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Volume 7, No. 1SPRING 2004

Message from the Executive Director

IOCC Executive Director Constantine M. Triantafilou cuts the ribbon at an opening ceremony for a new agricultural road constructed by IOCC in the West Bank. With him are IOCC Director of Operations Samir Ishak (third from left) and IOCC-Jerusalem Head-of-Office Nora Kort. The road is one of many construction projects implemented by IOCC and its local partners in the West Bank over the past two years.

In the aftermath of the war in Iraq last year, IOCC and its local partners moved quickly to bring relief to suffering Iraqis. As important as that emergency response was, IOCC is now looking at ways to help Iraqis rebuild their lives after decades of war, dictatorship and international sanctions. It’s a slow and arduous process. Learning how to combine short-term assistance (relief) with long-term benefits (sustainable development) is one of the biggest challenges facing humanitarian agencies today.

Over its 12-year life, IOCC has increasingly looked for ways to extend the benefit of its programs beyond the short-term and make them sustainable over time.

We have been able to do that in the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Horn of Africa and beyond. As you’ll see in this issue of News & Needs, the real value of IOCC’s programs lies not only in emergency assistance, but in long-term assistance that enables people to support themselves and their families on their own. Let me give you two examples.

In the West Bank, where unemployment among Palestinians is rampant, IOCC has been creating jobs in the construction trades over the last two years. These jobs help people earn critically needed income for their families, thus meeting their immediate needs. They also result in the construction of libraries, health clinics and schools, thus meeting the communities’ long-term needs. Our emergency employment programs thus marry these two concepts of relief and sustainable development.

In the former Yugoslavia, IOCC’s considerable efforts to revitalize agriculture have also contributed to peace and reconciliation in war-torn, multi-ethnic communities. When IOCC works with farmers in Bosnia-Herzegovina, for example, we not only give them the support they need to make their farms productive once again, we require them to spread the benefit by baling the hay of their neighbors or giving a new-born calf to a nearby farming family. Thus, the impact of the project is twofold: It builds the economic security of struggling farmers, and it fosters cooperation across religious and ethnic lines.

This kind of approach combines relief and development in a way that brings the maximum benefit for every dollar spent. IOCC’s Board of Directors has made a conscious decision to continue in this direction in the years to come. You can be sure that when you give to IOCC, the programs that result bring long-term, sustainable solutions to people in need. Thank you for making that possible.

Have a blessed Lenten season,

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director

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