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Humanitarian cooperation

5 Apr 2018

Swiss Red Cross joins Belarusian Red Cross’ partnership platform

Swiss Red Cross joins Belarusian Red Cross’ partnership platform

MINSK, 5 April (BelTA) – The Swiss Red Cross has joined the partnership, cooperation, and activity coordination platform of the Belarusian Society of the Red Cross. The relevant agreement was signed by Secretary General of the Belarusian Society of the Red Cross Olga Mychko, Director General of the Swiss Red Cross Markus Mader, and Head of the International Cooperation Department of the Swiss Red Cross Beat von Daniken on 5 April, BelTA has learned.

Olga Mychko said: “We are talking about the operation of the national society as a whole, about systematizing partnership within the framework of the Red Cross movement. The platform has been created by the Belarusian Society of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Other interested national societies may join the platform. Long-time partners from Switzerland were the first to do it.”

The Red Cross implements a total of seven strategic directions. Every national society, which decides to join the platform, is expected to be primarily interested in implementing the strategic direction it shares with the Belarusian Society of the Red Cross. Olga Mychko said: “Everyone has different problems and priorities but they may coincide. For instance, some may be more interested in the implementation of norms of the international humanitarian law. Some may be more interested in the alleviation of war consequences while some focus on medical and social components. For instance, I think Ukraine will join us because it will be able to share its accomplishments in the area of medical and social aid while borrowing our best practices. The Swiss Red Cross is now more interested in working with migrants, in interaction with government agencies, and the possibility of enhancing the social component via the partnership their country doesn’t have.”

The official stressed that the Belarusian Red Cross is on the lookout for a partner to exchange the best practices, technologies, and innovations with.

The Swiss Red Cross delegation was confident that the platform will allow clearly delineating the roles of the national societies. It will help promptly learn about each other’s plans and work more effectively by pooling efforts. “Our main purpose is to enhance the potential of the Belarusian Red Cross so that it could provide high-quality service on a professional level in addition to expanding the coverage of such services,” stressed Markus Mader.

This purpose resonates with the purpose of the new project on consolidating the experience and developing the Belarusian Red Cross’ program on healthy and active ageing and providing domiciliary medical and social aid. The project is being implemented in Belarus with Swiss assistance. It represents a logical continuation of projects with narrower scopes. Markus Mader and Beat von Daniken were made familiar with results of those projects during their stay in Belarus on 3-5 April.

Beat von Daniken said: “It is the second time I’ve come to Belarus. Once again I feel the openness and hospitality of the people. I would like to mention the Belarusian Red Cross’ cooperation with volunteers in providing aid to senior citizens. They play an important support role in implementing social programs of the government.”

Apart from meeting with top officials of the Belarusian Red Cross the Swiss Red Cross delegation visited Vitebsk, Novopolotsk, Polotsk and Bogushevsk in Vitebsk Oblast where members of the delegation met with Belarusian Red Cross workers and volunteers, who take an active part in the implementation of projects in association with the Swiss Red Cross and demonstrate genuine solidarity with the Red Cross efforts. Markus Mader said: “We were made familiar with the work of nurses. We visited one person under care with one nurse. It was an elderly bedridden man, who is way over 80. We liked the motivation of the nurse although the Red Cross salaries are below those available in a state institution. It turned out she liked trustful relations with the people under her care. The people are genuinely grateful for her work. And she can adjust her working hours during the day.”

The Swiss Red Cross has been providing expert and financial assistance to Belarus since 1994. In the first years this assistance was channeled into financing the nurse service of the Belarusian Society of the Red Cross and into supporting the Chernobyl Humanitarian Aid and Rehabilitation program. Later on the support was extended onto the development of domiciliary medical and social aid, work with communities, prevention of non-infectious diseases, healthy and active ageing. A model based on the active participation of the beneficiaries themselves was assimilated in all these spheres thanks to the Swiss partners.

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