Archives For 5W’s

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By Lydia Koehn, Field Communications Fellow

While HOPE International works in a variety of locations around the world, many groups follow a similar 5W’s meeting structure. Adopted from HOPE’s partner in the Philippines, The Center for Community Transformation (CCT), this simple structure ensures consistency, while also creating space for flexibility. Traveling with CCT savings group facilitators for the past four months, I’ve enjoyed experiencing the unique heart that Filipinos bring to their own culture of savings communities.

2:15 p.m. – After unsticking ourselves from the small motorcycle, the three of us—savings program regional coordinator, volunteer facilitator, and me—begin gingerly descending the sharp rocks, down to the edge of the sea. We pick our way through the narrow path of the fishing village, dodging crowing roosters and scampering children.

2:30 p.m. – We arrive just as the savings group’s treasurer squats down beside a rusty, peg-legged wooden table. I gratefully slip into a sliver of shade and look around at the houses perched precariously on wooden stilts that buckle on the rocks below. Tucked into the shadows beneath their homes, several savings group members sit, smiling back at me while waiting patiently for the meeting to start. Continue Reading…

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by Alisa Hoober, Recruitment and Retention Manager

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic to visit HOPE’s local partner, Esperanza International, and hear clients tell their stories. Early one morning, we drove down a dirt path along the Rio Chavon, which separates plush villas on one side of the river and the poorest of the poor on the other side, to the village of Boca de Chavon within the region of La Romana. We were there to visit a group of 10 women who have named their group “The Power of Israel.”

We quietly observed the group’s loan meeting, watching the 5W’s (welcome, worship, Word, work, wrap-up) in action, and admired the leadership of the Esperanza staff member, Vladimir. When the meeting was over, we had an opportunity to meet the women and hear about their businesses. Our group was eager to learn about why they joined the group and what made their businesses successful.

We asked our translator to please ask the group of women what has been the biggest difference in their lives since joining this group. The question was translated, and there were a variety of different answers from the group, including increased inventory for their business, improvements to their homes, and increased ability to feed their families. Then, Isabelle, one of the founding members of the group, stood up. She was a quiet women but received the attention of the group. They silenced as she spoke with conviction. She said:

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Paniel Community Bank

by Mara Seibert, reposted from www.maraseibert.com

HOPE recently welcomed three communications fellows, who’ve traveled to the field for a year to report how God is moving in those programs. In this blog post, Mara Seibert, serving in the Republic of Congo, shares her first experience witnessing a community bank meeting.

Makélékélé. The trick is learning to spell it first. The pronunciation just rolls off your tongue … mah-kel-eh-kel-eh. The next trick is getting a taxi to take you there. We took a green taxi to get there, Précy and I. Not that there is anything special about a green taxi in Brazzaville—all of the taxis are a vibrant shade of forest green, populating the streets like a metal forest. Winding through the streets of Brazzaville from HOPE Congo’s office to the neighborhood of Makélékélé is not an easy trek for taxis because of Marché Total: an enormous sprawling market with an ever-present traffic jam going through the middle of it.

As we drove, Précy kept up a running commentary about city life, how most of the population uses the green-painted public transportation: taxis, buses (vans painted green), and even bigger vehicles. Buses are cheaper than taxis but also more crowded. For Précy, they have their own appeal: “Buses are my favorite means of transport. You hear a lot of things. Lies, truths, news …” Taxis squeeze by each other in seemingly incomprehensible patterns with millimeters to spare that left me holding my breath—that would also be because of the wafting aroma of petrol. Finally we arrive near the church of Makélékélé and walk past small stands and businesses selling anything and everything from wine to used clothing, backpacks to hot food, and walk into the group meeting.

Counting a repayment

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On my trip to the Philippines, I was privileged to visit microfinance client meetings with HOPE’s partner CCT. Microfinance is CCT’s largest ministry, and senior leaders refer to it as the “backbone” or “platform” on which their other outreach programs reside. We visited groups in a poor section of Manila near the national prison. Our first meeting was with “Fellowship Group 23,” a group of 19 women (joined by two kids, a cat, and a rooster), all dressed in red shirts to show solidarity with one another.

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Muraho! It’s a lovely sunny day in Rwanda. I invite you to journey with me to a savings group meeting in the hills of Byumba, Rwanda.

VereneFirst, we hop in a truck with Verene, the field coordinator for the Byumba diocese (each region has a Savings and Credit Association field coordinator chosen by the Anglican Church); Musoni, the driver; Garrett, the HOPE microenterprise technical advisor who is experiencing the second week of his two-year stay in Rwanda; and Matthew Rohrs, the HOPE director of spiritual integration. As we make the two-hour drive from Kigali to Byumba, you may be as awed as I am at the beauty of this country known as the land of a thousand hills. The pictures that we bring home just don’t do the scenery justice!

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January 16, 2012, 3:34 EST – Brazzaville, Republic of Congo

Another great day in Brazzaville! We started the day at 8 a.m. at the HOPE Congo offices with morning devotions. I led the staff through morning devotions, studying Romans 5: 1-8.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I’ve repeatedly come back to this passage during my time at HOPE. It is so encouraging and poetic, and it puts our daily trials into a larger perspective. Later in the day, when our loan officer was leading his clients through devotions during a repayment meeting, I heard him allude to the Romans passage that we reviewed during staff devotions. Daily staff devotions are core to our mission at HOPE International: we must be spiritually fed as staff members if we are going to minister to our clients. Continue Reading…