struggling through mud approaching my knees. In the morning I can just manage. Towards the end of the day it feels like I'm walking through quicksand with lead boots...

"Our teams are working against the clock trying to provide a safe water supply to people struggling to find a drink amid muddy ponds. We're teaching families how to purify water and repair hand-powered water pumps as fast as we can. It's pouring now, but in the coming months a dry season threatens to boil water sources bone dry.‚Äč

"I see how any donation can provide more food, equip more medical clinics, build better toilets and sustainable water pumps, and protect children from further harm. It can show these resilient, loving, brave people that they are not forgotten; that they matter."

It's really good to hear that our donations are getting through and they are making a difference.

How to save billions on disaster recovery

Disasters are costing us more every year. At the moment, around $18.2 billion per year is spent on disaster recovery, and we’ve just released a report that forecasts this amount will double by 2038, reaching $39 billion by 2050.

However, for every $1 spent on disaster preparation, we save $8 in recovery.

Investment in resilience projects is needed urgently. But not just for the bottom line. If resilience projects became embedded in all relevant areas of government planning and policy, we’d see an increase in jobs and community confidence that would in turn drive a stronger economy.

Relatively small investments now in community education, emergency kits, and encouraging connected and strong communities will be the best way to reduce the costs of disasters.

As you will know, at Australian Red Cross we have increased our emergency preparedness outreach activities in line with our Strategy 2020 goals to get more people prepared for disaster. We are also part of the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities, which was formed in 2012 to influence public policy through evidence-based reporting on the unsustainable cost of disasters on life, property and the economy. Members of the Roundtable are IAG, Investa, Munich Re, Optus and Westpac and Australian Red Cross.

You can find our full report here.

Fundraisers Class Action

You may have heard, a class action is being launched on behalf of people who worked for agencies and marketing companies, some of them providing face-to-face fundraising services to Red Cross.

In launching the class action, the National Union of Workers has revealed stories where fundraisers allegedly made as little as $3.67 an hour. I am deeply sorry to hear that anyone could have been treated in such a way.

Australian Red Cross has always insisted that its fundraising contractors have legal and appropriate wages and conditions. Since last year we have also insisted on extra protections and assurances. And, from this July, we’ve taken the extra step of putting all face-to-face fundraisers on a wage – we no longer contract fundraisers on a commission basis.

Read our statement.