ADRA EUD and the Inter European Division wish to thank Franca Zucca and express
their warm appreciation for her dedicated ministry as the Director of ADRA
Italy. Valentina Marciano will be the one responsible for this office from now
on as Franca is unfortunately leaving us. A warm welcome to Valentina Marciano.
God bless both of them in the new challenges they are going to face.
Interview with Franca Zucca about her experiences with ADRA
(This Interview was taken by Laurence Nagy, Administrative Assistant to ADRA EU)
Laurence: This is an honor to meet somebody who has been dedicated for so many years for ADRA and we are thankful that you have accepted to share with us part of your experiences.
To begin, it would be good if you could briefly introduce yourself.
Franca: I was born into an Adventist family. I studied English, French, Spanish and secretariat in Milan where I was born and theology at the Adventist College “Villa Aurora”, Florence. Soon after I worked for almost 5 years at the Italian Union as a secretary at the dept. of Public Affairs/Religious Liberty and for the Bible correspondence courses, and then as a secretary to the Italian Union president. In 1974 I left my job at the Union and the Church and worked for almost 20 years in secular companies. After a dramatic experience in my life I felt nostalgia for the Lord and His Church and I asked to work again for the Church. So in September 1993 I started to work for the Health Dept. and for OSA (Adventist Social Organiziation) that would later become ADRA Italy.
Laurence: My first question would be the following:
How did you come across ADRA and what motivated you to join this association / NGO?
Franca: As I said before, at the beginning I worked 50% of the time for the Health Dept. and 50% for OSA, which will become ADRA Italy at the end of 1996. Eventually it was “normal” for me to choose to work only for ADRA: my prominent feature, if I may say, is to listen to and help people…
Laurence: How did you start your work as the director of ADRA Italy?
Franca: For a year and a half I worked as an associate director. In May 1998 the Italian Union appointed me as director.
Laurence: Was it an easy or hard job to start? It was quite hard because I was absolutely alone. I learnt a lot working “on the spot”.
Franca: At that time I asked ADRA EUD (Peter Kunze) for help and also my friend Erich Lischeck, former director of ADRA Germany, that led me to follow a “full immersion” course thanks to one of his skilled collaborators.
Laurence: Could you tell us about some of the main projects you implemented with your team – what was one of the most enhancing and thrilling experience?
Franca: There are several, but I like to remember just two. An emergency project in Italy on the occasion of the earthquake in Abruzzo in 2009; thanks to the generosity of so many people we were able to purchase a very expensive medical equipment for the maternity ward of the hospital in L’Aquila, badly damaged by the earthquake. The second one is a water project in Mozambique. It was about the drilling of more than 500 water wells and their management through committees created in the local villages. In cooperation with other local and international organizations we were able to run that project thanks to a legacy of an Italian lady who trusted ADRA.
Laurence: Being responsible for ADRA Italy, this must have brought many contacts not only in the development world but also with authorities. Was it easy to work with them?
Franca: We did not have so many contacts with the authorities, but when this was required we had no difficulty. We have been facilitated in this by working in partnership with other national and international organizations.
Laurence: How did you manage to convince the donors to help you in your projects? Can you tell us if possible what are the sources that allowed you to get fundings for your projects?
Franca: Through the 8x1000 funds (tax refund from the Government to the Italian Union), the 5x1000 funds (tax refund from the Government to NgOs, voluntary associations, foundations etc.), private donations, legacy. I must say that during the years ADRA has had the opportunity to be known by the public. It is pretty hard to survive among thousands of NGOs and voluntary associations, but thanks to the Lord and to our donors we can offer our small contribution.
Laurence: Which country in which you implemented projects gave you the most joy?
Franca: Many: Brazil, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Namibia, Sao Tomé, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Morocco, Albania, Mongolia, the Philippines, India, Turkey… and Italy as well.
Laurence: Now that you are leaving ADRA after 15 years of faithful services, how do you feel about the future of ADRA in Italy, in Europe and worldwide?
Franca: ADRA should always face challenges, anywhere in the world. So also in Italy. I am sure the Lord will continue to give his wisdom to those who have the responsibility of leading both development projects and disasters response as well as the capacity to network with others, at all level. As for Italy I am confident that ADRA will keep growing thanks also to the nice team that is working with passion and competence.
Laurence: If there is any advice you could give to your successors, what would it be ?
Franca: Supporting her team, networking at all level, learning and… pray a lot.
Laurence: Would you like to add some other relevant things: personal ones, about your years of responsibilities…
Franca: I thank the many people in Italy and abroad I met and appreciated for their dedication to ADRA. I learned a lot from them. My gratitude goes to the Lord who gave me the wonderful opportunity to serve Him through ADRA.
Laurence: I don’t know what will be your next ministry, but I am sure that you will be as successful in your new field as you have been in ADRA. Thank you very much!