Well, this isn’t exactly a field blog, but it’s a blog about my time in Europe last week. Yes, I know- it’s a hard life, having to go to Switzerland and England in July!
Suffice it to say that, while there was some fun had, it was really a work trip. And that’s what I want to write about today (the work, not the fun- you can find that on my Facebook feed!)
I went to Geneva as part of the ACT Alliance‘s Communications, Media and Brand Advisory Group. The Alliance is a group of 131 churches and agencies who do relief and development work in 140 countries around the world. 3/4 of the member agencies are from the Global South, while the rest are agencies like PWRDF which are based in (globally) northern countries. I’ve written before about the strengths of being part of the alliance, and the amazing work we have done together in Haiti.
This meeting really showed how people from a variety of agencies- ranging from PWRDF, which has a communications staff of me, to Christian Aid (with a considerably larger staff), to the Council of Churches in Zimbabwe (CCZ- we *do* love our acronyms!).
The eight committee members and two observers (and three ACT Secretariat staff) had a great 2 days together where we were able to look at the communications strategy for the organization, talk about some hard issues (including how to make it easier for people who are not native English speakers to engage in the alliance), and build a workplan for our group. We also chose co-chairs for the next two years. I was honored to be named as one of the co-chairs, and am enjoying working with my co-chair Ritu Tiru Agarwal from the Synodical Board of Social Services of the Church of North India.
While we were in Geneva, we also had lunch with Peter Prove, the Executive Director of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, another agency PWRDF belongs to that is based in Switzerland. It was a good opportunity to find out more about the EAA’s profile at the upcoming AIDS conference in Washington DC.
I left Geneva and flew on to London (England rather than Ontario) where I had one day to meet with various staff of the Anglican Alliance, Anglican Communion Office, Lambeth Palace, and Five Talents (a micro-finance organization based in England and the US).
The day in London was really about building connections. It was a day for talking about different PWRDF projects that might be of interest to Communion staff and members, about how we can support each others’ work, and about how we can keep in touch better through social media and (when possible) in person meetings.
I have come away from this busy week with a renewed commitment to PWRDF’s role in global alliances- Anglican, ecumenical, and secular. Together, we are able to do so much more than we can alone. It’s great to have colleagues, expertise, and support from people around the world, and to know that we at PWRDF are able to offer our expertise and support to others.
After all, we’re all working to make this world a better one- one that is focused on justice, compassion, peace, and health!