For the past two days I have attended multiple meetings. I am trying to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the situation, meet all of the players and determine what project will be the best use of my time.
This morning I attended a meeting with the United Nation High Commission for Refugees. There were representatives from the World Food Program, Catholic Relief Services, the United Nations Children’s Fund, Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Equip Liberia.
We initially heard basic statistics on the refugee crisis and then the floor was opened. Over the next hour, I discovered:
1) Things are not well organized and we are 2 months into the emergency. The United Nations organizations did not even know about the programs they were running.
2) There seems to be a contest between organizations to see who is doing better work.
I was fairy lucky in my seat placement. To both sides, I had easy-going people that found humor in the proceedings.
Overall, despite the disorganization and not-so-polite discourse, I learned from the meeting. I now understand which groups are helping in health, water and sanitation, educations, food distribution and protection. After a few more days, I will be prepared to enter the “field”.