Many churches around the world donate to charities to fight poverty. However, the African Methodist Episcopal Church  created its own agency to support the poor in Africa and the Caribbean. Its Service and Development Agency (AME-SADA) has been providing humanitarian assistance and development aid in Haiti and Africa for decades.

Though AME is an American church, it was founded by those of African descent. The church has three stated purposes, and the third addresses its work through its Service and Development Agency : to “provide continuing programs which will enhance the entire social development of all people.”

AME-SADA was founded 28 years ago, with the aim to “help people help themselves.” However, the church itself has been working in Haiti for more than 125 years. AME-SADA receives financial support from its own church members, the American government, donators and foreign institutions. In 2011, the agency was awarded the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to help their Cholera Prevention Program in Haiti.

In line with its motto of helping people help themselves, the Service and Development Agency provides health, education, and micro-credit programs. However, in emergencies such as the Haitian earthquake in 2010, AME-SADA provides quick relief.

In Haiti, AME’s  Service and Development Agency has a Child and Maternal Health Program that offers services such as pre and post-natal care for women aged 15-49, newborn care, disease and malnourishment care, family planning and counseling. The agency also supports outpatient clinics for treatment, health education and counseling. It provides water purification tablets, cleansers, disinfectants and oral rehydration packets for the treatment of cholera.

SADA-KREDI is closely related to AME-SADA’s healthcare programs. Some groups in the Haitian communities asked the agency for help supporting the clinics, and so AME’s Service and Development Agency brought members from clinic support groups to work at village banks. Three thousand women participate in an orientation for business and group dynamics, which lasts for 9-12 months. Then they are given loans of $500 in local currency for nine months.

AME-SADA also provides health care in Port-au-Prince in Haiti for 30,000 elementary school children.

Though the majority of AME-SADA’s work is in Haiti, the church has other programs in South Africa. AME has had churches and schools in the country since 1896. The agency’s college, Wilberforce Community College, provides higher education and encourages younger students to stay in school.

 – Kimmi Ligh

Sources: African Methodist Episcopal Church 1, African Methodist Episcopal Church 2, AME-SADA 1, AME-SADA 2, AME-SADA 3, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Our Health Ministry
Photo: Our Health Ministry

The African Methodist Episcopal Church Service and Development Agency, or AME-SADA, is a part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). The organization provides humanitarian relief and supports development within Africa. Their primary goal is to improve the overall quality of life for those living in Africa, as well as those living in the Caribbean.

AME-SADA was created nearly 30 years ago by a few committed people within the African Methodist Episcopal Church, including Bishop Frederick C. James, Reverend Lonnie Johnson, Dr. Joseph McKinney, Bishop John Hurst Adams, and Bishop Donald G. K. Ming.

AME-SADA’s mission is, “Helping People Help Themselves.” This means that, rather than giving people food or shelter, they would rather provide them with sustainable practices so they can support themselves. It goes along with the famous saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”

AME-SADA focuses on programs of education, health, and micro-credit, although they also provide emergency humanitarian aid in both Africa and Haiti. AME-SADA is supported by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, governments, foreign institutions and agencies, and their donors who wish to create a better world.

AME-SADA is currently working on a project to provide health care and other services to those living in Haiti, particularly in the western part of the country. As of now, they have provided healthcare for over 400,000 people. One healthcare program they have is to address child and maternal health by providing pre and post-natal care for women between the ages of 15 and 49. The program gives aid through newborn care, vaccinations to children under the age of 5, diarrhea treatment, nutritional aid to malnourished children, family planning, upper respiratory infection treatment, counseling to new families, and more. Currently, AME-SADA supports nine outpatient clinics, which provide services such as HIV and STD education, as well as treatment and counseling. Over 150,000 people benefit from this each year.

Two other programs are SADA-KREDI and a school health program. The SADA-KREDI program supports economic opportunities for those living in both rural and urban areas. It gives micro-loans to 2,500 people in order to stimulate growth in the economy and allow people to prosper on their own. In addition, the school health program helps 30,000 children at an elementary school level in the poorest neighborhoods of Haiti. It provides healthcare to children whose families cannot afford it.

Overall, those programs only represent part of what AME-SADA does. They support and fund many other programs in South Africa and Haiti in order to help the locals prosper and flourish. They promote sustainability in their programs, especially in the micro-loan programs to allow entrepreneurs in Haiti and South Africa to have a chance to implement their business plans, and create a source of income to support their family, and to stimulate the community.

Corina Balsamo

Sources: AME-SADA, AME-CHURCH, Our Health Ministry
Photo: Digitation