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QRCS volunteers dedicated to protecting Qatar
Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has created an ad hoc committee to supervise and regulate the work of volunteers in the current fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19). It is a sub-committee of the larger COVID-19 Crisis Management Committee, created early in the crisis to respond to the pandemic. Chaired by Muna Fadel Al-Sulaiti, Executive Director of QRCS’s Volunteering and Local Development Division, the new 12-member committee is closely watching the work done by QRCS’s dedicated volunteers to protect the country against the virus. It is assigned to plan and manage all volunteer-related programs and activities, keeping an eye on local and international updates, recommendations of relevant organizations, government decisions and schemes, and decisions of QRCS’s COVID-19 Crisis Management Committee. Also, the ad hoc committee undertakes short-term and medium-term strategies, outlining of volunteer management contingency plans, budgeting, and resource mobilization. It coordinates with both the government and the private sector to on any community-oriented initiatives where QRCS’s volunteers can make significant contributions. “Our responsibilities include directly administring the approved contingency plans and procedures; identifying risks and challenges; finding out solutions; and making the necessary amendments based on the situation on the ground, priorities of work, safety of our volunteers, and optimal effectiveness of intervention,” said Ms. Al-Sulaiti. Dr. Youssef Ali Al-Kazim, Director of the Arab Federation for Voluntary Activities and vice-chairman of the ad hoc committee, commended the results of the Help Me to Help You initiative, launched by QRCS two months ago. “Now, you can see QRCS volunteers stationed around shopping centers, to help in the organization of consumers, take temperatures, distribute masks and gloves, and advise social distancing,” he said. He believes that this mechanism helped to avoid crowds and made shopping easier and safer. “In this initiative, diversity of volunteers is considered, in order to cater for visitors of different backgrounds and walks of life,” Dr. Al-Kazim commented. “Our volunteers are trained in how to deal with and guide the public. As per the government instructions, everyone who wants to enter a shopping center has to show up their green status on the Ehteraz application”. Ahmed Ali Al-Khulaifi, Head of QRCS Volunteers Section and member of the committee, highlighted the exceptional success of the Volunteer for Qatar campaign, with over 18,000 male and female volunteers registered within just a few weeks. Among the areas in which the volunteers actively engage are providing services at quarantine facilities (mainly the Mekaines Workers Quarantine Center), taking part with teams of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) in street sanitization and hygiene inspection, offering health information and masks to the public, and conducting field health screening in the most prone districts. Ahmed Ismael Al-Zyarah, the Head of 9th Disaster Management Camp and member of the committee, noted that specialized training was crucial for those responding to such an unusual situation. “QRCS adopts an annual training program to build the capacity of its volunteers in many fields, particularly disaster preparedness and response”.