The NCP epidemic starting in Wuhan, Hubei tests not only the response capability of the country but also the cooperation ability of philanthropic organizations and social strengths in their growing stage.
In response to the central government's mobilization and call after the outbreak, philanthropic organizations and social strengths across the nation have been taking action with continuous relief supplies to Hubei. How to further play the role of philanthropic and commonweal organizations effectively in fighting against the epidemic? THE PAPER interviewed Huang Haoming, Acting Dean of CGPI, on this issue.
Grassroots social organizations should play their role
THE PAPER: After the outbreak, social strengths across the nation have been transporting relief supplies to Hubei. Generally speaking, what factors will affect the distribution efficiency of social relief supplies?
Huang Haoming: I think we can take the following aspects into consideration.
First is whether the local area has experience in participating in major public health emergencies, for example, whether the leaders of philanthropic organizations have made necessary psychological preparations; of course, experience is fundamental.
Second is whether the local philanthropic organizations have smooth cooperation mechanism with the government, this is what we usually call partnership.
Next is whether the philanthropic organizations officially designated by the government have a model of cooperation with other professional social organizations, for example: the relationship between rights and obligations of cooperative philanthropic organizations and other professional social organizations.
Last but not least, a key question is whether the local philanthropic organizations have professional and high-level management talents.
THE PAPER: What role do you think philanthropic organizations and other social strengths should play in the assistance system?
Huang Haoming: As we know, there are many uncertainties in major public emergencies, and there are also many uncertainties in philanthropic organizations’ participation. Their role and positioning are also difficult points. Therefore, I think that philanthropic organizations and other social strengths should play their role in four aspects when responding to major public emergencies.
First, they should follow the unified deployment of the government and give full play to their advantages in work, mainly in fund raising, professional services of social workers, and psychological counseling for community members.
Secondly, philanthropic organizations should work in accordance with laws and regulations such as complying with Donation Law, Charity Law and other laws and regulations as well as respecting donation willingness.
The most important thing is that philanthropic organizations need to work in accordance with their operation rules, so as to ensure the effectiveness of assistance. For example, we should not only pay attention to funds, but more importantly, we should know: can the donation funds be implemented? Can the donated materials be delivered to the receivers and work? Of course, our concern also includes how to cooperate with professional infectious disease prevention societies and associations to give full play to their advantages.
THE PAPER: How will the officially designated philanthropic organizations better play their role?
Huang Haoming: As an officially designated philanthropic organization, I think we should make plans, use a systematic thinking model to resolve problems, and entrust social strengths to complete the different tasks in this special period.
First of all, the role of various grassroots social organizations should be given full play, distribution of supplies and other work should be entrusted to the grassroots for implementation, and equal treatment to grassroots social organizations is also the key to successful cooperation.
Secondly, we should cooperate with professional infectious disease prevention associations and societies to give play to their professional advantages. For example, we should appropriately recruit volunteer teams with certain medical background to cooperate with professional hospitals, including giving play to the advantages of professional medical social workers to help patients and their families with professional psychological counseling and relief.
Finally, we should also give play to the power of professional assistance mechanism like professional assistance agencies such as Blue Sky Rescue, Ram Union, One Foundation, Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, and the Amity Foundation.
Supplement without taking over
THE PAPER: How do you think a more scientific and orderly cooperation mechanism should be formed between the government, enterprises, philanthropic organizations, volunteers, and the public?
Huang Haoming: In the assistance process of major public health emergencies, different parties have different responsibilities and functions. It is necessary to establish a seven-in-one coordination mechanism between government, hospital, enterprises, philanthropic organizations, volunteers, media, and the public. The government takes the main responsibility, and other social strengths need to work under unified deployment of the government. At the same time, the government needs to give play to the roles of various parties and should never treat philanthropic organizations as servants. The government needs to respect philanthropic organizations in order to achieve synergy and achieve good results; particularly, it should establish an open and transparent operating mechanism of equal cooperation, and entrust different social strengths for implementation, support and supervision.
THE PAPER: How to improve social strengths’ performance of participation in emergency relief in future?
Huang Haoming: In my opinion, improving social strengths’ performance of participation in emergency relief is a question that all the Chinese people need to think about. There are already 860,000 social organizations across the country while very few professional organizations are truly capable to participate in emergency relief.
The NCP outbreak is a crisis to the Chinese people, it also provides an important opportunity for philanthropic organizations and other social strengths to participate in responding to public emergencies. We need to summarize our experience, and CGPI will organize students, cooperation partners, and other philanthropic organizations to sum up experiences after the end of this outbreak.
For how to do it in the future, I think we can start from the following three aspects: first, the comprehensive coordination ability of philanthropic organizations, including the ability to mobilize social resources - not only raising funds but also synergy with cooperative institutions; second, professional service ability including the complementary advantages of professional institutions such as medical social workers and professional volunteer teams as well as effective community services; and third, professional management talents’ adaptability to changes - talent training is the key.
THE PAPER: What thoughts and opportunities do you think this epidemic provides for philanthropic organizations’ future self-reform?
Huang Haoming: This epidemic is a good opportunity for philanthropic organizations’ future self-reform. I feel that there are six aspects to consider. First, philanthropic organizations need to regulate their operation, and we need to respect their operation rules including the responsibility implementation of organizational governance; secondly, we need to strengthen the capacity building of philanthropic organizations, including their governance, execution and supervision capabilities; thirdly, we need to cultivate a batch of professional management teams as talent training is fundamental for the development of philanthropic organizations, we need to pay attention to the consciousness of overall situation, responsibility and professional quality of talents; fourthly, we need to establish reliable partnership mechanism to give play to the role of other social organizations as philanthropic organizations are not almighty and need to maintain long-term interaction and support with grassroots social organizations, professional social organizations, and professional voluntary organizations so as to form true social cooperation and synergy; fifthly, we need to actively promote international cooperation and learn useful experience in response to major public emergencies from foreign philanthropic organizations, including standardized operation, scientific management, professional guidance, and effective response, etc.; and sixthly, we need to supplement without taking over to be in place at a critical time, straighten out the relationship with the authorities in responsibility, power, and obligation, and give play to philanthropic organizations’ professional advantages to enhance the social impact of philanthropic organizations.