Sunday, August 5, 2012


  We have spent several weeks preparing for a workshop sponsored by LDS Charities. July is Calamities Preparedness Month in the Philippines. For the first time we are sponsoring a program in which NGOs and Government Organizations can come and participate in a calamities workshop.
   Our ultimate goal is to form partnerships to be used in times of crisis. We have the ability to supply needed items, but don't always have the correct information or the ability to transport or distribute at these critical times.
  Invited participants included The Navy, Marines, Army, Red Cross, GMA 7 TV, OXFAM, Catholic Relief Services, Islam relief services, Adventist Relief and other non-government units.  Because there were some flooded areas the night before, some could not come (eg. Red Cross and Islam relief services).
  We made a note to hold the workshop earlier in the month of July next year to help avoid loss of some participants.
  The morning activities revolved around presentations from each group to tell what their abilities were and where in the country they worked or had influence. This helped each of the participants recognize opportunities where we could help each other.
  The afternoon involved two workshops that required that we break into groups for discussion. The first was to discuss what methods were effective and which methods were not effective when working in crisis times. We found a lot of opportunity for us in this workshop. One item that was found expressed in each workshop, 'Be very careful in working with the local government leaders'. The problem was avoiding anything that could be labeled 'political'.
  The second workshop involved action at the time of crisis. Each of the 4 discussion groups were given a disaster that happened in a particular location in the Philippines. Earthquake in Metro Manila,
typhoon in Northern Luzon, flooding in Mindanao and mudslides in Cebu. Each option was given no definite details just as would happen in a disaster crisis. Having never preformed in a situation like these, I was more than interested. 
  We started with information gathering, forming a response, how we can respond, who do we get involved with as partners, planning, action, revision of plans, implementation, down to an exit strategy. It was very involved and detailed. I can see this pre-planning as a great value. The Boy Scouts said it well, 'Be Prepared'.
   The first photo is of Todd Tapp, Area Temporal Affairs Manager. He opened the meeting in talking about LDS Charities values and beliefs. This included helping the poor and the needy regardless of race or religion.
   The next photo is of Elder Benson Misalucha, an Area Seventy, and the Area Welfare Manager. This is the director of all of our Humanitarian Services activities in the Philippines. He is introducing Louie who is the Area Materials Manager. He is responsible for procuring product for crisis matters.
  The third photo shows the presentation of Catholic Relief Services. We are involved in a number of projects with them. They are a very good partner.
  The last photo shows the majority of the participants.
  LDS Charities is the arm of the church that helps in a lot of areas of basic human need, but is chartered to help the poor and needy. We are witnessing the opening of windows and doors to all of God's children through this work.

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