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Working Together in Haiti

Integral Members have been working together in Haiti since Hurricane Matthew devastated the country in 2016. Here is an update of their activity since then …

Photo: an Assist and Assess distribution, TFUK

Who is currently part of the RIHPED network?
RIHPED is currently made up of 14 organisations, eight local and six international – five of whom are Integral Members.

What inspires you the most about RIHPED?
RIHPED was inspired by Integral. After seeing the efficient coordination of Integral Alliance on an international scale, the leaders in Haiti believed that the country could benefit from the same type of coordination between its member organisations.  As Christian organisations, with the mandate to serve the poorest of the poor and to work where the need is greatest, RIHPED feels called to work together to address the problem of the very complex Haitian environment.

Also, RIHPED is concerned about the effects of climate change in Haiti, as well as the poverty in which the majority of the population lives. We believe that by putting together our capabilities to address the problems of Haiti we will be more effective and efficient in our work.

What have been some of your activities since the 2016 hurricane?
In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, RIHPED quickly mobilised to respond to the immediate needs of the people through an intervention called ‘Assess and Assist’. This allowed members of RIHPED to do immediate assessments in the affected hurricane areas, while at the same time providing immediate relief to the most affected and vulnerable populations.

Prior to the hurricane, RIHPED had $90,000 in a contingency fund called ‘Fond FRERE’. The executive committee of RIHPED coordinated the dispersal of $5,000 per member organisation in order to do immediate needs assessments and to provide basic emergency assistance. This was in the form of cash, food and shelter kits or NFI’s for 4000 households.  We disbursed $50k in this way.

Also, over the last 18 months RIHPED, with assistance from Tearfund UK, has facilitated a capacity building programme. Together we have looked at areas such as contingency planning, project design, Quality Standards,Monitoring and Evaluation, Church and Disasters, Disaster Resilience, Cash Programming, Logistics, M&E, and Market/needs assessment, fundraising and Human Resources.  As a result RIHPED and its members are now better equipped in Humanitarian response and organisational management.

Can you share a particular highlight from the last 2 years?
The highlight of RIHPED over the past two years was the ability of the network to mobilise its members via the ‘Assess and Assist’ intervention. While there are improvements that can be made, RIHPED believes that our experience is a testimony to the possibilities of localisation of aid. RIHPED has shown that the localisation of aid is possible and can be effective.

During the ‘Assess and Assist’ emergency response phase to Hurricane Matthew, RIHPED members were able to reach 24,000 households in six departments of Haiti.  Information from the ground, coordinated needs assessments and a coordinated humanitarian response were highlights of this intervention. It was also a great learning experience for us to assess both the weaknesses of the intervention and its members. A short ‘Assess and Assist’ intervention in response to Hurricane Irma in 2017 showed improvements to both the ‘Assess and Assist’ model and collective organisational capacity.

What is the main challenge you face in seeking to work collaboratively?
The main challenge that RIHPED is facing is the need of some members to get authorisation from their HQ before approving a decision taking in General Assembly. The second challenge is the late payments of the annual contribution fee as per the RIHPED bylaws which delays the growth of the Fond FRERE fund.

What are you plans for the future? And any dreams/ visions?
Currently, RIHPED’s activities are managed by a coordinator supported logistically and financially by Tearfund UK. Our current objectives include developing a strategic plan, creating a secretariat, identifying alternative sources of funding and improving RIHPED members’ performance and capacity. We also want to promote environmental awareness in the local church through a Creation Care Campaign.

Can you say more about the environmental aspect of your work?
Beside our humanitarian response work, we are also involved in advocacy and influencing. Over the next year we will be engaged in a Creation Care Campaign to contribute to green resilience in environmentally vulnerable areas of Haiti. A set of activities will take place, including a national Creation Care Conference. This event will seek to embed theological thinking that values the care of creation in churches, institutions partners, and communities.

Is there anything else you would like to say?
We are looking forward to learning from and working with Integral Alliance on the development of RIHPED in Haiti. RIHPED thanks Integral for their continued support.

See previous report on RIPHED here