Sustainability – The Poor Teaching Each Other to Lead
I’ve been rather bored these past few weeks. Why? Because when it comes to our base training, I’m not needed any more. The training materials were purchased (without me). The copies were made (without me). The schedule was made (without me). The logistics were organized (without me). And the trainings were carried out by the Field Officers (without me).
At first, I showed up to the trainings, but my presence was totally unnecessary. I just introduced myself (on their cue), and then just sat down. Now I’ve been letting them do it without me; I can attend to other things. Today, for example, I went to a meeting while Isire visited the new reps in Nyasese, Christopher went for training on surveying, Nelly bargained for insecticide and James trained the reps in Nyametaburo.
This is empowerment. The Field Officers were just farmers before. But then they joined Nuru. And then they were nominated by their groups to be healthcare representatives. And then because they performed so well, they were chosen to be Field Officers. And through months of training, they are now actually leading. One of them after leading a meeting remarked that it was the first time he’d ever actually led a meeting. Any kind of meeting. The guy is probably 30, and had never before been given an opportunity to lead. And now eight of them have been entrusted with significant responsibility, and they’re doing it.
This is indeed empowerment, but I had much less to do with it than I would have liked. Nelly has seen the vision and, for the last few months, has been pushing the Field Officers into new and challenging roles. Nelly has done a spectacular job of leading the team and particularly in getting them to lead themselves. This week, we’ve got Field Officers scattered all over the division doing different things. We’ve been able to be really dynamic this past week.
And the greatest part of the last paragraph is that it is a small proof of the model. Most organizations are more than happy with linear growth. But not us. Nuru aspires to exponential growth. Which is kinda crazy. It requires a very important thing to occur: those who the Foundation Teams train to then go and train others, who then train others, and so on. This week proves that the first step is possible. It proves that within our model, the poor can be taught to teach others to lead.
It’s been really great to not be needed in this sphere. And that’s what it’s all about: empowering the poor to lift themselves out of poverty. So the sooner I’m useless, the better!
This is also especially good timing. I’m coming home next week until January, so they’ll have some time to grow in their newfound leadership. It will be a very good Christmas present for me.