With more and more Kenyans embracing social media, the Kenya Red Cross (KRC) has discovered a new avenue of keeping the public informed and warned about disasters while at the same time gathering information about serious incidents in real-time.
KRC believes that social media is on an acceleration, and is already having plans to invest further to formalize the current online network, by developing a team of ‘iVolunteers’, who will be charged with providing support such as relaying information.
“We get alerts from volunteers via Twitter or Facebook, and with that, we are able to act within our mandate, including passing the information to other agencies,” one KRC staff member told the BBC.
KRC has a team that monitors the organization’s social media services 24 hours a day, who support the four people who are always on the toll-free KRC emergency hotline, where they still receive some emergency calls.
With their Twitter handle @KenyaRedCross, KRC has assisted the public during times of crises, including the recent public transport strike that caught many Kenyans unawares. KRC participated in helping commuters hitch rides to and from work in private cars.
“If you are driving, kindly pick up any kid in school uniform. They r rushin to do their KCPE. Rescue their future! #CarpoolKE” Tweeted KRC.
KRC says that social media relates to everything they do, and enhances their understanding of the impact of their work. The organization says it has received many positive feedbacks including ‘thanks and offers’ of assistance from the public.