Community Engagement

Going a step beyond offering psycho-social support, how can communities also be gainfully engaged that enables a wider range of services and a cross collaboration of likeminded to stay active and contribute meaningfully during this crisis? How can the crises help in rethinking engagement of volunteers?

Austria is scaling up activities and increasing its volunteer base via the Online platform “Team Österreich”. The platform has been created by the Red Cross and the Austrian broadcasting station Ö3 in 2007 and has around 65.000 members all over the country. Now, TÖ is bringing together short time (spontaneous) volunteers and people or institutions in need of help. Over 3.000 people have registered in the last days offering their support for people in quarantine or the elderly. 200 “Team Österreich” members have so far supported the national telephone hotline. In addition, helpers are available and connected with elderly people/people in home quarantine to do the necessary shopping. Via the online platform also elderly people or people in quarantine can register and ask for help. Support will be organised and coordinated over the platform.

In Switzerland, The App Five up is available as a matching platform for volunteers and people in need of services facilitating neighbourhood services. Launched by the Swiss RC and SGG, the ap registered an unprecedented surge in use in the previous week (more than 1800 matches were facilitated, 40’000 times downloaded in late March).

In Denmark, the Danish Red Cross Youth (DRCY) has initiated ways to engage young people through #CoronaVenner (CoronaFriends) reaching out to children and youth in special need of social, structural and homework support in order to make their current life at home manageable. Corona Friends offers services through local activities and at national levels, 1:1 online relations or online groups sessions focusing on the individual child’s needs – whether it is a daily wakeup call, some structural support to get through the day, online social gathering through music, gaming, videos etc. or homework support/tutoring and will be matched with the most suitable volunteer.

The CoronaFriends initiative has received a donation from the Tuborg Foundation on 500.000 DKK.

And extending the types of support to young people amidst the crises, DRCY shared online video tutorials on how to easily edit videos and tell stories via mobile phones. This allows young people to document experiences and ideas on handling the coronavirus challenge, while developing a relevant skill such as videomaking and storytelling through participatory media.

Links to tutorials (in English):

April 3, 2020