Here are some of our staff and an insight into how their roles support our partners.
As a programme manager my role is to develop and oversee partnerships with project partners and large institutional donors. For me the most rewarding part of my job is knowing that the partnerships I manage are reaching on average around 20,000 people a year. When I am working with our project partners, we are constantly looking for opportunities to scale up our work to reach more people, directly and indirectly. The satisfaction of knowing that our work is improving the lives of thousands of the most forgotten children and their families helps me sleep well!
Because I also come from a developing country I have an instant rapport with our partners and we have a shared vision for change. But being Indian doesn’t mean I don’t learn from our partners. Every country has its own culture and social structures and you have to adapt to these. What I have learnt from our partners is the importance of being adaptable. What ChildHope has is a flexible approach so we can adapt our model to the local context. We can’t be stuck in a frame - we have to give our partners a free hand.
My vision is that I can help our partners reach a sustainable phase of their existence. Often programmes have to be developed to match the priorities of international donors, when partners may have a different vision for what the communities need. Working together is important and donor strategies have a significant global perspective, but I look forward to our partners being more financially self-sufficient so they have more independence. I work with our partners to develop them away from the charity model of receiving funds to the model of social enterprise, so they are able to generate income that they can reinvest in their work.
My job is to make sure that ChildHope’s responsibility for safeguarding all the children and vulnerable adults that we work with is at the heart of everything we do.
I raise awareness about safeguarding risks that children and vulnerable adults face in terms of how projects are designed and implemented. I also ensure that all safeguarding and prevention measures are embedded in ChildHope business and that responses to safeguarding allegations and concerns are dealt with in the best interest of the child.
When we begin a partnership with a new organisation, I help them develop or strengthen their safeguarding policy. I also deliver safeguarding consultancy for UK organisations and coordinate ChildHope’s Lunch and Learn seminars. These bring together people working in international development and other sectors to discuss issues on child development and safeguarding/child protection.
It is satisfying to know that while working with the most vulnerable children and adults, I help ensure that we are all aware of the safeguarding risks they face. More important though is working with stakeholders to help minimise and mitigate such risks.
We work directly with partners and the emphasis is on equality. I find this empowering and transformative because we are learning from each other’s strengths while working together to make life better for children. This approach transforms the capabilities of our partners and is unrivalled in terms of value for money. We have no offices to maintain in those countries, so all the resources are directed towards our partners and programmes.
I’d like to see an international development sector where all kinds of abuse and exploitation based on power imbalance are eliminated. The relationship between north and south non-governmental organisations should be guided by the ethos of mutual respect, equality and mutual accountability.
My job is to monitor the progress of UKAID’s Girls Education Challenge programme, which aims to help one million of the world’s poorest girls improve their lives through education.
The most rewarding part of my job is adding value to the lives and futures of the girls. By creating safe spaces for them and helping them build trusted relationships, they can progress their learning and grow their power to act, confidence, motivation, and most of all resilience which will serve them for a long time after the programme finishes. Knowing that I’m contributing to this level of change is a huge driver for me.
In some ways my role is similar to previous roles, as I’m identifying patterns and trends and providing solutions or explanations for those trends. However, this is the first time I’ve worked in the global south and in changing mind-sets toward gender and social norms. So far I’ve observed that while in the developed world we depend strongly on email, the communication style our partners use is different, as the heart of a conversation is often removed when we email. In Ethiopia, talking over coffee carries much more value than emails!
ChildHope has a unique way of working with its partners. Through its flexibility, interventions grow and stretch through the cracks that larger charities often miss. ChildHope promotes trust, listening, experimentation and cross team communication as part of its leadership style which contribute to good results.
I’d like to see the international development sector creating a culture of ‘fairness’ over ‘charity’, because every human born has the same rights as the next. I think global citizenship programmes should be integrated into the national curriculum so that in the 21st century, thinking globally becomes the norm.
My job involves advising ChildHope’s local partners on the most effective way to improve teaching activities, so that students are more engaged and motivated. I also support our partners to develop leadership and management capacity in schools.
Seeing the girls start to enjoy their education, under extremely difficult circumstances, returns fantastic rewards. Just as satisfying is witnessing that moment when teachers and leaders start embracing change because they see the benefits to the girls’ education. Conceptual change is always easier to affect than habitual change; in other words, it’s harder for some people to change their habits and practice, rather than their thinking. So seeing a change in practice from anyone is rewarding.
ChildHope’s approach is unique as it concentrates on the child as a person; the education of the girl is seen as an end in itself, rather than a means to an economic end. This is unique as too often we are told that educating a population results in greater economic benefits for a nation. The benefits to the person seem to take a back seat. I very much agree with the economist and philosopher Amartya Sen on his approach to human development, where the valued choices of the individual are central.
Working with our partners is key to understanding the difficult circumstances under which the girls live and learn. It is easy to try to impose our own ‘Western’ vision, so participation and knowledge from local communities is invaluable.
My vision for the international development sector would be a closer integration with the humanitarian sector. The latter does excellent life-saving work in emergencies and conflicts. As education is seen as a long-term development issue, it is sometimes overlooked during times of immediate crisis. It would be great to see education linked more closely with emergency and crisis response.
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