Red Cross embraces challenges
Updated: 2012-09-10 02:09
By SHAN JUAN (China Daily)
The Red Cross Society of China is coordinating with an international oversight body as it builds a modern, humanitarian organization and bids farewell to the turbulence of its recent past.
The society came under fire last year after a young woman, claiming to be a society official, wrote a micro blog boasting about her lavish lifestyle and flaunting her wealth. It caused a huge public backlash.
“Despite the fact that it was pure fantasy, the society’s image suffered. But it also showed that we needed reform to become more open and transparent,” Zhao Baige, executive vice-president of the society, said at a forum on Saturday attended by Red Cross societies in the Asia-Pacific region.
The society is working with the oversight group, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to achieve globally recognized certification, Zhao said.
The Organizational Capacity and Assessment Certification sets standards to evaluate Red Cross societies.
“It helps us know ourselves better and make targeted improvements,” Zhao told China Daily.
Self-development, work implementation, resource mobilization and supervision, will all be under scrutiny and will be expected to meet certain standards, according to Tadateru Konoe, federation president.
China’s growing global clout means that the public have a right to expect the best from the society, he said.
The society set an excellent example by coordinating with the federation, Zhao said.
To date, only 21 of the 187 global Red Cross societies worldwide have completed the certification process and Konoe praised China for its openness.
“It’s like operating on yourself to heal your own defects and this takes courage,” Zhao said.
The society is at the first stage of the certification process. This involves an internal evaluation that is carried out domestically by specialists, society decision makers and some branch leaders.
Internal governance, organizational independence, leadership capacity, volunteer mobilization, and public supervision need to be substantially improved to meet today’s challenges, Zhao said.
These are also in line with the current reform measures, she said.
Konoe agreed, adding that “great adaptability is an important asset for strong Red Cross societies”.
Many leaders of national societies were promoted from the lower ranks.
“I myself also started as a volunteer,” Konoe said.
After the self-evaluation phase, the society will launch a peer review. This will see the society evaluated by other national societies in the global Red Cross family.
The whole process will take at least two years.
“We may release a global ranking of Red Cross national societies,” Konoe said.
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