Collaboration and Trust: The Building Blocks for Successful Community Partnerships
One of our core values at So They Can is collaboration; we believe in the importance of nurturing respectful relationships and working in partnership with communities to maximise our impact. Our School Community is an essential project in securing the partnership with a school and the community at the Foundation phase. Here, Delfina Reuben, Head of Education for Kenya and Tanzania shares some of the key lessons learned from rolling out this project in schools.
“Collaboration sets a positive environment for other projects, ensuring that we can successfully collaborate with our stakeholders on our school development initiatives,” Delfina explains. “For example, if we have developed trust and a shared vision with a community and have a strong and functioning school management committee, we are most likely to be able to secure school grants contributions from village councils, community leaders and parents.”
We’ve celebrated the success of Our School Community across all of the schools we collaborate with. One example is in Kwaraa, where we started discussions with the school in 2016. After conducting a needs assessment, we realised that there were no functioning systems set up between the school, School Management Committee, village councils, teachers and pupils. This meant that key opportunities were being missed. Kwaraa Primary School had no water system despite being just 3km from the water source that the rest of the community used for domestic use and animals.
Our So They Can team ran a series of workshops with the School Management Committee, village councils and the school’s leadership team, which helped build relationships and help the community understand the need to work together and support each other for the success of the school. Their first step was to invest in the infrastructure and water system and simtank for the school, which has ensured that the school now has reliable access to clean water, thereby dramatically improving the water hygiene in the school.
In harnessing our collaborative approach through Our School Community, the Kwaraa community has been incredibly cooperative and actively involved in the development of their school. They’ve since been unwaveringly committed to the School Improvement project; investing in a school feeding program, the renovation of classrooms and the construction of a kitchen and food storage room.
As Delfina elaborates, “this project is not only vital to the success of other projects, but it also creates the opportunity for us to celebrate our achievements with the community. By recognising what we can achieve together, it encourages us to do so much more.”
Find out more about how you can support our Education Projects and increase our impact, helping us break the poverty cycle for whole communities here.