Deeba Shahnaz Akhter
Volunteering means giving services free of cost or Fee Sabeelillah (In the way of Allah).
The volunteers are driven by a desire to contribute to the well-being of their society, without expectation of material reward.
Their efforts promote civic values and social cohesion. Since 1985, International Volunteer Day (IVD) is being observed on 5th December every year to promote volunteerism, encourage governments to support volunteer efforts and recognize volunteer contributions at local, national and international level.
The campaign of IVD-2021 is “Volunteer now for our common future. In Pakistan, volunteers are associated with different national and international organizations like Rescue 1122, Pakistan Red Crescent, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides Association, UNV and VSO Pakistan etc.
Salute to all volunteers who contributed to make their communities more resilient against natural and human induced disasters.
The leading Emergency Service of South Asia commonly known as Rescue 1122 gives opportunity to all citizens to register themselves as Rescue Scout and become the member of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to assist in management of emergencies and promoting safety.
This initiative was taken by Director General Rescue Service Dr Rizwan Naseer to mobilize the power of humanity for developing disaster resilient and transform the communities in Pakistan through an effective and pragmatic involvement of volunteers.
So far over 5000 CERTs have been established in all Union Councils of Punjab. Rescue Service organizes National volunteer CERTs Challenge every year to assess, analysis disaster preparedness at local level and acknowledge volunteer teams.
5th National Volunteer CERTs Challenge held at Emergency Services Academy Lahore, where 45 volunteer teams across country have been provided equal opportunity to exhibit disaster response skills in the competition.
The winner Volunteer CERT of inter UCs competition participated as district representative volunteer team in the National Challenge.
The designated team of evaluators from Academy evaluated all teams on Community Action for Disaster Response Skills (CADRE) Skills. Congratulations to all volunteer teams participated in National CERT Challenge and special appreciation for top three Winning districts.
Many congrats to their DEOs and RSOs and teams who worked hard to achieve this recognition but all teams performed well so no need to be discouraged, who didn’t get position.
Remember! Volunteer efforts never get wasted, as it develops trust among the society, develop strong linkages between groups, enhance harmony and limits the distance.
I pay rich tribute to all volunteers for their continuous motivation valuable contribution being responsible citizen of their community. Salute to all Volunteers.
In order to train youth and make them socially responsible, Government of Punjab took initiative of Rescue Cadet Corps (RCC) in line with NCC.
Keeping in view the COVID-19, RESCUE CADET CORPS (RCC) APP has been launched to digitalize all volunteer data and provide them opportunity for online registration and training.
This app would further help in coordination, deployment of volunteers in case of emergency and disaster.
Through this app, volunteers l can join RCC by registration as Rescue Scout and get online training on five basic modules of Community Safety Training Course.
These modules include first aid, fire safety, road safety, healthy and clean Pakistan and clean environment.
The successful participants shall be engaged at nearest Community Rescue Stations for hands on practice of life saving skills and further deployment for safety promotion activities.
Furthermore, advance trainings shall also be organized by Rescue Service free of cost to enhance their preparedness, response and prevention skills.
All volunteers must know that Rescue Stations had been declared as Community Rescue Stations to provide CERTs an opportunity to utilize Rescue infrastructure across Punjab for work voluntarily with Emergency Service and to transform their communities.
The Rescue Scouts are performing their duties in emergency response, awareness raising, imparting training and conducting safety surveys after getting essential emergency and disaster management trainings from certified rescue trainers.
The purpose of all these activities is to provide a platform to Rescue Scouts at Government level and bridge up the gap between government and communities as District Emergency Officer of any district is Secretary of District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and he can also present communities’ issues in District Emergency Board (DEB) meeting headed by concerned Deputy Commissioner of the district. In this way the issues raised by CERT never go un addressed.
We value our volunteers and highly acknowledges their contribution. During COVID-19 volunteers assisted Rescue Service for around 50,000 Ration Pack distribution to deserving families and awareness raising.
We appreciate all of them. I would like to acknowledge the support of VSO Pakistan for capacity building of CERTs with kits, training of Rescue Officers on WASH program during COVID-19 and organizing CERTs challenge.
Boy Scouts and Girl Guides movement is being revived by Ch Muhammad Sarwar Honorable Governor Punjab and Mrs Parveen Sarwar President Punjab Girl Guides Association, whereas Pakistan Red Cross also have huge network of volunteers linked with international network.
All such volunteer forums need to work together and put joint efforts to transform their respective communities for better living of our future generations.
All professionals like doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers and experts of different fields must volunteer their services as professionals can create a visible difference for developing healthy safe resilient communities in Pakistan.