NGO Spotlight: Global Partners for Development

Global Partners: Community-Driven Development for Education

Global Partners for Development has relentlessly pursued long-term solutions to the needs facing East African communities for over 35 years. Although they have always practiced community-driven development, Global Partners has recently incorporated a more school-centric model. When they decided to try something new by adjusting their model of work, they knew they had to be committed to getting it right. Global Partners identifies schools with exceptionally low education indicators and partners with local communities to increase civic engagement, bolster local capacity for project management, and invest in community-driven projects at their schools.

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Why the change? In short, while Global Partners was proud of their long history and the work they’ve done throughout the years, they face the challenge of impacting even more disenfranchised communities in the future. More than 4.5 million children in East Africa remain out of school. Children from poor households are less likely to have access to education than those from rich households, and females from rural areas are often the worst off of all. Waterborne diseases remain rampant in East Africa and cause chronic illness and death, especially among young children. Global Partners believes their new school-centric model will better enable them to implement scalable projects and achieve sustainable results in a larger number of communities.

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Why schools? Quality education impacts every development outcome for generations. Research has proven that an educated child, and especially an educated girl, will have a smaller, healthier family with an improved livelihood. The hope is that by partnering directly with schools and communities and engaging and training them to work together, Global Partners will improve the greater communities’ perception of the importance of education and further associate education with village and family development.

Why engage the community? Engaged citizens are more confident in their ability to participate in community development, and community engagement fosters local ownership. Local ownership helps ensure the long-term sustainability of development projects.

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What’s next? Based on indicators relatedto poverty and education, Global Partners has concluded that the Singida Region of Tanzania is in critical need of support for its public schools. Learn more about the specific plans Global Partners for Development has for Singida as well as other opportunities, such as donating to secondary school scholarships for girls in Uganda, on the UniversalGiving website. 

Selfless Venture: 7 Traits a Bona Fide Volunteer Should Possess

Today’s guest post is from Tess Pajaron.

Volunteering, when done for the right reasons, is one of the best ways you could ever spend your time, and Mother Teresa, possibly the greatest volunteer of all time, said it best when she said:

“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”

Volunteers are a rare breed, and without them, the world would be a very different place. But what does it take to be a great volunteer?

There is no easy answer to this question, as each organization is different and each venture has its own sets of challenges and requirements.

There are, however, a few qualities that every volunteer should strive to emulate, whether they are volunteering at their local homeless shelter or traveling abroad for an international organization.

A Bona Fide Volunteer… 

1. …IS FLEXIBLE

Volunteering is not like any other job; you may not have fixed tasks or schedules, and situations can change quickly. If you are stuck on following a particular plan or doing things a certain way, you may not be as much of a help as you’d like to be.

2. …HAS A FIRM SENSE OF CONVICTION 

Volunteers must have conviction that they are doing the right thing. If you don’t have any convictions about the cause or organization you are volunteering for, you won’t be very convincing to anyone, least of all yourself.

Good volunteers feel called to do what they do, and it shows in their faith, conviction and strong morals. Having conviction is the only way to inspire others, while morals show that you actually practice what you preach.

3. …IS TEACHABLE

A volunteer must be willing to learn and grow. You must be ready to learn from anyone, even If it is someone younger than you or someone you wouldn’t normally expect to learn anything from.

Everyone has something to teach, and if you aren’t open to new opinions and methods, you may miss out on some valuable lessons.

4. …IS COMPASSIONATE

Volunteers must feel compassion and empathy in order to be effective at what they do. If you want to help others, you must be able to put yourself in their shoes and understand their problems as if they were your own.

If you cannot relate to those you are trying to help, you won’t get very far.

5. …EXERCISES HUMILITY

Truly great volunteers are humble about what they do. They are aware of their limitations and willing to put aside their pride in order to learn something new.

Throughout your time as a volunteer, you will probably have countless moments when you realize just how little you really know. Pretending you know something when you don’t will rob you of the chance to grow and become a better person.

6. …IS PATIENT

Good volunteers know that everything takes time, and that good things come to those who wait. Rome wasn’t built in a day and if you want to accomplish anything, you need to be patient.

Progress will often be slow and perhaps not as obvious as you’d like, but if you persevere and wait patiently, you will see your efforts pay off.

7….IS COMMITTED.

Volunteering is often a thankless job, but if you are committed to seeing your venture succeed you will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

If you aren’t committed to the cause, you won’t be reliable or dependable and you’ll probably end up quitting before you have ever really started.

For this reason, it is important that you truly believe in something before you give up your time and money to help out. Commitment is the only thing that will pull you through when things get tough.

Tess Pajaron is part of the team behind OpenColleges. She is a volunteer at her local church and aims to share her learnings through her experiences. On her spare time, she loves to travel and see the world and various cultures.