Taking forward Partners in Resilience and Response in Africa

18 December 2023

On the field visit

The Partners in Resilience and Response (PiRR) work continues to flourish, with two key developments in recent weeks. In the Caribbean, a regional training is underway – more on this shortly. Here, we share what is happening in Africa where, in late November, the Africa Regional Steering Group met to discuss and implement regional PiRR processes and leadership, and to develop a work plan.

The workshop was convened in Mozambique by the Anglican Alliance in partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development and the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa. It followed the first PiRR Global Steering Committee meeting last year in the Philippines, a key outcome of which was to explore how best to constitute the Regional Steering Groups.

The participants were people who have been recognised as, and selected to be, regional Accompaniers – meaning they will work and walk alongside local churches in times of disaster and help build their resilience. They have different backgrounds but in the main are diocesan development workers and Mothers’ Union co-ordinators. Each has taken part in the Resilience Course, the Accompanier Course and participated in the Community of Practice. The participants came from several African countries, including Malawi, South Africa, Seychelles, Madagascar, Kenya, Angola, Liberia and Mozambique. Also present were staff of Episcopal Relief & Development, Anglican Missions (New Zealand) and the Anglican Alliance, with representatives of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa and the Mothers’ Union UK joining on line.

Over four days together, the participants engaged in Bible study; explored the disaster landscape of Africa; looked at a case study of an Accompaniers’ visit to Malawi; carried out a field visit to a parish that has an established history of responding to disasters in its community and reflected together on what they had heard and learnt; role-played a sample scenario to explore the role of the RSG; determined a PiRR Africa framework and planned the work ahead.

Reflecting on their key learnings and conclusions from their time together, participants highlighted the importance of the RSG for mutual support and of networks. They reflected that “resilience is more important than disaster response” and emphasised making long term resilience a priority. They also highlighted the value of preparedness, saying a “small amount of input now can make sure dividends later”.

Participants wanted to draw attention to the resources available, such as Pastors and Disasters. They also highlighted spiritual resources, speaking of how “The scriptures can be used as a foundation to guide in meeting the current needs for resilience” and that “The Church is well placed to make a huge impact [but] is not fully maximizing potential’.

Please pray for the Africa Regional Steering Group as it moves forward in this important work. As Rev. Mateus Campira, the dynamic and respected priest of Holy Innocents Parish, Chibueno – where the field visit took place – says, “Real church is not just hallelujahs but also action and service.”

Disaster resilience and response is one of the Anglican Alliance’s priority work areas. Read more here.