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United Methodist Communications partners with Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2012

Nashville, Tenn. — United Methodist Communications and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) have teamed up to strategically evaluate the most effective ways to implement a new Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) project that will drive development, build economic stability and provide life-saving technology for those in need.

Students from Harvard Business School, who have previous experience consulting on successful international humanitarian efforts, will conduct field research and provide analysis for implementation of the project.

"We are looking at the ways that technology can enhance people's lives in remote places of the world," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, general secretary of United Methodist Communications. "The partnership with HHI provides us with guidance from those who are already working on technology-based efforts, which will allow us to maximize our time and funds."

In one project, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission will set up computer community centers at United Methodist schools in Haiti to educate students by day, and provide adult education and affordable Internet access by night. Income from this model will drive sustainable agricultural development, create employment and ensure economic progress.

"This project with United Methodist Communications fits our purpose perfectly," said Vincenzo Bollettino, executive director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. "Technology is playing an increasingly important role in relief and development, and our researchers are involved in developing and testing new tools for improving the speed and accuracy of data collection needed to inform humanitarian policy and operations."

For more information about this partnership, contact Neelley Hicks at nhicks@umcom.org.

About United Methodist Communications
As the communications agency for The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Communications seeks to increase awareness and visibility of the denomination in communities and nations around the globe. United Methodist Communications also offers services, tools, products and resources for communications ministry.

About Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) is a university-wide center involving multiple entities within the Harvard community that provide expertise in public health, medicine, social science, management, and other disciplines to promote evidence-based approaches to humanitarian assistance. The mission of the Initiative is to relieve human suffering in war and disaster by advancing the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide. HHI fosters interdisciplinary collaboration in order to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian strategies for relief, protection and prevention; instill human rights principles and practices in these strategies; and educate the next generation of humanitarian leaders.

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Media contact:
Diane Degnan
ddegnan@umcom.org
615-742-5406 (office)
615-483-1765 (cell)