Creativity, inspiration and resolve. That’s the atmosphere here surrounding Nuru Ethiopia right now. We’ve just embarked on the journey to create our new Financial Inclusion (FI) Program with some of the brightest, most talented and motivated individuals from the community here in Southern Ethiopia. We have asked these select six to join us for the beginning of our Program Planning Process (PPP), or for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the PPP, this is the process by which Nuru International staff and Nuru Ethiopia staff innovate and co-create an impact program in one of the four areas of need to jumpstart effective and sustainable local development within our holistic model. And with our Agriculture program already co-created and currently under implementation, FI is developing its new program to integrate with Nuru Agriculture and to work together in the most efficient and holistic way[1].

During the past two weeks, the Nuru Ethiopia Leadership team has been facilitating the PPP and the results are remarkable. After just one year of being with Nuru, the Leadership team has fully taken ownership of the process and are leading the trainings, guiding the discussions, and effectively co-creating the new program with the FI team. Not only that, but the Ethiopia Leadership team have become adept at curriculum development and have created and adapted our training modules to most effectively support our co-creation process for FI.

It’s been a highly eventful past two weeks that will set the tone for the next few months of our FI co-creation. It’s an incredibly exciting time to watch these two groups of experienced and brand new Nuru Ethiopia staff come together with their individual specialties and fresh ideas. One of the outstanding characteristics that we teach during the PPP and expect from all Nuru employees is to get consistent feedback from and between all our staff. One thing to be said about our team in Ethiopia is that we have effectively encouraged an atmosphere where even constructive criticism is given and received productively. Now, however, the overwhelming majority of feedback given on the FI PPP is extremely positive. As one candidate has shared during a final feedback session, “I have attended several trainings in the past, but this training and the capacity [building] here at Nuru is maybe the best I have had in my two decades of training in development. It is very amazing to see the staff here giving us this training. I know that Nuru can do many things, and even outside of the country, they can make big changes […] I want to continue to be a part of this in any way that I can.”

[1] More about our integrated model later in the PPP process.