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High-level virtual summit looks at Army response to COVID

High-level virtual summit looks at Army response to COVID

High-level virtual summit looks at Army response to COVID

3 November 2020

The Salvation Army International Secretary for Program Resources, Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton, is to give the keynote address at the three-day virtual Program Resources Consultancy Group meeting titled Same Storm, Different Boats.

Many of The Salvation Army’s international leaders and practitioners in emergency relief, recovery, community development and mission are to come together in a three-day virtual meeting to discuss a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They are members of the Army’s international Program Resources Consultancy Group (PRCG).

The virtual meeting is to take place from 3-5 November and replacing a physical meeting that was to be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Under the theme ‘Same Storm, Different Boats’, the consultation and conversation is to centre on learning points discovered during 2020 and work collaboratively towards a more effective response in the months and years ahead. 

PRCG delegates are to explore the reality of the pandemic showing similar traits around the world but with “wildly different” social, political and economic frameworks which have meant the impacts have often been greater in already-vulnerable communities.

It is evident that the coronavirus is having a disproportionate impact on those whose healthcare and economic systems were already at breaking point and whose wellbeing and capacity to survive and flourish were already severely compromised.

This year was the first time the Army and its partners faced the impact of an enduring global pandemic such as COVID-19. The Army has had to adapt and respond flexibly and with innovation and agility. 

Delegates are to reflect on what has become a ‘new normal’ and consider what needs to be done to discover and enact a ‘Kingdom normal’ in view of the Army’s firm Christian ethos. 

While the international Army for many years has had systems, structures, processes and partnerships in place to support emergency responses and community development, these have come under significant strain at key points during 2020 and have subsequently undergone various phases of review and restructuring.

The Army’s International Secretary for Program Resources, Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton, is to give the keynote address. Birgitte said the Army could not be satisfied “with poorer quality or provision for some”.

Reflecting on a paper on sustainable development presented and discussed at last year’s PRCG gathering, Birgitte said it was clear that that is an “inescapable dilemma”.

“That question keeps coming back to me. The answer is: ‘we can’t!’ “  

The virtual meeting is to explore six main aspects of the Army’s COVID-19 response:  

  • Adaptations of project management systems and structures  
  • Financing structures and capabilities  
  • Local capacity for implementation  
  • Relationships and communications  
  • Power and resource imbalances 
  • Changing patterns and modes of work  

The concluding session is to be addressed by General Brian Peddle. Also attending that session are to be international president of women’s ministries, Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham, and international secretary for women’s ministries, Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham, along with the international secretaries responsible for ministry across the Army’s five zones and territorial leaders from around the world.

From the meeting, the PRCG is expected to generate recommendations for future collaborative project/program support working, future development priorities, policy and guide values and practices that are significant to the Army’s ongoing international agenda. 

Edited from an IHQ Communications release, International Headquarters

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