Community resilience the focus of ADRA conference

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ADRA South Pacific representatives at the conference.

The South Pacific Division was represented at a global ADRA conference held in Jakarta, Indonesia, last week.

ADRA South Pacific sponsored four staff, and newly-appointed Trans Pacific Union Mission youth director Pastor Charlie Jimmy, to attend the Community Resilience Conference, which was hosted by ADRA Indonesia. The conference gave delegates from more than 30 countries an opportunity to both learn and contribute to a stronger partnership between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and ADRA, particularly in learning how young people can be better engaged in community service and disaster preparedness.

"Many governments around the world are increasingly looking to the church for partnerships, recognising the unique position and comparative advantage of local churches in humanitarian settings . . ."

Pastor Jimmy said “disasters are everybody’s business” and he would be challenging youth in the South Pacific by research that shows “connected communities are resilient communities”. “We need to know our neighbours.”

Indonesia has suffered multiple significant natural disasters over the past 12 months—from earthquakes to tsunamis and flooding. ADRA, the Adventist Church and the Indonesia Government’s National Board for Disaster Management are working together to promote community-based disaster preparedness: training Pathfinders and church volunteers to support disaster risk reduction activities and emergency response.

This partnership has been extremely successful as Church leaders and members have embraced the program, strengthening the relationship between ADRA and the Church. Through these outreach activities in the community and schools, the Church has raised its profile and demonstrated new ways to engage with the broader community.

“Many governments around the world are increasingly looking to the church for partnerships, recognising the unique position and comparative advantage of local churches in humanitarian settings, particularly given they are embedded in society, before, during and long after crises occur,” said ADRA South Pacific regional emergency coordinator Michael Peach.

The success of the Indonesia partnership has been noticed by ADRA’s global network who have contributed funds to capture the learnings from Indonesia and share with all divisions of the worldwide Adventist Church. Last week’s workshop is one such activity to facilitate the design and production of youth-friendly resources that ADRA and the Church can use globally, taking a shared responsibility for disaster preparedness.

ADRA’s South Pacific representatives to the conference came from Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Zealand.