The official news service of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist church



24 October 2017 | Brussels [Victor Hulbert, TED/EUD news] ADRA Europe is bigger than you think.  With 29 active offices across the 32 countries that make up Europe, more than 225 staff and 11,000 volunteers support development projects in Europe and around the world.

ADRA Europe7Members of ADRA Europe network.Representatives from 19 of the country offices met in Brussels during three days of intense meetings, 16-18 October, networking together, sharing plans, and developing a co-ordinated way forward for ADRA Europe.

ADRA Europe5Raafat Kamal, TED President, chairs the ADRA Europe AGM alongside ADRA Europe director, João Martins.Until two years ago ADRA in Europe was a loose coalition of offices, held together by two directors based at the Inter-European and Trans-European Division offices.  However, discussions between ADRA and the two Divisions concluded that a more co-ordinated approach across the whole of Europe could have significant benefits in terms of funding, project co-ordination and the ability to draw expertise from various country offices to help the whole team. 

ADRA Europe4João Martins, ADRA Europe director and Thomas Petracek, ADRA Europe Programmes director.ADRA Europe now has an office based in Brussels, home to the European Union, providing great opportunity to work more closely with European projects.  João Martins, formerly country director for ADRA Portugal, and briefly ADRA EUD Division Director, heads the European team. Thomas Petracek, who until recently worked for ADRA Germany, has just joined as programmes director, while a very efficient office assistant, Jackie Mubedi Ngalula, keeps everything co-ordinated.  ADRA Europe is currently in the process of appointing an advocacy/communication director.

ADRA Europe1However, more important than names and titles is a picture of what is being achieved.  Internationaly, a turnover of 45,5 million dollars annually is assisting humanitarian, livelihood and income generating projects and Economic Development initiatives.  Offices are involved in eight health and clean water projects, nine educational projects and one focused on ecology.  Using partnership funding these are reaching and changing lives in countries such as the Sudan, Mali, Rwanda, Nepal and Vietman. 

In Gokwe, a rural area of Zimbabwe where maternal mortality rates are still very high, ADRA UK is providing a 36-month programme ensuring improved maternal health care services for women of childbearing age. With few, ill equipped health care facilities combined with a limited awareness of the benefits of maternal health services, too many women and children are dying during childbirth.  ADRA UK is providing not just equipment, but education and training so that the initiative will have long term results.  

ADRA Serbia2One of community projects organised by ADRA Serbia.Within Europe 14 offices also offer domestic assistance focused on humanitarian needs, social issues, refugee support and health at a total investment of 13.6 million Euros.  Just five kilometres from central Belgrade, ADRA Serbia is running a community based project that works both with refugees, the Roma community and local Serbs.  Working across the groups helps facilitate integration while at the same time assisting the refugees with school transport, community programmes, language instruction and extra homework support. 

ADRA Europe2Equally importantly, they provide varied activities for women and children, including recreation and sport, as well as providing vocational training for 60 unaccompanied minors and adults. This helps not only physically and practically, but is essential for their mental well-being.

Similar programmes are running in Italy where ADRA has just completed the first cycle of a one-year internship with migrants from sub-Saharan Africa who now have skills to be able to run and develop their own businesses.

Many more stories could be told, the vigour of the debate during the three days of meetings demonstrated that every office is committed to the humanitarian and Christ-centred role of ADRA, changing ‘one life at a time’ wherever there is a need.

ADRA Europe8Jonathan Duffey, CEO ADRA inc, taking an active interest in the discussions.“I am so excited about being here,” stated Jonathan Duffy, of ADRA International.  “We shared information and had really healthy discussions.  We may have more questions than answers, but this is a forum where we can gain the answers.”

And some of those answers are still being sought.  There are some big challenges.  Some offices have very small teams or are run almost exclusively by volunteers.  All are short of resources and wish they could do more.  Some struggle with political issues or even how to balance the enthusiasm of committed community volunteers with the ethos and standards of the church community.  Programmes officers balance the best ways to access local and international EU Funding, and prioritise collaboration with other NGOs with similar visions and values.  But none of these issues are insurmountable – and the constant dialogue throughout the three days of meetings clearly demonstrated that here are teams whose hearts and souls are committed to making a difference. [tedNEWS]

For more photos visit the TED Facebook Page.

tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojkovic, associate editor
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tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.