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Good Practices and Lessons Learned by Caritas Ecuador for emergency in 2016

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On April 16, 2016, Ecuador suffered one of the most devastating natural disasters in its history, a 7.8 earthquake that affected more than one million people according to OCHA, representing
6% of the country's population.
Cáritas Confederation was mobilized at international level and sent €2,160,000€ to Cáritas Ecuador. In the period February 16 to 21, 2018 (almost two years later), a delegation composed
of representatives from Cáritas Internationalis, Cáritas Española, on behalf of Cáritas Europe, Chile, Mexico and Argentina on behalf of Cáritas Latinoamérica, has been visiting and living with the most affected communities and with the teams of Cáritas Ecuador and the Dioceses of Manabí and Esmeraldas.

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Good Practices and Lessons Learned by Caritas Ecuador for emergency in 2016

  1. 1. 1 ECUADOR: GOOD PRACTICES AND LESSONS LEARNED On April 16, 2016, Ecuador suffered one of the most devastating natural disasters in its history, a 7.8 earthquake that affected more than one million people according to OCHA, representing 6% of the country's population. Cáritas Confederation was mobilized at international level and sent €2,160,000€ to Cáritas Ecuador. In the period February 16 to 21, 2018 (almost two years later), a delegation composed of representatives from Cáritas Internationalis, Cáritas Española, on behalf of Cáritas Europe, Chile, Mexico and Argentina on behalf of Cáritas Latinoamérica, has been visiting and living with the most affected communities and with the teams of Cáritas Ecuador and the Dioceses of Ma- nabí and Esmeraldas. Together, we have identified the KEYS that turn Ecuador's approach to emergency into an exa- mple that needs to be shared, one we can learn from both at confederal level and with other hu- manitarian actors. What are the keys that turn the work of Pastoral Social - Cáritas Ecuador into a Good Practice? CARITAS' ADDED VALUE IN EMERGENCY INTERVENTIONS
  2. 2. 2 What does it involve? Cáritas is not an NGO, it is the extension of the charity and solidarity of the Church of the poor, which makes them the leading actors of its history. This involves not only working on a technical di- mension in the emergency response during and after the earthquake but also that Cáritas' diocesan and parish teams have been close to each of the fa- milies, always available, committed, and with a mys- tique, identity and identification with our mission: to work together with the last ones, those that remain unattended, regardless of time. What is the lesson learned? • All of people's dimensions (causes and conse- quences of the emergency) must be cared for, with special attention to the psychosocial and spiritual aspects. • The territorial and community animation must be strengthened before, during and after, through parishes, leaders and promoters. • For this to take place, the support of the whole structure of the Church, especially the involve- ment and support of the Bishops, is essential. KEY 1: Work ER from Cáritas' identity KEY 2: The ER from the community organization What does it involve? The social cohesion of the community is key in order to face an emergency, a circumstance where the group and its solidarity take on a value as a subject. This contrasts with individualism, which makes each person more vulnerable. Bearing this in mind, Cáritas Ecuador had already been working on the accompaniment of the communi- ties with a focus on the reconstruction of the so- cial fabric, the creation of groups of women en- trepreneurs, the Risk Management Commis- sions. When the earthquake came about, all the groups were activated and commitment and soli- darity worked. What is the lesson learned? • Strengthening community networks, from the parochial animation, is essential as a process of accompaniment before, during and after emergencies.
  3. 3. 3 KEY 3: The ER with process approach What does it involve? Cáritas accompanies processes, and from there, complementary projects are implemented. We are in and with the communities, showing active liste- ning and accompaniment. From this starting point, we try to address all dimensions of development: cultural, political, social, economic, ecological and spiritual. In addition, ER is approached similarly: as a process that begins with prevention and is directed towards the empowerment and transformation of communities. It is not only about building houses, but also about working with all the causes of poverty that emerge when a disaster takes place. In this sense, Cáritas Ecuador built homes, worked with women on micro-enterprises with rotating funds, strengthened the community organization and com- plemented it with psychosocial support. What is the lesson learned? • Do not divert attention to the immediacy and short-term ER, fit in the process of medium-term accompaniment, linking HA with Development. • When other humanitarian actors "disembark" and set work with immediacy, it is important to identify and explain the medium-term benefits of an approach based in processes where the community builds its own way. KEY 4: The ER from strategic alliances What does it involve? Cáritas Ecuador knew how to pause to think before taking action. It identified other actors with whom to build safe and dignified housing, it did not overload the organizational structure, but the local teams were strengthened and the experience was fully trusted, with an emphasis on dialogue and continuous communication with the same people who worked on the project in 74 communities. What is the lesson learned? • Recognize weaknesses and strengths and clearly identify with whom to work in a network to contribute knowledge, human resources, technical skills, this way creating synergies that help the efficiency of the intervention.
  4. 4. 4 KEY 5: The ER bears a woman's name and it promotes equity What does it involve? Women empowerment is the key to assuming and exercising the leadership they have in the family and in the community. Women recognize that there is a before and after the emergency, that work and commit- ment has made them grow, it has reassured them, they have realized another series of problems that they did not previously see: child labour, gender violence, the right to water... Cáritas Ecuador did not come just to build houses, but to stay and accompany women in their strengthening process to rebuild and improve the com- munities. In Manabí and Esmeraldas, women loaded the materials from the houses, built, organized, and fought for their families and for their community. What is the lesson learned? • Place women at the centre of the process, boost their self-esteem: group work is the key to any emergency intervention. KEY 6: The ER is approached with a rights approach What does it involve? Cáritas Ecuador did not let itself be carried away by the emergency; it knew how to put in the centre the rights of every man and woman, the right to decent housing, the right to adequate food, in sum, and the right to de- velopment. This involves a slow approach, working with the decentralized auto- nomous governments, with other social organizations; two years later the commu- nities can go alone and autonomously to- wards the dignified life they deserve. What is the lesson learned? • Time and immediacy should not ma- ke us divert our attention from the work necessary to eradicate the true causes of poverty and vulnerability. • The rights' approach is a reality that must be fought for. Caritas Confederation thanks Cáritas Ecuador for its dedication, its good work and its example in the face of an emergency and how to continue and accompany the communities towards a process of development. (We thank the team of volunteer translators at Agencia de Traducción Solidaria, Universidad Europea (Madrid) for their work on this text.)
  5. 5. 5 Some relevant data of the EA of Caritas Ecuador

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