By Betina Gollander-Jensen 9 Jun 2021 | Mission East

Secretary General: We determinedly continue our help in the furthest reaches of the world

Secretary General Betina Gollander-Jensen spoke at Mission East's annual meeting in Hellerup on 30 May 2021: “The target group will contribute to our new strategy. We must apply for a new partnership agreement with Danida. We will remain in Afghanistan even if military support is withdrawn. We are setting up a new office in Syria to follow up on the projects."

We share excerpts of Betina’s message here:

This year, Mission East celebrates its 30th anniversary. It marks 30 years of dedicated assistance to the very weakest in a wide range of countries. Ranging from providing emergency relief when disaster strikes, to the long haul of creating development, creating jobs and making a living for hundreds of thousands of people.

Everyone is heard in new strategy

Over the next six months, Mission East will develop a new five-year strategy. Such a new strategy is important because we must ensure that we all go in the same direction so that there is a clear link between our profile - what we say we do - and what we actually do! And that applies to all of us - from me as Secretary General, who is responsible for the day-to-day management, who must ensure that our employees thrive so that they can deliver good results - to our local employees in the field. Everyone must know the direction we will take and see the vision to be rolled out. That is why we need a strategy.

And now, for the first time, we are involving all groups that are affected by the new strategy. They must be actively involved in making plans for the next five years. This means that our country offices are heard, our partners are heard - and the people we help are heard.
We need to listen to the people we provide relief and create development for. I and the staff are responsible for ensuring that we do not talk past each other. The people we help must have the support they need, and we must show with our behavior and activities that we are in solidarity and respect them as equals. We must give them a voice!

We are Christian faith in action

But there is also another voice that I personally want to make clearer in the new strategy. Namely, our voice as a faith-based organization. We are not just values in action - we are Christian faith in action! We are inspired by the life of Jesus to serve others based on their need - regardless of their faith, race or nationality. We prioritize the weakest and poorest among us. We have a vision of human dignity and of taking care of God's creation.
God's creation is also about how we take care of our earth and manage our resources. Therefore, the new strategy will also describe how we help those people who have lost their livelihoods due to climate change and are experiencing conflicts over scarce resources.

Overall, the new strategy will stick to our mission and vision as Mission East. We are driven by Christian values - that will not change!

Selected to apply for a partnership with Danida

The second activity we are going to prioritise is Mission East's strategic partnership agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which runs from 2018-2021 - and which thus ends this year.

It is a real pleasure for me to tell you here that last week we were told that on the basis of an application we sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs two months ago, we have been selected to go ahead and make a full application for the next four years.

And we were not just selected - we got some of the highest grades. I was impressed by the skilled and hard-working staff who helped me write the successful document.

It will be a big task where Mission East's work is examined. It will thus be one of the most important tasks this year. This is because a strategic partnership agreement provides four years of fixed income, which provides peace of mind and the opportunity to plan and see results grow over more than just 12 months. 

We will stay in Afghanistan when the military withdraws

With the withdrawal of the United States and the Allies from Afghanistan by 11 September at the latest, the country has been left in a vacuum. 
Therefore, there is now an extra need for organizations like Mission East to create activities that create stability and prevent conflict! For example, it could be constructing a water supply that provides both clean drinking water and irrigation for fields, so that there may be improved harvest seasons.
We stay when the military pulls out! Of course, this requires that we pay extra attention to the safety of our employees. But it is now that we are needed, both our humanitarian aid and our development efforts. We anticipate that the role of Mission East in Afghanistan will become stronger and more important in the time to come.

We are opening an office inside Syria

In 2019, Mission East started activities up in Syria, initially through local partners. But recent years have shown us that our close follow-up and presence is needed, as the conflict is very complex. At the same time, there is a demand for Mission East. We are therefore now in the process of opening a Mission East office in Syria.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 is not just the little flu, nor has it passed as we could have hoped for. We must recognize that the long-term effects of COVID-19 extend many months into the future. In the coming months, Mission East will therefore make efforts that help vulnerable groups get back on their feet - for example with help with job creation or apprenticeships.

Continues to reach out to distant areas

These were some of the great activities and projects that the board and I see that lie ahead of us. As members, you have followed and supported Mission East to become the organization we are today - namely one of Denmark's large church aid organizations that reach out to the most remote areas! We will continue to do so determinedly with the coming year.

Thank you for standing with us - also in the exciting future we are now facing, where we want to be ambitious and help even more people.