Working in partnership is key to creating lasting change
At the heart of all of Find Your Feet’s work is partnership.
We work in partnership with local organisations, and we work in partnership with local people, providing opportunities for them to make their voices heard. We ask the people we support to help us understand their needs, and allow their opinions to shape the work we do.
Last Saturday was the International day of Friendship, so what better time to celebrate all the people we’ve been working in partnership with in Africa & Asia, and recognise the change that they’re working to bring about.
Working in partnership with communities in Malawi…
In rural villages in Malawi, the majority of people have seldom been taught about their rights, let alone the skills needed to influence local decisions that affect their lives. This leaves them trapped in an ongoing cycle of poverty, with no means of changing things for the better.
We’ve been working alongside local government in Malawi to run village meetings. Our team of Community Facilitators - local people voted in to help their neighbours - go out and about on foot and bicycle, encouraging men and women of all ages to attend. The meetings act as a platform for villagers to discuss their problems and to feed back to local leaders about the changes that they want to see happen.
Not only do we create this space for local people to articulate their struggles, but we then support them to implement change and address their problems with practical solutions.
New conversations bring new opportunities
One man who has experienced significant change as a result of these meetings is Mr Trouble Bishop Tchongwe - a farmer from the Mzimba District. He had spent his entire life struggling to grow enough food to feed his family, and with the changing climate, the situation was only getting worse. He and the other farmers in his village came to a meeting and realised that this problem was something they were able to address together.
“The turning point to my life, was last year when I attended a conversation meeting held by the local leadership in my village and Find Your Feet. I began to realise that development and change were possible.”
The farmers wanted to know how they could improve their crops and protect them against the changing weather conditions. Through training and sharing of knowledge Mr Tchongwe, along with 500 other families in the area, have started using new, improved farming methods and are now more food secure.
Mrs Grace Tembo has also experienced change.
As a Malawian women she has always been expected to take on the majority of the work and care for her family over and above herself. She came along to the meetings to raise the issue of gender inequality in the village, and to ask that women were given an equal say on local issues.
Now, not only are women involved in local decision making, but Mrs Tembo has been elected as the first female Chairperson of the Village Committee.
“At first the men resisted and didn’t think women had anything to offer, but through the dialogue they came to realise that we are just as capable as they are. When my name was proposed for the position of Chairperson I felt nervous and wanted to turn it down, but inside something told me I had to accept.”
At Find Your Feet we believe that working in partnership is key to creating lasting change.
By listening to the people we support, we can learn more about the problems they face, and how they want to address them.
We give communities the tools they need to achieve their full potential and tackle the root causes of the poverty they face.
But we can't do it without you. This year you have the opportunitiy to help families like these. Donate in response to this newsletter and thanks to one of our generous supporters, your donation will be doubled.