|Volume 9, No. 3||WINTER 2006|
Message from the Executive Director
|Constantine M. Triantafilou is welcomed by the Ethiopian Patriarch, Abune Paolus. Sitting to the left is the president of Ethiopia, Girma Wolde-Giorgis. IOCC’s partnership with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and its humanitarian arm, DICAC, has resulted in nearly 7 million Ethiopians receiving training in HIV/AIDs prevention. Photos: Nicole Minor|
On a recent visit to Ethiopia I was asked how IOCC has been able to affect such dramatic change in that country since we launched our USAID-funded HIV/AIDs program in 2004. Nearly 7 million Ethiopians have received training in HIV/AIDs prevention. The answer lies not only in the unique experience and resources that IOCC brings to the table, but also in the strength of our local partner, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) and its humanitarian arm, DICAC (Development and Inter Church Aid Commission). Their ability to harness the power of a 35 million person constituency, combined with IOCC’s programmatic resources, has produced a powerful partnership for real change in the fight against HIV/AIDs in Ethiopia.
The potential for effective partnership is one of the major factors that IOCC considers in choosing where and how we will intervene in any humanitarian need. Is there an indigenous partner who shares IOCC’s vision and values and can help us empower the local community to unlock its own solutions?
IOCC’s partnerships are the key to success in all of the 16 countries where we currently operate, including those featured in this issue of News & Needs. In Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, where we recently visited for our annual Study Tour, the millions of dollars that IOCC has invested since 1992 in humanitarian and development programs is today reaping a harvest of economic and infrastructure development. Our partnerships with the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as numerous civil society organizations, has assisted people of all ethnicities and all faiths, and has left a true legacy of community empowerment in places that were ravaged by ethnic strife not many years ago. You will also learn about our visit to Kosovo, where our partnership with the courageous brothers of the Visoki Decani Monastery is helping to build an economic future for isolated and endangered communities.
Of course, all of this is only possible through our partnership with our supporters and those who benefit from our aid. Your response to last summer’s crisis in Lebanon and the Holy Land enabled IOCC to bring emergency aid to thousands affected by war and political turmoil. IOCC Regional Director George Antoun and Jerusalem/West Bank Head of Office Nora Kort answer questions in this issue about the state of each crisis and how IOCC is responding. It was our experience in building partnerships since 2001 in Lebanon that helped IOCC respond at a moment’s notice when the crisis broke out last summer. I found no story more poignant than that of a mother who had been displaced from her home by the bombing of southern Beirut. When she learned that it was IOCC that was giving her family aid, she remembered that it was the same organization that had provided lunches and nutritional lessons to her children during the school year. “During the peace you were with us,” she said, “and now you are with us in time of war.”
Yours In Christ,
Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director & CEO