OC Tech Services
/ Monday, September 21, 2020
Capacity building for Christian development practitioners in Burundi
Providing and facilitating timely training, practical research, and regular inspiration for Burundian Christian development organisations and churches.
A partnership between Outreach Canada (outreach.ca) and Partners Trust International (www.pti.bi)
Our project in Burundi: Rethink Development
Let me remind you of Outreach Canada’s work in Burundi which I lead. We have established a partnership with a local Christian organization, Partners Trust International. Our joint mission is to provide greater capacity – to empower – Christian leaders committed to community development. Churches and Christian organizations in Burundi are increasingly committed to extending both “hands” of the gospel – the right hand of word and the left hand of deed. Our calling is to strengthen this “left hand of deed”, providing Christians with clearer thinking, greater capacity, and deeper motivation in the important work they are doing. The “sharp edge” of our work right now is what we call the “training of trainers”. We have a cohort of eight leaders who have just completed an online course that provides them with a very helpful orientation on how to evaluate the development projects they spearhead and/or evaluate.
Testimonies from our learning cohort:
Espérance, cohort member
Espérance is a member of the learning cohort. As well as her work as Quality control officer at an NGO called Hope International, she is an active leader in an association that works tirelessly promoting the rights or youth and women in Burundi. Here is her comment on the value of this training: “It is helping me develop the necessary knowledge and competencies to better launch and evaluate projects and programmes.” Ézechiel is Christian accountant that currently works with PTI (our local partner organization). As well as his interest in politics, he has observed that many churches are involved in implementing development programs but do not plan for their evaluation. He comments: “this training is helping me to understand why an evaluation program is important, how to measure whether the program works or not...” Éloges, a committed learner who shares our vision remarks: "This training is more than important, it is crucial, particularly the linking of our skills and competencies with our Christian values." He further celebrated the fact that practitioners were deepening their knowledge for greater impact. Our commitment to helping these learners develop “greater capacity” is front and centre at this juncture. Those receiving this training will help lead our groups of learners and researchers in the future.
Our next steps:
Our learning cohort has finished the formal course content; the focus now is to deepen and apply the material in their Burundian context. Our resource trainer, Rama Lionel Ngunzebuke – Burundian researcher and trainer based in Ottawa – will accompany these learners through a series of online sessions to help them better master and integrate the material in their local context.
We will offer this fall a further training opportunity for trainers, as well as offer a practical training course for other interested practitioners. Those who have received the training will be part of our facilitation team.
Normally we would organize a fall conference, the focus being motivation and inspiration for Christian leaders committed to community development. With the Covid restrictions, our plan is to put together for January a high-quality webinar designed to provide both inspiration and insight for NGO and church leaders as they serve needy communities in Burundi.
Our current financial needs and situation:
Our budget for the year has been adjusted in light of changes due to the pandemic. The costs of conference are therefore reduced significantly! Neither will I be traveling this fall. Furthermore, we have not been able to launch into any significant training events. Our costs in Burundi have fallen from to roughly 6000 (from over 15,000 last year). Our costs on the Canadian side have increased marginally, however, as we have made the commitment to honor our key resource people here, particularly our trainer in Ottawa who dedicates significant time to shaping and overseeing our training initiatives. Our total budget is roughly $ 30,000. Two-thirds of the costs are personnel related; the other third covers administrative and training costs. What difference can a gift make?
A gift of $ 100 subsidizes an online training course for one of our learners$ 1000 covers the professional fee for the facilitator of one of our courses$ 1500 covers the administrative costs of our local partner, Partners Trust International for one year
The good news: only $ 12,000 more needed to meet our 2020 budget!
Looking to the future
We recognize that these are uncertain times. Although Burundi has largely been spared from a major outbreak of the virus, our plans to mobilize teams and pursue more intensive training initiatives have had to be modified. Our focus on training “trainers” has been front and centre. We believe that this committed group will help us launch into offering other “capacity building” services to dedicated Christian leaders in the future. Thanks for standing with us!