Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 9, 2003
CCODP honoured for hurricane aid
Hurricane Mitch spurred organization to launch new approach to development
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The work that the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) undertook in Central America in 1998 following the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch has earned it a prestigious Canadian award.
The Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), a coalition of about 100 Canadian non-profit organizations working in Canada and overseas, has awarded CCODP its 2003 prize for promoting sustainable development. The honour for the development agency is for the reconstruction program it undertook following the massive destruction caused by the hurricane.
The CCIC said that when Hurricane Mitch struck in the fall of 1998, it caused massive devastation but also opened up opportunities to create a new development model.
"To that end, Development and Peace worked with 20 partners in the region to meet immediate needs, but also to plant seeds for equitable, sustainable and democratic development," it said. "Their program had many tangible results that promoted sustainable development."
Some 1,500 homes were rebuilt or repaired, more than 1,000 wells were reconditioned and 13 major projects focusing on organic farming were started said the CCIC. "These projects have helped re-establish the productive capacities of the land, irrigation, credit and other aspects of agricultural production for the benefit of about 300,000 people."
Because of the projects, more than 1,400 small rural communities now have their own autonomous community organizations, it said.
The CCIC also said one participant best summed up the lasting impact: "Before Mitch we were divided with each individual seeking to survive in the context of increasing poverty. Now that we are organized, we feel that we are both better equipped and collectively responsible for the development of our own communities."
Development and Peace's reconstruction efforts in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua were aided by $11 million in donations from Canadians, CCODP said May 27.
The award was presented to Roger Dubois, the president of the CCODP on May 23 at CCIC's annual general assembly in Aylmer, Que.
Hurricane Mitch was one of the worst storms ever to hit Central America. Thousands of people were killed and more than a million were left homeless.
Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, archbishop of Montreal and former president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, travelled to El Salvador a year after Hurricane Mitch struck and reported "Everywhere we went, people came forward to ask us to thank Canadians for their generosity."
Added Turcotte, "The help that Canadians provided really made a difference - that was quite clear."