By Petronella Sibeene
Newly appointed Secretary General of the Namibia Red Cross Tabita Dorkus Kapembe-Haiduwa says there is need for the organisation to actively involve local communities in its programmes.
She says there are few Namibians who are aware of the activities carried out by the organisation and because of that, there are few community or local volunteers involved in the organisation’s activities.
“Other national societies have youth programmes. We want to bring the Namibia Red Cross to the public so that whoever wishes to participate in our activities can do so,” she said.
The main target in this quest will be the youth who can easily channel their fraternal energies, while performing an essential service in their communities.
She describes the relationship between the Namibia Red Cross and its partners, including the Namibian Government, as sound. However, public participation remains very low.
Once the public is involved, the secretary general believes, Namibians will assist in resource mobilisation needed for disaster response eventualities.
“Youths should be involved in humanitarian issues because then they would understand the situation in the country and take ownership of such situations,” she added.
The unemployment rate in the country stands at about 37 percent and according to Kapembe-Haiduwa, these jobless youths could be kept busy as volunteers at the Red Cross and in the process acquire some skills.
For the employed, she feels they can also render their professional services at different levels.
“It is truly fulfilling if you engage in such humanitarian activities,” she said.
Kapembe-Haiduwa told New Era that the Namibia Red Cross is prepared for any eventualities.
Currently, some of the organisation’s members are in the Caprivi Region assessing the water situation and other possible humanitarian crises that might result from heavy rains.
She added that a report will soon be compiled and together with its partners such as the Emergency Management Unit (EMU) in the office of the Prime Minister, the Red Cross will take further measures.
Meanwhile, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies last week launched an emergency preliminary appeal for approximately N$43.4 million (8 million Swiss francs) to support Red Cross societies in Southern Africa to respond to a potentially disastrous flood crisis in the region.
Kapembe-Haiduwa started working with the Namibia Red Cross on January 2, 2008. She took over from Razia Essack-Kauaria who was acrimoniously fired from the job.
She graduated from the University of Namibia with a Diploma in Nursing in 1991.
She holds a Bachelor of Commerce obtained from the University of Namibia in 2002 and is currently doing her Masters in Public Health with the University of South Africa.
She started her career as a Registered Nurse at Oshakati State Hospital in 1992 and was later transferred to Katutura State Hospital as a Senior Registered Nurse.
In 2002, Kapembe-Haiduwa was appointed Vocational Counselling and Testing (VTC) Project Coordinator at the Social Marketing Association (SMA).
Before joining the Namibia Red Cross Society, she held the position of Programme Manager at Social Marketing Association’s Military Action Prevention Program (MAPP).
The Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) reported that in order to continue the Namibia Red Cross’ legacy of delivering humanitarian assistance effectively, Kapembe-Haiduwa said: “I have one strategy, I will give my people 100 percent. At the end of the day, it is up to them to maintain or deduct from that 100 percent.
“My working ethic is very simple – honesty is critical, mutual trust, and a lot of dedication and hard work.”