Healing a Hurting Continent (Or Two…)

They came from 13 countries, representing over 40 relief and development programs across the Asia-Pacific region, to pray, listen, teach and act.

I have recently returned from a stimulating gathering of regional Episcopal Relief & Development partners, where full-time development workers met to build on our own individual experiences and strengthen our shared learning.   The consultation was graciously hosted by the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and held in the beautiful hill city of Baguio. Participating in the consultation were development workers from Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Korea, Myanmar, Papula New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, United States and Vanuatu. 

Just a day before we gathered, the national hero Manny Pacquiao had won a boxing victory. The mood in the country was very upbeat – and we were fortunate that this enthusiasm and excitement spilled over into our meeting.   The week-long consultation included participatory workshops on new development methodologies and ways of assessing impact; presentations on practical solutions to disaster risk reduction and financial diversification and, case studies on climate change mitigation projects and gender mainstreaming. The Church in the Philippines also arranged inspiring field trips to some of their long-running development programs in the area.

As this was the second time that Episcopal Relief & Development had convened a partners meeting, many in this group knew each other from before. Thus, this time together led to increased trust and greater opportunities for networking and collaboration. I left the meeting with renewed optimism about the invaluable impact of the work of our worldwide church partners and the exciting opportunities for intra-regional partnerships, south-to-south resource sharing and building a strong working alliance of Anglican churches/organizations in the region.

Nagulan Nesiah is an International Program Officer.