What We Do
ADRA seeks to identify and address social distortions and deprivation in developing countries. The agency's work is a representative expression of Seventh-day Adventists' desire to improve the quality of life of those in need. ADRA invests in the potential of these individuals through community development initiatives in six diverse sectors. To learn more, read about ADRA's programs below.
For many people, basic education provides the key to breaking the poverty cycle. For a variety of reasons, many children are denied even an elementary school education, and many adults lack the necessary skills to increase their productivity or to make informed financial decisions. Believing that education is the single most effective means of empowering individuals, ADRA designs programs that meet basic educational needs of children and adults. An integral part of development, education activities take many forms, including primary education for children, basic literacy and numeracy training, basic education for adults, teacher training, secondary education, and support for tertiary education institutions.
Disaster Preparedness and Response
ADRA renders assistance in response to a variety of natural and man-made disasters, often providing emergency food, clean water, shelter materials, medical attention, and other basics. Long after the disaster fades from the headlines, ADRA works with local communities to rebuild lives and homes. In line with the emphasis on the developmental aspects of humanitarian work, ADRA works to mitigate the effects of crisis by involving ADRA country offices in developing regional strategies for effective response in times of disaster. Such preparedness plans incorporate thorough, yet quick analysis of problems that need to be addressed, outlines of basic and necessary interventions to be provided, and networks of available institutions, organizations, and individuals necessary for cooperative assistance during crisis.
ADRA's economic development programs enhance family or local entrepreneurial activities and seek to subsidize or complement primary income-generation such as agricultural activities. The goal is to develop financially-viable activities and organizations that will continue serving the local community after ADRA's involvement is over. One such approach is to work with community leadership to organize business cooperatives. These micro-enterprise development programs provide small loans to groups of individuals (a large majority of which are women) who cannot access credit at 'formal' institutions. Loans are paid back on a regular schedule, and clients in good standing can apply for increasing loan amounts. Generally, clients also receive training in business skills in order to maximize their ability to use and invest their new capital.
Food is the staff of life, and ADRA meets immediate needs during times of emergency. More importantly, ADRA seeks long-term solutions in order to provide food security. The first step is to gather information about the target population, their nutritional resources, and development of new solutions for increasing both the quantity and the quality of the food supply. This process includes evaluation of local production, the type of imported food, and natural or man-made disruptions to food production. Another crucial step is to examine the nutritional needs of people and their ability to purchase or raise adequate food for dietary needs. Related issues such as hygiene and sanitation are studied. Recognizing that food security problems arise from a combination of factors, ADRA often plans and implements integrated programs that accomplish multiple goals.
In addressing the most basic health care problems in the developing world, ADRA's primary health care activities benefit women and children. Health programs are designed in response to local indicators of health, including infant mortality rates, under-5 mortality rates, maternal mortality rates, evaluation of populations with access to health services/safe water/sanitation, immunization rates, percent of malnutrition, and average life expectancy rates. Most often, health programs focus on activities such as improving access to clean, potable water, sanitation systems, immunizations, and nutritional intake.