When the elderly ladies at the Good Samaritan clinic in Kenya were unable to get anyone to fund a well, they didn’t give up. They needed to address the burden of carting water for older women and those with HIV and AIDS. So they began to save a little bit of money out of their income, and were then able to access funds from the Anglicord income generating scheme to fund five rainwater tanks. They didn’t get their well, but through their initiative, hard work and a bit of a hand from Anglicord, they got what they needed – water.
 
This is an example of an approach to aid and development that is gaining traction, and Misha Coleman, CEO of Anglicord – Anglican Overseas Aid, believes that Jesus Christ was one of its earliest proponents.
 
“Jesus was the expert in the strength-based approach. He didn’t have a panel of experts or research papers to back up his strategic plan – he got to know the people around him and he used their strengths, with phenomenal success,” she said, for the launch of Anglicord’s 2012 Autumn Appeal, ‘The Power To Change’.
 
“With simple people and local knowledge, he used fishermen, tradesmen, and people of dubious reputation to make an incredible difference.
 
“The other disciples were a bit incredulous when Jesus chose Peter to be his ‘rock’, but Jesus had seen strengths there that would certainly be tested and eventually found more than adequate to the task, despite a few stumbles along the way.”
 
It takes a bit of humility to emulate this approach, Ms Coleman says.
 
“It’s too easy to walk into a developing community and say, ‘You need medical treatment, you need education, you need food, let us pay for it for you’,” Ms Coleman said as she launched Anglicord’s Autumn Appeal, ‘The Power to Change’. “Then when the aid agency moves out, the community is back where it started.
 
“People may lack physical resources like food and water, but they what they do have in abundance is determination, strength and hope,” Ms Coleman said.
 
Jo Maher, Anglicord’s International Program Manager, recently visited Mozambique, where Anglicord has a new HIV and AIDS program, and was delighted to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach.
 
“We drove to an isolated village in the Diocese of Niassa, on the back of a big truck, driving over rough dirt tracks. When we arrived, we said, ‘Let’s see what you’ve got’ and we decided to take a ‘stock-take’ tour of the village. For many of those who came with us (about 60 people!), it was like seeing their village for the first time.”
 
They saw young, able bodied people, good soil (although lack of water was a problem), smokeless clay ovens (a simple and clever technology) and structures set up under trees for community meetings.
 
“Overall there was great resourcefulness,” she said.
 
Jo is thrilled at the outcome for the ladies at the Good Samaritan Clinic.
 
“It gave them a great sense of satisfaction, and they were so excited to show the photographs of these water tanks they’d bought. After years of being passive, they saw what they could do and you got the sense then that they wouldn’t stop.”
 
To donate to Anglicord’s appeal ‘The Power to Change’, please visit www.anglicord.org.au or call 1800 249 880
 
Jane Still is the Communications Manager for Anglicord
 

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