Part of effecting truly sustainable community development is the commitment of the local communities to the project. Without this, a community-development project looks like any other charity and may not be well received by the local community. Without investment in a project from the local community, the project may soon be another wasted source of funds. However if the community is committed in making the project a reality, chances are they will be committed to its continued and long lasting livelihood.
Members of communities in West Pokot County, Kenya are doing just that. They have realized that it is up to them to take the initiative to get these projects off the ground. This is extremely encouraging and is leading to successful programs in both Self Help groups and Food Security programs in the area. Men and Women, and even neighboring groups who have before been in conflict have come together, realizing the importance of these projects for the livelihood of their respective families and communities.
It is really exciting to see that just as Covenant World Relief has partners with us, we also get to partner directly with the communities on projects. Not only that but these communities are also partnering with each other, promoting peace and sustainability that would never be possible without their involvement.
Covenant Social Services, working in the Bihar region of India, is seeking to be part of long lasting development in multiple aspects of the local communities. This is done through a variety of ways such as providing micro-loans, education, practical training, and partnerships with local authorities. Committed specifically to those who are in the greatest need in these communities CSS prioritizes single mothers and their children but also partners with other members of the community.
Training and equipping women and children with job skills and micro-loans is a huge part of bringing about real community development and transformation in these poor and often male-dominated areas. Recently, 25 women have completed their sewing training with 8 already taking orders from their neighbors. These women become skilled in making and repairing clothing which will lead to a more stable income for themselves and their family. Continue Reading »
Medical Teams International (MTI) seeks to provide health care and medical attention to the world’s most marginalized while also proclaiming the good news of the Gospel. Involved in countries around the world at different times, a consistent focus has been the island country of Haiti. Since a 7.0 earthquake that rocked the country in 2010, Haiti has continued in a downward spiral with much of its population not receiving the medical attention they so desperately need. CWR has the privilege to partner alongside MTI in their Haiti Advantage Prosthetics Program which provides the needed equipment, therapy, and support to the 6,000-8,000 people who are estimated to have lost limbs as a result of the 2010 earthquake. One remarkable story is that of Rennesse, a 20 year old man who became paralyzed in his legs 8 years ago due to fever and disease. After finding MTI’s program, Rennesse was able to get the help he needed and can now live a more independent life. Rennesse is grateful to MTI and Covenant World Relief and is now able to attend college as a result of the program.
Partnering with the Evangelical Covenant Church of South Sudan, Covenant World Relief is bringing relief to hundreds, if not thousands of children who have become orphaned due to the violence in South Sudan. It is the mission of CWR to bring aid and relief to the most vulnerable and in this case that means the orphaned children of South Sudan, many of whom are infected with HIV or other diseases and suffering because of the lack of infrastructure. Providing necessities such as medicine, food, and shelter is only a part of the work. The Vulnerable Orphaned Children project also aims to provide an education for these refugee and internally displaced children. Paying for their education means so much more, because it gives them a message of hope. Providing the basic necessities is important but paying for them to go to school says: “you have a future, you can be something, we are invested in who you are going to be.” This message of hope affirms these children and shows the true love of the Gospel. This love not only reaches out to present physical needs but also speaks to emotional needs. The gospel is about bringing true hope, not just survival, to all people.
We just received an update from Roy and Aleta Danforth, Covenant Missionaries in the Central African Republic, on our project providing disaster relief there.
As rebel groups and Central African Republic national government authorities unsuccessfully try to work out their power struggle the local people that have been the victims in this whole crisis continue to suffer. Across the border in Cameroon, thousands of Fulani and Muslim refugees continue to live in camps, where sickness, malnutrition, and hunger plague the people, despite the efforts of the UNHCR and other relief groups. In addition, Gbaya people from our northern area also had to flee from Islamic extremists that burned their villages and killed many families. The result of all this bloodshed and destruction has been intense hatred between certain Muslims and non-Muslims. Finally, the international community has sent MISCA (international security) troops to guard the major cities against any more violence, and this has helped some. Our town of Gamboula is now under the protective care of 70 of these troops and we have a tenuous peace as we have had since the beginning of this conflict, but the hatred and fear of “the enemy” is still grounded in many people’s hearts. Continue Reading »