Volunteers from across Qatar Foundation (QF) have come together to support the Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) in a national initiative to raise awareness about hygiene practices and prevention measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Qatar Foundation Volunteers 1The volunteers can be found everyday in Lulu Express located inside Education City, providing support and sharing the most up to date and accurate information on COVID-19 with customers inside the shopping centre.

When the team at the QF Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental (HSSE) Office learned of the QRCS initiative, which places volunteers at major grocery stores around the country including Al Meera, Carrefour and Lulu Hypermarkets, they suggested that the volunteers at Lulu Express inside Education City be from the QF community.

Abdulaziz Murad of the QF HSSE office said they suggested that the Lulu Express be covered by volunteers from Qatar Foundation as the building is inside QF and therefore easily accessible to them, and many members of their community are interested to volunteer and help out.

We got volunteers from partner universities and the entities, and now, around 90% of volunteers are from the QF community; the remaining 10% are those who live near the area.

Since the beginning of April, the volunteers have been working in shifts that run from 11 am to 11 pm. They raise awareness on the importance of following state guidelines on physical distancing and practicing proper hygiene. They provide masks and discourage parents from bringing their children to shop, and also check the temperature of customers coming into the shopping centre.

In addition to raising awareness, the volunteers also help the elderly, who are at higher risk if they contract the virus, to expedite their shopping process and minimise the time spent inside the shopping centre. The volunteers also support the shopping centre by ensuring that staff and delivery personnel wear the appropriate protective gear when unloading shipments and stocking shelves.

Murad, who is a volunteer, said that it’s about giving back to the community. He said that it is everyone’s duty to work hand in hand and support each other, not only during these difficult times, but whenever support is needed and we are able to offer it.

By working together, we will be able to overcome any challenges we face and come out stronger.

The impact of the awareness campaign has already shown positive results, with a noticeable increase in the number of shoppers following physical distancing guidelines and wearing protective gear, according to Murad.

The shoppers are very responsive to our advice and the information we share with them, and they are cooperative in getting their temperature checked before they begin their shopping. They also ask a lot of good questions about things they’re not sure of that are related to prevention measures.

In addition to sharing information with shoppers, the volunteers also make sure they follow the strictest measures of self-protection. Volunteers are required to wear masks and gloves at all times, and to maintain a suitable distance from shoppers.

Masks and gloves must also be changed every two hours, and once the volunteers go home, they have to remove their shoes outside before entering their homes, and shower.

In addition to QF volunteers managing Lulu Express in Education City, QRCS also has volunteers helping at different locations across Qatar. QRCS continues to seek and provide opportunities for volunteers to help out at quarantine sites and other select locations.

Those interested to join and be part of their volunteering team can register at qrcs.org.qa