Integral is currently bringing its Members together to work on how best to respond to disasters that are underfunded and/or lack media exposure. Cressida Thompson, Integral’s Neglected Crises & Disaster Response Coordinator, is working closely with our Members to pilot an innovative new approach to enable more strategic and effective collaboration in crisis areas that become neglected. In this Q&A she tells us more about this work …
What is a Neglected Crisis?
Neglected is a word we use to describe crises which are lacking attention from the media, from world leaders or donors. These crises often last for many years and, for a variety of reasons, may be complex situations making it hard for organisations to support affected people.
How would you define the problem that Integral is trying to solve?
For some years, Integral Members have wanted to do more in these crises. Members believe that they can achieve more together than they can alone. They want to find a new way to collaborate in Neglected Crises, planning ahead more strategically and intentionally so that it will lead to more impact and reach.
What is the ultimate goal of this work?
Sadly, there are many Neglected Crises in our world. The goal is for Integral Members to all focus on one together, initially for a year but possibly longer. The crisis may be too difficult for one Member to work on alone but with many Members working together, and with prayer, more may be possible.
What is the Working Group currently focussing on?
The Working Group has worked out a draft process for selecting a crisis to focus on for one year. The ten most Neglected Crises have been ranked and Members voted giving us a shortlist of three countries which Members would most like to support. Members are now planning what a response could look like in each of these top three countries. The Working Group will pick one of the three proposals in late March. After the first Neglected Crisis country is chosen, we will begin using the Integral Disaster Response Process to ensure a joint focus for collaboration and communication.
What would success look like one year from now?
In the first year, we are working out the new processes and tools we need and piloting these ideas at the same time so it will be a year of experimentation and learning. By the end of the first year, hopefully we will have been able to test these ideas and methods and will have begun the first collaboration in a Neglected Crisis. The more that Members are engaging with the project and are the ones shaping it through their feedback and ideas, the more successful the pilot will be.
Can you say something about who will be involved with this work?
The Neglected Crises work is a team effort involving many people pooling their talents and experience. Member staff based in-country and Partner staff will be working with communities to plan responses that address needs and look for sustainable ways of supporting communities to become more resilient. Marketing and communications staff will be reaching out to supporters and donors to explain the reality of life in these Neglected Crises and encouraging them to support our response. Members and supporters will be praying for those affected and those responding. Programme staff will also be connecting with wider networks, other organisations and policy makers to advocate for longer term change.
In what ways can Integral Members support this work?
Integral Members have already shown great enthusiasm for this work, from the Board level and through IPG and IMG. The Working Group would value prayer as they lead the pilot. It would also be great if as many Members as possible will be willing to join the pilot and to collaborate in some way. Some Members will be in a position to offer much and others maybe only very little but as everyone adds what they can, we pray that God will add his increase and it will bring glory to Him.