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At HOPE International, we’re passionate about training. Because many clients have had limited access to formal education, HOPE’s network offers biblically based training, mentoring, and coaching to help clients grow spiritually and professionally.

In collaboration with Chalmers Center, HOPE recently developed RESTORE: Savings, a curriculum to guide church facilitators as they train and support savings groups. The curriculum includes 33 lessons on everything from how to organize group meetings to the importance of prayer.

Below, we’ve included Lesson 17 from the curriculum. Join HOPE network clients in learning about God’s heart for restoring relationships!

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by Lydia Koehn, Field Communications Fellow

Last week, I traveled to the Philippine island of Mindoro to join a training of savings group facilitators with the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE International’s local partner in the Philippines.

download (7)More than half of the 46 trainees were pastors from the Mangyan Tribal Churches Association, a group of indigenous churches using savings groups to address both the material and spiritual needs of their communities. Over the course of three days, I was delighted and encouraged by the expertise and faith of Ate Goldie and Ate Luvin, Ate meaning sister in Filipino, who are the leaders of CCT’s savings and credit association program. As I embraced the warmth of the Filipino culture, I discovered a few steps to inspiring the facilitators of future savings groups for the transformation of their communities.

The following are what I found to be the keys to a successful training:

1. Flexibility

When we arrived for the first day of training at 8 a.m., there was no one to be found at the open-air concrete building of the Mangyan Tribal Churches Association. We soon learned that the representatives of the Mangyan churches from the surrounding areas had understood the first day as an optional arrival and the official start to be the next day. So we transitioned into plans for beginning the next day, using the extra time to get to know the pastors from the nearby neighborhoods. Continue Reading…

During business training in Malawi, Country Director Douglas Kulaisi was teaching a session on reconciliation.

Douglas Kulaisi

His question to group leaders: “Do Christian couples experience conflict?”

Malawian women

Women: No.
Men: Yes.
Women: It’s men that bring conflict.
Men: No, it’s not. We forgive first.
Women: Men never say “I’m sorry.”

Malawian men group leaders laughing

Some things never change. Whether in the U.S. or rural Malawi, relationships are messy.

Continue Reading…

Or “expert,” I should say. Malu Garcia is at the center of HOPE’s expertise on savings models that can alleviate poverty for the poorest of the poor. She specializes in training and equipping local staff who will be directly training savings groups, and she’s been traveling through Asia with me, assessing and providing additional training for our savings partners here. It’s truly a joy to serve alongside her. Here are a few more details about Malu:

• Malu has been working with savings programs since 2001 in conjunction with the Chalmers Center for Economic Development and Food for the Hungry. She defines training as “multiplying yourself in the lives of others.”

• Malu first joined HOPE’s team in October 2007 when she moved to Rwanda to help launch HOPE’s first church-based savings program with the Anglican Church. She traveled to each of Rwanda’s dioceses to promote the savings program, trained national coordinators, and built a foundation for a strong relationship with the national church. Today, the program is nearly 100,000 savers strong. Continue Reading…

Anita Aguinaldo

While Anita Aguinaldo appreciates the loans she has received from CCT, HOPE’s partner in the Philippines, she is particularly grateful for the biblically based business training that is coupled with those loans: “With the help of CCT, money gets invested, not merely spent.” Anita has invested her loans in two businesses: making and selling rags and selling cosmetics. With her profits, Anita and her husband have been able to build a larger house for their family of seven.


Micademe dreams of one day teaching economics, but in the meantime, she is getting practical, firsthand economic experience as an entrepreneur. A student at the Universite Marien Ngouambi de Brazzaville, she wakes early each morning to prepare traditional Congolese dishes to sell to her hungry classmates. Her HOPE Congo loan enabled her to purchase a bag of beans, tomatoes, salt, a box of fish, and a case of oil. She has appreciated HOPE’s trainings on managing cash flow and basic accounting. Her income pays her own university fees and also supports her younger sister.