Partners empowered

Country Sector Project Year
Netherlands Support to NGOs Partner conference 2011

Peter

My name is Reverend Peter. I'm a pastor at CCAP Synod of Zambia, assigned to work with the education department. I work with the education department as the Education Secretary. (This is a title used at CCAP, others use director). As Education Department we work with World Servants Netherlands, and that’s how I was invited to represent CCAP Synod of Zambia at the partner conference in 2011.

The opening session, in which the coordinators from each of the project countries gave their testimony, was amazing. It was so good to see what is happening in other countries. During the coming together of partners at the end of the conference, we also shared experiences, which helped me a lot. I’m encouraged by them, by their stories. They face similar challenges. I’m not alone in that, in fact, we are with many. And we have the same goal. We all help the communities for God's glory.

The conference also helped me on the financial administration. I got an idea of how to work with the financial model that World Servants makes available for partners. And I learned about the School Improvement Plan. I had heard about it, but now I was getting it for the first time.

The most important lessons were the lessons I learned about monitoring, because this is directly under me. I liked to hear that very much. The explanation of the project cycle (with a test) and the session on monitoring was very helpful. I was not the only partner who was ignorant about this. Many of the partners found these lectures very new, and felt that more lessons of that nature should be done in the future.

For me the most significant change has been my attitude towards the work. Now I like my work more and am more committed to the work.

Sam and Shobha

We're Sam Rajshekhar and Shobha Louis, country coordinators for World Servants in India. Since 1997, we've done about 35 projects together. We were involved in the partner conference as participants invited by World Servants. At the conference, we really felt we were part of the organization. You were making our lives so beautiful out there!

Since the conference, we are more specific and more detailed in our questioning towards the communities, which helps us in understanding their problems and needs better. We are also aware of the need for institutional funding for the work we do together, and therefore we need to cooperate on that as well. The conference also helped us to make us aware of some important project management techniques and the need for applying them.

For us, the most significant change has been our increased awareness of the need to apply project management techniques and develop more detailed planning documents. As a result of this, we have commissioned one of the WSN project managers to come to help us with that. This is the most significant change for us, because the issues that he raised and the documents he's helped us develop are very useable for acquiring funds at YuvaLok. We feel empowered.

Vincent

I’m Vincent Sichinga, working at the Education Department of CCAP Synof of Livingstonia, a church and faith-based organization in Malawi. I’m working as a project coordinator for the World Servants projects.

At the conference I had different roles to play. I had to make a presentation of the successes of the projects in my country, to different forums. On the Sunday, I was given a little time to preach to the participants and many others. I participated in the games and the fun and the displays, which were done by different participants and different coordinators from different countries. To my fellow participants, I explained how School Improvement Plans are used in our projects.

For me, important changes have been the multi-annual plan I’m using now. And the monitoring tools we shared. But also the contacts I had with other coordinators are still being used. The conference created a great opportunity for me to meet, talk to and interact with my fellow coordinators from all over the World. It gave me the chance to learn a lot from my friends.

Meeting the World Servants office colleague was also of great value, for now we know who we are talking to and have a picture of the person. It also gave an opportunity to the coordinators to fellowship together and share the Word of God. It was a chance for those who support the work of World Servants to hear from the different partners on how their support impacts on people. The direct contact had a great value to our work.

But the most significant change has been the impression that has been left on my mind of the contributions the young people in the Netherlands make towards the work of World Servants, especially the preparation weekend. I was impressed by the time they dedicate to it, their talent, their confidence, and above all, that they do it because of serving others in poor countries.

Michael

My name is Michael Tembo. I'm coordinator for the World Servants projects in Mkushi district in Zambia. I was involved in the partner conference as one of the participants.

Because of the conference, I now look different at the participants, especially in relation to the cultural program. My understanding about WSN and our partnership has improved. I am now better able to prepare for the coming of the team and guide the participants when they come.

For me, the most significant change is how I organize the cultural exchange. This is significant for me because the cultural program is benefiting and bringing about positive change for both sides, visitors and local people.

Carlos

My name is Carlos Sanchzes. I'm the coordinator for visiting teams at POM in Bolivia. In 2011, I got the opportunity to learn more about World Servants and the Netherlands at the partner conference in the Netherlands, where I received a warm welcome.

I really enjoyed it. It was very well organized. The program was very full, but it was scheduled very well, so it was not unbearable to the point where I could not manage. The whole visit made a huge impression on me. It has contributed a lot to my development.

The most significant change for me has been the change of mind. I was impressed by the fact that the participants work really hard to raise funds, not just for their own trip, but also for the project. I had never thought about this. I've worked with POM for 10 years, and I've received a lot of teams, but the message from our missionary-directors - that it is very important to use the funds we receive responsibly - had never really sunk in, even after so many years. As Bolivian staff, we always kind of thought we had a right to the funds that we receive from abroad and that the money we receive is extra money, which nobody is using anyway. But now I know that it's funds young people in the Netherlands worked very hard for to raise. This change of mind has really changed how I work at POM.

Leroy

My name is Leroy Gordon. For 20 years, I've been the project coordinator for World Servants in Jamaica.

This was my fourth trip to the Netherlands, since 1991, when I formally started working with World Servants Netherlands. This trip was special for me, because at the back of my mind was the thought that this would be my final trip of this nature; this is the last year that WSN will be organizing short-term mission trips to Jamaica. Bearing this in mind, the fact that I was still included in this conference, was also a matter of surprise to me.

Despite this, the conference proved as usual to be well planned. Objectives were clear and everything was in place for a good conference as is customary. I knew many of the participants, but there were some persons that I was meeting for the very first time. These included Carlos Sanchez of Bolivia, Stephen Abarika of Ghana, Michael Kamara from Sierra Leone, Michael Tembo, John Ngulube and Peter Chipeta of Zambia. My association with these people afforded me an insight into their culture and gave me an opportunity to share my cultural experiences with them especially my ‘brothers’ from Africa. This is understandable given the historical ties between Jamaica and Africa.

The activity in which we were asked to cut pictures from a magazine to show stages of our life journey, was also innovative and inspirational. It was as if one was re-living one’s experiences through the eyes of another person.

The most significant change for me has been the renewed impression on my mind of the servant heart of the participants from the Netherlands, leaving their comfort zones and using their resources to help others. I was once again amazed of what the young people from the Netherlands leave behind, to sleep on floors, for the purpose of helping others.

I feel a sense of gratitude that I was able to associate with this organization for the time that I have. I have met many ‘friends’ whom despite the color of my skin and the variations in culture and language, have been warm in their association with me. I will continue to pray for the organization and for those who lead. Who knows what the future holds, but the God of heaven, who is the master and leader of us all, will continue to lead the way.

February-March 2012