Owning their own development

I’m pleased to share with you this guest blog by Mike Meyers, FH’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communication.

A community member in Nicaragua

Community members gathered to discuss their challenges, solutions, and how to be effective leaders.

After 15 months of serving in the marketing department at Food for the Hungry (FH), I recently was blessed to witness what it looks like when a community in Nicaragua owns its own development. It’s a story I want to share because it fueled my passion for this work, as I hope it does yours.

I was skeptical as we swerved and bumped our way up a steep hill for five hours to visit a community where FH had only begun working two months earlier. I wasn’t sure it was worth the head- and kidney-pounding trip.

Other communities we had visited were buzzing with activities that had brought them clean water, new agricultural techniques, sanitation, education and more. But, this community was in the formative stage of development. I expected to see maybe a half dozen leaders rallying to interest the rest of their community in the improvements they could make if they would only pitch in.

I was shocked as we entered a building where 50 people huddled in three small groups, all dressed in what looked like their best clothing. The clothing people wear when they’re serious.

Community Plan

Community members worked with FH to identify their challenges and their plan to overcome them.

We observed from the back as men, women, pastors, teachers and more wrote on easel pads what it meant to be an effective leader.

It was only their seventh meeting, but what I saw and heard proved that these leaders got it.

As they presented their ideas on how to lead their community’s development efforts, they talked about educating their children so they would have a better future than their parents had. They spoke of helping people improve their livelihoods – as farmers, many would learn how to grow new crops that would provide better yields. They articulated the key aspects of leadership they must embody as they tackle community development together. They presented plans for improving the health of everyone in the community.

One woman summed it all up when she described how it all needed to be founded on biblical principles for it to be sustainable.

Plan to accomplish plan

Community leaders identified how to accomplish their plan.

FH U.S. President Dave Evans marveled that in 20 years of being in relief and development, he had never seen a community accomplish so much in such a short amount of time.

I agree. I can’t wait to go back in a year to experience what this dedicated group of leaders will have achieved by first identifying their challenges and how to overcome them, and then by learning how to inspire and lead their community.

Thanks to the faithful FH partners who provide financial gifts and prayer to help us walk side-by-side with people like these toward a better tomorrow .

About Karen Randau

A native of the southwestern U.S., Karen uses her blog posts to put into action her passion for helping people be all that God intended them to be. She is able to do this through her role in the Food for the Hungry communications department of the Global Service Center in Phoenix in two ways. First, she helps people understand the plight faced by impoverished people in developing nations. Second, she brings light to the successful ways Food for the Hungry is helping people.

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