Last week I told you a story about a Nuru leader that has me excited. Andrew is just one person among many potential leaders. In order to make it possible for communities to become entirely self-sustaining within five years, we focus on two areas of finances and leadership. This week I am going to mention a little about both, but more specifically how Chelsea Barabas is going to be developing the leadership curriculum.

Financial Sustainability

We are trying to achieve financial sustainability by pursuing revenue generation projects in all five areas of development: Agriculture, Water and Sanitation, Health, Education, and Community Economic Development. These models include interest income from agriculture loans, agribusiness revenues from maize trading and speculation, a well buy-in program, micro-lending, transaction fees from mobile banking services, etc. I am excited to report that some of these initiatives are already starting to bear fruit in the Kuria project. We measure and track our movement toward financial sustainability of the project by monitoring something we call the sustainability ratio: revenues generated by the project divided by expenses of the project. A sustainability ratio of 100% means that the project is financially sustainable. I have projected that by the by the end of 2010, our sustainability ratio will be close to 35%!  I am very excited about these early results.

Leadership Sustainability

I am passionate about leadership.  Most of my adult life has been about leadership, and learning to understand its importance in achieving lofty goals/missions/results in any field. I am what I call a life learner in leadership because the more I learn, the more I realize that I have a long, long way to go. I have learned many lessons (most of them the hard way, by messing up) about effective leadership, and I have tried to apply these lessons as I have grown as a leader. At Nuru, training and equipping service minded leaders in our partner communities is fundamentally the most important piece of our model, and we are very serious about this task. Recently, we started a project lead by Chelsea Barabas (one of our international program managers) to codify our leadership emphasis by creating the leadership curriculum by which we train all Nuru leaders – international and domestic. This leadership curriculum will include a plan to identify and screen for effective leaders in a project and then train and equip them to own and then grow their programs throughout the five years of the project and beyond. It is an aggressive project that Chelsea will be tackling over the next 9 months that includes in-depth research into other organizations and corporation and a close look at (through research and interviews) effective leaders of all shapes and sizes from all sectors. She will be studying what the best of the best say about how to become and how to train effective leaders.

Thanks for reading. More project updates to come soon.