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19.06.2020

"Building Solidarity Networks"

The participants of the first online workshop of the Asia region (Photo: UEM)

"Pandemic Management" was the topic of the first virtual workshop to which the UEM Regional Office Asia had invited participants within the framework of the Joint Programmes on 9 June 2020. 44 representatives of mainly Asian UEM member churches took part in the workshop. Among them were church leaders, the staff responsible for the respective pandemic measures of the churches, staff of the two regional offices as well as the Executive Secretary of the Asia Region, Pastor Dr Dyah Ayu Krismawati with members of the UEM Corona Task Force and guests of Mission 21, as well as students and alumni of the Diakonia Management course. Due to continuing travel restrictions, they met via Zoom conference call.

The aim of the workshop was to promote the capacities of the member churches in coping with crises (before, during and after the crisis) in disaster-prone congregations and here especially in the areas affected by the Corona pandemic.

Conference participants exchanged views on their programmatic activities in response to the pandemic, lessons learned from the activities and their future plans for the post-pandemic period. They also took advantage of the opportunities to plan networks or joint actions on the impact of the pandemic.

Krismawati stressed the great importance of local, regional and global networks and their solidarity with each other: "In any disaster or misfortune, no one, no church, no community, no nation can solve the problem alone. They need each other and must learn from each other in order to strengthen each other in these difficult times". She called for "solidarity networks to be built".

The online conference also allowed work in small groups. As a result, the participants proposed five ideas for joint actions for the post-pandemic period:

1. developing food security through small-scale organic farming projects;

2. supporting economic recovery by setting up an online platform for the sale of products and the granting of loans for the creation of small businesses;

3. post-trauma healing through pastoral care and counselling and by providing training in capacity building in pastoral care and psychosocial activities;

4. training on virtual pastoral care and education;

5. training workshops on disaster management.

At the end of the virtual workshop, all participants were satisfied and found the online conference a great experience.

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