Peace, Development Go Together: UMCOR
NEW YORK, NY—"Without peace, there can be no development," Marc S. Maxi, of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, told Sudan's Fourth Vice President Minni Minawi at a June 19 meeting in Khartoum, Sudan.
Mr. Maxi, executive director of UMCOR's nongovernmental organization, made his remarks in a meeting with Mr. Minawi that included a delegation from Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church and other UMCOR personnel.
Mr. Minawi, the only one of three rebel leaders to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement, said he would do all he could to assure UMCOR relief workers of their safety. UMCOR is active in South Darfur in sustainable agriculture, water, and child protection programs. The Ginghamsburg Church is a major donor to that work.
Delegates discussed the current situation in Darfur and UMCOR's development work there, including the critical work of rehabilitating and constructing water points. Currently the agency works only in South Darfur. Mr. Minawi's assistance in security measures will allow UMCOR to explore additional localities. Mr. Maxi and others in the delegation encouraged Mr. Minawi to continue to seek peace in Darfur.
Security concerns in the region severely limit the ability of humanitarian organizations to assist displaced Darfurians. Some organizations have closed operations at various camps in Darfur because of the risks to their workers, leaving people in great need without needed assistance.
UMCOR is able to help Darfurians living in both Sudanese Government- and rebel-held territory because of the organization's neutrality. "We are on the human side," notes Mr. Maxi when asked who is right and wrong in the complicated matter of politics in Darfur. Water projects in particular have secured UMCOR's safety in South Darfur. Water is desperately needed throughout the region and when it is made available in sufficient quantities, communities experience better health and peace.
UMCOR has been working in South Darfur since 2005, providing programs that encourage development such as, agricultural support, skills training, primary school reconstruction and rehabilitation, and water point construction and rehabilitation. Donors wishing to contribute to UMCOR's ongoing ministries in Sudan may mail a check payable to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087, indicating Sudan Emergency Advance #184385 on the memo line.