LWF Vice president: “The Lutheran family will not forget”
(LWI) – Chronic conflict, pervasive poverty, scant media attention and growing “donor fatigue. The challenges addressed by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) World Service country programs in Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Chad are typical of “forgotten” crisis situations.
A Regional Management Team Meeting in the Cameroonian capital of Yaoundé last week set out to strengthen LWF’s response to humanitarian needs in the region, despite the difficult context.
“LWF World Service has brought aid to people threatened with famine and displaced by war and natural disaster,” said Rev. Dr Jeannette Ada Epse Maina, LWF Vice President for Africa. She stressed that “everything was done at the limit of available means”, yet the work carried out could often not meet the actual needs. “Victims are suffering in silence”, she said – however “the Lutheran family will not forget them”.
Antoine Gerard, Representative of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), praised the fact that WS as a faith-based organization places people at the center of their work and intervenes not only during, but also before and after an acute crisis.
Share assets and expertise regionally
During the meeting, the leaders of LWF country programs explored the problems affecting the region as whole. They discussed how regional sharing of resources and expertise could leverage the effectiveness and outreach of LWF’s humanitarian action at the local level.
Concrete action points were agreed upon across practical areas such as recruitment, performance monitoring and learning, compliance, specialized programmatic expertise, and advocacy. “By sharing our assets and expertise across country programs we become stronger as a group”, remarked Philbert Habonimana, LWF Representative in Cameroon.
(Our) ‘Local to Global’ approach, has proven adept to focus global and national attention in a way that concretely helps alleviate suffering at the local level where such assistance is most needed.
Employ “Local to global” approach for more awareness raising
The country management teams also decided to put more emphasis on targeted advocacy to attract the attention of the international community. “LWF is particularly well-positioned for effective advocacy,” said Chey Mattner, LWF World Service Head of Operations. LWF is both locally rooted and well connected into some of the key hubs of international diplomacy, in Geneva and beyond.
This structure, explained Mattner, “allows us to deploy a ‘Local to Global’ approach, which has proven adept to focus global and national attention in a way that concretely helps alleviate suffering at the local level where such assistance is most needed.”