If we are not on the same page-things can get messy!
Last week Jodi Blackham-from our SP Uganda office came to help us improve our project planning to be sure we are on the same page. Jodi (from the UK) and her husband Chris (CD of SP Uganda) have been with SP for 6 years. Jodi is the technical advisor for our project management-and did a great job of guiding us through the process of project planning. She goes to different SP field offices making sure that what we say we want to do, we are doing, how we are doing it and in the end we can see what we done...makes sense right?!
Let me give you a small small example. Here in Liberia there is a need for sanitation facilities (aka latrines), statistics tell us that disease is spreading because there are no latrines. So- Taya puts together a proposal to a donor and receives money (resources) to build 50 latrines (activities) and then 50 latrines are built (activities completed). Sounds simple right, BUT-what impact are these 50 latrines making in the community? How do we measure that impact? Ahhhhhh yes, this is where the rubber meets the road my people-this is where you as a donor have the right to ask -"so you built 50 latrines-so what?"
Sam, our Latrine technician-lining things up for a new latrine.
Now- for us in the field the "so what?" is answered in many different ways-here are a few: people have been using the latrines and we have seen a decrease in open defecation (basically, no more poop on the ground in the community), we have seen a decrease in sickness caused by open defecation, we have seen more people washing their hands after using the latrine, we have seen people's behavior CHANGE with the introduction to latrines and health education. Lives are being saved. Those are the answers to the "so what".
This is very important to me-and it should be to you as a supporter of any organization, not just SP. If I am a donor-I want to know how my gift is being used-I want to know that activities are taking place to help with the change. As a donor I want to know the impact that is being made. As a donor I don't need to know the nitty gritty of the everyday work-however, if a donor wanted to know we at SP Liberia would be able to tell them. How? By our staff all being on the same page. Taya and the WASH staff know what they have to do -right down to the supplies to purchase, the staff to be hired, the communities to work in, the target group-everything. We want to be good stewards with what God has given us-and having a plan and being on the same page does this.
SP WASH staff-meeting with community members-making sure we are all on the same page!
But it's more than that-we are here for the people of Liberia. They deserve projects that are well thought out-that include them in the planning process and in every step along the way. They deserve projects that are accountable to them-after all it is their lives that we are helping. I love being able to sit and talk with community members about the dreams they have for their community or for their families-I love seeing our staff out in villages living with people we are working with-helping us plan better for future projects. Even as I type this-Alisa and Taya are back in Foya working with their staff to make sure we are on the same page and using the resources to get done what we said we would. Joni is in Bokomu visiting our new CLP literacy programs to make sure that what has been planned for the women in this area is taking place-one important step at a time.
It is my commitment to everyone who has and will support me during the London 2012 marathon -you will be on the 'same page' as us here on the ground, making sure that we are being good stewards, working hard, supporting our staff and most of all transforming the lives of those Liberians who have suffered so much. They, most of all, deserve that ALL of us are on the 'same page'...