HOTLINE - week of January 10, 2011

One year after the earthquake, CWS continues to help Haitians help themselves; CWS hails new U.S. Feed the Future initiative; Youth in Pakistan produce documentaries via web TV platform, with CWS collaboration; Southern Sudanese vote on independence.

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Haiti--These kids received CWS Blankets at a center that provides education and other services for children who have worked as domestics..
Photo: Chris Herlinger/CWS


At this one-year anniversary of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, Church World Service has helped tens of thousands of families.  

“The overall situation in Haiti remains very serious,” says CWS Haiti Earthquake Response Coordinator Aaron Tate. “However, we know that our projects are creating small communities of hope and strength that will grow and form an important part of the fabric of Haitian society now and in the future.”

“Church World Service has always been there for us,” says Polycarpe Joseph, head of long-time CWS partner Ecumenical Foundation for Peace and Justice.   FOPJ is providing services and education for vulnerable Haitian children, including the domestic servants known as restavek children, in a newly purchased and renovated center in Port-au-Prince.  Children at the center received CWS Blankets last week.

In the year since the earthquake, CWS has also provided cash assistance, case management and counseling for people with disabilities in the Port-au-Prince area.  With CWS grants some people with disabilities and others in the Port-au-Prince area have been able to restart businesses.

CWS also continues to help people living in tent camps--some with disabilities--to repair or reconstruct their damaged homes.  
CWS is also providing support for 13 agricultural cooperatives in Haiti’s Northwest and Artibonite departments, where 928 women have received micro-credit to start small businesses and 641 members have received agricultural micro-credit.  CWS support has also enabled 35 cooperative member families to expand their homes to accommodate quake survivors living with them.

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Feed the Future

John L. McCullough, executive director and CEO of Church World Service, has hailed the U.S. administration’s new Feed the Future initiative.  

"We are heartened by what appears to be a big and vital shift… with an emphasis on smallholder farmers, the leadership of women and listening to local communities in poor countries," says McCullough.  

At a January 4 consultation with faith-based development leaders--a collaboration of USAID, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships--Ertharin Cousin, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture, told the faith-based leaders, "We need to hear from you because you are in touch with even the smallest of the grassroots organizations."

In its own food and nutritional security programs and advocacy, CWS supports rural and urban food and nutritional security programs, with a dual approach that includes emergency nutrition interventions along with longer-term sustainable, diversified food production and livelihoods that enable families to purchase food.

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Young people across Pakistan are making their views and concerns known through Pakistan’s first web television platform, Maati TV.  Maati--Music Art and Technology Informatrix--is a project of Interactive Resource Center, in collaboration with Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan and South Asian Partnership Pakistan. The web channel provides young correspondents in 20 districts in Pakistan the opportunity to share social and development stories.  

The correspondents have been trained in documentary-making and have received cameras and editing equipment to produce short documentaries.

Maati TV is also producing a special segment focusing on flood-related rehabilitation work, with locals in flood-hit areas serving as watchdogs, according to IRC executive director Muhammad Waseem.    

CWS continues to assist people affected by the floods in Pakistan that began this past July.  IRC and CWS have also both worked in the area of peacebuilding with students in various schools.

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Polling began January 9 in a week-long referendum in southern Sudan.  Citizens are voting on whether to secede from the North. The voting brings to fruition a provision of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005.  

The ACT Alliance, of which CWS is a member, supports the right of the people of southern Sudan to have a referendum about whether they secede or stay united with the north, and takes no sides and no view on the outcome.  

As a precautionary measure, CWS has helped to pre-position emergency assistance, including special kits with a 2-month supply of water purification tablets, tarpaulins, mosquito nets, blankets, plastic mats, cooking and eating utensils, jerry cans, soap, basins for washing and machetes.

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