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Plan Emerges for Work of Volunteers in Haiti

An October 2008 consultation put the spotlight on partnerships between United-Methodist-Volunteer-In-Mission teams and communities in Haiti in the wake of last year’s devastating hurricanes. Forty-nine persons took part, including volunteer leaders from 17 annual conferences, along with Haitian representatives, including the Rev. Raphael Dessieu, president of the Methodist Church in Haiti, and president-elect the Rev. Gessner Paul. A viable plan for coordinating the work of volunteers with the priorities of the Haitian church emerged.

UMVIMs in Haiti

The Methodist Church in Haiti has clear priorities for its involvement in the rebuilding in the wake of the recent storms. At the top of the list are the resumption of hot school lunch programs at Methodist schools, teachers’ salaries, long-term micro-credit programs, and health, including volunteer health teams.

Volunteers from the US formed six small groups, one of each of six circuits represented by Haitians, including circuit superintendents.

Each group formed a work plan to address one of the priorities in a specific way, such as: rebuilding a school in Dondon, paying teachers in Jeremie/ Leon, repairing a church and school in Berly, and providing school supplies to St. Mark’s in Carrefour.

The consultation fostered the objective of achieving a more efficient system for coordinating and directing the work of volunteers in Haiti. The Rev. David Morton, volunteer coordinator in the West Michigan Annual Conference, will serve as US-based coordinator of teams going to Haiti. Donnette Lataillade, manager of the Methodist Guest House in Haiti, will serve as Haiti-based coordinator. The two will work together to focus volunteer efforts on the priorities of the Haitian Methodists.