ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 16 The Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) co-sponsored a summit on Monday to foster greater collaboration in disaster response. The Senior Leaders' Best Practices Summit: Partnering with Faith-Based and Community Organizations on Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery brought together faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) and senior staff from USAID, DHS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Defense, and the White House.
"Faith and community-based organizations are often the first to respond and the last to leave in disaster response situations both at home and abroad," said Terri Hasdorff, Director of the USAID Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. "They are vital partners in preparedness and recovery, and it is important that the U.S. Government collaborate closely with them and work to promote seamless cooperation with these organizations."
The goals of the Summit were to have practitioners working both domestically and internationally to share their best practices and improve the understanding between government agencies and the FBCO community. Throughout the day, attendees worked in breakout groups focused on key topics -- information sharing, volunteer coordination, partnerships for aid, food and water, medical and special needs, donations management, and logistics -- to identify challenges, elicit best practices, and present those findings to the whole group. A report compiling the challenges and best practices identified at the conference will be issued as a follow-up to the conference and made available for future policy discussions related to FBCOs and disaster assistance.
"Previous experience, lessons learned and other research has emphasized the importance of involving faith and community-based organizations in pre-planning, exercises, and training before the disaster occurs," said John Cook, Director of the DHS Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. "This conference provides a great opportunity for us to exchange effective practices with our colleagues across the government and non-profit sectors."
For more information about USAID and its programs, please visit: www.usaid.gov.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.
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SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development