Relief International

RI provides emergency relief, rehabilitation and development assistance to victims of natural disasters and civil conflicts worldwide. RI's programs bridge the gap between immediate and long-term community development. This orientation promotes self-reliance and the peaceful reintegration of populations. RI's programs are designed with the input and participation of target beneficiary groups such as women, children and the elderly, whose special needs are often neglected in disasters.
Sep 21, 2010

Haiti Programs - 9 months after the earthquake

Immediately following the earthquake, Relief International (RI) entered Haiti to provide rapid humanitarian response, which evolved into a basic primary health and water, sanitation and hygiene program. RI also responds to the needs of displaced families by providing transitional shelter, rubble removal and training in disaster risk reduction. RI Haiti is beginning implementation of a child protection program, which will establish 16 child friendly spaces in multiple communities and major IDP camps. RI is also establishing women’s centers to provide protection and empowerment programs for earthquake-affected women and girls. Since its initial humanitarian response, RI’s goals are shifting to respond to longer-term needs of Haitians in the areas of livelihoods, education, child protection, and women’s empowerment. Our current programs include: EMERGENCY AND TRANSITIONAL SHELTER - RI is providing displaced families with a shelter package to help them begin rebuilding their homes. CHILD PROTECTION- RI is providing four major IDP camps and 12 communities with permanent child friendly spaces. Further, RI will establish and train Community Child Protection Committees in all communities to organize educational and recreational activities for boys and girls who have experienced psychosocial distress and/or who have been unable to return to school. A health component will be integrated into the child friendly spaces , WOMEN’S CENTERS - RI is establishing a women’s center in the Croix des Bouquets commune. This center will provide a safe and accessible place for women and girls. MULTI-SECTORAL ASSISTANCE TO EARTHQUAKE AFFECTED POPULATION - RI's mobile clinics and medical staff have established 3 public health facilities. In addition, RI made water and sanitation improvements to 3 public health clinics and built 500 improved emergency latrines in 58 IDP camps, employing cash for work laborers.

Jun 21, 2010

Six Month Update

RI has seen great steps be made in the journey to recovery for Haiti over the last six months. So far, RI’s health program has treated 12,724 patients from the beginning of operations in January to the end of March. To support these efforts, RI has hired Haitian medical teams and built their capacity through formal training, coaching, and ongoing clinical supervision, focusing on communicable and non-communicable diseases, health education, behavior change, reproductive health and pharmaceuticals.

The Haitian medical teams have also become the primary medical providers, with volunteer doctors and nurses serving in a capacity building role. Because RI has trained and is now deploying Haitian health professionals to multiple sites every day, as well as continuing the development of community contacts, there has been considerable growth in the number of patients seen per month.

RI has also initiated an emergency sanitation program addressing some of the most critical sanitation needs in the earthquake-affected areas. To date, RI has built 24 high-quality emergency latrines using a modified design to accommodate the shallow water table in urban Port-au-Prince. RI expects to achieve its target of 500 emergency latrines well ahead of the end of this grant period.

To continue building sanitation capacity, RI has been working with RI’s Community Outreach Officers to canvas the community identifying sites where health, shelter and water and sanitation interventions are needed. In this way, the COOs serve as a bridge between RI program staff and the community. In addition to partnering with beneficiaries and community leaders, RI is reaching out to government leaders to ensure that they understand our interventions. RI has begun developing relationships with community and government stakeholders that it seeks to build into long-term, participatory partnerships.

In the next quarter, RI will continue successful health interventions such as the mobile clinics and support to fixed clinics, while expanding the number we work with. Health education and hygiene promotion activities will be initiated, with a focus on using clinical data to develop relevant health education messages that are targeted for the communities that we serve. RI will significantly accelerate water and sanitation activities and latrine construction will be increased. We look forward to the success of RI’s initiatives in the coming months!

May 27, 2010

Donations are NOT going to the government

Corner where the clinic was set up
Corner where the clinic was set up

Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our projects throughout Southeast Asia. On February 24 he visited a monastery in South Dagon that was previously the site of an Relief International (RI) medical clinic and one of the sites of a potential future education project.

Following Cyclone Nargis in May of 2008, many donors were reluctant to give to relief efforts for fear the money would just end up in the pockets of the government. Relief International was the second organization to tell me that absolutely no money was diverted to the government. And while there can be considerable bureaucracy (but where isn’t there?) and its important to establish and sustain relationships with the relevant government agency, Charlotte, the Country Director, told me the national or local government does not meddle in their operations.

I lacked the appropriate travel permits and so couldn’t travel to see RI clinics in the Irrawaddy Delta, but Rana, the Program Officer in charge of Myanmar and Sudan, and Dr. Hla Hla Aye, a Burmese staff showed me a monastery in South Dagon on the outskirts of Yangon where they had a primary healthcare clinic, and are considering starting a project to support the education provided for free by the monks to children whose families can’t afford the uniform, supplies and informal registration fees for public school.

According to the monks, the clinic served 20,000-30,000 people in this and neighboring wards. It is RI policy to employ only local doctors who provided primary healthcare, maternal health and referrals to the hospital in more serious cases. For instance, they referred 40 suspected cases of suspected tuberculosis. The clinic provided an invaluable service for free to those who couldn’t afford private clinics and wanted more care than could be provided by traditional healers. Thank you for supporting this project!

Kids studying at the free monastic school
Kids studying at the free monastic school

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