A New Award: The Movement Family Links Medal

By Restoring Family Links Implementation Group – Working group on RFL promotion and communication

Dr Asha Abdulrahim, Secretary-General of the Kenya Red Cross Society, introducing the resolution on the Movement Family Links Medal at the Council of Delegates in June 2022.

Every day, Movement staff and volunteers help 12 people reconnect with their families. Every hour, they help to clarify the fate or whereabouts of a missing person. Every minute, they enable two families separated by conflict, violence, migration or disaster, to speak on the phone.[1]

Their efforts mean the world to each and every one of these families.

The Movement would like to pay tribute to the staff and volunteers behind these success stories, who go above and beyond what is expected of them to help separated families and people searching for missing loved ones. We want to acknowledge them personally, by name, and to recognize their outstanding service.

It is important that we recognize the work of our people on the ground, in daily contact with people searching for missing relatives. Many are members of communities affected by crisis and emergencies. These front-line volunteers and staff providing Restoring Family Links (RFL) services have distinguished themselves through their extraordinary perseverance, dedication and – at times – courage. For example, some may have been involved in providing RFL response services in one or more emergency operations.

We would also like the medal to celebrate innovative contributions to the field of RFL, creative solutions that have reshaped the way we deliver our services.

While it may not always be possible to find a missing person or establish their fate, as our staff and volunteers know only too well, it is vital not to underestimate the importance of the personal support they provide to families as they search for loved ones. This aspect of RFL work takes place behind the scenes and is often overlooked.

In June 2022, the Council of Delegates adopted the regulations for awarding the medal and gave the RFL Leadership Platform the task of selecting the award winners. The platform is composed of leaders from National Societies from all regions, as well as representatives from the leadership of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The RFL Leadership Platform will establish a Medal Committee to manage the nomination process. The committee will review submissions and propose, by consensus, nominees for approval by the RFL Leadership Platform. The committee will comprise at least two members who have experienced family separation or have a missing loved one.

The award ceremony will take place every two years – starting in 2024 – during the Council of Delegates, with no more than five medals awarded on each occasion. Members of the Movement will be called upon to submit nominations for this important and exciting new award.

The medal itself was produced by an artist, Ms Lile, whose brother went missing as a result of conflict.

We look forward to the next Council of Delegates in 2024.

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[1] Movement RFL statistics 2021

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