Role of Community Elder in Emergency Project
In short term emergency project where time is short and assistance is critical, a humanitarian organization can rely upon community elder for SMART (Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant and Time bound) implementation of the project, provided; that the community elder is sensibly selected. Previous experience of the community elder with a community based organization makes him/her more suitable person as he/she knows the know-how of community work.
JEN staffs being new in the district Muzaffargarh to assist flood affected people were curious of implementing emergency project in a very short time. JEN staffs were lucky to come across some dedicated community elders during needs assessment. One of them was Mr. Mithoo (Sweet person in the local language). In their first contact with community, JEN staffs noticed some guts in Mr. Mithoo such as volunteerism, dedication and previous experience with community based organizations. Mr. Mithoo introduced JEN staff to the community. He facilitated a community meeting for JEN. He well-understood JEN’s selection criteria of beneficiaries and communicated it to his native villagers in their local language Saraiki.
Mr. Mithoo guided JEN staffs to the affected people houses and helped register beneficiaries according to selection criteria. He started to play a role of bridge between community and JEN. He helped JEN staffs in token distribution and informing the beneficiaries of distribution schedule. He came to distribution point with beneficiaries and facilitated them. He did not stop here and arranged vehicle to take women and elderly beneficiaries along with their NFIs safely back to their homes. Showing his sense of responsibility, he called JEN staff in the evening that all beneficiaries from his village have safely reached to their homes. Eventually, it was raining when beneficiaries from his village received non-food items.
Mr. Mithoo called JEN staff on mobile “We have safely reached our homes. Just opened non-food items and started using it. It is very cold here and the quilts have no equal value for anything in this winter season. We are very happy and pray for JEN staffs”.
Mr. Mithoo sometimes calls JEN staff in Islamabad on mobile phone even after the project completion. He asks about well-being of JEN staffs and as usual offers his cooperation.
JEN staffs are sure that in case of any emergency in the same area again, Mr Mithoo will be using his skills of coordination and volunteerism to support both organization and the beneficiaries. JEN recommended Mr. Mithoo to the local district authorities who are providing support during disasters.
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