Ask if anyone found an organisation that helps people to identify and use their own resources to solve their own problems.
Key point: people try and do things on their own without thinking of the resources that we would have by working together as a group or global community. You should find that after some time, people realise that they do not have the pieces on their own and that they can coordinate with other groups. If not, you may need to prompt them when they begin to get frustrated.
Questions to discuss:
Pray for wisdom from the Holy Spirit to guide you as you are reading the passage.
Partnering with those in power: Nehemiah 2:1-10
Context: Nehemiah is in exile with other Israelites – they have been captured. He hears that the walls of Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, are in ruins.
Questions to discuss:
Key point: it is vital for everyone to play their part, including the government, for development to be successful.
Case study: Unable to attend school, Daniel’s future looked bleak. But now he has hope: “I am so happy!” he says joyfully, swinging round the pole on the veranda of the new village school.
Before Eagles began working with Alawe village, very few children could attend school as it was so far away. Instead, many had to work, often labouring long hours shepherding goats and other animals. Challenged by Eagles’ training in God’s heart for the most vulnerable, an innovative group of pastors determined to end child labour and ensure every boy and girl has an education. “Now they are all in school!” announces Effie Phiri, a church member, delighted with their achievement.
The village had begged the government for years to build a school but without success. Dispirited and disillusioned, they did not know where to turn. However, Eagles used Bible studies to challenge and transform their thinking. Pastor Chidule says: “From the Bible studies, we learned we could use resources that we have in our community. We also learned how important it is to help the needy. We learned from Eagles how to work together as a church and community.” Effie adds: “Instead of doing nothing, we asked ourselves, ‘How long will we wait? Let’s do what we can!’”
One church lent its building to provide a temporary school and in 2016 community volunteers began teaching the 275 primary-age children! Meanwhile, all the churches and villages around joined together to build their own school. They contributed sand, moulded bricks and their own labour, while the church generously raised money for other materials.
Local government began to help once they saw the villages’ commitment. They sent people to give advice on the building and promised to supply the school with government teachers once it was completed so that it would be a sustainable part of the system. Effie says passionately. “In the future, we’ll have educated children because of our school! They will be able to find jobs and to take care of their own lives!” (www.eaglesmalawi.org).
Isaac, a Local Government Officer working on Climate Change: “Climate change affects all of us and can’t be ‘solved’ by any one group. It needs everyone involved which means everyone needs to be empowered to do what needs to be done. Through citizens assemblies, workshops and social media we try to empower residents to take action. In the process, I learn myself how I should act.”
Partnering with government is vital for sustainable change. Good campaigns can influence the laws and systems needed to support change in communities. Reflect together on the organisations that you have identified as effective. Research this week whether they are already linked to a campaign that you can support. If not, here are two examples of effective advocacy organisations where you could get involved in a campaign: