Agriculture client in Ukraine

How can we design products based on feedback we’re hearing from clients? This was the question the HOPE Ukraine team sought to answer at a three-day retreat in July, using a process based on IDEO’s human-centered design approach. After collecting client feedback, HOPE Ukraine wanted to step back and brainstorm ideas based on their potential impact on clients. According to Dan Williams, HOPE’s director of spiritual integration:

It can be really easy to go into an operational mindset, to start problem solving, and to think about ideas from the perspective of, “Will it work?” without letting ourselves live in that space of, “What are our clients saying is important to them, and can we find a way to make it work even if our immediate response is that it would be tough?”

The process

First, the team dived into client feedback and came up with a number of observations, which they grouped into themes.

1.1 Grouping observations

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by Luke Harbaugh, Church and Community Liaison

In just a few weeks, American schools will prepare to return from summer vacation. As a former public school teacher, I remember the anticipation of preparing to return to school.

In my two years of teaching in American public schools, I had many frustrations. There were the regular fights with the copier, the occasional disciplinary measures that needed to be handed out, the fear I experienced before my first parent-teacher conferences, and, of course, the hobgoblin of all new teachers: keeping law and order in a classroom full of middle schoolers. But even as I fought through the trials that all new teachers endure, one thought never crossed my mind: “What if I don’t get paid this week?”

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by Jess Bauer, California Development Intern

Last summer, I spent three months in Haiti learning about poverty in a hands-on and often heart-wrenching way. I listened to the stories of new friends and experienced the heartbreaking reality of material poverty.

One afternoon, I met an elderly man in Leveque, a village where families resettled after their homes were destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. A relief agency had distributed blue tarps to Leveque after the earthquake to be used as a temporary shelter. The tarps were designed for only a few months of inhabitance—any longer and the extreme heat could cause eye damage. After living in his tarp home for five years, this man was completely blind.

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At HOPE International, we appreciate everything that each member of our team does to invest in the dreams of families living in poverty. This summer, we’re excited to have 17 interns and fellows—from the crew in Lancaster, PA, to individuals around the country—joining us through our GROW program, and we want to introduce them to you! To learn more about them, we asked them a few questions:

Why did you choose to intern at HOPE?

IMG_7078Claire Griffin, Recruitment and Retention Intern: ”I was drawn to HOPE’s genuine focus on Christ-centeredness. It gives me joy to know my work is bigger than my peers, this organization, and myself.”

 

 

IMG_7304-webJimmy Larkin, Homes for Hope Executive Intern: “I applied because I’m interested in economic development and how it can create opportunities to present the Gospel.”

 

 

 

IMG_7103-webJess Bauer, California Development Intern: “Reading When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett strengthened my convictions about how, in our attempts to help those living in poverty, we must be careful not to inadvertently harm them. I researched HOPE and saw that it seemed to be an organization that honored both God and the dignity of families living in poverty.”

 

IMG_7208-webBill Smith, Information Technology Fellow: “I was looking for an opportunity to learn about microfinance firsthand by going to the field and meeting with the institutions and their clients. I was also looking for a position where I could provide some value to the organization with my background.”


What does a typical week at HOPE look like for you?

IMG_7296-webLibby Tewalt, Executive Writing Intern: “Most of my work is self-directed. My mornings involve finishing up projects from the day before. After that, I make my to-do list and work on those items for the rest of the day. A couple days a week, I’ll have a meeting in between lunch and staff devotions. I reside in Intern Row, where there’s always something fun going on.”

 

IMG_7080-webEmily Barry, Writing and Research Intern: “I attend writing team meetings, join the entire staff for prayer or devotions, and work on projects. Projects might include working on a proposal for a grant, writing client stories, or collecting prayer requests for an e-update. There have been lots of opportunities to try different things and develop new skills.”

 

IMG_7317-webArna McArtney, Listening, Monitoring, and Evaluation Fellow: “It’s been a combination of meetings at the organizational, departmental, and team level, and a crash course in data scrubbing and analysis.”

 

 

IMG_7191-webCarly Weaver, North Carolina Development Intern: ”Working remotely in Durham, NC, I spend the day working on projects at our co-working space or one of my favorite coffee shops. Recently, I’ve been compiling a booklet full of information and stories about the 16 countries where we serve.”

 

Internships are a great way to learn about what you might want to do in the future. What dreams do you have for your life?

IMG_7090-webJulie Heisey, Executive Writing Intern: “I want my life to be characterized by a love of learning—especially from the stories of people who are different from me.”

 

 

 

IMG_7194-webJennie Hayes, Midwest Development Intern: “Run a marathon!”

 

 

 

 

IMG_7205-webJessica Johnson, Quality Assurance and Methodology Fellow: “To take my nephews to places I have lived, like Uganda and Zambia, so they can experience new cultures and people.”

 

 

 

IMG_7088-webElena Cret, Eastern Europe Field Communications Fellow: ”To leave behind a legacy that would inspire others to love God more, learn about Him, and to grow in a deeper relationship with Him.”

 

 

When the interns aren’t at the office, it’s always fun to explore Lancaster! What’s on your bucket list for the summer?

IMG_7094-webKristiana Plumb: “Go to every coffee shop in Lancaster and decide on a favorite.”

 

 

 

 

IMG_7291-webSarah Moon, Executive Writing Intern: “Visit Root’s Market to eat jambalaya at Miss Tanya’s and snow cones at Papa Sneaux’s!”

 

 

 

 

IMG_7166-webKyle Boatsman, SCA Program Intern: “I want to visit nearby towns like Hershey and Lititz. This area is beautiful, so my wife and I are looking forward to exploring.”

 

 

 

IMG_7109-webBailey Holway, Accounting Operations Intern: “Definitely to experience the tastes of Lancaster! I’ve already knocked out whoopie pies, fresh Amish ice cream, homemade root beer, and shoofly pie!”

 

 

Do you want to spend your summer growing spiritually and professionally by working alongside a globally recognized international microenterprise development organization?  Learn more about how you can become a part of HOPE’s GROW internship and fellowship program

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When civil war broke out in Burundi in 1993, Edith Uwineza and her family sold their belongings and fled to Tanzania as refugees. It wasn’t until two years later that they were able to return to Burundi and begin life anew. Edith’s husband worked as the supervisor of a construction site and owner of a cement shop, and Edith managed a small roadside stand where she sold green peppers and tomatoes.

Despite her hard work and diligence, Edith found it difficult to earn a sufficient income and lacked the resources to expand her business. After learning about to Turame, HOPE’s local partner, Edith received a $30 loan that enabled her to sell a wider variety of vegetables at her stand. She has since taken out 14 loans, which she has used to diversify her inventory to include non-perishable items and charcoal for cooking. As Edith’s business grew, she began renting out her small kiosk to other vendors and moved to a local market where she could serve more customers.

Recognizing that she will eventually be unable to be as involved with her business as she grows older, Edith is using her sharp mind for business to plan for the future. She wants to purchase land and build a house to rent out, as well as continue her business through hired employees.

Today, Edith is a well-respected member of her community who takes care of five children, her sister, and her orphaned niece. She provides jobs for three families and frequently assists her neighbors in times of need. Edith testifies that through her involvement with Turame she has gained a family. “If I were to praise Turame, I would need to write a book,” she reflects. Seeing that God is the ultimate source of provision, Edith named her business Shimwa Yesu, which means, “Jesus be praised.”

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by Annie Rose Ansley, HOPE Trips Liaison

In the last few years, more and more information has been shared about the harm that can come from short-term mission trips, or, as they have been dubbed, “voluntourism.” We’ve heard the negatives: $2 billion spent annually, paternalistic attitudes reinforced, cycles of dependency created, construction work “invented” for visitors, and dignity stripped.

But I believe short-term trips can be done well. Here in the Dominican Republic, I work with groups who come from the U.S. to witness what God is doing through the microfinance work of HOPE International’s local partner, Esperanza International. We visit loan repayment meetings, spend time in clients’ businesses and communities, study the Word together, and share meals with local staff members. Distinct from what many of us think of as the typical mission trip, the focus isn’t what the visitors do but what they learn.

I’ve seen these trips be positive, powerful experiences—both for the visitors and for those we visit. And so, based on my limited experience, I’d like to humbly make a few recommendations: Continue Reading…