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Aug 17, 2010

Laying the Foundations for Sustainable Recovery

Community members and Volunteers working together
Community members and Volunteers working together

After arriving in Haiti in mid-June we’re off to an amazing start. Not only have our projects taken off, but our executive director, Andrew Chaggar, has been selected from among 2,500 applicants as a Vodafone World of Difference winner. Vodafone's support will not only bolster Andy, but provide a huge boost for EDV. Andy's Vodafone win would not have been possible without your support - so thanks so much.

During our first month on the ground in Haiti we’ve spent time building connections in the community, begun a long-term sustainable building initiative, and run a project which protected an orphanage for disabled children from flooding.

But it isn’t the small project we’ve completed or the large project we’ve begun which are most exciting for us – it’s the relationships we’ve developed with community members and local groups. These partnerships give us the greatest opportunity for a successful programme here in Port au Prince.

Many community members have told us the same thing: We appreciate the aid that’s given to us, but we need permanent change and skills, not hand-outs. That’s exactly what we aim to provide.

Our sustainable building project and its integration within the local community is a great example of how we can affect long-term change. The project aims not only to create buildings in a sustainable way, but also to teach residents how to build using locally available, affordable materials like earth, rubble, and the by-product of processed sugar cane called baggasse.

While the buildings we create are important, this project hinges on the community contacts we’ve been fostering since we arrived here. By involving the community in every step of the building process and training residents how to build with materials which are readily available to them we can empower communities to meet their own needs and direct their own recoveries.

We’ve already involved local women’s groups, schools, student groups and community organisations to begin planning workshops and skills trainings centering not only around sustainable building, but also on health, education, and community mobilisation.

When we include community groups in all our activities, even the smallest project can become a vehicle for building local capacity. That in turn lets us create more sustainable, self sufficient communities – and that is our ultimate goal.

Keep an eye out in the coming months for more EDV projects here on Global Giving. If you'd like to learn more about what EDV is up to in Haiti, please visit us at www.EDVolunteers.org. And of course, please give generously here on Global Giving to support community-based, sustainable recovery in Haiti.

Getting our hands dirty with sustainable building
Getting our hands dirty with sustainable building

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May 28, 2010

Moving on to New Challenges

Hello all,

We hope you’re well!

Most of you have already received an email with the information contained here, so if this message seems redundant to you we offer our apologies. We're intentionally repeating some information here just to be sure that all of our donors are up to date with the latest EDV developments.

After almost three months of assessment, more meetings with government and local NGOs than we can count, and more than fifteen visits to disaster affected communities in two countries, it became clear that EDV was not going to be able to deploy in Asia.

Despite all of our past experience, the nature of the disasters in Asia presented us with countless delays and challenges that we did not anticipate. While any deployment will involve difficulties, in this case the challenges formed a situation that left us unable to affect positive, long-term change in the lives of disaster survivors.

These challenges included a combination of our limited funds, politics, and the nature of the disasters which struck the Philippines and Vietnam. While for many weeks we thought we would find a way to overcome the challenges we faced, in the end it became clear that deploying in Asia was simply not possible without more funding. Since returning to the UK we have prepared a full assessment report so that everyone can have access to all the information regarding what happened on our assessment and why we were eventually forced to leave Asia. This report is quite long, as it includes as much detail as possible, so we recommend that you start by reading our assessment report summary. Both documents have been included with this update. This is obviously a disappointing turn of events - being unable to work in Asia was incredibly frustrating. But, while Asia was difficult, it also presented us with the opportunity to learn about responding to typhoons. We've spent the past few weeks reflecting on these lessons, the positives we can take away from our time in Asia and how to make EDV stronger in the future. We've also spent many hours considering EDV's next move.

Our current plan is to reallocate funding for a possible deployment in Haiti. We’ll be sending a small team to meet with an established partner on the ground, GrassRoots United, and discuss what our work in Haiti will entail.

Before launching into this new endeavour, we want to be sure that you, our donors and supporters understand and are comfortable with of our plan to reallocate funds. To this end, should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email executive@europeandisastervolunteers.org. We’d be happy to discuss your concerns.

As always, we appreciate the support you’ve already given, and we look forward to working with you as we move in a new and exciting direction.


Attachments:
Apr 12, 2010

EDV's Asia Assessment: Partnering with Disaster Survivors to Meet Community Needs

Executive Director Andrew Chaggar on assessment
Executive Director Andrew Chaggar on assessment

Since our last update, EDV has been busy in Vietnam and the Philippines assessing the need for long term reconstruction and community regeneration aid.

Typhoons Ketsana and Parma slammed into Vietnam and the Philippines more than five months ago, but there is still a huge amount of work remaining. While the initial response phase is over, long term support is needed to ensure that Asian disaster survivors can rebuild vibrant communities which will be able to withstand the yearly storms that affect the region.

We’ve met survivors who have spent the last five months living in tents. These tent cities were only meant to house survivors in the immediate aftermath of the typhoons, but with their communities completely devastated and funds limited for reconstruction, survivors have no choice but to stay in the tents. 25,000 people remain displaced in the Philippines alone.

Where people aren’t displaced, huge challenges still remain. In the mountains on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, survivors of the countless landslides which affected the region were quick to tell us that they want to relocate away to safer ground, but they have no money and nowhere to go.

In the coming weeks we’ll use the information we’ve gathered during our assessment to set up projects ranging from the construction of typhoon resistant houses to flood control measures. These projects will be carried out by volunteers, both local and international, working hand in hand with survivors.

None of the projects we’re setting up would be even conceivable without your donation. Thanks so much for your contribution, and we look forward to updating you on our projects as they grow. Stay tuned!

One of the children living in an evacuation center
One of the children living in an evacuation center
One example of the devastation caused by landslide
One example of the devastation caused by landslide
Talking to a landslide survivor about recovery
Talking to a landslide survivor about recovery

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