Session 6 – Learning what works
Session 6 – Learning what works
This session uses case studies, activities and discussion questions to explore the importance of learning and reflective practice in development.

Key Texts: Proverbs 12:15; Matthew 22:37

Prepare: paper and pens

Feedback from Act of Love:

Ask if anyone is willing to feedback from their Act of Love around getting involved in a campaign to seek systemic change, getting everyone to play their part.

Activity: Asking Questions


  1. Form two groups of equal numbers.
  2. One group comes up with a series of questions, one per person, about anything and makes a note of them. The other group comes up with a series of answers, without knowing the questions.
  3. Take it in turns to read out a question, and then the other group responds with an answer, which obviously will not correspond.

Questions to discuss:

Bible study: Loving by learning (Proverbs 12:15; Matthew 22:37)

Pray that God will fill our hearts with his Spirit as we are reading the two verses and really speaks through our Bible reflection.

Questions to discuss:

Key point: The Bible is clear that we must love God and love our neighbour, with our hearts but also with our minds, using wisdom and taking advice from others.

Further reflection: where to go to learn from others

You cannot assume that, because an organisation is doing something, it is effective. Many earnestly want to help, but have not learned from others what really works. If you are interested in a topic, googling the area and ‘best practice’ usually brings up accurate information. Check that the websites you are looking on are reliable – here are some examples:

Principles in Practice: Malawi

Case study: Children in Kanyazuka (Northern Malawi) struggled to stay in school. With parents who were busy farming and no early education, they quickly fell behind and dropped out.

Learning from other nearby communities, Kanyazuka set up 7 community-based childcare centres. They contacted the government to train their volunteer teachers in early childhood development. They raised the resources for the trainers’ food and accommodation, feeling it a privilege to invest in their development.

Every community member chooses to contribute food to ensure a daily nutritious meal for each child. They especially welcome children who are often left out of school due to living with disabilities. The potential of this early care and attention could be transformational for these children that usually have no chance of education. Not yet satisfied, the communities determined that the volunteers needed early childhood development training. (

Principles in Practice: UK

Naomi, Doctor: “As a GP, I ‘learn what works’ by reflecting on my own/my colleagues’ and our patients’ experience, and listening to experts, e.g. the outcomes of research trials – including on how to influence behaviour. It’s a lifelong process!! Sometimes it’s harder for us to be willing to be influenced by research where the evidence-base challenges our personal experience and understanding.”

Act of Love:

Pray for each other, that God will embed in us a real understanding that finding out best practice in how to help other effectively is a tangible way to show our love for him.

Continuing with the same organisations you earlier identified, choose one area of its work in to research best practice. This could be looking online or by asking experts that you know about what evidence and experience teach about how to be most effective.