Disaster Response and Recovery
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) responds to disasters in the United States and around the world by working with communities and local partners. When a disaster overwhelms a community’s ability to recover on its own, UMCOR provides essential relief supplies and supports long-term rebuilding efforts. While UMCOR is not a first-response organization, it stands ready to accompany communities in need over the long haul of their recovery until a “new normal” is established after a crisis. “Early in and last out” is a guiding principle of UMCOR.
Global Ministries’ vision of abundant health for all focuses on efforts to promote physical, emotional and spiritual well-being through programs in the United States and overseas. Global Health programs focus on assisting economically vulnerable communities to protect children and disadvantaged adults from preventable causes of death and disease. To do this, Global Ministries partners with thousands of communities and health workers through community-based health programs and provides support to more than 300 United Methodist hospitals and clinics. Global Ministries is also the lead agency for the UMC’s Abundant Health Initiative so it strives to prioritize programs that meet the needs of the marginalized.
Hunger and Poverty
Lack of access to healthy and nutritious food is a major factor in starvation and malnutrition around the world. UMCOR works with partners to improve farming and agricultural methods using eco-friendly practices, increase crop diversity and yields, expand market access, improve food-storage facilities, and boost nutrition in vulnerable households and communities. UMCOR’s food security grants give special consideration to holistic programs that focus on subsistence and small-scale farmers, particularly women, keeping in line with international standards to eliminate global hunger.
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
Water, sanitation, and hygiene, known together as WASH, are essential for good health and well-being. Some 783 million people around the world do not have reliable access to clean drinking water, and even more people lack access to water for agriculture and household tasks to meet their everyday needs. Around the world, 2.4 billion people lack adequate sanitation facilities. Global Ministries supports WASH programs worldwide, providing direct help through UMCOR and supporting the work of partners. Programs provide education and increase access to improved water sources. Every U.S. dollar spent on water, sanitation, and hygiene generates U.S. $4.30 in increased productivity and decreased health care costs.
Every day, thousands of people leave and flee their homes in search of a better life for their families. Recognizing that migration is a complex issue, UMCOR works with partners to examine the causes of migration and to ensure the four rights of migrants: right to stay, right to safe passage, right to welcoming and belonging, and right to return. Global Ministries is committed to providing support for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers from all over the globe with our partners Church World Service and National Justice for Our Neighbors, along with our collaboration with other domestic and international humanitarian agencies.
Recognizing that climate change and environmental degradation increase disaster risk, the UMCOR Creation Care program looks inward at the work of UMCOR and Global Ministries and outward at the ministries of The United Methodist Church to equip the church to address modes of living and working that contribute to climate change and environmental degradation. These include wasteful consumption, deforestation, poor water management and agricultural practices that diminish the land. The EarthKeepers program equips United Methodist laity and clergy to develop or deepen environmental initiatives in their communities.
Women and Children
Women and children are often the ones left most vulnerable in times of crisis and in communities that struggle with poverty. Global Ministries strives to improve access to quality prenatal, delivery and postnatal services for women, and to provide access to essential health care for children under 5 years old. Global Ministries works to improve the quality of health services provided in rural communities by building the capacity of local health professionals and equipping health facilities to deliver essential care, as well as to increase the demand for maternal and child health services through community education and engagement.
UMCOR works to facilitate long-term community development and empowerment in areas of great need. Many development issues and opportunities are interrelated. Because of this, UMCOR uses integrated solutions to address the root causes of specific problems. This is done by working with UMCOR’s extensive partner network alongside local communities to develop their assets in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); sustainable agriculture and food security; livelihoods and resilience; climate change adaptation and mitigation; and education and health.