Highlights from the 2019 GPFD/BCF Community-Driven Development Forum

The 2019 Global Partners for Development / Brethren Community Foundation Community-Driven Development Forum took place from June 26th – 27th in Arusha, Tanzania hosting over 40 development practitioners from across four different countries – Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the United States. It was a productive two-day workshop that brought together Global Partners staff and partners for the first time in the 40-year history of the organization! The theme of the forum was sustainable development, and consisted of presentations, question and answer sessions, and structured and unstructured discussion around the three major sub-components of sustainability: long-term project governance and ownership, technical maintenance, and environmental sustainability.

Global Partners Executive Director, Daniel Casanova, welcomed everyone and set the stage for the forum, inviting participants to ask hard questions around how best to tackle poverty and emerging trends in philanthropy and development. In the opening session, Global Partners Director of Strategy, Sara Henning, asked the group to think about and share their strengths with the group, followed by a presentation from Director of Programs, Amy Holter on how to constructively listen — collectively setting a positive and thought-provoking tone for the workshop. Later that day, the forum participants would be asked to break into small groups to think critically and share constructive ideas around the advantages and challenges associated with Community-Driven Development.

Over the next two days, forum participants would view and discuss presentations from Tanzanian partners focused on the impacts of climate change to pastoralist Maasai communities, and participatory land use planning as a tool for community empowerment and sustainable resource management. They would also hear instructive presentations from Global Partners for Development Uganda and Kenya coordinators George Okwir and Festus Juma on how to build community resilience and implement sustainable projects. The participants would also engage with our Kenya technical lead, Joseph Ochieng and technical consultant Michael Glaser on project sustainability through innovative design and maintenance methods.

The Forum also provided the perfect venue for a reflective and inspiring keynote speech from Executive Director Emeritus Peter Verbiscar-Brown, and audience to honor long-time Global Partners Tanzanian coordinator Juma Sulle with a lifetime achievement award. And our Whittier fellows, Harrison Fuller and Piper Lowinger, provided an in-depth and well-received presentation on the research they had conducted over the past several weeks, meeting with community members across Tanzania and assessing the sustainability of Global Partners historic and current projects. As a final exercise, the forum participants took time to write down and share action items and next steps they saw for themselves or for their organizations, wrapping up a productive, engaging, and motivating two days together.


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