Christopher, a soft-spoken Red Cross volunteer with a bright smile, is working to build safer communities in Uganda.
His main effort involves installing fuel-efficient cook stoves in homes that help prevent deforestation, reducing seasonal flooding. They also ensure healthier living conditions and reduce the risk of home fires. Christopher goes into homes and installs stoves, and also has trained more than 80 additional volunteers to do this work in their local communities.
Christopher also works to mobilize community disaster risk reduction groups, and now four groups – with a total of 120 members – conduct disaster drills and contribute to an emergency fund that provides interest-free loans to members during emergencies. Each member also agrees to install a fuel efficient cook stove and dig a pit latrine for their home, and commits not to cultivate nearby wetlands. These efforts have reduced disease, helped regulate the water table and decreased flooding.
Another creative idea that Christopher has implemented is monthly testing of their early warning systems in communities. The villages use bullhorns to notify people of impending disasters but they need to be tested on a regular basis. Christopher uses the bullhorns to remind children to go to school and make other community announcements. In this way, he is providing valuable public service messages and also ensuring equipment is operational and ready to use at a moment’s notice.
The Red Cross supported activities such as the trainings and the installation of cook stoves, while the communities pooled money to create emergency funds to improve their ability to recover from disasters more quickly. This combination of investment, community engagement and volunteer commitment is making villages safer and life better for residents.
And the programs and support by the American Red Cross have had an impact on Christopher too: “I am sure I will continue as a Red Cross volunteer until I die.”
Learn more about the people you’ve helped all over the world in our 2012 Global Impact Report – read the report!