I recently returned from a two week trip to Rwanda, where our partners Fred (Rwanda), Padox (Kenya), and Martinho (Mozambique) joined me for an intensive training focused on leadership, community development, and project sustainability. Our days were long, and by the end all of us were overwhelmed by how fantastic our time was together! Besides spending about 8 hours in a classroom each day, we also explored and observed community development efforts in Kigali, and had countless conversations that took us late into the night.

Over 60 hours were spent in training, going deep into topics which all connected to our trainees’ ultimate concern: How do we lead and sustain work our communities desperately need?  

Several times I was encouraged to hear comments like:

No one else is offering us the insight that Cultivate is offering.
I couldn’t have learned this on my own.
This is exactly what I have been needing for so long.
I know feel capable of doing this on my own.

Cultivate is doing something that truly no other organization is doing, and I am so encouraged to know we are filling a true need!

A theme I came across during this trip which continues to haunt me, is to be ready for changeNot only did small details during our training change, but also big shifts took place in the vision and implementation of our program. My time in Rwanda helped me to see that though I may have plans for how Cultivate’s program may play out, I need to be ready to make changes at any point in time. I realized that I had been developing something that was ideal for the individualist, for the person who learns best on their own. However, I am now seeing that our program needs to adapt so that people can learn in groups, and find support from one another. So Cultivate’s program is venturing into version 3.0! I am now dreaming and implementing ways for our trainees to find support from one another, to widen their support networks within their own communities, and to create curriculum adapted to the varied ways people learn best.

Embracing change sometimes causes me more work. But I openly embrace it, because I know the end result will be something much more beneficial for our trainees and their communities.

-Elaine, Executive Director