In 2007, the Burundi Red Cross created decentralized support groups called ‘Unités Collinaires’. Each ‘Unité Collinaire’ is made up of volunteers who have gradually come together to support vulnerable people in their community. Each volunteer gives 2 to 4 hours of their time per week. Today, the Burundi Red Cross has 2920 “Unités Collinaires” in all the hills of the country and a vast network of over 600,000 volunteers.
In order to maintain the commitment of 600,000 volunteers spread over 2920 “Hill Units” by 119 Community Secretaries, the Burundi Red Cross has developed Volunteer Performance and Support Centres (CEPVs). The CEPVs are designed as pools of volunteers engaged in building the technical capacity of other volunteers in order to make them useful for themselves and for the community.
Technical details & Operations
If the Hill Units are considered as the base and operational entry point of the Burundi Red Cross, the supervision and animation of more than 600,000 volunteers is a real challenge. The CEPVs are a response to the need to reach all the volunteers in their respective communities, to professionalize them and make them effective in their humanitarian mission, and to help them meet their daily needs in their households.
Considering the needs of the communities and the various services that the volunteers have to provide, it seemed useful to propose profiles that meet the requirements of true community resilience.
The team of different CEPVs facilitators should include the following expertise
- Expertise or basic knowledge of the RCRC Movement, in the dissemination and promotion of volunteerism
- Expertise or knowledge in emergency management
- Have expertise or knowledge in hygiene and sanitation
- Have expertise or knowledge in community health
- Expertise or knowledge in economic development/alternatives to revenue-based activities (expertise in identification, development and management of revenue-based activities)
- Expertise or knowledge in promoting Model Households
- Have expertise or knowledge in social cohesion
- Have expertise or knowledge in vulnerability and capacity assessment
- Have expertise or knowledge in first aid
Deployment & Impact
These CEPVs are operational in some places and the Burundi Red Cross aims to extend them everywhere to provide better support for volunteers. Each CEPV federates 4 to 5 hill units. To date, the Burundi Red Cross has 623 CEPVs spread over its 18 branches. The main activities carried out within the CEPVs are so far the implementation of Income Generating Initiatives (IGRs), capacity building, especially on the responsibilities of the CEPVs supervisors, etc.
The Burundi Red Cross intends to continue the implementation of these CEPVs through all branches. The important activity to be promoted will be to strengthen the capacities of members in trades useful for community development (such as training for bricklayers, carpentry, basketry, animal husbandry, etc.). The other theme to be explored will be related to social cohesion, the culture of peace and peaceful cohabitation.