Hip Campaign from World’s Oldest Humanitarian Program

Geneva, Switzerland.  The International Red Cross and Red Crescent can be best understood as a collection of pieces building a whole. In my first piece, I told the story of the Secretary General. In my second column, I interviewed him on the role of the Red Cross Red Crescent today. The latest Red Cross Red Crescent campaign, “Our world. Your move.” shows how relevant the world’s oldest humanitarian program is in today’s society. It is an indication that the Movement is able to keep pace with our times. And continues to save lives.

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Twelve year-old Nguyen Chi Hien learns about disaster preparedness at Thuy Xuan primary school in Viet Nam.
She shares what she learns with her parents and other students and also looks forward, when she gets a bit older,
to helping plant new mangroves in the sea near her village.
Photo courtesy Jason Smith/IFRC.

The campaign recognizes global challenges, such as disaster preparedness and discrimination, and asks each of us the question, “What small step can YOU take for humanity?”

It is about the role you can play to make a positive difference in the world around you, it’s about the simple gestures, as shown on their excellent YouTube video.

The campaign brought tears to my eyes that somebody out there gets it – how to make caring cool. Global caring. Local caring. We can go on for weeks about Michael Jackson, but how many people are really involved in We Are The World.

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Mud cakes are being dried in the sun on the steps in Cite Soleil,
outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo courtesy ICRC/VII/Ron Haviv.

The website ourworld-yourmove.org offers an opportunity for visitors to share 150-character messages called “your move,” a user-generated blog, with stories of hope and resilience, and social media tie-ins for visitors to share on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

One story from the campaign is the “extreme importance” of changing the Red Cross Red Crescent focus from disaster response to disaster preparedness. Creating a “culture of prevention.”

Disaster response will always be there. But preparedness is key. One of the most important factors in saving human lives during a disaster is preparing before the disaster strikes.

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Mama Bona, a volunteer for the Congo-Kinshasa Red Cross, takes care of
unaccompanied children and orphans. Photo courtesy ICRC/VII/Ron Haviv.

As disasters continue to increase, many Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are looking at the effects of climate change on their disaster cycles. One such society is the Viet Nam Red Cross.

Jason Smith, a Red Cross staff member, recently traveled there and talked to experts, politicians, schools, and Viet Nam Red Cross staff members. All shared the effects of climate change on their disaster cycles, livelihoods, and planning. He blogged his findings for the world to see. Cool.

As we face a global economic crisis, more and more people in the world are falling into the status of “vulnerable.” The United Nations estimates that there are more than 2.6 billion people — 40% of the world’s population — living on less than US$2 a day.

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Covedec Centre for orphaned and lost children in Goma.
Photo courtesy ICRC/VII/Ron Haviv.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world tackle this issue on a daily basis. One of the biggest issues dealt with is food security.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross, for example, is assisting more than 200,000 people with food security and livelihoods programming.

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In addition to providing food, the Zimbabwe Red Cross distributes vegetable seeds to vulnerable populations, providing a food source and income generation.

The Red Cross also is establishing pilot gardens that serve as learning centers for best practices in creating sustainable sources of food and providing a seed bank to ensure long-term access for communities.

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The Tanzania Red Cross Society supports a school where albino
children are protected. Photo courtesy Alex Wynter/IFRC.

One of the challenges addressed in Our world. Your move. is fighting against discrimination. The Tanzania Red Cross Society supports a school where albino children are protected.

This school began to take in albino children after two albinos were killed by people who believe their body parts bestow good luck. Additional photos.

Our own Red Cross is equally striving to be relevant. I grew up with the Red Cross, first as a swimming instructor, then as a lifeguard, finally as an HIV & AIDS instructor. Not to mention CPR and disaster education.

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Muhammad was badly injured by a cluster bomblet at the age of 12
in Southern Lebanon. Photo courtesy ICRC/VII/Franco Pagetti.

In my next article, I ask: “Post-9/11 & Katrina: What’s Up with the American Red Cross?” I then travel south of New York to Port-au-Prince to interview an old Peace Corps friend of mine, Matthew Marek, who now heads the American Red Cross efforts in Haiti.

The Red Cross Red Crescent. It’s in Indonesia. America. Sri Lanka. Switzerland. Haiti. It’s in your community. In fact, it is your community and it is calling on you to make a positive difference in the world around you.

You don’t need to join the Red Cross to make a difference — you just need to embrace that same spirit of volunteerism. It’s Our world. Your move.

Originally publihsed in The Daily Kos, October 24, 2009.

The Luce Index
94 – Matthew Marek
87 – Michael Jackson

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About Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens

View all posts by Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce (www.lucefoundation.org) writes and speaks on Thought Leaders and Global Citizens. Bringing 26 years management experience within both investment banking and the non-profit sector, Jim has worked for Daiwa Bank, Merrill Lynch, a spin-off of Lazard Freres, and two not-for profit organizations and a foundation he founded. As Founder & CEO of Orphans International Worldwide (www.oiww.org), he is working with a strong network of committed professionals to build interfaith, interracial, Internet-connected orphanages in Haiti and Indonesia, and creating a new, family-care model for orphans in Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

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