By Tabora Bojang
The Gambia Red Cross Society and its International Committee of Red Cross are organising a training for its volunteers, branch officers and headquarters staff on preventing and restoring family contacts.
The Gambia Red Cross Society has an RFL unit responsible of restoring contacts between lost/separated families; separations caused as a result of conflict, natural or man-made disasters, migration or other situations of emergencies.
Officials said facilitating a means to contact loved ones can help provide crucial comfort to often traumatized and vulnerable individuals.
The opening of the training was graced by the Secretary General of Gambia Red Cross, Deputy Secretary General of Kenyan Red Cross, ICRC protection staff and the Chairperson of the Communication Commission of the GRCS Board.
Speaking at the event, Idriss Ahmen, the deputy secretary general of Kenyan Red Cross, shared with participants what Kenyan Red Cross does in terms of RFL and services they provide. “The RFL services provided are more or less the same across all national societies; from allocation of satellite calls to tracing and reunification of families.”
He said RFL services are not limited to only migrants who experience violence and disasters but people who move at their own will to look for greener pasture.
“There are a wide range of vulnerable population and their needs varies but we need to look at the neutrality and impartiality nature of the movement and jealously guard our work,” he stated.
The secretary general of Gambia Red Cross, Alasan Senghore, said: “Bringing families together is an important thing to do. For Red Cross when it comes to migration, we go back to the root causes of migration and work with governments and partners to help address it. Internationally, we protect migrants on the migratory routes starting from their country of origin, transit and destination through our RFL network.”
He challenged participants to disseminate information about RFL’s work so that families without news about their loved ones can come forward to be assisted in tracing.