CDEMA and Argentina White Helmets Commission discuss model volunteerism program for region
A high level White Helmets delegation visited the CDEMA headquarters recently to share their experiences on volunteerism in emergencies and disaster management and to discuss partnering with CDEMA to develop a model of volunteerism for the region.
The White Helmets Commission of Argentina is an institution that focuses on creating community disaster response teams through volunteerism. This model of volunteering is not limited to humanitarian assistance during emergencies but integrates disaster risk management and resilience building.
Ambassador Gabriel Ive, President of White Helmets Commission (WHC), who headed the delegation said that volunteers play a key role in the different phases of disaster risk management and their work within the community is important before, during and after a disaster. He also pointed out that volunteers range from the highly skilled specialist to the youthful, eighteen year old.
With 20 years of successfully recruiting, training and deploying volunteers, they have been promoting the White Helmets model in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently they are supporting Jamaica in strengthening the national program and have also received similar requests for assistance from other CDEMA Participating States.
Recognising that work has already commenced in some of our Participating States, Ronald Jackson, Executive Director said, “We think there is an opportunity for CDEMA, as the regional institution, to collaborate with the White Helmets on areas of mutual interest, both for CDEMA and the White Helmets, but, more importantly for the CDEMA member states. We think that this (meeting) may very well be the start of a partnership that will result in the development of a program towards supporting not one or two countries but all 18 of the CDEMA Participating States.”
Mr. Jackson also believes that there is scope for sharing experiences through the CDEMA Regional Training Centre programme, especially in the operational areas, such as first response teams, shelter management and damage assessment.
Ambassador Ive’s sentiments on the meeting paralleled Mr. Jackson’s. He said, “It was a pleasure to be here with the Executive Director of CDEMA and his team. We have been trying to promote the creation of a model volunteerism program in the region. We are very pleased with what we have been able to achieve on this visit. Although there are still some matters to be sorted out, I think that the next time we meet, we will be working together to develop a product that would be of utmost benefit to the region.”
The WHC functions through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina and is in charge of designing and implementing international humanitarian assistance. The delegation to CDEMA also included, Ambassador Limeres Diego of the Argentine Embassy in Barbados Mr. Guillerao Prol, General Directorate of South-South Cooperation and Mr. Alfredo Ladillinsky, Project Coordinator of WHC.