by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Grenada Red Cross Society (GRCS) was established in Grenada 1955
- University of Michigan students developed a SWOT analysis
- Lack of funding among many threats to GRCS operations
Students from the University of Michigan School of Public Health visited Grenada for one week, and as part of their requirement to attain their Masters in Public Health (MPH), were tasked to develop a strategic plan for the Grenada Red Cross Society (GRCS).
This involved the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data collection through various communities to develop a SWOT analysis detailing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in order to understand the organisation’s core competencies and to develop ways to mitigate its Weaknesses and Threats that will eventually drive informed decisions.
Among Strengths listed for the organisation include:
- Experts of First Aid
- Well-known brand/reputation
- Passionate and capable volunteers
- Volunteer training is of a high quality
- Public training is of high quality
- Grenada Red Cross is open to change and flexible.
However, listed at the top of the Weaknesses identified is the apparent lack of communication at multiple levels, lack of funding diversity, need for consistent staffing, lack of transparency and lack of volunteer management.
Austin Whitted, pursuing a master’s degree in Genetic Counselling and Health Behavior and Health Education; Caleb Ward and Anna Salomonsson both pursuing a master’s degree in Global Health Epidemiology, conducted the SWOT analysis. The team interviewed volunteers and agencies that partner with the GRCS and this information will provide a roadmap to assist in the GRCS’s strategic planning going forward.
President of the Grenada Red Cross Society, Samantha Dickson, identified lack of available funding as among many threats to the operations of the Red Cross. “Grenada Red Cross is heavily funded by project funds that are supported through the International Federation of Red Cross or through bilateral donors. What we find happening is that we are very good during the project lifecycle and when the project comes to an end staff goes and capacity goes with it and so we are trying to look beyond that to be innovative so that we can have more long-term sustainable financing especially to have the core functions of the Red Cross going.”
The dwindling number of volunteers is another concern for the GRCS. Despite a robust programme of recruiting youth volunteers as early as 7 years to become members of the organisation, there seems to be a disconnect when they graduate from primary into secondary school. “We don’t have too many issues in the youth programme, but we started having the gaps when they leave primary schools into the secondary schools because not all secondary schools would have a Red Cross link,” she said.
Dickson noted there is an opportunity to improve that connection and reengage volunteers who leave secondary school and go into the world of work. The issue of volunteer management must be also be addressed by the GRCS. “We have to start looking at beefing up our volunteer management system. A system that must be robust to attract, train, retain, motivate and award volunteers so that at the end of the day through the lifespan, we would have youth becoming volunteers and then turning into adults even retirees, still being active members of the Grenada Red Cross,” said Dickson.
Ward believes the GRCS has a wonderful opportunity to further expand on its already well-known brand by boosting its internal and external communications for the public to become more aware of its work. “From the weaknesses, we found that communication with the volunteer, staff and the public is crucial. Just letting the public know what sort of services you offer because they are going to be well-received when people are aware of them. Another opportunity to take advantage of would be the coronavirus and climate change because a lot of people are seeking information on these topics especially at this time so the Grenada Red Cross needs to become the face of that.”
The Grenada Red Cross Society is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation established in Grenada 1955. It is led by volunteers who not only provide humanitarian aid to assist in disaster relief efforts, but helps prepare people to prevent, prepare or respond to both manmade and natural disasters. The Grenada Red Cross Society is part of 16 national societies within the Caribbean and is one of 186 National Societies that make up the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
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