Lutheran World Relief
|Daniel V. Speckhard, President and C.E.O.
Gloria Edwards, Chair of the Board
|US$ 37.5 million (2013) |
|Slogan||Sustainable Development. Lasting Promise.|
|Mission||Affirming God’s love for all people, we work with Lutherans and partners around the world to end poverty, injustice and human suffering.|
Lutheran World Relief (LWR) is an international nonprofit organization specializing in International Development and Disaster Relief. It was headquartered in New York, but has been based in Baltimore, Maryland since 1995. According to its website, LWR promotes sustainable development by helping communities increase the quality of life, engage in Fair Trade, and be better equipped to handle emergencies. This expanded mission originated from its beginnings as a non-governmental organization founded in 1945 for helping many European Lutherans who suffered devastation during World War II.
Part of LWR's work includes responding to disasters. In the wake of the 2004 Southeast Asia Tsunami, Newsweek ranked LWR as one of the best international relief agencies, giving the Lutheran group an "A+" rating. LWR continues to receive high rankings from organizations such as the American Institute of Philanthropy, who gave LWR an A rating in 2007 through 2010, and Charity Navigator, who rated LWR the maximum four stars.
LWR is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global alliance of churches and related agencies working on development that are committed to working together.
In the aftermath of World War II, Lutherans around the United States realized that many of their relatives in Europe needed help rebuilding their lives. In 1945, "Lutheran churches from at least 20 states mobilized to help in Europe" and formed Lutheran World Relief. Soon after, the work of LWR expanded to Palestine, then to Hong Kong, Korea and Bangladesh in the 1950s. In the 1970s and 1980s, LWR's expanded its work into Africa, as civil wars and droughts hit countries there.
LWR is a capacity building organization who works with local partner organizations that are "made up of or involve local community members." LWR's philosophy is that these partner organizations have the specific knowledge of their context that is needed to pull individuals and communities out of long-term poverty. LWR then provides technical expertise, financing and training to improve the work of the partner organizations.
Lutheran World Relief identifies six sectors of their development work: Water, Emergency Response, Agriculture, Climate, Health & Livelihoods, and Civic Participation
LWR works to increase access to water in rural areas for both agricultural and domestic use. They do this by building irrigation systems for crops and livestock, gravity-flow systems, sub-surface dams, or hand-dug wells for household consumption. They also use water treatment technologies that include chemical, ultraviolet, or filtration treatment.
LWR's work in emergencies includes both responding to sudden natural disasters with cash, staff and material resources (such as quilts or personal care kits), as well as disaster risk reduction.
Lutheran World Relief has recently contributed to emergency relief efforts in:
- Haiti, aiding people suffering from the 2010 Haiti earthquake. LWR has been supporting projects in Haiti since 1997. To see a video on the LWR appeal for Haiti, by the current president John Nunes, click on this link: 
- Horn of Africa, working with Lutheran World Federation in the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya to give aid to people suffering from the 2011 famine.
- South Sudan, helping provide access to food, water, sanitation and health services.
LWR's work in agriculture focuses on food security, specifically working with small-holder farmers to "help them access credit, learn about improved agricultural inputs and techniques, increase their yields, access markets and, ultimately, improve their incomes."
LWR works with local communities to combat the effects of climate-related disasters through Disaster Risk Reduction, and climate mitigation techniques like reforestation.
Health and Livelihoods
LWR focuses on health-related causes, and is currently partnering with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the United Nations Foundation to raise $45 million for malaria education, treatment and prevention.
LWR also works to ensure that people know the rights they have as citizens and are able to take an active role in their local governments.
Where LWR Works
Asia and the Middle East
LWR centers all of its work in a philosophy & framework called “accompaniment.” Rooted in the Lutheran tradition that believes empowerment and justice happen only by ‘standing with’, rather than ‘doing for’ others in need, accompaniment is a dynamic relationship between diverse partners with complementary resources and skills working together to empower poor communities to improve their lives. It recognizes that all poor communities already have resources and assets that can be harnessed to improve their own wellbeing. Building on these pre-existing assets, accompaniment is based on shared values and objectives, and uses jointly developed strategies with flexibility and openness to achieve sustainable results. Characterized by mutual trust, respect, accountability, and transparency, the relationship contributes to each partner’s growth and learning while carrying out its primary goal of improving the well being of the poor.
In its emergency and development work, LWR uses accompaniment to work through existing structures and organizations (“partners”) where and whenever possible to foster community empowerment and to ensure resources are used to maximum effect. LWR seeks to be a catalyst for, and facilitator of, development and social change led by local organizations and impoverished people. Accompaniment is not only a relationship between LWR and its partners, but a process of working together. It uses a rights-based approach that relies on participatory and appreciative methods, leading-edge development techniques, effective program management, and organizational capacity building.
- LWR's 2013 Annual Report ()
- "People," The Christian Century Sep 5, 2006
- Lutheran World Relief Websites: Overview and History, both retrieved November 30, 2008
- Eve Conant, "Rating Tsunami Relief", Newsweek, January 17, 2005 (online edition retrieved November 14, 2007)
- American Institute of Philanthropy website, "Top Rated Charities", retrieved November 14, 2007 and January 13, 2010)
- Lutheran World Relief on Charity Navigator (), accessed September 27, 2011
- Lutheran World Relief Website, retrieved August 4, 2011: History
- Lutheran World Relief Website, retrieved August 4, 2011: Our Work
- Lutheran World Relief website, accessed August 5, 2011 ( Partnership)
- Source of Life: Lutheran World Relief's Work to Ensure Clean, Sustainable Water, accessed August 5, 2011  (PDF)
- Haiti, on the Lutheran World Relief Website, last accessed Aug. 4, 2011. 
- East Africa, on the Lutheran World Relief Website, last accessed Aug. 4, 2011 
- South Sudan, on the Lutheran World Relief Website, last accessed Aug. 4, 2011 
- Agriculture, on the Lutheran World Relief Website, last accessed Aug. 5, 2011 
- Climate, on the Lutheran World Relief website, last accessed Aug. 5, 2011 
- The Lutheran Malaria Initiative website, last accessed Aug. 5, 2011
- Civic Participation, on the Lutheran World Relief website, last accessed Aug. 5, 2011
- Lutheran World Relief website, accessed July 14, 2010 ( Accompaniment)
Grams, Grant: “T.O.F. Herzer and his work with German-speaking immigration to Canada”, in Richard Virr (ed.), Journal of the Canadian Church Historical Society, 2007.