Alexandra Murdoch

Our former interim international writer Alex reported on our work overseas.

Posts by Alexandra Murdoch:

Clean water changes lives in Zimbabwe


Sissylia Mhaka

Sissylia Mhaka’s feet know the way to the river very well. Even at 5am she can make her way there and back, carrying a 20-litre container of water on her head. The journey takes almost three hours and sometimes she does it twice a day.

She is not alone – most households in the region have to travel for between two and six hours to reach a safe water point. The community is prone to outbreaks of cholera, malaria and diarrhoeal diseases.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross, with support from the British Red Cross, is working with Sissylia’s community to find out what would make the biggest difference to their daily lives.


Children in conflict: a lost generation?

Children walk hand in hand in Syria

© SARC – Homs

Children repeatedly bear the brunt of war. According to the UN, 6.8 million people in Syria require urgent humanitarian assistance and half of them are children.

Globally, children in conflict are often forced to take part in horrifying acts of violence and witness attacks on their villages and loved ones. 

“It is our responsibility to act now and stop violations against children,” said Leila Zerrougui, UN under-secretary general and special representative on children and armed conflict, told the British Red Cross on a recent visit.  More

The Burundi Red Cross – a lifeline to the future


This is a guest blog by Sir Nicholas Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross, who recently visited the Burundi Red Cross.  

© Nicholas Young/ BRC

Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. But with a population only slightly bigger than Wales, many vulnerable communities are receiving support from the 300,000 Red Cross volunteers working across the country.

During my two day visit, I saw Red Cross volunteers distributing home-grown food to destitute neighbours, stockpiling food for emergencies, raising money from handmade charcoal briquettes, constructing a dam, planting seeds and promoting healthcare and first aid.

None of this is magic. It takes great leadership, a hard working team and a strong sense of commitment. The volunteers aren’t working for the Red Cross, they’re working for their neighbours through the Red Cross – and there is a difference. More

How I became an international aid worker: Michael Kemsley


© Michael Kemsley

Michael Kemsley tells us about the British Red Cross Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and why you need a thick skin.

1. What does your job involve?

Being a member of the ERU, I must be ready to respond to a global disaster at any given moment. When an emergency occurs, I work as part of a team to build latrines, showers and drainage systems so that people have access to basic hygiene facilities in the midst of a disaster zone. More

Dadaab refugee camp: Waiting to go home


This is a guest blog by Sir Nicholas Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross, who recently visited the Red Cross programme at Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.

Red Cross worker at Dadaab camp


Dadaab refugee camp is said to be the largest in the world. With an estimated population of 500,000 people, no one can say exactly how many people live here – it changes every day. But many have been here for 20 years, and others have known no other home.

Today, this is a lawless, windswept place. Rows of tattered tents cower behind razor wire fences, in an attempt to shelter families from the burn of the sun and the harsh world outside.  More

Making a living on the frontline: Azerbaijan

Ramil and Narmina

© Anna Hirsch-Holland/BRC

With the G8 summit taking place this week and the government tasked with halving the number of people suffering with hunger by 2015, I am looking at how the British Red Cross is working with partners to tackle some of the underlying causes of poverty and hunger in three countries.

This week, the focus is on Azerbaijan – a country where continued hostilities make it difficult for people living in the conflict affected areas to meet their family’s basic needs. More

The hunger issue: Communities work together in Zimbabwe

Women water crops in community garden


Almost a billion people go hungry every day and 165 million children under five suffer from malnutrition – a startling fact when you consider there is enough food in the world to feed everyone.

In the lead up to the G8 summit, where eight of the world’s leaders will be discussing how to tackle hunger on a global scale, I have been looking at the British Red Cross’ response to this complex issue. Last week I focused on the link between HIV and hunger in Lesotho. This week I am looking at how communities are working together to overcome food insecurity in Zimbabwe. More

Violence against women – a global crisis

Women's group art project


“No one listens to a woman,” said Zarina when she approached the British Red Cross last year. Sobering words to hear in the year 2013, but years of abuse at the hands of her husband, and death threats from his politically connected family, meant Zarina could never feel safe in her home country of Pakistan.

Zarina isn’t alone in her experiences or in her desire to speak out about them. Acts of violence against women aged 15-44 are the cause of more death and disability worldwide than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. And now the world is talking about this in a way that it hasn’t before. More