Nepal Red Cross Society: Making Nepal more resilient

The Annapurna Express

The Annapurna Express

Nepal Red Cross Society: Making Nepal more resilient

NRCS’s hotline 1130 is really helpful

Sim Bahadur Tamang, a 67-year-old local resident of Kavre District Mandandeupur Municipality-10, who belonged to a middle-class family, used to work based on daily wages to support his family.  He was compelled to do any kind of work in the village like building construction, toilet construction, road construction, and so forth, as he had no other option for work. One day, he heard that there was a job to build disability -friendly toilets in the homes of the people with disabilities in the municipality. So, he also started working and accomplished the task on time. But even after 3-4 months of completion of the work, he did not get paid for his work. He consulted with many people but could not meet the contractor. He was very much worried. One day he heard that the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) constructed the toilets, and a contract was given to a party. He also heard that there was a complaint registration mechanism at NRCS via 1130 (free hotline service). 

One day, Sim Bahadur dialed 1130 and complained, “The construction of the toilets in Mandandeupur Municipality-10 was done under the coordination of the Nepal Red Cross Kavre District. As far as we know,  other workers were paid at the rate of Rs 17,000 per day.  Two laborers including me are not paid yet. The task is already completed. Why is this injustice to us?”

The hotline operating team at NRCS Headquarters consulted with NRCS Kavre District Chapter. The disability-friendly toilets were constructed under the NRCS lead program named: Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction’, financially supported by the Danish Red Cross. Under the program, the understanding was made to build disability-friendly toilets by providing all the required materials and wages for workers to the households having people with disability who do not have disability-friendly toilets in their homes. In total 79 toilets were constructed at a cash cost of Rs 6.5m. Among them, 12 disabled-friendly toilets were constructed in ward 10. There was an agreement between NRCS, the concerned households and the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Committee (CDRRC). NRCS provided the necessary materials for the construction and deposited the amount necessary for skilled and semi-skilled workers in CDRRC’s bank account. After the completion of toilet construction, workers’ wages had to be paid through CDRRC’s account on the basis of their attendance after the recommendation of the concerned household. 

The Hotline (1130) team explained the proper ways of getting payment to Sim Bahadur. The team also communicated the issue with the NRCS Sub-Chapter and Ward Chairperson. After being informed from NRCS Hotline (1130) Sim Bahadur consulted NRCS Kavre District Chapter that facilitated his payment. After two days, Sim Bahadur made a call and said, “Thank you very much for doing such a good job by operating the hotline service. If I hadn’t called the hotline I wouldn’t have been paid. Two other laborers including myself got paid on the basis of Rs. 1,700 per day. This is a very huge amount for people like us. Many thanks to the Red Cross. The hotline service is really helpful.”

Covid-19 preparedness and response operation

Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), having the organizational structure of seven Province Chapters at Provincial level, 77 District Chapters at district level, 1554 Sub-Chapters at local level and 6538 Junior/Youth Red Cross Circles at school, colleges and University, provides humanitarian services to the most vulnerable on the basis of humanity, impartiality and neutrality. NRCS, an auxiliary to the Government in humanitarian services, is guided by the fundamental principles of the Red Cross Movement and serves the most vulnerable to alleviate suffering and save lives and livelihood. Annually it reaches more than 3m people via its different programs and projects, and services such as blood service, ambulance service, eye-care service, first aid service and community care services. 

NRCS has been implementing covid Preparedness and Response Operation throughout the country from early February 2020 focusing one awareness raising, vaccination and vaccination centers, holding center management and supporting the most vulnerable on the basis of their needs. NRCS basically targets the people infected with covid and their families, frontline health responders, vulnerable groups such as elderly people, children, pregnant women, people with disability, people with chronic disease, migrant returnees/laborers/workers and people at points of entry, in holding areas, quarantine/isolation centers. 

As of 18 August 2022, NRCS has reached more than 7m people directly and indirectly through Covid-19 Response focusing on the following sectors, but not limited to: 

Health and care 

NRCS supported 1,779,373 people with protective items such as full body personal protective equipment (PPE), coveralls, masks and gloves distributed to front line responders and 408,120 people had been supported to access vaccination service provided by the government. Similarly, 32,527 people including FCHVs, teachers, JYRC, community leaders and active loose forums representatives oriented on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination and 1,733 people reached through various psychosocial first aid service (PFA)/ psychosocial support services (PSS). 

Water, sanitation and hygiene promotion 

NRCS has directly reached 18,235 people including 2,558 females through hand washing demonstration sessions at point of entry and strategic locations. Furthermore,  11,507 bars of soap, 354 buckets with jugs, 16 water tanks and 3,641 sanitizers and 115 toilet cleaning materials (like toilet brush, toilet cleaner, plunger etc.) distributed in isolation centers, prisons and communities. Similarly, throughout the country, school students, teachers and covid affected family members, trained for preparing reusable sanitary pad, cloth masks including menstrual hygiene management. 

Risk Communication and Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA)

NRCS reached 3,177,280 people through various means of Covid-19 awareness activities for delivering right information on covid and its preventive measures. Similarly, 1,851 people were reached through role play, street drama and other community based activities there by disseminating covid awareness messages including the importance of Covid-19 vaccination. NRCS also operated a feedback collection mechanism from which 1,670 feedbacks were collected.  through various channels of feedback mechanism such as hotline 1130, Face to face and social media. From the Hotline (1130) service, 1,133 calls were received and responded. Queries responded were related to updates on the vaccination center and access for Covid-19 vaccine, booster dose vaccine including information on vaccination availability for children. Furthermore, 71 episodes of Radio programmes aired throughout the nation highlighting the status of covid, vaccine scenario and other pandemic and disasters. 

By and large, protection, gender and inclusion (PGI), logistic management and restoring family links and livelihood support are also key priorities of NRCS under the Covid-19 preparedness and response operation.  NRCS provided orientations on violence prevention, referral pathway, child protection and social inclusion to the schools, community and public places. Similarly, supporting dignity kits and providing unconditional cash support to covid affected families (of single women, pregnant women and disability) and supporting the security forces and hospitals with dead body management bags are also important priorities of NRCS.