Red Cross volunteers ready to assist at polling stations across Zimbabwe

By Takemore Mazuruse, Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, and Hanna Butler, IFRC

As millions of Zimbabweans head to vote in the presidential election today, more than 1,000 local Red Cross volunteers trained in first aid will be positioned at polling stations and political rallies across the country.

At any big public event, whether it be a sports game, concert or public commemoration, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society is always there to provide free first aid assistance to anyone who needs help – and today’s election is no exception.

In the lead up to the election, Red Cross volunteers have been busy administering first aid at dozens of political rallies, during which they have treated 2,500 people, many for fainting and fatigue, a result of spending all day in a hot crowd.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society has a 40,000 strong network of active volunteers across the country. These are people who hold down day jobs or have families to care for, yet who are committed to helping others, regardless of who they are or why help is needed.

One of those volunteers is Last Tauya, who has been a volunteer for nearly 18 years. He says he joined the Red Cross as a teenager because he simply wanted to help others. “It’s encouraging to help someone free of charge and see the positive results of your help.”

Tauya, who will be coordinating first aid for a district in Harare, has been trained in first aid, disaster preparedness and disaster management. He has volunteered in many disaster situations, cholera outbreaks, and regularly assists with community activities and the training of students in first aid.

He says the Zimbabwe Red Cross is an important presence at any public event like the elections. “The Red Cross is well prepared and positioned to provide coverage given its impartial, neutral and independent nature and we offer our services free of charge.”