Working with the Costa Rican Red Cross to help animals
We concluded a three-day training workshop on protecting animals in disasters for 25 members of the Costa Rican Red Cross at their headquarters in San José during the first week of march.
This training is part of our ongoing cooperation with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), to move them to include animals in their disaster preparedness and response plans.
It was so rewarding to collaborate with this talented group of experts, who save lives every day. Particularly when following our training they shared their desire to protect animals and better understood the value and role of animals in communities.
t was so rewarding to collaborate with this talented group of experts, who save lives every day. Particularly when following our training they shared their desire to protect animals and better understood the value and role of animals in communities.
Ezequiel Gonzalez, from the Red Cross National Disaster Risk Management Programme, said: "By working with animals, we are ensuring that the rehabilitation and reconstruction of these communities is more efficient, agile and that it will take less time."
The Red Cross participants represented a diverse range of specialists, from members who worked in operations, directly with youth, on climate change and to volunteers. Some of our participants came from very remote locations and had to get up at 2am just to make it on time on our first day, but you'd never know it from their commitment and enthusiastic participation.
They not only contributed actively to all the activities we planned but have already started identifying how to take what they learned and apply it to their own work. For example, after the first day, a few attendees had a meeting on disaster relief shelters and discussed where they would place animals.
A worthwhile three days
Our three-day training covered topics including animal welfare, how to include animals in disaster risk reduction activities with communities and effective management of animals during response operations (eg biosecurity, evacuation). This was followed by a practical session on animal management, using real animals from the Veterinary Faculty. We were pleased with the balance of group, theory and practical work.
Some of the participants admitted they initially did not understand the relationship between animals and the work they do but after learning about animals, their needs and how the communities depend on them, they now cannot imagine doing their work without considering them.