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Empowered Partners Plan for SIA Visit

I know the power of language. The words we use affect the way we see the world.

You can be sure that when I talk about Spirit in Action and how we “partner” with people and organizations in Africa and work to “empower” them – I mean it!

Individuals and community-based organizations that receive grants from SIA design and implement every part of their programs to improve their communities. We support them with our time, grant funds, information resources, and by connecting them with other people doing similar projects.

When it came time to plan my month-long “Strengthening SIA” trip to Kenya and Malawi this summer to visit some of our partners, I turned to them and asked what they wanted out of the visit. If you have ever received a grant yourself, maybe you know how nerve-wracking it can be for the funding body to come and check in on how you are doing. Asking our partners and Small Business Fund Coordinators to take charge of the planning shows that we are not there to judge them but to see their projects in action and better understand how SIA might support them in the future.

One of the main events of the trip will be a 4-day workshop with our Small Business Fund Coordinators, the local leaders that help administer our mirco-enterprise grants and train the new business groups. It was coordinators’ idea to have the workshop and so I asked two of them (pictured below), Dennis Kiprop (Kenya) and Jacob Lipandasi (DR Congo), to set the agenda for our time together.

Here is a sample of the very exciting “Successful Meeting Agenda”, which they put together:

Day 2 – Morning Session

Dennis Kiprop and Jacob Lipandasi in Eldoret, Kenya
  1. Breakfast

  2. Coordinators share experiences, photos, and success stories

  3. Tea break

  4. SIA staff share how to share reports and pictures with SIA office.

  5. Lunch break

Afternoon Session

  1. Address challenges facing the coordinators in working with groups through: -Prayer -Consensus agreement -Advice from SIA staff -Possible solutions

  2. Tea break

  3. Fun and Games

  4. Free time

  5. Watch a video on Community Development projects

  6. Dinner

  7. Motivational talk from Samuel Teimuge

Now you can understand why I call the dedicated and enthusiastic leaders I work with through SIA our “partners”. It’s not just SIA doing the work but ALL us together in cooperation that makes a difference.

As we all reach out to help others around the world by giving them must-needed small grants, let us keep in mind these empowered individuals and set aside outdated images of poor, helpless people in need of charity.

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