SILVER SPRING, Md. – “The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International must adapt to the changing development requirements to remain a leader in the humanitarian community and continue to be a vital voice of compassion for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
It has to develop and implement conceptually sound and innovative strategies to position itself as a strong and agile aid agency,” said Dr. Rudi Maier, president and executive director of ADRA, as he presented his vision of the agency’s future to its board of directors at a recent meeting.
Addressing the recent realignment of the agency’s international headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, Maier continued, “That the financial future of many aid agencies, including ADRA, are closely tied to the availability of public and government funding. I believe that by our recent actions we have positioned ourselves to be a stronger and more responsible humanitarian aid agency that is prepared for a new direction in development funding.”
Addressing the issue of ADRA’s relationship to the church, Maier clearly stated, “being a part of the Adventist church has given us purpose and direction and has enhanced our global infrastructure.” He continued, “As a faith-based organization, ADRA has deep and compelling reasons for serving the poor and marginalized. The concept of compassion, service, and commitment is based on our biblical understanding of ministry and it forms our deep-seated foundation which empowers us, as humanitarian workers, to respond to a hurting world.”
Maier expressed his desire for ADRA to embrace its heritage by focusing on health and healthy living, stewardship of the earth, education, social reform, and the use of technology. Maier outlined how these priorities will enhance ADRA’s portfolios such as food security, child and family health, agriculture, civil society, and the environment issues. “Since these are foundational issues, not just for the Adventist church, but equally important to the field of development, ADRA must focus on them to stay competitive in the future.”
Acknowledging a trend that will help shape the success of ADRA’s future Maier spoke of purposefully incorporating technology into development work. “Technology in development is a must. By embracing this aspect of professional development, ADRA will reach a far higher level of understanding and competency in the field of development.”
Providing insight into the practical approach of how to achieve his vision of a modern ADRA, he said, “It is easy to philosophize and even theologize on the issues of development. But what is far more important is to develop a solid practical application.”
Maier went on to provide concrete steps to accomplish his vision:
• Coordinate and strengthen relationships between members of ADRA’s global network of more than 120 offices through the newly created office of vice president for network relations.
• Realign and refocus ADRA’s programs sector to become more competitive in obtaining pubic funds by searching, strategically, for new areas of engagement.
• Ensure that ADRA continues and builds upon its reputation of being good stewards of the funds entrusted to us by private and public donors.
In order to prepare a context for the future of ADRA’s mission, Maier plans to convene conferences of academics and development professionals to formulate a a philosophical platform for ADRA’s future. The conferences will take place in various locations around the world to ensure a global perspective that is representative of ADRA’s global ministry of compassion.
Dr. Maier concluded his address to the board of directors expressing his commitment to ADRA’s future, “I am greatly optimistic that the new and purposeful direction this plan has laid out for the future of the agency will lead to a stronger and better humanitarian aid agency. These system modifications, realignments, and refocusing of our philosophy will ensure that ADRA’s best years are still ahead. I invite all of you to join us and help implement this vision.”