Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peace Boat update, 5 months later . . .

A case study in independent disaster relief can be seen in the Japan Times' August 23 analysis of Peace Boat's efforts in Ishinomaki. You can read the full story here. Peace Boat has built the most credible delivery structure of any independent NGO, filling needs that have fallen through the cracks as both government and large-scale relief agencies like the Japan Red Cross have struggled with applying their resources to on-the-ground problem-solving.
Because of it's success, Peace Boat is now positioned to play an even stronger role in applying the resources that large international corporations may contribute. But the arena of corporate giving is in some ways much more difficult to navigate than the mud-filled streets that characterized Ishinomaki earlier this year.
In April I had the privilege of observing Peace Boat's operation headquartered in the Takadanobabo neighborhood of Tokyo. It is a small organization of earnest volunteers. They demonstrated great sincerity in trying to do things the government and other organizations shied away from, especially in the task of making productive use of foreign volunteers. They must be given great credit for this, because the lasting benefits of the relationships they formed in this process transcend this one disaster and one country.
The Japan Times article even-handedly addresses the positive and negative sides of Peace Boat's unique role in the ongoing recovery. I hope you will read the full article from start to finish, and form your own opinion.