In a great land, prior to an extended clergy retreat, a diocesan disaster manager called together her three regional coordinators and imparted to them her wisdom. She entrusted the three of them with her disaster preparedness skills and tools, distributing them based on the size and capacity of the parishes in each region. Then she left on her trip.
The first coordinator kept his share of the manager’s talents in safekeeping; he felt that he should not squander away limited resources, and so didn’t use any of them. The second coordinator waited for emergencies to happen and was quick to respond to any disaster with her available talents. The third coordinator put the manager’s talents to immediate use. He began further training and equipping parishes in his region in preparation and response methods, while also utilizing the trained personnel in responding to disasters.
The Sudanese Development and Relief Agency (SUDRA) is an outreach arm of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and a longtime partner of Episcopal Relief & Development. SUDRA is currently in the middle of a multi-year initiative that strengthens the capacity of each of its 31 dioceses in core relief and development competencies.
I am currently in Juba participating in the second and final part of a training course, facilitated by SUDRA staff. This second phase includes curricula on proposal writing and reporting, financial management and program administration, while the first phase focused on disaster preparedness, mitigation and response. Trainings have been conducted in clusters of five to seven dioceses over the last 18 months.
The Church has made a significant commitment to devote resources towards this farsighted effort to equip churches in professional approaches, so that as the political situation continues to stabilize, they can take advantage of new resource opportunities. The energy level and enthusiasm of the participants have been remarkable.
After some time, the manager returned and asked all three coordinators to account for the distributed talents. In response to their reports, the manager was full of praise for the third coordinator. He took some risks in order to multiply the initial training investments through empowering staff, building systems and piloting programs in communities to apply what they had learned.
SUDRA is likewise making full use of its gifts to develop competencies throughout the dioceses. I am privileged to be able to contribute towards these efforts on behalf of Episcopal Relief & Development.
Nagulan Nesiah is a Program Officer with Episcopal Relief & Development.
Photo: Benjamin Sindan, Emergency Training Officer for SUDRA. Courtesy of the Episcopal Church of Sudan.