Shifting the Vision from "Them & They" to "Us and We"

Audra Gill Blog 3

Audra Gill

2nd Year, MPH Candidate in Global Health Epidemiology

During our short time with the Grenada Red Cross Society (GRCS), our team was tasked with defining a model of engagement for the organization in an effort to improve community partnerships moving forward. More specifically, GRCS President Samantha Dickson shared that the team wanted to better understand the community’s views the organization, hopeful that one day Grenadians would be able to picture themselves as members of the GRCS family, and not just that the Grenada Red Cross worked independently in their communities.

Diving into the analysis, we had the opportunity of interviewing all members of Red Cross’s engagement - from public community members to long-term volunteers, to the Board of Directors. Through this analysis we were able to confirm that much of the public does use language to suggest an “us vs. them” mentality. While long-term volunteers and Board of Directors were more likely to include themselves when referring to Grenada Red Cross, it was evident that there was still a need for a more collective and collaborative mindset among stakeholders. Across the board, there seemed to be an expectation that GRCS needed to be more present and more involved, but rarely did individuals seem to reflect on how they could individually be more active members of the Red Cross.

As we get closer to completing our final model of engagement product, thinking about the above insights could be helpful but also tricky. On one hand, it is logical to recommend that the organization increases capacity and manpower prior to attempting to shift the public’s perception of the organization. However, on the other hand, focusing first on creating a more collective and collaborative environment could potentially increase the recruitment of quality volunteers and individuals wishing to get involved with the organization.

We may need to ponder this for a bit longer before finalizing our product, however, I’m glad we have been able to provide GRCS with data that not only suggests that the public want a closer and more consistent relationship with the organization, but the countless other themes identified by community partners as ways that stakeholders can be better engaged.

Reflecting on this experience, I am feeling incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to join the mission of such a well-respected organization in Grenada and look forward to seeing how future teams are able to continue in this work and investment in GRCS development.