When the Spirit in Action Board members meeting last weekend, we had two very important additions to our team. Every other year, we gather for a two-day retreat to give us time and space to explore our direction and vision. And this time – through the wonders of technology – Naomi Ayot, our Small Business Fund coordinator in Uganda, joined us via a WhatsApp video call. With almost no delay in connection, we shared what inspires us about SIA, as a way of envisioning a new mission statement.
Bringing the faces of our partners into the room is just the first step in making the work feel more tangible from afar.
Though we are still in the process of crafting the final statement, several words have emerged as central to our work. Partnerships. Community ownership/community-led initiatives. Spirit. Sustainable. Holistic. Abundant life.
Naomi reflected that Spirit in Action takes a positive approach to development. All SIA leaders around the globe encourage, listen, and learn in order to form true partnerships.
Naomi Ayot is a SIA Small Business Fund Coordinator in Uganda. She is passionate about mentoring others.
Canaan Gondwe, long-time partner and SIA advisor in Malawi, was also invited to join the meeting though, “because of power failure like today, cell phone networks are a challenge” and so he wrote in with valuable input and his usual eloquence. “Let me begin by saying SIA has grown so much that if our founding father Del Anderson came to this life today, he would be amazed, overwhelmed, surprised with how big that small vision in 1996 has grown. It is inspiring to note the wonderful impacts on rural peoples’ lives and grassroots institutions.”
We are also exploring more ways to diversify our Board and bring more partner voices into the decision-making process.
New Grant Partners!
In addition to these larger questions, the Board also approved 34 new small business grants and six grants to amazing community initiatives in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Rwanda! The Rwanda partnership is with a group of Burundian refugees who are building a new life there. The SIA grant will help them start a restaurant which will serve as a community hub, as well as a café establishment, for the larger refugee population. I’ll be sharing more about our other grants soon!
I’m still floating from the uplifting time we had this weekend and the true sense of global connection we experienced. Thank YOU for being part of this beautiful worldwide network.
The SIA Board met in Redwood Valley in California.