As part of their preparation towards their 50th anniversary celebration next year, the entire membership of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS) has reminded Parliament that the Act governing the establishment of the organization be reviewed, as most of the clauses in it are outdated and archaic, as they were drawn from colonial era.
At a press briefing organized by SLRCS past Friday as part of celebrating World Red Cross Day, Mr. Edward T. Ngandi National President of the Red Cross Society said the International Red Cross Society started operations in 1918, and that the SLRCS was established by an Act of Parliament in 1962, and also a member of the 186 World members. He added that the SLRCS joins the Red Crescent Society worldwide in celebrating World Red Cross Day on Sunday, May 8th 2011.
He explained that membership of the society is open to all those who want to contribute to voluntary work by helping the needy people in communities. Presently, according to Mr. Ngandi, they have four categories of membership which include: active member, subscribing members, honorary members and patron members.
Emmanuel H. Tommy, Secretary General of SLRCS, said the society is not a government institution neither a non-governmental organization, rather it is an auxiliary body established by an Act of Parliament that operates independently in assisting government and other institutions on issues of national and international interest such as health, agriculture, conflict resolution and disaster management.
He added that the present Act on which the society is operating is outdated and contains so many colonial policies that hinder the operation of the society. According to him, they have held talks with other parties, mostly Parliamentarians for the past two years relating to the reviewing of the present Act that will enable them to work with international standards. He said they hope to receive the draft Act before their 50th anniversary next year.
Mr. Tommy also stated that they have implemented community-based health programs in thirteen communities, each headed by Directors. The Disaster management is responsible to look into natural disasters thereby providing some basic missing items, and that the humanitarian program caters for war affected groups.
Steven Koroma, Director of the community-based health programs said that the society is contributing immensely towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals thereby providing HIV/AIDS sensitization program, women’s education, provision of safe drinking water among others. He added that they also advice community people about deforestation and risk management.
By Alhaji Manika Kamara