Broadened horizons: the gift of IVEP to the church in the United States and Canada


Individual articles from the Fall 2020 issue of Intersections will be posted on this blog twice per week. The full issue can be found on MCC’s website. This article consist of five reflections which will be posted separately.

Since 2012, Madison Street Church of Riverside, California, has partnered with MCC’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) to host young adults from around the world and to engage them in the life and mission of the church. The congregation’s mission statement reads: “Becoming a community of believers intent on experiencing and sharing the renewing life and love of Jesus.” Living and working alongside IVEP participants have furthered the church’s mission within the local community while expanding and strengthening connections with Christ’s work in the broader world.

About ten years ago, a small group of Madison Street friends began to consider partnering with IVEP. The church had always been supportive of MCC, but we had never considered hosting an IVEPer. Reviewing IVEP’s goals alongside our congregational mission, we warmed to IVEP’s objectives of promoting international peace, goodwill, understanding, friendship and reconciliation, of strengthening connections with global Jesus-followers and of broadening horizons/views and correcting stereotypes and misconceptions about the Other. We wanted to help young people gain vocational skills for service in their home communities. We familiarized ourselves with information about IVEP and requested a process of church-wide discernment. Within a few months, the church approved funding and gave the green light to invite an IVEPer. Our pastor was enthusiastic about supervising an IVEPer, a couple from our church family agreed to open their home as hosts and an IVEP support team formed.

In August 2012, we welcomed our first IVEPer, a young Bangladeshi man, into our church family. Since that first wonderful year, we have invited an IVEPer every year, hosting young persons from Laos, South Korea, Bangladesh and Brazil.

“Through IVEP, we participate in God’s amazing work of growing understanding, goodwill and friendship across global and cultural boundaries.”

As the church’s mission statement reads, we are “becoming a community of believers.” Our experience with IVEP has positively impacted our understanding and experience of community. Our IVEPers have helped us see ourselves as part of a global community of people who are different in many ways—in culture, language, ethnicity and worldview—and yet who are brothers and sisters who share our commitment to Jesus and from whom we have much to learn. As we have befriended, listened to and learned from them, IVEPers have expanded our understandings of what it means to believe in and follow Jesus. Sharing stories about their own churches, communities and cultures, they have led us to question our assumptions about church and to consider that there are other (and often better!) ways of participating in God’s kingdom than those with which we have become comfortable. When their term with us is up, we send them home with sadness that is comforted by a shared sense that they will always be a part of our church family and that we will continue to share in mission and love despite the miles that separate us. And, for all time now, whenever we hear a news report about Bangladesh, Laos, South Korea or Brazil, we listen with rapt attention, for now we have “family” there.

The church’s mission statement reflects our intention to “experience and share the renewing life and love of Jesus.” Our IVEPers remind us that Jesus is at the center of the life and love that we experience and share. In our community, where they have worked to serve low income families, Middle Eastern refugees and homeless individuals and families, IVEPers remind us that it is Jesus’ life and love that energize our participation in God’s kingdom work of hospitality, peace-building, reconciliation and compassion. In our current societal climate, in which persons from outside our nation’s borders are viewed with suspicion and even contempt, God has engendered in us missional attitudes of respect, curiosity and openness to engagement through our IVEP experience. By their very presence, our IVEPers remind us that Jesus breaks down barriers that divide humans. They have unique insights into the plight of the disenfranchised because they see situations from perspectives other than ours. (In particular, they have empathy for newcomers in our community who struggle, as they do, to gain proficiency with English.) Through our IVEPers, Jesus has opened us to share his life and love in bonds of friendship that have lasted well beyond the eventual end-of-term separation: several of us have visited our former IVEPers in their home countries after their IVEP term with us and one IVEPer named his firstborn son after his host “father.”

“Living and working alongside IVEP participants has furthered the church’s mission within the local community while expanding and strengthening connections with Christ’s work in the broader world.”

In Matthew 13:31-33, Jesus tells of a tiny seed that grows into a huge plant in which birds come to nest, symbolizing God’s kingdom home for people from every nation. He follows with a story of a little yeast leavening a lot of dough, symbolizing small kingdom efforts that shape the future of all. This kingdom pattern—of small things producing big results—has been replicated in our IVEP experience. We host one IVEPer at a time, one young person with limited English and little experience, status or influence. He or she stays with us for about a year and then heads back home. This seems like a small thing. But through IVEP, we participate in God’s amazing work of growing understanding, goodwill and friendship across global and cultural boundaries. The experience changes us. It broadens horizons and views and it challenges and corrects stereotypes and misconceptions about other people. We are changed interiorly and opened to love—to love of the Other, to love the stranger who in turn becomes our friend. We learn from one another, we build relationships and God uses the experience to transform lives. We come to a deeper sense of our involvement and responsibility in a world of interconnected people. We gain another sister or brother in our church family, we help them gain skills for their service back home and we develop a broader understanding of our connectedness across the miles and for all time as followers of Jesus. Small things lead to amazing results and, grateful for the opportunity, we look forward to welcoming our next IVEPer.

Julie Weatherford attends Madison Street Church in Riverside, California.

Sharing gifts within the global church: the Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network (YAMEN)

Since the 1950s, many young people from different countries have had the chance to spend one year in the United States and Canada through MCC’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP). Former participants highly value their IVEP experiences. Over the years many IVEP alumni have moved into leadership roles in their churches. As it administered IVEP, MCC received feedback affirming IVEP as an intercultural service experience while also calling for the creation of service opportunities similar to IVEP but in other continents, that is, for a program that could, for example, place young people from Latin America in intercultural service assignments in Africa.

MCC supported this idea but felt that a world-wide exchange program should not be organized by an organization from Canada and the U.S. MCC approached Mennonite World Conference (MWC) with the request to create such a program. MWC supported the vision but did not have the funds and staff to start the program. Through mutual conversations in the late 1990s and early 2000s, MWC and MCC agreed to develop the idea together, deciding that MCC would fund the program, while MWC would develop the exchange. This was the start of YAMEN.

“YAMEN promotes a theology of service, provides opportunities to learn intercultural skills, fosters spiritual growth, instills appreciation of Anabaptist values and promotes involvement in the local and global church.”

MWC, as a global network of churches, with connections to churches and organizations around the world, was an excellent starting point for the development of the program. MWC took time to visit churches and organizations in different countries, listening to their hopes and experiences. From the very beginning there was support from Anabaptist churches and agencies for the developing network. Anabaptist exchange programs in different parts of the world gave counsel, shared experiences and made suggestions on what this new program could look like.

One hope expressed repeatedly by churches was that this program would give young people the chance to develop skills that they would share with their churches and communities when they returned from the exchange. Another hope was to develop future leaders for the church and community.
This input formed the foundation for the development of the exchange program that came to be known as YAMEN.

In the beginning stage of this new exchange program, it became clear that starting “from scratch” is not easy. MWC’s gift to the program was its connection to churches and its understanding of the gifts and needs of churches around the world. What MWC did not have was the administrative structure to run the program that MCC had. After a three-year development period, MWC and MCC agreed to shift the administration of the program to MCC and its Global Service Learning department that also administered IVEP.

Today the Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network (YAMEN) is a one-year exchange program for young adults, operating as a joint program between Mennonite World Conference and Mennonite Central Committee. The program prioritizes connecting with Anabaptist churches in different parts of the world. Participants either come from an Anabaptist church or serve in an Anabaptist church or organization (and sometimes both!). YAMEN connects people and places that otherwise would not have an opportunity to come together and learn from each other, such as Indonesians serving in Colombia, Peruvians in Indonesia and Costa Ricans in Cambodia.

YAMEN promotes a theology of service, provides opportunities to learn intercultural skills, fosters spiritual growth, instills appreciation of Anabaptist values and promotes involvement in the local and global church. Since the first exchange in 2004, 204 participants from over 40 countries have served in 35 countries. Many gifts and stories have been shared since then.

“As we see former YAMEN participants take up leadership as pastors, program officers and administrators in the global church, we witness the impact of YAMEN.”

Did the YAMEN vision of intercultural sharing across the Anabaptist world become reality? Testimony from YAMEN alumni suggests yes. Yoweri Murungi from Uganda served in an assignment in Lusaka, Zambia. His many new experiences included leading praise and worship services, Bible study classes and youth ministries at the Chilenje Brethren in Christ church in Lusaka. “These experiences helped me gain leadership skills and grow in my faith in Christ,” says Murungi. “I learned to love my neighbours, to serve the Lord Jesus, to serve the community without thinking about a reward in monetary terms,” shares Felizarda Atanásia Filimone from Mozambique, who served as a youth worker with Creciendo Juntos at Monte Horeb Mennonite Church, Soacha, Colombia. Diana Martínez from Colombia, meanwhile, was impressed with the hospitality she experienced in Nicaragua as an educational assistant at Casa Hogar Belén, a children’s home in Managua. “When we are able to give as well as value what others can contribute, without worrying about cultural backgrounds, nationalities, race or language,” Martínez reflected, “then we are making real the notion of being one body with Christ as the head.”

Does YAMEN have room to grow? Indeed! As we see former YAMEN participants take up leadership as pastors, program officers and administrators in the global church, we witness the impact of YAMEN. MWC is excited to continue partnership with MCC is this venture.

Liesa Unger directed the YAMEN program from 2001 to 2004 and since 2012 has served as chief international events officer for Mennonite World Conference.

Responsibility “both to those within and those without”: MCC, mutual aid and humanitarianism

Throughout its century-long history, MCC has exercised a two-fold ministry: offering mutual aid within the church and reaching out to help all in need. In MCC’s early decades, MCC leaders often cited Paul’s call to the Galatians to “work for the good of all, and especially for those in the family of faith” (Gal. 6:10, NRSV), as the basis for special attention to the needs of fellow Mennonites, even as MCC’s relief interventions provided extensive assistance to non-Mennonites. This two-fold ministry has at times generated productive tension within MCC, tension between a commitment to extend mutual aid within the global church and the humanitarian principle of making decisions about who receives assistance solely on the basis of need.

The modern humanitarian movement traces its origins to the founding of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Switzerland in 1863. The principles of non-discrimination and impartiality in the provision of assistance have been fundamental to modern humanitarianism since its inception. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, for example, highlights as part of its core principles that humanitarian assistance will be “guided solely by the . . . needs” of suffering individuals, giving “priority to the most urgent cases of distress” and with “no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.” Other organizations engaged in humanitarian relief—whether secular, like Save the Children, or religious, like World Vision, Islamic Relief and MCC—similarly uphold these principles of non-discrimination and impartiality, enshrined in inter-NGO compacts such as the Sphere Standards and the Core Humanitarian Standard.

In its formative years, MCC reflected both a Mennonite desire to join in this progressive humanitarian movement as a proactive witness for peace and a commitment to offering mutual aid within the Mennonite family of faith. Alongside the death and destruction of the First World War emerged a renewed passion for and heightened prominence of humanitarian relief, with the ICRC receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1917. This humanitarian spirit of service to suffering humanity animated Mennonites in the United States. In his MCC service application, Clayton Kratz wrote about his desire to serve people in need “because this great world catastrophe [WWI] has not caused me any inconvenience.” In a 1929 book commemorating MCC’s relief efforts in the early 1920s in what had become the Soviet Union, P.C. Hiebert and Orie Miller noted that for Mennonites in the United States after World War I there “was little satisfaction in just maintaining a negative position toward war”—Mennonites were seeking “an opportunity to disprove the charges of cowardice and selfishness made against the conscientious objectors, and to express in a positive, concrete way the principles of peace and good-will in which they believed.” The call for help from southern Russia (present-day Ukraine) offered the chance to express Mennonite peace convictions in a positive way: “The need there was great, little was being done, and there was the added incentive of being able to help and to work with and through those of our own household of faith,” wrote Miller and Hiebert. While relief response to southern Russia was driven in large measure by this desire to assist those in the “household of faith,” the feeding stations MCC set up in what became the Soviet Union did not only feed Mennonites, but also other starving people.

MCC continued to hold commitment to humanitarian principles and to mutual aid within the church together over the coming decades. In the early 1940s, prior to the U.S. entry into the Second World War, MCC chairman Orie O. Miller wrote in a letter to MCC representative in Germany M.C. Lehman, that “Our work, as you know, is entirely nonpartisan—relief to be extended without preference as to race, nationality, or otherwise, with particular attention to relief needs among war suffering women and children.” Miller continued: “In case, of course, that there should be relief needs among the Mennonite folks of Europe, these should also receive prior consideration.” For Miller, being “entirely nonpartisan” and giving “prior consideration” to “the Mennonite folks of Europe” were perfectly congruent.

Writing in the 1940s, Mennonite sociologist and one-time professor at Bethel College J. Winfield Fretz described MCC “as a glorious demonstration” of “mutual aid in a new day,” a collaborative venture “that is much more complex than a barn raising or a husking but nevertheless a number of people working together to achieve a common goal,” with the goal being “to feed our brothers across the sea.” MCC had a dual responsibility, explained MCC board chairman and Brethren in Christ leader C.N. Hostetter at the MCC annual meeting in 1944, a responsibility “both to those within and those without.” “Within the world-wide fellowship of our Mennonite brotherhood, our duty seems clear to minister to the relief of human suffering,” noted Hostetter. Yet, he stressed, “Our responsibility does not stop with those within the Mennonite brotherhood. As disciples of Christ, we must concern ourselves about human suffering wherever it is within the range of our possibility to help. True disciples of Christ must always remain sensitive and stand ready to minister and serve.”

Robert Kreider, who helped direct MCC’s relief efforts in Europe following World War II, reflected during his service on this tension between mutual aid to the “household” or “family” of faith and humanitarian response based on need. “Our concern is that no cause of critical need among our people goes unmet,” Kreider wrote in 1947. At the same time, he continued, “Because a person has the label ‘Mennonite’ does not automatically entitle him to MCC relief aid. The Mennonite relief representatives work under the guiding principle that they must verify need before aid is given.” Kreider emphasized that “a program which is exclusively concerned with the household of faith does that household a disservice.” He explained: “If we pumped all our supplies into the pantries of [German] Mennonites they would love it. . . . But the Mennonites would come out of the war despised by their neighbors, selfish and a pretty dim Christian witness. Our strategy to get the German Mennonites to organize themselves to help their needy cases and also to help others in need—is a more ennobling experience for them.”

In 1963, MCC executive secretary William Snyder described MCC as having broadened its vision over the decades. “At times we were criticized for being too much concerned about our own people and not enough with the rest of the world,” he observed, with MCC witness “restricted primarily to the brotherhood.” While Snyder insisted that “there was always a concern for the welfare of the neighbor” in MCC’s prior relief efforts, he granted that this concern for doing good to all people had expanded over the past couple decades: “our people’s vision increased as the modes of communication improved, as they grew more prosperous, and as they become more aware of human need on the national and international level. Now we are ministering to the needs of people of almost every race and creed and we are known around the world for our ministry of compassion.”

Over the ensuing decades up to the present, MCC has remained committed to partnership with churches around the world, both Anabaptist and non-Anabaptist. Many of these partnerships represent a form of mutual aid, as MCC supports churches in meeting the basic needs of their most vulnerable members. Yet in all its partnerships with churches, MCC also encourages and accompanies churches to reach out beyond themselves to serve the broader community, with need driving the planning and implementation of MCC’s humanitarian response. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, MCC partners with Congolese Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren churches as they respond to the emergency and livelihoods needs of both Congolese Anabaptists and other Congolese displaced by the fighting in DR Congo’s Kasai region. In Syria, meanwhile, MCC accompanies Syrian Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches as they distribute emergency assistance not only to Syrian Christians uprooted by the country’s nine-year civil war, but to Syrian Muslims as well. The dual commitment to mutual aid within the church and humanitarian response to all in need can generate tension, as MCC’s church partners sometimes press to keep MCC assistance within the “family of faith.” That said, MCC’s church partners typically embrace the vision that an essential element of witnessing to God’s love is to each out to all in their communities who are in need, viewing mutual aid and doing good to all people through humanitarian outreach not as opposing principles but as complementary, mutually reinforcing actions.

Alain Epp Weaver directs strategic planning for MCC and previously worked for MCC in Palestine and Israel.

Core Humanitarian Standard. Available at

Fretz, J. Winfield. Christian Mutual Aid: A Handbook of Brotherhood Economics. Akron, PA: MCC, 1947.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “The Seven Fundamental Principles.” Available at

Sphere Standards.

Weaver, Alain Epp. Service and the Ministry of Reconciliation: A Missiological History of Mennonite Central Committee. North Newton, KS: Bethel College, forthcoming 2021.

Serving in the name of Christ today:challenges and opportunities facing the church


Individual articles from the Fall 2020 issue of Intersections will be posted on this blog twice per week. The full issue can be found on MCC’s website. This article consist of five reflections which will be posted separately.

From its inception, MCC has partnered with diverse Anabaptist churches
in serving in the name of Christ. For this issue of Intersections in MCC’s
centennial year, we asked church leaders from India, Canada, Switzerland,
Zimbabwe and Syria about what serving in the name of Christ looks like
in their contexts today. As it enters its second century, MCC continues to
accompany churches around the globe as they discern how they can faithfully
participate in God’s reconciling mission.—The editors.


The church in India has long been a subject matter of great curiosity and
intrigue, not just from a Christian perspective, but also in the general manner
that India and its many religions coexist. India is a predominantly Hindu
nation. India’s culture is overwhelmingly rooted in Hinduism. Therefore, the
line between religion and culture is often blurred.

Never before have churches in India faced greater scrutiny than today.”

How does the body of Christ function in a complex and ancient cultural,
socio-economic and political ecosystem like India? No doubt several challenges
confront the church. The impact of politics and government policies on the
church in India are greater than ever before. The BJP-led government continues
to assert its self-proclaimed Hindutva politics in a democracy where minorities
feel the heat of an increasingly intolerant majority. More churches have been
vandalized in the past five years than over many previous decades put together.
Never before have churches in India faced greater scrutiny than today. Scenes
of people being lynched on the streets of India, once unprecedented, are today
just another headline. Christian organizations which have contributed to the
national interest for years have had their funding cut-off and their activities
closely monitored on the pretext of possible acts of polarization or “conversion
tactics.” The Indian church today is not free to worship, because its mind and heart are bound in chains of fear and anxiety.

However, politics is not the only challenge the church faces. In fact, the bigger challenge comes from within its own fabric. Broken communities, church politics, faithless ministry and godlessness in Indian churches are more common than one would imagine. Moreover, India is projected to become the youngest country in the world by 2022 with over 60 percent of the population under the age of 35. This widening generation gap brings with it several challenges. Contrasting values and principles collide, causing strain within the community. Churches in India today run the risk of becoming obsolete and irrelevant to the young and restless minds of India`s youth.

“As brothers and sisters in Christ, we must unite and pray for a revival over the land of India.”

But where adversity persists, opportunity abounds. The church must take active measures to connect more with the younger lot. Church leadership and clergy must consciously include young people as a mainstay in decisions and day-to-day activities rather than relegating them to merely a youth section of the church. Furthermore, in a world guided by subjective morality, our churches must stand strong on biblical principles and not be swayed by the lure of a false and ungodly culture the world currently thrives on.

The Mennonite Church today has a divine opportunity to show the world how peace and reconciliation can still be sought and found in a broken world. If ever there was a time for the church to proclaim the need for reconciliation and the means to achieve it through the word of the living God, that time is now! We cannot shy away from persecution. We cannot deny that the hardships we face might get worse. We cannot say that followers of Christ will not undergo pain and suffering from the world, as prophesied in Scripture. Yet it is within such persecution that the church has the greatest opportunity for Christ’s body to bring healing wherever there is ailing.

Amidst the hardships faced by the church in India, MCC India has been a great source of encouragement and financial support to the Indian Mennonite churches through its relief and development programs. MCC supports peacebuilding initiatives carried out by Indian Mennonite churches, organizes peace and conflict mediation seminars in congregations and assists the church in working for the empowerment of women and children. The church in India is strengthened in its faith and witness through MCC’s ministry. We praise God for MCC India and its mission in our country.

As India’s population continues to grow, the church must keep its ears open and eyes closed, pointed upwards in expectant prayer. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we must unite and pray for a revival over the land of India. As the world looks at us and waits for a day when India becomes a superpower, let us pray that day will be the day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Premanand Bagh teaches in the Christian Ministry Division at Union Biblical Seminary in Pune, India.


The tag line for my organization, Multiply, reads, “Together, that the world may know.” Philosophically, “together” connotes ideals that are warmly endorsed by faith communities the world over. It embodies community, dependence, humility and unity. The opposing spirit to “together” represents all that is anathema to the Body of Christ, the Bride: isolation, independence, power and enmity.

I have spent the last two years engaging more intentionally with the Lord’s Prayer as part of my personal spiritual disciplines. I want to align myself with the themes upon which Jesus invited his followers to focus and intercede. It seems that the goal of this prayer template was not so much to create a universally repeated liturgy, but instead to steadily renew the mind and soul of the believer through daily prayer into a longing for and engagement with the themes on the heart of God. “Together” is at the core of this petition. The Lord’s Prayer invites us as a global family to pray to “Our Father,” calling for community and not isolation. “Your kingdom come, your will be done” requires humility and an absence of power. “Give us this day our daily bread” embodies dependence, not independence. And finally, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” calls for unity, not enmity. As Jesus invited his disciples to pray, so we are invited to pray and then live out each value, continually resourced by the Holy Spirit.

As Jesus invited his disciples to pray, so we are invited to pray and then live out each value, continually resourced by the Holy Spirit.

Where are we seeing this “together” today? In our global context, Multiply has been resourcing North American churches engaging in partnerships with the global church, not simply with a budget line to fund ministry, but with a lifeline, a human bridge of members coming and going to each other’s contexts to serve, support and mutually resource. An Ontario church travels to Germany to partner with a local congregation so that they can in turn support the start-up efforts of another region’s German/Canadian planting team. A rural Ontario community connects with a Thai network reaching out to rural communities in the country. Together, that the world may know.

A team of young adults from around the globe gather in Central Asia and the Middle East to collaborate with those of other faiths on the themes of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness. They run a camp together. The team goes in the love of the Father sharing the values of the Prince of Peace as they live and serve in community. Together, that the world may know.

If God’s saving love, expressed through the death and resurrection of Jesus, is for every person, every family and every nation, then we as the church are compelled to pray the Lord’s Prayer together—in community, dependence, humility and unity

In the Canadian North, denominations unite together to serve Indigenous communities by collaboratively resourcing workers who have relocated to engage in holistic support and witness. Together, that the world may know.

There are challenges in serving together. The global church has faced cultural distinctions, discriminating biases, theological differences and sometimes long histories of division. In Multiply, we have been reminded of the humbling unifying posture embodied in Jesus’ final prayer for disciples the world over: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22b-24, NIV).

If God’s saving love, expressed through the death and resurrection of Jesus, is for every person, every family and every nation, then we as the church are compelled to pray the Lord’s Prayer together—in community, dependence, humility and unity. Together, that the world may know . . . Jesus.

Robyn Serez is regional mobilizer for Eastern Canada for Multiply.


Five hundred years ago, Europe was seized by the Reformation. At that time, the church was still a major force within society and could play a decisive role in determining which forms of faith and life were accepted. The Anabaptist movement experienced this reality in Zurich. While initially part of renewal movements within the state church and the broader society, Anabaptists were soon persecuted by church and state as heretics and rebels.

This societal powerlessness is a great opportunity for the witness of our churches. For at the margins of society we first learn to know Christ himself anew.” “A post-Christendom society means a pluralistic society. We must therefore learn to participate in a broader conversation about how a flourishing

Five hundred years later, the church has long since lost this position of social power. In Switzerland we increasingly live in a post-Christendom society. For the church, this does not only mean a theological loss of relevance. Many people today associate the church’s former moral authority with sexual abuse, violence and outdated beliefs. The diaconal commitment of the churches to service has long been appreciated by society, but this has changed noticeably in recent years. Churches which explicitly justify their social action by appeals to their Christian faith are under the suspicion that they merely want to proselytize other people on this path. Such suspicions were factors in the Swiss government’s decision to cut national funds for our Mennonite youth work. The church is under the general suspicion of wanting to interfere in social life in an invasive way.

The church must regain its credibility in our society. But it cannot do so as it did five hundred years ago. The church must learn to live as a minority in our society. This is a challenge and, above all, an unusual situation for the large national churches. As Mennonites, we think that this is first and foremost an opportunity.

If the church as a whole comes into a minority position, a new coexistence of the different churches is needed. The church cannot serve our society with denominational disputes, but only as a common and reconciled body of Christ. Service to society must therefore not be misused as a means of gaining new members for one’s own denomination. If the church is marginalized in society, it naturally loses its influence, which is based on a position of social power. But this powerlessness is a great opportunity for the witness of our churches. For at the margins of society we first learn to know Christ himself anew. This can happen if we turn to the weak in our society. Not only do we serve them in the name of Jesus, but first and foremost we encounter Jesus himself in them. As a powerless church, we also no longer have any claims to power to defend, as was so often the case in the Christendom. A powerless church is in a good position to build bridges between different social groups.

As a church we therefore want to learn anew to live the reconciliation given in Christ. We practice how to deal constructively with conflicts and thus make a contribution to peace in society. After all, a post-Christendom society also means a pluralistic society. We must therefore learn to participate in a broader conversation about how a flourishing life is possible for all within a pluralistic society.

Finally, when one considers Switzerland within the global context, we recognize that we belong to one of the richest societies in the world. This obliges us to show solidarity with the world’s poorest and to make a substantial contribution to a fairer world. In doing so, we must live with the challenge that there are still very different forms of need in our society.

Lukas Amstutz is co-president of the Swiss Mennonite Conference and is the programme director of the Theological Seminary Bienenberg.


The apostle Paul proclaimed: “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:5, NIV).This proclamation sets the tone for all who seek to work in the name of Christ. The church, however, faces challenges and opportunities wherever it serves. Challenges usually herald abundant opportunities for change. For this reflection, I engaged some Anabaptist church leaders in southern Africa about what they see as the challenges and opportunities faced by the church. I heard three main themes from this feedback, namely, challenges and opportunities related to economics, technology and leadership.

Genuine evangelists of integrity have an opportunity to present the pure gospel of Christ.”

Economics: Implementing and operating mission activities with poor human and material resources are immensely challenging. Many churches, including mine, have for many years looked to the mother church in the U.S. and Canada to provide highly trained theologians and to offer resource tools to mobilize evangelism as part of the church’s fulfillment of its mandate. Many rural churches are so poor that only the pastor owns a Bible. Also, sadly, a cancer that has crept into many churches in southern Africa is the onslaught of the exploitative prosperity and healing gospel moguls. In South Africa, one pastor made his naive congregants eat grass and flowers and drink petrol to be “closer to God.” There was even a pseudo-miracle of claiming to raise a person from the dead in South Africa.

Islam has an upper hand in this region because their missionaries proclaim Islam while simultaneously providing the material assistance people need, such as food, clothes, school fees for children and even housing. Many say that is how Christianity is undermined.

These challenges reflect the dire hunger and thirst for something more fulfilling. They present opportunities for genuine evangelists of integrity to present the pure gospel of Christ.

Technology: Access to the internet and social media has many positive results for congregations and congregants. These include easy access to Christian broadcasts, training programmes and Bible studies. On the other hand, social media has created havoc, especially with young people. Parents are competing with media of different types as they seek to raise and discipline children. There is general moral decline due to the encroachment of various media content, which may be both foreign and negative to African cultural and Christian norms.

There is ample opportunity for the church in the global North to partner with the church in the global South

Leadership: Many denominational congregations are led by part-time and untrained leaders. Southern Africa is still deeply entrenched in patriarchy and male-domination in ministry work. Denominations such as Methodists, Lutherans and the Church of Christ have many women in leadership roles. Be in Christ and Brethren in Christ churches in North America have ordained women in ministry as they believe both men and women are equally called and empowered to work in missions. In the Brethren in Christ Church in Zambia and Zimbabwe, rural areas have a majority of women pastors who serve on a voluntary basis, as they are not trained for the task. Lack of training causes the women-led rural congregations to be marginalized.

The church globally is consumed by materialism and secularism which makes it lukewarm. Yusufu Turaki says that materialism makes Christians lukewarm and indifferent to their faith. There is ample opportunity for the church in the global North to partner with the church in the global South, the former providing needed resources to further the gospel while the latter provides the zeal and passion for the gospel.

Barbara Nkala is Mennonite World Conference regional representative for Southern Africa.


Hama is a Syrian city with a great history and a proud multi-cultural heritage in which Muslims, Christians and others have lived together in peace and harmony for centuries. Unfortunately, the war that has been fought inside Syria for almost a decade has wounded this heritage.

Christianity entered Hama in the earliest decades after Jesus’ resurrection. Within the city today there are eight existing churches, the remains of a great cathedral and a monastery. The countryside surrounding Hama is full of towns populated not only by Sunni Muslims, Alawites and Ismailis, but also by Christians, who for centuries have lived in villages like Kefarh, Ayu, Bayh, Tumin, Maharada, Skelebiyya, Baydah and Bayadiyah. Hama and its surroundings have for centuries reflected a multi-cultural Islamic society, a society which accepts others for who they are and in which Christians have led the Christian life according to Jesus and his word. Christians have had friendly relations with their Muslim neighbors, who have respected them as followers of ‘Issa (the Qur’anic name for Jesus), son of Mary.

With the start of violent conflict inside Syria in 2011, Hama’s multi-cultural fabric has been torn. Syrian Christians have now sometimes come to be associated by some Muslims with the West. Amidst these new challenges, the role of the Church grew in extinguishing fires of hostility, declaring: “We are all partners in pain and sorrow, in joy and loss—this is not a religious war! We are brothers and sisters!”

Through the viciousness of war, marked by anxiety, distress, homelessness, hunger, pain and insecurity, breaks through a ray of light: humanitarian assistance. By extending humanitarian assistance, the church proclaims that “The other is me, I am the other: we do not simply live together, but rather we live and survive together.” Over the course of the violence, our churches have become signs of hope to the people of Hama, offering refuge for all in need. People who came in need to Hama’s churches discovered in these churches the true love that crowns acts of mercy. Amid violent conflict, the church calls out: “Come to me, all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NRSV). In the face of shelling, missiles and violent incursions, the church in Hama has remained steadfast and faithful to its mission, proclaiming God’s glory through its good works (Matthew 5:16). Meanwhile, the faces of perseverance from the displaced, hungry and suffering people who have come to us from Homs, Aleppo, Idlib, Raqqa, Deir al-Zour, Hasakah and Qamishli give us hope for a better future.

Through the viciousness of war, marked by anxiety, distress, homelessness, hunger, pain and insecurity, breaks through a ray of light: humanitarian assistance.”

The aid sent by the churches in Canada, the United States and Europe has been a blessing. Support from MCC and Canadian Foodgrains Bank has enabled displaced refugees and host communities to survive and maintain their dignity in a war that not only destroyed buildings and a way of life but also the woven fabric that has held the Syrian way of life together. In faith, like Peter, the church in Hama cast out a net, and thanks to God’s grace and the work of the church around the world, we pulled in a catch of 153 fish, and our net did not break (John 21:11). We are faced with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, who works through the loyal, faithful and weak in the East and the West. We can only bow and be thankful.

In the face of shelling, missiles and violent incursions, the church in Hama has remained steadfast and faithful to its mission, proclaiming God’s glory through its good works (Matthew 5:16).

We believe that the Spirit of God works in us all for good. We also believe that he guided us to our partners like MCC, who have supported us in carrying the message of love and the law of mercy and the light of the Gospel at a time when we struggled to find humanitarian assistance to share this message with our fellow Syrians. Despite the hardships we have faced, we still believe that God will carry out his will.

Boutros Melki is a Syrian Orthodox priest in Hama, Syria.

Defining identities: MCC and Mennonite World Conference


Individual articles from the Fall 2020 issue of Intersections will be posted on this blog twice per week. The full issue can be found on MCC’s website. This article consist of five reflections which will be posted separately.

“The church will slow down the work of Mennonite Central Committee,” a person at the 2008 MCC New Wine, New Wineskins consultative process meeting in Winnipeg told me. “If we want to be a more effective NGO, we need to act independently from the church,” he continued. I remember that consultation as an opportunity for me to reaffirm my Anabaptist convictions about the church. Yes, the church may not be very effective in fulfilling NGO standards of professional management and administrative structure, but it nevertheless embodies God’s method of real and long-lasting social transformation.

Social transformation is a goal shared by MCC and Mennonite World Conference (MWC). But what roles do MWC and MCC play in pursuing this goal? Surveying the past decades, we see that MCC’s and MWC’s histories have been intertwined, with the two bodies shaping each other and shaping broader understandings of Anabaptist identity. In the words of former MCC executive director Ron Mathies, “the two organizations are made of the same cloth—the fabric of Anabaptist peoplehood—and have had an increasing impact on each other and the mission of the church over the past decades” (Mathies, 85).

The MWC-MCC relationship throughout the decades has been marked by counsel and cooperation. Both MCC and MWC started in response to the context of violence and persecution that Mennonites were facing in Europe and Russia in the second decade of the last century. MCC began in 1920 as a service arm of churches in the United States and Canada to support Mennonite refugees and families affected by war and famine in southern Russia (present-day Ukraine), with this relief ministry joined from MCC’s inception by development and peace work. In 1925, MWC emerged as a way of bringing Mennonites together, affirming the cross-cultural faith in Jesus as understood in the Anabaptist tradition, a faith that is capable of overcoming nationalisms and racism.

“The church may not be very effective in fulfilling NGO standards of professional management and administrative structure, but it nevertheless embodies God’s method of real and long-lasting social transformation.”

As Mathies explains, over the course of their histories both MCC and MWC have placed a strong emphasis on inter-Mennonite solidarity, have shared leaders (including presidents, executive secretaries and senior staff), supported each other (e.g., planning the logistics of MWC global assemblies and global consultations) and connected churches around common goals (such as through the YAMEN program). These converging purposes and leadership exchanges are understandable due to the ecclesiological understanding that Anabaptists have about mission. Mission, from the Anabaptist point of view, is something done by the church in the world as a witness to Christ. It cannot be completely delegated to specialists or independent institutions. Moreover, the church per se is mission, which makes it difficult to separate or compartmentalize mission and church.

Catholic theologian Gerhard Lohfink has rightly insisted that “the real being of Christ can be bright only if the church makes visible the messianic alternative and the new eschatological creation that happens from Christ” (191-192). This new eschatological creation is global and multicultural in scope. It overcomes nationalisms and other boundaries, facilitating interdependence, care and love for one other. Our world desperately needs to see this eschatological reality manifested today. That is a call to which MWC responds by becoming a global communion.

MWC has understood itself as part of God’s activity of bringing together diverse social fragments—as parts of the same body—to make God’s new creation visible. As a global church in the Anabaptist tradition, MWC is a place where all member churches sit together with the same level of mutual authority regardless of their ethnicity, financial capacity and Anabaptist distinctives. It is a place where theology, service, education, peacemaking, church planting, health care, pastoral care, worship, ministries of women and youth and other ecclesial activities happen globally and cross-culturally. In this manner, MWC serves as a global alternative community to the states of this world.

One of the essential questions of MCC’s New Wine, New Wineskins revisioning and restructuring process was, “To whom is MCC accountable (who is the ‘keeper of the MCC soul’)?” From the MWC perspective, it was clear that, even though MCC has multicultural staff and volunteers all over the world, it is accountable to Anabaptist churches in Canada and the United States, who are the owners of MCC. In a similar way, churches in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America have developed their own service structures as they have matured and developed. However, none of their agencies have the experience, capacity and global reach that MCC has. Therefore, in practice, MCC has been called to provide a leadership role within the network of Anabaptist agencies in MWC.

“In practice, MCC has been called to provide a leadership role within the network of Anabaptist agencies in Mennonite World Conference.”

Through MCC’s active participation in MWC’s Global Anabaptist Service Network (GASN), new possibilities of global, inter-Anabaptist collaboration have emerged over the past decade: coordinating multiagency responses to natural disasters or other crises, joint planning of cross-cultural ministries of service with other Anabaptist agencies, supporting national churches in creating their own service structures and helping Anabaptist service agencies around the globe build their own capacity.

With MCC’s active role in the GASN, which itself is part of MWC’s Mission Commission, there are endless possibilities of coordinated planning and interdependent work among agencies from different cultures and with different ministries such as church planting, peacemaking, healthcare and education. As we look to MCC’s second century—and soon MWC’s second century—can we dream together about multicultural Anabaptist teams serving together in the same geographical area providing relief, education, health, peacemaking, church planting and social development? I think so. I think that is God’s call for our church and mission.

César García is general secretary of Mennonite World Conference.

Lohfink, Gerhard. La Iglesia que Jesús Quería: Dimensión Comunitaria de la Fe Cristiana. 4th ed. Bilbao: Desclée de Brouwer, 1986.

Mathies, Ronald J. R. “Synergies in Mission: The MWC/MCC Relationship.” In A Table of Sharing: Mennonite Central Committee and the Expanding Networks of Mennonite Identity. Ed. Alain Epp Weaver, 84-103. Telford PA: Cascadia 2011.


[Articulos individuales de la edicion de Intersecciones de Primavera 2020 se publican en este blog cada semana. La edicion completa puede ser encontrada en MCC’s website.]

Pan, en nombre de Dios, pan.

El clamor por pan en el sur de Rusia (actual Ucrania) hace cien años fue por comida. Los menonitas en Estados Unidos y Canadá respondieron y asί naciό el CCM. Solo unos meses después, la comida al sur de Rusia fue seguida por tractores. Hoy, el trabajo del CCM en nombre de las iglesias en Canadá y Estados Unidos continúa a través de la ayuda, desarrollo y paz extendidos en nombre de Cristo. Algunas personas dirίan que estos tres se siguen chronolόgicamente, uno tras otro, pero serίa más exacto decir que los esfuerzos de ayuda, desarrollo y paz de! CCM están entrelazados.

Portada: Distribuciόn de pan del CCM en Hamburgo, Alemania, ca. 1947. (Foto del CCM)

En Uganda hoy se ve la interconexiόn de la ayuda, desarrollo y paz. El CCM trabaja con iglesias y organizaciones comunitarias a medida que responden a las necesidades inmediatas de ayuda de las comunidades y al mismo tiempo abordan el trauma de asesinatos y abusos desenfrenados en sus comunidades durante años de violentos disturbios. Hoy, el trabajo de desarrollo también es crίticamente importante en estas mismas comunidades. En la regiόn de Karamoja, el CCM trabaja con la Iglesia de Uganda, mientras ésta enseña nuevas habilidades agrίcolas a personas agricultoras que alguna vez pastorearon ganado. Al visitar una comunidad para hablar sabre el proyecto, una mujer nos dijo que los cultivos no aparecίan por sί solos sino que requerίan mucho trabajo. Las represas de arena en esta misma comunidad también proveen agua que las personas necesitan para vivir vidas saludables. Las historias confirman una verdad simple: cuando las personas reciben las herramientas para mejorar sus vidas, pueden prosperar.

Este número especial del centenario de Intersections presenta vislumbres del trabajo de desarrollo del CCM en las últimas decadas–trabajo para mejorar la educaciόn, atenciόn médica, producciόn agrίcola, acceso al agua y más. Los artίculos analizan los cambios en los enfoques de desarrollo y ofrecen análisis de proyectos de desarrollo especίficos. De especial importancia en este tema son las voces del personal nacional de largo plaza del CCM, que reflexionan sabre los cambios, desafίos enfrentados y lecciones aprendidas en el trabajo de desarrollo del CCM: escuche atentamente la sabidurίa de estos fieles trabajadores del CCM.

Las mejores practicás en desarrollo deben evolucionar constantemente para satisfacer nuevas necesidades y realidades, como lo atestiguan estos artίculos. La razόn por la que respondemos, sin embargo, perdura.

Ron Byler y Ann Graber Hershberger son el director ejecutivo del CCM EE.UU. y la directora ejecutiva asociada, respectivamente.

Development(Spring 2020)


[Individual articles from the Spring 2020 issue of Intersections will be posted on this blog each week. The full issue can be found on MCC’s website.]

“Bread, in God’s name, bread.”

The cry for bread in southern Russia (present-day Ukraine) one hundred years ago was for food. Mennonites in the United States and Canada responded and MCC was born. Only months later, the food to southern Russia was followed by tractors. Today, MCC’s work on behalf of the churches in Canada and the U.S. continues through relief, development and peace extended in the name of Christ. Some would say that these three follows each other chronologically, one after the other, but it would be more accurate to say that MCC’s relief, development and peace efforts are intertwined.

MCC bread distribution in Hamburg, Germany, ca. 1947. (MCC photo)

In Uganda today one sees the interconnectedness of relief, development and peace. MCC works with churches and community-based organizations as they respond to the immediate relief needs of communities while also addressing the trauma from rampant killing and abuse in their communities over years of violent unrest. Today, the work of development is also critically important in these same communities. In the Karamoja region, MCC works with the Church of Uganda as it teaches new agricultural skills to farmers who once herded cattle. When visiting a community to talk about the project, one woman told us the crops didn’t appear on their own but required hard work. Sand dams in this same community also provide water the people need to live healthy lives. The stories confirm a simple truth: when people are given the tools to make their lives better, they can thrive. This special centennial issue of Intersections features glimpses into MCC’s work in development over the past decades—work to improve education, healthcare, agricultural production, access to water and more. Articles analyze shifts in development approaches as well as offer analyses of specific development ventures. Of special importance in this issue are the voices of long-serving MCC national staff, who reflect on shifts, challenges faced, and lessons learned in MCC’s development work: listen carefully to the wisdom from these faithful MCCers.

Ron Byler and Ann Graber Hershberger are the MCC U.S. executive director and associate executive director, respectively.

El CCM, asociaciones locales y normas humanitarias

[Articulos individuales de la edicion de Intersecciones de Invierno 2020 se publican dos veces blog cada semana. La edicion completa puede ser encontrada en MCC’s website.]

Durante la primera respuesta del CCM en el sur de Rusia (actual Ucrania) a principios de la década de 1920, el CCM trabajó con instituciones y comités Menonitas locales para brindar asistencia humanitaria urgente para responder a la hambruna. Si bien el panorama humanitario ha cambiado drásticamente desde el inicio del CCM, el CCM ha seguido aumentando las asociaciones con organizaciones locales, incluyendo iglesias locales, organizaciones religiosas y otras organizaciones de la sociedad civil para proporcionar asistencia humanitaria a las personas afectadas por conflictos y desastres. En las últimas décadas, los principios y estándares humanitarios han evolucionado significativamente para garantizar una mayor responsabilidad y garantizar los derechos de las comunidades afectadas por el desastre. La fortaleza del CCM para responder a las crisis humanitarias es su amplia red de organizaciones asociadas locales. El CCM brinda apoyo basado en solicitudes de organizaciones locales que están bien conectadas con sus contextos locales y tienen acceso a las comunidades afectadas. Debido a que estas organizaciones tienen relaciones duraderas en sus comunidades, pueden responder rápidamente a las necesidades de emergencia y ofrecer una asistencia que sea apropiada y responda a las necesidades actuales y que sea sensible a los desafíos contextuales.

La dependencia del CCM en las asociaciones locales también presenta desafíos, incluso en la capacidad de ampliar una respuesta, y puede causar tensiones con los principios y estándares humanitarios. Este artículo proporciona un resumen general de las normas humanitarias clave y énfasis más reciente en la localización de la asistencia humanitaria. Destaca ejemplos de la respuesta del CCM a varias emergencias y cómo las organizaciones asociadas locales mejoran la calidad y rendición de cuentas de la asistencia humanitaria, al tiempo que señala áreas de tensión y crecimiento.

En junio de 1957, se distribuyeron harina y masa de maíz a las víctimas de la tormenta en Corea del Sur. En esta foto, el trabajador de servicio del CCM Joseph Smucker, de Goshen, Indiana, ayuda a levantar un tazón de harina (que pesa alrededor de 50 libras) sobre la cabeza de una mujer que también lleva un bebé en la espalda. A cada destinatario se le asignaron 5 libras de harina por miembro de la familia. (Foto del CCM).

La rendición de cuentas a las personas y comunidades afectadas por desastres se encuentra en el centro de la Norma Humanitaria Esencial (CHS por sus siglas en inglés) adoptada por las organizaciones internacionales no gubernamentales en 2015. Humanidad, imparcialidad, neutralidad e independencia son los principios clave que rigen la acción humanitaria. La CHS se basa en convenios humanitarios anteriores, códigos de conducta, principios y estándares desarrollados por la Federación Internacional de Sociedades de la Cruz Roja / Media Luna Roja (FICR), el proyecto Esfera y otras coaliciones humanitarias y organizaciones de estándares. La CHS describe nueve compromisos que se pueden agrupar en tres categorías generales: 1) acceso oportuno a la asistencia humanitaria de calidad que construya capacidades locales; 2) participación, comunicación y rendición de cuentas a las comunidades afectadas; y 3) un compromiso para aprender y desarrollar la capacidad y eficacia de los actores humanitarios. Los ejemplos y el debate a continuación muestran cómo el enfoque del CCM de asociarse con organizaciones locales interactúa con estos estándares.

En la Cumbre Humanitaria Mundial de 2017, los gobiernos, las organizaciones de ayuda internacional y las agencias de las Naciones Unidas se comprometieron a remodelar el sector humanitario, articulado en lo que se ha denominado los Compromisos del Gran Acuerdo. Uno de estos compromisos es aumentar el apoyo y financiación para las organizaciones locales y nacionales en la acción humanitaria, a menudo, denominada “agenda de localización”. El Secretario General de la ONU pidió que la asistencia humanitaria sea “lo más local posible e internacional como sea necesario”—esto incluye un llamado por recursos privados y gubernamentales para apoyar a las agencias locales, en lugar de depender de grandes agencias humanitarias internacionales, y para generar fondos multianuales que habiliten una mejor capacidad de respuesta. Estos compromisos se basan en el reconocimiento de que los actores locales de la sociedad civil, a menudo, son los primeros en responder a las crisis humanitarias y son una presencia continua en sus comunidades antes y después de estas crisis.

A veces, las solicitudes de las organizaciones asociadas pueden estar en desacuerdo con los estándares mínimos y los principios humanitarios. Las organizaciones locales, a menudo, enfrentan presiones políticas y sociales para responder a tantas comunidades y personas como sea posible, presiones que, de actuar conforme a ellas, pueden diluir la calidad de la asistencia.

El primer grupo de normas humanitarias se refiere a la importancia de proporcionar asistencia oportuna, de calidad y adecuada, incluyendo una asistencia que desarrolle la capacidad local y evite daños. La fortaleza de la respuesta de ayuda del CCM proviene de su amplia red de más de 500 asociaciones locales. Las organizaciones locales están más conectadas y responden a las necesidades de las personas afectadas en las comunidades a las que sirven. Debido a las asociaciones existentes del CCM en Siria, Irak, Líbano y Jordania, el CCM ha podido, durante la última década, facilitar su mayor respuesta a una crisis humanitaria desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Después del terremoto de Nepal en 2015, las organizaciones asociadas de desarrollo comunitario existentes pudieron identificar rápidamente las comunidades afectadas en áreas remotas e identificar y abordar las necesidades más urgentes, a pesar de los enormes desafíos de comunicación y logística. Durante el bombardeo de Gaza por parte del ejército israelí en 2014, el CCM fue una de las primeras organizaciones internacionales en responder a las necesidades inmediatas de alimentos y albergue de las personas afectadas. En países como Etiopía, Kenia y Zimbabue, el trabajo continuo en agricultura y seguridad alimentaria del CCM con comunidades vulnerables ha allanado el camino para que el CCM también responda durante las crisis de seguridad alimentaria. Las asociaciones existentes de desarrollo comunitario y construcción de paz del CCM le permiten responder rápidamente a las crisis humanitarias debido al programa preexistente que estas organizaciones asociadas tienen con grupos vulnerables.

Al mismo tiempo, el CCM ha enfrentado desafíos en algunas respuestas a desastres de gran escala porque el CCM no tenía organizaciones asociadas locales existentes, como cuando respondió al terremoto de Japón en 2011 y al tifón Haiyan en Filipinas en 2013. Después del tsunami del Océano Índico en 2014, el CCM trabajó para formar nuevas asociaciones en Banda Aceh, Indonesia y Sri Lanka. El CCM también se ha basado en asociaciones locales en India con otras ONG canadienses para brindar una respuesta a través de una agencia de varias iglesias en el sur de India.

En el caso del terremoto de Haití de 2010, el CCM tenía una amplia red de organizaciones asociaciones locales y recursos importantes para el programa. En el transcurso de la respuesta de siete años, el CCM realizó respuestas de seguridad alimentaria, albergue, agua y saneamiento y sanidad del trauma a través de asociaciones con organizaciones haitianas. La amplia red de organizaciones asociadas existentes y nuevas del CCM le permitió organizar una respuesta inmediata, significativa y multisectorial de ayuda y recuperación. Sin embargo, la evaluación final señaló que el CCM debería haberse involucrado con menos organizaciones asociadas y centrarse en menos sectores. En una respuesta a desastres a gran escala en la que el CCM recauda recursos significativos y tiene una amplia red de organizaciones asociadas con solicitudes urgentes, puede ser un desafío mantener enfocada la respuesta general del CCM.

El 17 de julio de 2014, el proyecto Zakho Small Villages Project, asociado del CCM, distribuyó un camión lleno de paquetes de alimentos en un campamento de PDI (personas desplazadas internamente) en el norte de Irak – la mayoría de las personas desplazadas habían huido de la ciudad de Mosul después de ser tomada por el grupo del Estado Islámico (también conocido como ISIS). Más de 230 cabezas de hogar recibieron los paquetes que contenían alimentos básicos tales como arroz, lentejas, aceite y otros ingredientes, así como algunos artículos básicos de higiene. Nombres no utilizados por razones de seguridad. Foto del CCM / Ryan Rodrick Beiler.

La capacidad de proveer una asistencia oportuna y adecuada depende de si las organizaciones asociadas locales tienen una programación activa y relaciones sólidas en las áreas afectadas. Cuando las organizaciones asociadas locales tienen relaciones sólidas y activas con las comunidades afectadas, también es más probable que brinden asistencia de calidad y adecuada. La asistencia alimentaria es una de las solicitudes más comunes que el CCM recibe de las organizaciones asociadas locales. Estas organizaciones asociadas locales recomiendan asistencia alimentaria culturalmente apropiada y de calidad. Estas organizaciones asociadas locales del CCM también pueden ayudar a discernir la modalidad adecuada de la respuesta humanitaria (es decir, dinero, cupones o canastas de alimentos en especie). Cuando las canastas de alimentos se identifican como el mejor enfoque, las organizaciones asociadas locales están bien posicionadas para determinar la composición de la ración de alimentos. Luego, el CCM revisa las decisiones sobre el modo y el tipo de alimentos para garantizar que cumplan con los estándares mínimos de Esfera, incluyendo los estándares que tienen como objetivo garantizar que los hogares reciban la ración requerida para la dignidad y supervivencia. El CCM y sus organizaciones asociadas juntos evalúan qué forma deben tomar las iniciativas de asistencia humanitaria, las organizaciones asociadas aportan conocimiento local sobre lo que las comunidades nombran como las principales prioridades y sobre lo que entienden como apropiado, y el CCM evalúa tales solicitudes a través del lente de los estándares humanitarios globales.

A veces, las solicitudes de las organizaciones asociadas pueden estar en desacuerdo con los estándares mínimos y principios humanitarios. Las organizaciones locales, a menudo, enfrentan presiones políticas y sociales para responder a tantas comunidades y personas como sea posible, presiones que, de actuar conforme a ellas, pueden diluir la calidad de la asistencia. El CCM, a menudo, presiona a las organizaciones locales a enfocar sus respuestas para cumplir con los estándares humanitarios mínimos de un menor número de comunidades y hogares, en lugar de diluir la respuesta en demasiados receptores. Cuando se enfrentan a necesidades abrumadoras, el CCM y sus organizaciones asociadas deben mantener el principio general de humanidad, enfocándose en satisfacer las necesidades de las comunidades más afectadas según el estándar necesario.

El segundo grupo de principios de la CHS se relaciona con la participación, comunicación y rendición de cuentas. Las personas afectadas deben ayudar a dar forma a las respuestas humanitarias, dar retroalimentación y presentar quejas mientras esas respuestas están en marcha y contribuir a la evaluación de las respuestas humanitarias. El CCM ha trabajado con varias iglesias, organizaciones religiosas y otros grupos para establecer o fortalecer comités locales de desastres. Estos comités locales generalmente incluirán el liderazgo de la iglesia local junto con las requeridas habilidades, conocimiento y representación de la comunidad afectada. En el caso de la reciente respuesta del CCM a la crisis en la región de Kasai de la República Democrática del Congo, el CCM trabajó con tres denominaciones de iglesias anabautistas congoleñas para establecer comités de ayuda locales para desarrollar y supervisar la respuesta, una respuesta multifacética dirigida a las personas congoleñas desplazadas internamente que incluyó asistencia alimentaria, apoyo educativo, recuperación de medios de vida, sanidad del trauma y componentes de construcción de paz. El comité de ayuda local ofreció información sobre la forma de la respuesta, canalizando comentarios de líderes juveniles, comisión de mujeres de la iglesia, liderazgo de la iglesia y funcionarios del gobierno local.

En esta foto de 2009, Slavica Koncarevic (izquierda), personal de la organización asociada del CCM Bread of Life Belgrade (BOLB), distribuye pavo enlatado y colchas del CCM a los miembros de la comunidad romaní, un grupo étnico minoritario que enfrenta discriminación en la educación y empleo. (Foto del CCM/Tim Friesen).

Además de coordinar y brindar asistencia humanitaria, los comités de ayuda brindan un asesoramiento invaluable para identificar las necesidades prioritarias que la asistencia humanitaria buscará abordar y en seleccionar (o “focalizar”) los hogares prioritarios para recibir asistencia. En el caso de la respuesta de Kasai, los comités de ayuda local, con un fuerte acompañamiento del CCM, ayudaron a seleccionar las áreas geográficas en las que responderían, así como los hogares prioritarios para recibir asistencia. Sobre la base de los principios humanitarios de humanidad e imparcialidad, los comités seleccionaron hogares según las necesidades, centrándose en las personas más vulnerables, incluyendo los hogares con madres embarazadas o lactantes, niños y niñas no acompañados, personas con discapacidades y personas ancianas. La representación diversa en los comités de ayuda, y particularmente la participación de las mismas personas desplazadas, fortalece la rendición de cuentas y la focalización de la respuesta. Este modelo de comité de ayuda colabora a proteger a los líderes de la iglesia que pueden ser acusados de discriminación basada en la membresía o afiliación de la iglesia u otras características (por ejemplo, etnia o afiliación política). El CCM también ha trabajado duro para garantizar que haya una mejor representación de género en estos comités y ha trabajado para integrar el análisis de género en su respuesta humanitaria.

Además de supervisar la focalización de la respuesta, las organizaciones locales también solicitan retroalimentación y gestionan las quejas de las comunidades que reciben asistencia humanitaria. Su presencia en la comunidad significa que pueden recibir comentarios y quejas más directamente y son más accesibles que el personal de otras agencias externas. Una prioridad creciente para el CCM es ayudar a las organizaciones locales a establecer mecanismos formales de retroalimentación y presentación de quejas para aumentar la rendición de cuentas y la participación de la comunidad afectada, así como para prevenir la explotación y abuso sexual, el fraude y la corrupción. El CCM continúa desarrollando su capacidad para trabajar mejor al lado de las organizaciones asociadas locales para garantizar la participación de las personas afectadas en todo el proceso de diagnóstico, diseño, monitoreo y evaluación, como parte de un compromiso más amplio de que las respuestas humanitarias del CCM sean adaptativas y apropiadas.

El trabajo humanitario del CCM en las últimas décadas se ha basado cada vez más en asociaciones locales, y ahora el CCM trabaja casi exclusivamente con organizaciones asociadas locales en la respuesta a desastres.

La coordinación y colaboración también son fundamentales para este segundo grupo de principios de la CHS. Las organizaciones locales están conectadas con las comunidades, organizaciones y gobiernos donde operan y, a menudo, priorizan la coordinación con el gobierno local. Al mismo tiempo, las grandes organizaciones internacionales se coordinan a través del sistema de agrupación de la ONU que, a menudo, puede crear barreras para la participación de las organizaciones locales, incluyendo barreras de seguridad, idioma, sociales o culturales. Por ejemplo, en el caso del terremoto de Haití, las reuniones iniciales de coordinación de la ONU se llevaron a cabo en el complejo MINUSTAH (fuerza de paz de la ONU Haití), y las reuniones se llevaron a cabo en inglés o francés y no en criollo haitiano. Las reuniones, a menudo, estaban dominadas por representantes de las ONG internacionales del Norte Global de gran capacidad y no eran espacios accesibles para el personal de organizaciones locales más pequeñas. El CCM a veces representa a sus organizaciones asociadas locales dentro de estos mecanismos de coordinación de la ONU.

El último grupo de los tres principios de la CHS se relaciona con el aprendizaje organizacional, el desarrollo de capacidades y el uso efectivo de los recursos. En 2017, el CCM realizó una evaluación de su sistema de planificación, monitoreo y evaluación de programas. Los hallazgos y recomendaciones incluyeron la necesidad de que el CCM continúe aumentando la capacidad de las organizaciones asociadas y del personal del CCM en métodos de evaluación, diseño, monitoreo y evaluación, particularmente el uso de métodos de investigación de acción participativa. La encuesta de Keystone en 2013—una encuesta independiente de las organizaciones asociadas del CCM— descubrió que las organizaciones asociadas perciben que el CCM es una organización de aprendizaje y, al mismo tiempo, desearían más apoyo del CCM para el desarrollo de capacidades en los métodos de evaluación de monitoreo participativo.

El apoyo al desarrollo de capacidades del CCM ayuda a garantizar que el CCM tenga organizaciones asociadas capacitadas que puedan adherirse a los estándares humanitarios en la planificación, implementación, monitoreo y evaluación de iniciativas humanitarias. El CCM trabaja en el desarrollo de capacidades de organizaciones asociadas de múltiples maneras, incluyendo: a) patrocinio de capacitaciones en principios humanitarios y estándares mínimos, planificación, monitoreo y evaluación, y sanidad del trauma y construcción de paz; b) ayudando a las organizaciones a establecer comités diversificados de ayuda local; c) facilitando intercambios de aprendizaje entre diferentes grupos; y d) proporcionando un acompañamiento significativo en la evaluación, planificación y presentación de informes. Una de las críticas de trabajar a través de organizaciones locales es su capacidad de crecer—la habilidad (o la falta de ella) de estas pequeñas organizaciones locales de aumentar su trabajo para responder a grandes necesidades humanitarias. El enfoque del CCM ha sido comenzar en pequeña escala y aumentar a medida que estas organizaciones asociadas demuestren su capacidad para gestionar iniciativas más grandes.

El trabajo humanitario del CCM en las últimas décadas se ha basado cada vez más en asociaciones locales, y ahora el CCM trabaja casi exclusivamente con organizaciones asociadas locales en la respuesta a desastres. En nuestra experiencia, este modelo nos ha permitido cumplir con los estándares y principios humanitarios, incluyendo: garantía de una respuesta adecuada y de calidad, rendición de cuentas, participación y comunicación con las comunidades afectadas por el desastre. El CCM continúa desarrollando su capacidad con las organizaciones asociadas locales a largo plazo, lo que permite que el CCM, con el tiempo, amplíe y aumente su capacidad para responder a los desastres a través de las asociaciones locales mientras cumple con los estándares humanitarios.

Bruce Guenther es el director de respuesta a desastres del CCM, con sede en Winnipeg.

Sopa siendo servida en una escuela en Alemania, 1947– 48, como parte de los esfuerzos de ayuda del CCM al final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El CCM participó en un programa conjunto de alimentación infantil que alcanzó a 72,000 niñas y niños en ocho ciudades del sureste de Alemania. (Foto del CCM / Heinz Wagener).

The Sphere Handbook: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response. Geneva:

Sphere Association, 2018. Available at https://www.

Barbelet, Veronique. “As Local as Possible, As International as Necessary: Understanding Capacity and Complementarity in Humanitarian Action”. HPG Working Paper. London: Overseas Development  Institute, 2018.

Bennett, Christian, et al. Time to Let Go: Remaking Humanitarian Action for the Modern Era. London: Overseas Development Institute, 2016.

El uso de asistencia en dinero y cupones para obtener resultados de protección en la asistencia humanitaria

[Articulos Individuales de la edicion de Intersecciones de Invierno 2020 se publican dos veces blog cada semana. La edicion completa puede ser encontrada en MCC’s website.]

La mayoría de la programación de asistencia humanitaria del CCM durante el siglo pasado ha involucrado la distribución de alimentos y artículos no alimentarios. Sin embargo, durante la última década, la distribución de asistencia en dinero y cupones (CVA por sus siglas en inglés para Cash and Voucher Assistance) se ha convertido en uno de los tipos de intervenciones humanitarias de más rápido crecimiento, incluso dentro del CCM. Si bien la CVA se ha establecido en el CCM y en todo el sector humanitario como una herramienta para mejorar la seguridad alimentaria, satisfacer las necesidades básicas y fortalecer las redes de seguridad social en las zonas propensas a las crisis en todo el mundo, el impacto de los programas de CVA todavía está siendo evaluado por el CCM y otros actores humanitarios. Este artículo analiza el impacto prometedor de la CVA en la programación de protección, examinando cómo la CVA tiene el potencial no solo de mejorar la seguridad alimentaria y económica para las familias desarraigadas y marginadas, sino que también puede ayudar a proteger a los grupos vulnerables (como mujeres, niñas y niños) de diferentes tipos de violencia avivada por condiciones económicas desesperadas.

Antes de implementar la asistencia en dinero y cupones en cualquier contexto, se debe realizar un análisis integral de género para comprender el impacto potencial que el dinero puede tener en la dinámica de la comunidad y el hogar y en la seguridad individual, particularmente para los grupos vulnerables en ese contexto. En algunos casos, la distribución de dinero puede aumentar las vulnerabilidades preexistentes (por ejemplo, contextos en los que los hombres de una familia controlan los recursos de dinero), lo que lleva a resultados de protección negativos y pone a las personas en mayor riesgo de sufrir daños. En todos los entornos humanitarios, se debe incluir un análisis de las relaciones de género anteriores a la crisis en el análisis de género para comprender mejor cómo funcionarían las expectativas en torno a los roles y responsabilidades en circunstancias normales y cómo esos roles han cambiado en situaciones de crisis. El análisis de género debe consultar a las mujeres, hombres, niñas, niños y otros grupos vulnerables locales para informar mejor la programación planificada y desafiar las ideas preexistentes de relaciones de género y la programación preferida que el personal del proyecto pueda tener. Es particularmente importante no asumir que la selección basada en el género es la estrategia ideal en todos los contextos; en algunos casos, este tipo de selección puede reforzar las normas de género tradicionales o colocar a las mujeres y niñas en mayor riesgo de violencia de género (VG).

El proveer una transferencia de dinero de una sola vez en forma individual o familiar, según la necesidad, puede permitir que los hogares cubran los gastos clave que, de lo contrario, podrían poner a las personas vulnerables en mayor riesgo de daño en situaciones de alto estrés.

Si bien el uso principal de dinero y cupones en la programación de asistencia, a menudo, busca satisfacer las necesidades básicas del hogar (como asistencia para el alquiler, artículos para el hogar y asistencia alimentaria), existen resultados secundarios relacionados con la equidad y protección de género que pueden vincularse a la implementación de asistencia en dinero. En una evaluación reciente de la programación de asistencia de cupones del CCM en Líbano, muchas mujeres que participaron en el programa mensual de cupones de alimentos indicaron que el cupón no solo había tenido un impacto directo en la cantidad y calidad de los alimentos que consumían sus familias, sino que también había un impacto en su sentimiento de autoestima dentro de la familia. La participación en el programa de cupones significó para estas mujeres que podían contribuir con algo sustancial al poder adquisitivo del hogar, incluyendo la capacidad de elegir y comprar alimentos, y que los niveles de estrés en el hogar disminuyeron debido al conocimiento de que los cupones mensuales predecibles estarían disponibles para cubrir sus necesidades alimentarias. Si bien no está explícitamente relacionado con la reducción de la violencia de género, es una suposición justificable que la reducción de los niveles de estrés dentro del hogar puede contribuir a reducir la tensión y violencia.

Otras respuestas emprendidas por otras agencias, como el Comité Internacional de Rescate (IRC por sus siglas en inglés), incluyen: proporcionar asistencia en dinero a personas desplazadas; ayudar a reemplazar documentos perdidos para obtener acceso a servicios gubernamentales y de las ONG; y proporcionar transferencias de dinero incondicionales a las adolescentes con el objetivo de reducir el matrimonio precoz, condiciones de trabajo inseguras y exposición al sexo transaccional. Un uso emergente de la asistencia en dinero para protección es el uso de dinero para respaldar una respuesta centrada en las personas sobrevivientes de la violencia de género. En este tipo de respuesta, el dinero se usa como parte de un programa más amplio de respuesta a la violencia de género, en el que las personas sobrevivientes reciben apoyo psicosocial y asistencia en dinero con el fin de ayudarles a acceder a servicios básicos de respuesta, como vivienda segura, atención médica y capacitación en medios de vida que de otra forma serían inaccesibles debido a sus altos costos o recursos financieros limitados.

En emergencias de aparición repentina, la programación en dinero se puede utilizar para proporcionar a las familias transferencias de efectivo a corto plazo para promover la recuperación temprana y abordar problemas relacionados con riesgos de protección, o problemas que dejarán a las personas más vulnerables a los riesgos de protección en el futuro. En estas respuestas, los programas de dinero y cupones se pueden usar para gastos no recurrentes, como el reemplazo de material para techos o la cobertura de necesidades médicas urgentes. El proveer una transferencia de dinero de una sola vez en forma individual o familiar, según la necesidad, puede permitir que los hogares cubran los gastos clave que, de lo contrario, podrían poner a las personas vulnerables en mayor riesgo de daño en situaciones de alto estrés.

El refugiado sirio Ahmad * compra víveres con cupones proveídos a través de un proyecto del CCM en Beirut, Líbano en 2014. La organización asociada del CCM Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD) distribuyó los cupones a las personas sirias que viven en el Líbano, para ayudar a aliviar la carga sobre las comunidades de acogida y reducir la tensión entre anfitriones y refugiados. Foto del CCM / Silas Crews.

* Nombre completo no utilizado por razones de seguridad.

En un estudio reciente llevado a cabo por Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP), los investigadores encontraron que la programación de dinero y cupones tuvo un impacto positivo en la reducción de la violencia de pareja íntima en el 80% de los proyectos encuestados cuando se programaron en conjunto con otras actividades de violencia de género que abordan las causas profundas del comportamiento violento. Se descubrió que la asistencia en dinero reduce las tensiones dentro del hogar relacionadas con la inseguridad de ingresos. También se descubrió que este tipo de asistencia retrasa o previene el matrimonio precoz y forzado en situaciones agudas donde el dinero en efectivo fue capaz de aliviar la desesperación familiar. Sin embargo, el dinero por sí solo no fue capaz de cambiar las creencias subyacentes que conducen al matrimonio temprano o forzado, destacando la necesidad de que la programación de dinero en efectivo se integre en un enfoque más integral de protección.

Dado que la programación de asistencia en dinero y cupones se ha reconocido como un componente creciente de la programación de respuesta humanitaria, es importante evaluar el impacto de esta asistencia para lograr resultados óptimos. El uso de asistencia en dinero y cupones en la programación de protección sigue siendo un área emergente de programación e investigación que muestra una gran promesa al proveer a las personas sobrevivientes de violencia de género y poblaciones vulnerables recursos adicionales y resultados tangibles en torno a la seguridad y protección en la programación de asistencia humanitaria.

Annie Loewen es coordinadora de asistencia humanitaria del CCM con sede en Winnipeg.

Cross, Allyson; Tenzin Manell and Melanie Megevand. November 2018. Humanitarian Cash Transfer Programming and Gender-Based Violence Outcomes: Evidence and Future Research Priorities.

Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP). Disponible en: Allen, Samantha. May 2019. “CVA for Protection: A Mapping of IRC’s Use of Cash and Voucher Assistance to Help Achieve Protection Outcomes.” May 2019. files/content/resource/files/main/1559138467.IRC%20-%20CVA%20for%20Protection%20vf.pdf

MCC, local partnerships and humanitarian standards


[Individual articles from the Winter 2020 issue of Intersections will be posted on this blog each week. The full issue can be found on MCC’s website.]

During the first MCC response in southern Russia (present-day Ukraine) in the early 1920s, MCC worked with local Mennonite institutions and committees to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance to respond to famine. While the humanitarian landscape has changed dramatically since MCC’s inception, MCC has continued to increase partnerships with local organizations, including local churches, faith-based organizations and other civil society organizations to provide humanitarian assistance to people impacted by conflict and disaster. In the last few decades, humanitarian principles and standards have significantly evolved to ensure more accountability to and ensure the rights of disaster-affected communities. MCC’s strength in responding to humanitarian crises is its wide network of local partners. MCC provides support based on requests from local organizations who are well connected to their local contexts and have access to affected communities. Because these organizations have longstanding relationships in their communities, they can respond quickly to emergency needs and offer assistance that is appropriate and responsive to ongoing needs and is sensitive to contextual challenges.

In June 1957, flour and cornmeal were distributed to storm victims in South Korea. In this photo, MCC service worker Joseph Smucker, of Goshen, Indiana helps to lift a tub of flour (weighing about 50 lbs) onto the head of a woman who is also carrying a baby on her back. Each recipient was allotted 5 lbs of flour per family member. (MCC photo)

MCC’s reliance on local partnerships also presents challenges, including in the ability to scale-up, and can cause tensions with humanitarian principles and standards. This article provides an overall summary of key humanitarian standards and the more recent emphasis on the localization of humanitarian assistance. It highlights examples of MCC’s response to various emergencies and how local partners enhance the quality and accountability of humanitarian assistance, while also noting areas of tension and growth.

Accountability to the people and communities affected by disasters stands at the centre of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) adopted by international non-governmental organizations in 2015. Humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence form the key principles that govern humanitarian action. The CHS builds off earlier humanitarian conventions, codes of conduct, principles and standards developed by the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Sphere project and other humanitarian coalitions and standards organizations. The CHS outlines nine commitments which can be grouped into three overall categories: 1) timely access to quality humanitarian assistance which builds local capacities; 2) participation of, communication with and accountability to affected communities; and 3) a commitment to learning and building the capacity and effectiveness of humanitarian actors. The examples and discussion below show how MCC’s approach of partnering with local organizations interfaces with these standards.

At times, partner requests can be at odds with minimum standards and humanitarian principles. Local organizations are often faced with political and social pressures to respond to as many communities and people as possible, pressures which, if acted on, can dilute the quality of assistance.

At the World Humanitarian Summit in 2017, governments, international aid organizations and United Nations agencies committed to reshape the humanitarian sector, articulated in what has come to be called the Grand Bargain Commitments. One of these commitments is to increase support and funding for local and national organizations in humanitarian action, often referred to as the “localization agenda.” The UN Secretary General called for humanitarian assistance to be “as local as possible and as international as necessary”—this includes a call for private and government resources to support local agencies, rather than relying on large international humanitarian agencies, and to commit multi-year funding to enable better response capacity. These commitments are based on the recognition that local civil society actors are often the first to respond to humanitarian crises and are an ongoing presence in their communities before and after these crises.

The first group of humanitarian standards refers to the importance of providing timely, quality and appropriate assistance, including assistance that builds local capacity and avoids harm. The strength of MCC’s relief response stems from its wide network of over 500 local partners. Local organizations are more connected and responsive to the needs of people affected in the communities they serve. Due to MCC’s existing partnerships in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, MCC has been able over the past decade to facilitate its largest response to a humanitarian crisis since World War II. Following the Nepal earthquake in 2015, existing community development partners were able to quickly identify affected communities in remote areas and to identify and address the most urgent needs, despite huge communication and logistical challenges. During the Israeli military’s bombardment of Gaza in 2014, MCC was among the first international organizations to respond to the immediate food and shelter needs of affected people. In countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe, MCC’s ongoing agriculture and food security work with vulnerable communities has paved the way for MCC to also respond during food security crises. MCC’s existing community development and peacebuilding partnerships allow it to quickly respond to humanitarian crises because of the pre-existing program these partner organizations have with vulnerable groups.

On July 17, 2014, a truckload of food packages were distributed by MCC partner Zakho Small Villages Project at an IDP (internally displaced persons) camp in northern Iraq–most of the IDPs fled the city of Mosul after its takeover by Islamic State group (also known as ISIS). More than 230 heads of household received the packages which contained basic cooking staples such as rice, lentils, oil and other ingredients, as well as some basic hygiene items. Names not used for security reasons. (MCC photo/Ryan Rodrick Beiler)

At the same time, MCC has faced challenges in some large-scale disaster responses because MCC either did not have existing local partners, as when it responded to the Japan earthquake in 2011 and to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013. Following the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2014, MCC worked to form new partnerships in Banda Aceh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. MCC also built on local partnerships in India with other Canadian NGOs to form a multi-church agency response in southern India.

In the case of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, MCC had a broad network of local partners and significant resources to program. Over the course of MCC’s seven-year response, MCC undertook food security, shelter, water and sanitation and trauma healing responses through partnerships with Haitian organizations. MCC’s wide network of existing and new partners allowed MCC to mount an immediate, significant and multi-sectoral relief and recovery response. However, the final evaluation noted that MCC should have engaged with fewer partners and focused on fewer sectors. In a large-scale disaster response in which MCC raises significant resources and has a wide network of partners with urgent requests, it can be challenging to keep MCC’s overall response focused.

The capacity to provide timely and appropriate assistance depends on whether local partners have active programming and strong relationships in affected areas. When local partners have robust and active relationships with affected communities, they are also more likely to deliver quality and appropriate assistance. Food assistance is one of the most common requests that MCC receives from local partners. Local partners recommend culturally appropriate and quality food assistance. MCC’s local partners can help discern the proper modality of the humanitarian response (i.e., cash, vouchers or in-kind food baskets). When food baskets are identified as the best approach, local partners are well-positioned to determine the make-up of the food ration. Decisions about the mode and type of food items are then reviewed by MCC to ensure that they meet Sphere minimum standards, including standards that aim to ensure that households receive the required ration for dignity and survival. MCC and its partners together assess what shape humanitarian assistance initiatives should take, with partners bringing local knowledge about what communities name as the top priorities and about what they understand as appropriate, and with MCC assessing such requests through the lens of global humanitarian standards.

At times, partner requests can be at odds with minimum standards and humanitarian principles. Local organizations are often faced with political and social pressures to respond to as many communities and people as possible, pressures which, if acted on, can dilute the quality of assistance. MCC often pushes local organizations to focus their responses to meet minimum humanitarian standards for fewer communities and households, rather than diluting the response across too many recipients. When faced with overwhelming needs, MCC and its partners must maintain the overall principle of humanity, focusing on meeting the needs of the most affected communities to the necessary standard.

In this 2009 photo, Slavica Koncarevic (left), staff of MCC partner Bread of Life Belgrade (BOLB), distributes MCC canned turkey and blankets to members of the Roma community, a minority ethnic group that faces discrimination in education and employment. (MCC photo/Tim Friesen)

The second group of CHS principles relates to participation, communication and accountability. Affected people must help shape humanitarian responses, provide feedback and lodge complaints while those responses are underway and contribute to the evaluation of humanitarian responses. MCC has worked with various churches, faith-based organizations and other groups to set up or strengthen local disaster committees. These local committees will typically include local church leadership along with required skills, knowledge and representation from the affected community. In the case of MCC’s recent response to the crisis in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MCC worked with three Congolese Anabaptist church denominations to set-up local relief committees to develop and oversee the response, a multifaceted response targeting internally displaced Congolese that included food assistance, education support, livelihood recovery, trauma healing and peacebuilding components. The local relief committee offered input into the shape of the response, channeling feedback from youth leaders, the women’s commission of the church, church leadership and local government officials.

In addition to coordinating and delivering humanitarian assistance, relief committees provide invaluable counsel in identifying the priority needs the humanitarian assistance will aim to address and in selecting (or “targeting”) the priority households for receiving assistance. In the case of the Kasai response, the local relief committees, with strong accompaniment from MCC, helped in selecting the geographic areas in which they would respond as well as the priority households to receive assistance. Building on the humanitarian principles of humanity and impartiality, the committees selected households based on need, focusing on the most vulnerable, including households with pregnant or nursing mothers, unaccompanied children, people living with disabilities and the elderly. Diverse representation on relief committees, and particularly the involvement of displaced people themselves, strengthens accountability and the targeting of the response. This relief committee model helps protect church leadership who may be accused of discrimination based on church membership or affiliation or other characteristics (e.g., ethnicity or political affiliation). MCC has also worked hard to ensure there is better gender representation on these committees and worked toward integrating gender analysis into its humanitarian response.

In addition to overseeing the targeting of the response, local organizations also solicit feedback and manage complaints from communities receiving humanitarian assistance. Their presence in the community means that they can receive feedback and complaints more directly and are more accessible than staff from other outside agencies. A growing priority for MCC is to help local organizations set up formal feedback and complaint mechanisms in order to increase accountability to and participation of the affected community, as well as to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, fraud and corruption. MCC continues to build its capacity to better work alongside local partners to ensure the participation of affected people throughout the assessment, design, monitoring and evaluation process, as part of a broader commitment that MCC’s humanitarian responses be adaptive and appropriate.

MCC humanitarian work over the past decades has increasingly relied on local partnerships, with MCC now almost exclusively working with local partners in disaster response.

Coordination and collaboration are also central to this second group of CHS principles. Local organizations are connected to the communities, organizations and government where they operate and often prioritize coordination with local government. At the same time, large international organizations coordinate through the UN cluster system which can often create barriers to participation from local organizations, including safety, language, social or cultural barriers. As an example, in the case of the Haiti earthquake, the initial UN coordination meetings were held in the MINUSTAH (UN Haiti peacekeeping force) compound, with the meetings conducted in English or French and not Haitian Creole. The meetings were often dominated by representatives of international NGOs from the global North with large capacity and were not accessible spaces for staff from smaller local organizations. MCC sometimes represents its local partners within these UN coordination mechanisms.

The last group of three CHS principles relates to organizational learning, capacity building and the effective use of resources. In 2017, MCC conducted a review of its program planning, monitoring and evaluation system. The findings and recommendations included the need for MCC to continue to increase partner and MCC staff capacity in assessment, design, monitoring and evaluation methods, particularly the use of participatory action research methods. The Keystone survey in 2013—an independent survey of MCC’s local partners—found that partners perceive MCC to be a learning organization and at the same time would like more MCC capacity building support in participatory monitoring evaluation methods.

MCC’s capacity building support helps ensure that MCC will have skilled partners who can adhere to humanitarian standards in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian initiatives. MCC works at partner capacity building in multiple ways, including: a) sponsoring training on humanitarian principles and minimum standards, planning, monitoring and evaluation, and trauma healing and peacebuilding; b) helping organizations set up diverse local relief committees; c) facilitating learning exchanges between different groups; and d) providing significant accompaniment in assessment, planning and reporting. One of the criticisms of working through local organizations is their surge capacity—the ability (or lack thereof) of these small local organizations to scale-up to respond to large humanitarian needs. MCC’s approach has been to start small and scale-up as these partners demonstrate their capacity to manage larger initiatives. MCC humanitarian work over the past decades has increasingly relied on local partnerships, with MCC now almost exclusively working with local partners in disaster response. In our experience this model has allowed us to meet humanitarian standards and principles including ensuring an appropriate and quality response, accountability to, participation of and communication with disaster affected communities. MCC continues to build its capacity with long-term local partners, allowing MCC to scale-up over time and increase its capacity to respond to disasters through local partnerships while meeting humanitarian standards.

Soup being served at a school in Germany, 1947–48, as part of MCC relief efforts at the end of the Second World War. MCC particpated in a joint childfeeding program that reached 72,000 children in eight cities in southeastern Germany. (MCC photo/Heinz Wagener)

Bruce Guenther is MCC’s disaster response director, based in Winnipeg.

Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability. Available at https:// the-standard.

The Sphere Handbook: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response. Geneva: Sphere Association, 2018. Available at

Barbelet, Veronique. “As Local as Possible, As International as Necessary: Understanding Capacity and Complementarity in Humanitarian Action”. HPG Working Paper. London: Overseas Development Institute, 2018. Bennett, Christian, et al. Time to Let Go: Remaking Humanitarian Action for the Modern Era. London: Overseas Development Institute, 2016.

The use of cash and voucher assistance for protection outcomes in humanitarian assistance

[Individual articles from the Winter 2020 issue of Intersections will be posted on this blog each week. The full issue can be found on MCC’s website.]

The majority of MCC’s humanitarian assistance programming over the past century has involved the distribution of food and non-food items. However, over the past decade the distribution of cash and voucher assistance (CVA) has become one of the fastest growing types of humanitarian interventions, including within MCC. While CVA has become well-established within MCC and across the humanitarian sector as a tool for improving food security, providing for basic needs and strengthening social safety nets in shock-prone areas around the world, the impact of CVA programs is still being assessed by MCC and other humanitarian actors. This article discusses the promising impact of CVA on protection programming, examining how CVA has the potential not only to improve food and economic security for uprooted and marginalized families, but can also help protect vulnerable groups (such as women, girls and boys) from different types of violence stoked by desperate economic conditions.

Prior to implementing cash and voucher assistance in any context, one must undertake a comprehensive gender analysis to understand the potential impact cash may have on community and household dynamics and on individual safety, particularly for vulnerable groups in that context. In some instances, distributing cash may increase pre-existing vulnerabilities (e.g., contexts in which men in a family control cash resources), leading to negative protection outcomes and placing individuals at higher risk of experiencing harm. In all humanitarian settings, an analysis of pre-crisis gender relations should be included in the gender analysis to gain a better understanding of how expectations around roles and responsibilities would function under normal circumstances and how those roles have shifted in crisis situations. The gender analysis should consult local women, men, girls, boys and other vulnerable groups in order to better inform the planned programming and challenge pre-existing ideas of gender relations and preferred programming that project staff may have. It is particularly important not to assume that gender-based targeting is the ideal strategy in all contexts; in some instances, this type of targeting may reinforce traditional gender norms or place women and girls at increased risk of gender-based violence (GBV).

Providing a one-time cash transfer on an individual or household basis depending on need can allow households to cover key expenses that may otherwise put vulnerable individuals at greater risk of harm in high stress situations.

While the primary use of cash and vouchers in assistance programming often seeks to meet basic household needs (such as rental assistance, household items and food assistance), there are secondary outcomes related to gender equity and protection that can be linked back to the implementation of cash-based assistance. In a recent evaluation of MCC’s voucher assistance programming in Lebanon, many women participating in the monthly food voucher program noted that the voucher had not only had a direct impact on the amount and quality of food their families were consuming, but that there was also an impact on their feeling of self-worth within the family. Participation in the voucher program meant for these women that they were able to contribute something substantial to the household’s purchasing power, including the ability to choose and purchase food, and that stress levels in the household declined due to the knowledge that predictable monthly vouchers would be available to cover their food needs. While not explicitly linked to reduction of GBV, it is a justifiable assumption that reduced stress levels within the household can contribute to reduced tension and violence.

Other responses undertaken by other agencies, such as International Rescue Committee (IRC), include: providing cash assistance to displaced individuals; helping to replace lost documents in order to gain access to government and NGO services; and providing unconditional cash transfers to adolescent girls with the goal of reducing early marriage, unsafe working conditions and exposure to transactional sex. An emerging use for cash assistance for protection is the use of cash to support a survivor-centered response to GBV. In this type of response, cash is used as part of a broader GBV response programme, in which survivors are provided with psychosocial support as well as cash assistance in order to help survivors access core response services such as safe housing, medical care and livelihoods training that would otherwise be inaccessible due to unaffordable costs or limited financial resources.

In sudden-onset emergencies, cash programming can be used to provide families with short-term cash transfers to promote early recovery and address issues related to protection risks, or issues that will leave individuals more vulnerable to protection risks down the line. In these responses, cash and voucher programing can be used for non-reoccurring expenses, such as replacing roofing material or covering urgent medical needs. Providing a onetime cash transfer on an individual or household basis depending on need can allow households to cover key expenses that may otherwise put vulnerable individuals at greater risk of harm in high stress situations.

Syrian refugee Ahmad* buys groceries with vouchers provided through an MCC project in Beirut, Lebanon in 2014. MCC partner Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD) distributed the vouchers to Syrians living in Lebanon, to help relieve the burden on host communities and reduce tension between hosts and refugees. (MCC photo/Silas Crews)

*Full name not used for security reasons.

In a recent study carried out by the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP), researchers found that cash and voucher programming had a positive impact on reducing intimate partner violence in 80% of projects surveyed when programmed in conjunction with other GBV activities addressing root causes of violent behavior. Cash assistance was found to reduce tensions within the household related to income insecurity. This type of assistance was also found to delay or prevent early and forced marriage in acute situations where cash was able to alleviate family desperation. However, cash alone was not able to change the underlying beliefs that lead to early or forced marriage, highlighting the need for cash programming to be integrated into a more comprehensive approach to protection.

As cash and voucher assistance programming has become recognized as a growing component of humanitarian response programming, it is important to assess the impact of this assistance in order to achieve optimal results. The use of cash and voucher assistance in protection programming is still an emerging area of programming and research that shows a good deal of promise in providing survivors of GBV and vulnerable populations with additional resources and tangible outcomes around safety and protection in humanitarian assistance programming.

Annie Loewen is an MCC humanitarian assistance coordinator based in Winnipeg.

Cross, Allyson; Tenzin Manell and Melanie Megevand. November 2018. Humanitarian Cash Transfer Programming and Gender-Based Violence Outcomes: Evidence and Future Research Priorities. Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP). Available at

Allen, Samantha. May 2019. “CVA for Protection: A Mapping of IRC’s Use of Cash and Voucher Assistance to Help Achieve Protection Outcomes.” May 2019.

Escuchando (nuevamente) el Proceso de Escucha de Katrina del CCM

[Articulos Individuales de la edicion de Intersecciones de Invierno 2020 se publican dos veces blog cada semana. La edicion completa puede ser encontrada en MCC’s website.]

Hace casi quince años, el huracán Katrina inundó Nueva Orleans y otras comunidades a lo largo de la costa del Golfo de los Estados Unidos. En cuestión de días, más de 2,000 personas murieron o desaparecieron, y al menos 1.5 millones de residentes de Nueva Orleans huyeron de la ciudad para esperar a que el agua retrocediera. Casi 500,000 personas permanecen en la diáspora—casi uno de cada tres residentes de Nueva Orleans pre-Katrina— la mayoría de los cuales formaban parte de una comunidad histórica afroamericana que ha sido parte de la ciudad durante generaciones. Para estos y otros pueblos históricamente marginados a lo largo de la costa del Golfo, el impacto del desastre natural de Katrina se multiplicó por los desastres antinaturales y continuos del racismo y otras formas de opresión sistémica ya presentes en la región. Estos problemas complejos y superpuestos hicieron que responder a Katrina fuera un proceso extremadamente desafiante, cuyo impacto continúa hoy.

Desde el tsunami, el apoyo psicosocial tiene prioridad en muchas respuestas a desastres del CCM, junto con el suministro de agua, alimentos y albergue de emergencia en los primeros días, y luego la recuperación de medios de vida, educación y albergue a largo plazo en los siguientes meses y años.

Este artículo se basa en documentos fuente primarios y evaluaciones secundarias de la respuesta del CCM a Katrina, que comenzó inmediatamente después del huracán. De acuerdo con el memorándum de entendimiento entre el CCM con el Servicio de Desastres Menonita, en el que MDS (por sus siglas en inglés) responde a desastres en los Estados Unidos y Canadá y el CCM responde a desastres en otras partes del mundo, MDS emprendió la respuesta Menonita inicial al desastre de Katrina. Sin embargo, pronto se hizo evidente que la devastación de Katrina no tenía precedentes. MDS invitó al CCM a responder con recursos materiales y financieros en asociación con MDS y otras agencias. Estos grupos proporcionaron una respuesta oportuna que, según las organizaciones asociadas locales, satisfizo efectivamente las necesidades humanas inmediatas. Sin embargo, evaluaciones posteriores plantearon dudas sobre el impacto a largo plazo de la respuesta humanitaria. Una revisión de estas evaluaciones revela cómo Katrina ofrece una lección importante pero desafiante sobre cómo los patrones predeterminados y los modos de operación institucional, a veces, pueden contribuir a aumentar el daño en una comunidad en lugar de contribuir a su sanidad.

En el caso de la respuesta del CCM a Katrina, surgió una brecha entre las buenas intenciones y el efecto real. Las evaluaciones sugirieron que durante las primeras etapas de Katrina, el CCM tuvo dificultades como institución para lidiar con las deficiencias en su competencia cultural y con su racismo internalizado. En particular, el CCM disminuyó el papel que las personas de color locales en las comunidades afectadas podrían tener en la configuración de la respuesta. Las evaluaciones encontraron que la toma de decisiones que dio forma a la respuesta del CCM generalmente estaba anidada en las oficinas del CCM lejos de la comunidad, dirigida por personal y liderazgo que eran predominantemente blancos, Menonitas y hombres, en lugar de con aquellas personas que tenían más en juego de llevar a cabo una respuesta que se ajustara a la escala y tipo de desastre que demandaba Katrina.

Después de la fase inicial, el personal del CCM de Paz & Justicia de EE. UU. formó un grupo llamado Proceso de Escucha de Katrina (KLP por sus siglas en inglés) para abordar las preocupaciones profundas y emergentes sobre la devastación de Katrina y la respuesta del CCM. La visión del KLP era “crear relaciones mutuamente auténticas y saludables siguiendo la sabiduría de las comunidades locales en la configuración de este y futuros proyectos… y desafiar amorosamente a la institución para que responda de acuerdo con su compromiso de convertirse en una organización antirracista”.

Escuchar adecuadamente el conocimiento de las comunidades marginadas depende de la capacidad del CCM como institución para desarrollar relaciones auténticas con las comunidades locales, incluyendo las comunidades de color.

En los meses siguientes, el KLP realizó entrevistas y consultas en Nueva Orleans y otras comunidades del Golfo. Los miembros del KLP escucharon historias de comunidades de color afectadas por Katrina, muchas de las cuales notaron cómo el material externo y la ayuda financiera durante la crisis pesaron mucho en sus comunidades. Si bien muchas personas entrevistadas expresaron su aprecio por los recursos inmediatos, también reconocieron que la afluencia abrumadora de personas y recursos equivalía a lo que una persona sobreviviente del huracán llamó un “caos de generosidad”, señalando cómo la respuesta aumentó la carga sobre sus comunidades. Otra persona sobreviviente comentó sobre la dificultad de lidiar con el trauma de perder el hogar, comunidad y tierra, mientras también se manejaba el trauma de gente desconocida recién llegada que buscaba ayudar. Lo que faltaba en la respuesta, dijeron estas personas entrevistadas, era un compromiso permanente de recibir instrucciones de las comunidades afectadas y, específicamente, abordar sus preocupaciones sobre el desplazamiento sistémico y despojo que se desarrollaba justo delante de sus ojos.

Lo que estas comunidades afectadas vieron como crítico para una respuesta humanitaria apropiada no era simplemente la provisión de ayuda material y financiera, sino la necesidad de una intensa incidencia y organización en torno a los problemas centrales de la opresión sistémica. A raíz de Katrina, las comunidades afroamericanas se enfrentaron a la eliminación tangible de su comunidad, una realidad en la que sus propios hogares y vecindarios estaban siendo aniquilados. Les preocupaba la prevalencia de la actividad policial que conducía al arresto y detención aleatorios de miembros de la comunidad. Tenían ansiedad por el creciente interés entre las personas recién llegadas en la reconstrucción y “revitalización” de una comunidad que históricamente era su hogar, una preocupación de que la reconstrucción enmascararía la gentrificación, o si no, el bloqueo económico y cultural del histórico Nueva Orleáns retornaría. Estas preocupaciones lamentablemente terminaron teniendo sentido. Las respuestas bien intencionadas pero las acciones mal dirigidas contribuyeron a formas sistémicas de eliminación y despojamiento.

La capacidad de acompañamiento antirracista, en gran medida, depende de la voluntad de un CCM de enfrentarse con sus propios patrones culturales y hábitos de racismo internalizado e institucional. En ausencia de tal enfrentamiento, sigue habiendo un riesgo inevitable de hacer daño.

Por supuesto, esto no significa que toda la historia de la respuesta de Katrina del CCM fuera perjudicial. El KLP resultó en una redirección reflexiva. Se estableció un proceso de discernimiento, por un ejemplo, que permitiría a los miembros de la comunidad local proveer información a la respuesta del CCM en desarrollo. Se identificaron y nombraron problemas sistémicos, cambiando la respuesta de satisfacer las necesidades inmediatas a una de seguir a las organizaciones asociadas que confrontaron esos problemas sistémicos. El personal reflexivo siguió escuchando y buscó elaborar una respuesta antirracista. La oficina del CCM en Washington, D.C., se volvió activa en algunos temas relacionados con Katrina, como abogar por un mayor acceso a viviendas asequibles y de bajo costo. No obstante, el KLP no tuvo el impacto duradero que sus participantes imaginaron que tendría. Muchas personas de las que formaron parte del proceso consideraron que el CCM dedicó muy poco esfuerzo al trabajo de escuchar y remodelar los patrones institucionales. Las evaluaciones muestran que el KLP se cerró sin un sentido claro entre sus miembros de que el CCM como institución había aprendido de sus errores.

A pesar de su efecto limitado, el KLP ofrece lecciones con las que el CCM lidia hoy. Nos recuerda, por ejemplo, que las comunidades más afectadas por los desastres saben íntimamente lo que necesitan. El conocimiento y experiencia locales, especialmente entre los segmentos más oprimidos y marginados de una comunidad, representan el genio e imaginación que son críticos para la resiliencia comunitaria. Uno podría imaginar cómo se vería una respuesta, por ejemplo, si las matriarcas afroamericanas pobres de una de las comunidades poderosas e históricas de Nueva Orleans tomaran la iniciativa para determinar los resultados deseados de las respuestas humanitarias desde el principio.

Escuchar adecuadamente el conocimiento de las comunidades marginadas depende de la capacidad del CCM como institución para desarrollar relaciones auténticas con las comunidades locales, incluyendo las comunidades de color. El KLP muestra que cuando una organización se está preparando para un proyecto a largo plazo o está respondiendo a una crisis de emergencia, las relaciones saludables, auténticas, antirracistas y cultivadas activamente importan—decisivamente. Las relaciones permiten la escucha que es esencial para los elementos más cruciales de una respuesta efectiva, y la escucha es aún más crucial en el contexto de un desastre.

El KLP también reconoció que sin un trabajo continuo y transformador interno, arraigado en un profundo compromiso con el antirracismo, el desafiar viejos patrones y hábitos que bajo presión causan daño resulta muy difícil. Los lentes y conjuntos de habilidades para trabajar de manera antirracista deben compartirse ampliamente en el CCM. En resumen, la capacidad de acompañamiento antirracista depende en gran medida de la voluntad del CCM de enfrentarse con sus propios patrones culturales y hábitos de racismo internalizado e institucional. En ausencia de tal enfrentamiento, sigue habiendo un riesgo inevitable de hacer daño.

En octubre de 2005, los voluntarios del Servicio de Desastres Menonita (MDS por sus siglas en inglés) Duane y Joan Kauffman, de Harlan, Kentucky, reparan el techo del centro para niños ubicado junto a la Iglesia Amor Viviente en Metairie, Louisiana. Los vientos del huracán Katrina habían arrancado muchas de las tejas del edificio. (Foto del CCM / LaShinda Clark).

Finalmente, el KLP muestra precisamente por qué la memoria institucional y lecciones del pasado importan. El CCM tuvo una unidad -a intervalos- durante casi veinticinco años en Nueva Orleans, llevando a cabo trabajos contra el racismo. Sin embargo, esta historia no dio mucha forma a la respuesta del CCM a Katrina. Como se indicó en otra evaluación, las instituciones como el CCM deben priorizar la preservación de historias. Se deben preservar las lecciones del pasado para que los(as) futuros(as) trabajadores(as) puedan reclamarlas significativamente y aprender de ellas, y así ver mejor las dificultades de los patrones y hábitos institucionales en el futuro.

Cuando ocurra el próximo desastre, ¿responderá el CCM de manera diferente? Algunos de nuestros aprendizajes indican que podemos. Sin embargo, hay que tener en cuenta las formas en que la crítica histórica es más fácil que lidiar con el presente. El KLP ofrece un recordatorio de que una organización verdaderamente antirracista debe esforzarse continuamente para cambiar. Con ese fin, el KLP y otros procesos de aprendizaje como este representan la crítica interna que es necesaria para que el CCM persista en una difícil lucha para convertirse en una institución capaz de trabajar contra el racismo.

Andrew C. Wright es director de programa para el CCM Central States.

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Crutcher, Jr., Michael E. Tremé: Race and Place in a New Orleans Neighborhood. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2010.

Enarson, Elaine. “Women and Girls Last? Averting the Second Post-Katrina Disaster,” Social Science Research Council. June 11, 2006. Disponible en: https://items.ssrc. org/understanding-Katrina/ women-and-girls-last-averting-the-second-post-Katrina-disaster/

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