What does it takes to be a PEACH Volunteer

Four Thousand is a big number but this is the number of volunteers who will be trained by Caritas India from 34 dioceses in 12 states and they will be called PEACH volunteers. These volunteers include field based diocesan volunteers, volunteers from Red Cross and other local NGO’s who will act during emergency as per the international standards.

Caritas India organized series of training program for these volunteers at Bettiah, Krishanagar and Chennai with the support of Caritas Asia under European Asian Partnership. They were taught to use Sphere Book, Protection principle, core humanitarian standard, Complaint mechanism and & staff performance, Caritas India emergency tool kit followed with social care support.

These training programmes helped the Humanitarian volunteers to know the minimum standard on technical aspect such as water, food security & nutrition, shelter, hygiene promotion, non-food items and health action. Secondly, it helped the acting group to understand the psycho-social aspect of disaster survivors during the aid services.

A video on coordination was screened during the training and the need of skilled humanitarian volunteer was explained to the participants.

The training also included technical know-how of Sphere handbook on the aspects of Humanitarian Charter, Protection Principles, Core Standard and Minimum standards during disasters.

Humanitarian charter deals with the aspects of right to life with dignity, right to receive humanitarian aid and right to protection and security which are essential during emergency response. Much focus was given on the aid workers commitment towards disaster survivors.

The principle of protection upholds non-discrimination and ensuring coordination and networking among core humanitarian groups to avoid duplicity for optimum utilization of resources during emergency.

Participants were explained to set priorities under emergency condition through a group activity by giving two flood affected village cases. They were asked to set their priorities based on the vulnerability and capacity of the affected community as per the humanitarian charter.

Humanitarian charter states that action taken by any aid organisation or worker should be people centered and it should be in coordination and collaboration with other players. It also states that with proper assessment and implementation the response should be community responsive design where community can adopt and participate.

Trainers clarified the doubts of the volunteers and discussed the inter relation between key action, indicator and guidance note. Discussion also focused on preparedness, responsibilities and quick response during emergency.

Participants were also introduced with the Caritas India tool kit and functioning of Caritas Internationalis.

Psycho-social being the emerging priority during emergencies, capacity building of volunteers in managing health care support was also emphasized during the training. It promotes and strengthen community safety and resilience through the capacity development.

Ms. Hardeep Kaur, program officer of Caritas India and resource person for psychosocial session shared about bridging gaps in post emergency period and how to overcome consequences of trauma after disaster. She also outlines the need for the psycho-social care, concept of loss and coping and principle of working with vulnerable group women, old age & children.

Trainer shared the qualities of a caregiver while acting /performing in emergency and emergency like situation. Drawing attention on the psycho-social support to the disaster affected, she presented the overview of the type of disaster around the region, the economic impact, no. of people displaced, she pointed out that psycho-social impact are often unclear and support remains inadequate. Therefore, it is imperative to train community on the psycho-social care support.