“Only connect,” wrote E.M. Forester, and that is precisely what this Episcopal Haiti Database is set up to do. It is a listing of Episcopal-related contacts working on, in, or with Haiti reconstruction and mission efforts. The project was born in an effort for the Development Office to get a sense of the scope and range of Episcopal involvement in Haiti, thereby revealing opportunities for us to cultivate major donors to fill gaps in the Episcopal Church’s response to diocesan reconstruction. While the database still serves that original purpose, we recognized another genuine opportunity: to cultivate greater collaboration and coordination among those in the Episcopal community.
As many people know, one of the primary logistical challenges in the post-earthquake Haiti response is that of communication (i.e., one organization is unaware that another is working on the same type of project in the next town). With information on U.S.-based Episcopal parishes, schools, and organizations, as well as some non-Episcopal partners and counterparts in Haiti, we have found that we can facilitate greater communication among the Episcopal community.
The database includes over 600 contacts and is still growing. If a parish in Kansas knows that a school in Montrouis needs a new well, the database can connect that parish with a group experienced in well digging. If a school in Massachusetts has collected school supplies for students in Bayonnais, the database can connect them with other groups trying to arrange a shipping container. A church in California wishing to take its first mission trip to La Gonave can connect with a church that has been many times before to learn about cultural customs, travel, security, and supplies. This, in turn, could enable greater efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability in our efforts to provide the conditions for Haitians to rebuild their country.
We are excited about the promise of this project and inspired by the amazing work of the Episcopal community.
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