|Participants at the 6th General Assembly of the Rwanda Red Cross/ Photo by Antoine Numugabo|
The Rwanda Red Cross Society conducted its 6th General Assembly since its founding in 1964 on the 23rd of July 2016 under the theme “strengthening community resilience and disaster risk reduction.”
Under the constitution that governs the Rwanda Red Cross, a General Assembly, which is the most highly ranked body in the governance of this Rwandan society, is convened every four years to give general guidance on the day to day management and the society.
During the 6th General Assembly, management and governance structures represented the achievements of the past five years correlating to a five year strategic plan that will be completed at the end of the year.
Among other achievements, the Rwanda Red Cross was glad to note that the society was able to respond to most of the disasters that were experienced in Rwanda, supporting affected families with immediate emergency support in addition to post emergency recovery support.
In the area of recovery, the Rwanda Red Cross Secretary General Mr. Apollinaire Karamaga noted that the National Society manage to respond to the needs of Rwandans evicted from Tanzania in 2013, resettling people hit by natural disasters and resettling others from high-risk zones through construction of good quality housing.
Close to 2,000 houses were constructed with some examples including the 180 houses constructed in Bikingi village of Nyabihu District in the Western Province which benefited Rwandans who repatriated from DR Congo and lacked descent homes in addition to vulnerable families that were living in high-risk zones.
But more notably, the Rwanda Red Cross in the past five years directed a lot of energy in community resilience undertakings under its “Model village” approach. This is an integrated way of holistically empowering a community to address its vulnerabilities.
“We have 18 villages in each district meaning a total of 540 with which we are working towards building their capacities to solve their vulnerabilities. Activities in these villages are largely centred on mindset change and supporting vulnerable people to gain access to the economy through supporting livelihood support initiatives,” Karamaga notes.
For instance livestock are distributed to vulnerable families in efforts to help them get an income and fight feed insecurity. In the last five years, more than 8,000 livestock were distribute and thanks to the rotation scheme policy which requires a beneficiary to give to the next person on the first birth, more than 31,000 vulnerable households benefited and indeed their lives have been transformed significantly.
But aside management at the General Secretariat, the Rwanda Red Cross is on the national level governed by a committee of governors which is elected by the General Assembly.
Similarly during the 6th General Assembly, a new governing committee was elected to carry on the works that another which has been at the helm of the institution since 2008 and headed by Dr. Bernard Nzigiye as its President.
Speaking slightly before the election of new committee members, Dr. Nzigiye noted that some of the key policies that the committee he led placed greater emphasis included decentralization of Rwanda Red Cross structures, resource capacity development to facilitate the National Society to grow towards self-reliance (kwigira) and in recruiting capable leaders at decentralized levels and strong staff at the National Secretariat.
“The things I am glad for include the fact that today; Rwanda Red Cross not only depends on the support of others to finance its daily activities but also has managed to grow to an extent where it can meet some of its costs. This is the direction we strongly encouraged and we hope and no doubt it will continue towards self-reliance. It is only then that we will be able to sustainably support suffering Rwandans every time they need us for we will not be waiting upon foreign support alone.”
According to the constitution of the Rwanda Red Cross, a committee cannot be in office beyond two four-year terms and as such, the Rwanda Red Cross 6th General Assembly voted for new members who will be joined by representatives of the Ministries of Health and Local Government, a Treasurer General they will appoint, and the Secretary General of the Rwanda Red Cross to form the National Society’s 6th Governing Committee.
New Governing Committee of the Rwanda Red Cross Society
President _________________________________________________ Dr. Bwito Paul
Vice President ____________________________________________ Ms. Mukandekezi Froincoise
Secretary__________________________________________________Mr. Apollinaire Karamaga
Member of National Governing Committee (Kigali City) ___________ Ms. Uwamahoro M. Jose
Member of National Governing Committee (Western Province) ______Mr. Mazimpaka S. Emmanuel
Member of National Governing Committee (Northern Province) _____ Mr. Simango Maxime
Member of National Governing Committee (Eastern Province) _______Ms. J. D’Arc Muhawenimana
Member of National Governing Committee (Southern Province) ______Mr. Sebaganwa Guillaume
Also, the board will have the representation of the Rwanda Red Cross youth wing President and Vice President who were elected last year by the youth General Assembly.
Youth President ________________________________________________ Ms. Rubuga Allexia
Youth Vice President ____________________________________________ Mr. Majyambere Silas
About Rwanda Red Cross Society
The Rwanda Red Cross Society was established in the country since 1964 to support the Rwandan Government in humanitarian action.
As a support organ to Rwandan authorities in humanitarian action, RRCS is present in every district and sector of Rwanda through local committees at each of these administrative levels which are charged with the day to day activities of the society and its ever growing network of volunteers and members.
Over the last 50 years and more profoundly in the past 20 years, RRCS has scaled up its activities to go beyond response during natural disasters and emergencies to tackle the gist of the problem; impoverishment.
Through several projects with the support of various partners including among others the Rwandan Government, Rwanda Red Cross has catalyzed development for many formerly dissolute Rwandans and has been supported efforts to reduce disaster risk.
In implementing all these various activities, the target has and will always be; building resilient communities and alleviating human suffering in Rwanda.
The Rwanda Red Cross is managed by a General Secretariat headed by the Secretary General while the governing authority which offers long term orientation is the National Governing Committee headed by a President elected by a once in four years General Assembly.
At the decentralized levels, a district committee is elected at each district headed by a President and Vice President. This similar structure is replicated in sectors and cells where committees have been established.
Currently, there are more than 100,000 members who contribute annual membership fees to the Rwanda Red Cross while thousands of volunteers are mobilized now and then across the country to support the implementation of several interventions to support alleviate the plight of those in most need.
Currently, the annual membership contribution is a minimum of Frw2,000 and 500 for adults and youth respectively and anyone can go to their respective district branch to make their contribution to support efforts to help the most vulnerable.