Thursday, June 26, 2014

Partnership and Capacity Building

One of the hallmarks of Ratanak is our desire to be a blessing to other organizations who work on the ground here in Cambodia. Recently, my colleague Brian McConaghy wrote the following: Ratanak is directly involved in many projects but part of our DNA is to support others… In the past people have said "Ratanak is the only NGO we know of that funds the competition" (their words not ours). In so many ways they are right. We will seek to bless and empower other Christians who love and serve Cambodia and who do it well. It is not about empire building but rather maturity in missions demands that we put our natural human desires aside and focus on one thing… serving in anyway possible to assist Cambodians. This can sometimes feel counter intuitive but genuine cooperation and the support of others is often where we encounter blessing and where the riches are to be found.

We have seen the truths of this statement on so many levels over the years as we have sought to work with others who are doing amazing work here in Cambodia. With so many NGOs on the ground, it is easy to be in our own little silos, doing our own little thing, building our own empires---but, we run the risk of missing out on alternative ways and opportunities that are only possible if we share information and learn from each other. We have always believed that collaboration and working together is what God demands and desires. Unity and diversity is important and is evident in  1 Corinthians 12:12-20 , we read the following: 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
Shine Training: Photo courtesy of Auscam

Recently, as part of our desire to be a blessing to other organizations and to enlarge the capacity of staff who work in these organizations, we have joined hands with other NGOs. AusCam Freedom Project offered their offices to host a train the trainer of Shine Program for the Counselors, Social Workers and Caregivers from AusCam, Ratanak and Destiny Rescue.  For us at Ratanak, we provided the funding for the trainers fees and materials. 
Group work: Photo Courtesy of Auscam

Staff capacity training: Photo Courtesy of Auscam

All three organizations as with many other NGOs here, are committed to empowering and equipping their staff with the right skills and tools in order to bless the young women in our programs. This particular training is called  Shine and it is intended to be a Personal Development Group Work Program for young women developed in Australia. The Shine Curriculum Pack provides unique personal development and group mentoring tools that use an inspirational, practical and experiential approach to learning. The program is founded upon the premise that every life counts and has intrinsic value and fosters an awareness of this belief.Sessions aim to develop a strong sense of personal identity, confidence and hope. These program objectives are achieved through 3 foundational concepts: worth. strength. purpose." (quote from Julie Dowse, Founder of Auscam)
Photo: Courtesy of Auscam

For all of our organizations, our plan is to invest in our staff, providing materials and essential tools that they can incorporate and implement in our respective programs. Ultimately we believe that it is our Cambodian staff that will have the greatest impact on making a difference in the lives of their fellow Cambodians. We are privileged to come along side them and use our gifts to bless them so that they can be directly involved in transforming this nation by teaching and encouraging the young women we serve about their value and worth in Christ. 

In another few weeks, we will be having another capacity building training with our partner Hagar. Specifically, the Psychosocial Capacity Building Project is part of the operations of Hagar Cambodia and was developed to provide training and mentoring in Trauma Informed Care relevant to all organizations working with clients from backgrounds of trauma. Under the direction of Hagar staff Sue Taylor, this 4 day interactive workshop will be for all staff to develop their capacity to understand the impact of trauma on the lives of their clients. We at Ratanak are keen to continue to develop our staff capacity at all levels and so this training will include our drivers, home advisors, social workers, counselors and program manager. At the same time, we have taken the liberty of inviting the staff of one of our newest partners Mother's Heart ---an organization that provides pregnancy and crisis care counseling to single mothers to join us as they seek to equip 7 of their staff in Trauma informed care. While Ratanak is not a large NGO, we have been blessed with a committed funding base that enables us to encourage much smaller NGOs who simply cannot afford such training events on their own to participate and join in with our staff. This facilitates greater networking and cooperation between our respective organizations but also strengthens our relationships with each organization as we seek to work more closely together. 

In all of these activities and training, we are grateful for the ongoing journey that we share with many partner organizations here to invest in our staff. While much of the focus is often on caring for the needs of the clients, we equally share the same goal of caring and equipping our staff so that they too can develop and strengthen their God given abilities and bless those who are entrusted into their care! To that end, we are thankful to the different parts of God's body that operate here in Cambodia, as we work together, we trust that we will have a greater impact in making a difference in seeing lives healed, restored, transformed and redeemed for Christ!

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