2013 International Peacemaker
Rev. Helivao Poget
Rev. Helivao Poget was ordained as a pastor in the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (known by its Malagasy initials, FJKM) in July 1989. In 1991, the FJKM assigned her to work with a joint FJKM/Lutheran social centre in Isotry, a poor neighborhood of Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo. She began developing a “street ministry,” living and sharing the gospel with the area’s marginalized people – sex workers, drug addicts, street kids, street families.”
She also started an outreach ministry, SAFFIFAA, under the auspices of the FJKM. SAFFIFA works in a several sites around Antananarivo and on the island of Sainte Marie providing a wide range of services aimed primarily at marginalized communities: youth, women, prisoners, and developmentally challenged people. Much of SAFFIFA’s work helps to provide young people alternatives to sex and drugs and to protect them from human trafficking.
In addition to her street ministry, Pastor Helivao serves on the FJKM Committee on the Life of the Nation, and its counterpart at the Malsagasy Christian Council of Churches (FFKM). In that capacity, she has played an important part in the churches’ efforts to facilitate an end to the ongoing political crisis that has gripped Madagascar since a coup d’état in March 2009. Pastor Helivao also teaches missiology at the FJKM Theological Faculty in Antananarivo, sharing her experiences with the students and inspiring them to engage in ministries that tackle social problems such as poverty, violence and exploitation.
Doug Tilton, Regional Liaison for Southern Africa
Doug currently serves as regional liaison for Southern Africa, helping to strengthen the mutual ministries of the PC(USA) and its partner churches in six countries: Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Regional liaisons are in regular contact with the PC(USA)’s partners, exploring ways of working together to build the capacity of the global church to address the root causes of poverty, to share the good news of the gospel and to engage in ministries of reconciliation. Doug also provides support for other PC(USA) mission personnel in the region and helps to connect PC(USA) presbyteries and congregations with their counterparts in Southern Africa.
Doug was commissioned as a mission worker in 1992. He was initially assigned to work with an ecumenical agency engaged in peacemaking and community development on the upper south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, just south of Durban. From that vantage point he witnessed South Africa’s inspiring transition from minority rule to nonracial democracy. During the country’s first democratic elections in 1994 Doug served as the provincial administration and financial officer for the KwaZulu-Natal Electoral Observer Network, the structure established by church and civil society organizations to provide electoral education and promote a free and fair poll.
For the next 10 years he was seconded to the South African Council of Churches (SACC), working first as a researcher in the Council’s Parliamentary Office in Cape Town and later in the General Secretariat in Johannesburg. From the time of its formation in 1968, the SACC was one of the leading voices calling for democracy, human rights and social justice in a land that was long blighted by institutionalized racial discrimination. After 1994 the SACC sought to help a new society address the social and economic legacies of apartheid, including poverty, inequality and racism.
Doug’s interest in Southern Africa and his involvement in the antiapartheid movement began while he was an undergraduate at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He holds a B.A. in history, political science and economics from Macalester. He did graduate studies at Oxford University, obtaining an M.Phil. in politics in 1985 a D.Phil. in politics in 1991. He worked for a year (1986) as legislative coordinator for the Washington Office on Africa in Washington, D.C. From 1995-1998, he was again based in Washington, D.C., as a PC(USA) mission specialist assigned to do policy analysis and communications for the Washington Office on Africa and the Africa Policy Information Center.