Sharing new ideas and challenges with our Ethiopian partners
Something that differentiates Womankind from other charities (and a reason I work here) is that we don’t fly in ready-made solutions, instead we work with local community groups to develop practical solutions around their local conditions.
We partner with women’s rights organisations who are tackling the day to day issues that affect women’s lives and we deliver the essential support these organisations need to amplify their voice, increase their impact and bring about greater change.
Planning for the future
Part of this essential support is thinking about how our partners plan for their future. How do we get to a stage where they no longer need Womankind’s support? A stage where their organisation is changing and developing according to local need but is robust enough to face all the challenges that brings. One of the ways to make sure organisations are sustainable is to help strengthen their ability to fundraise and promote their work to donors and decision makers.
A couple of weeks ago I ran a two-day fundraising and marketing workshop in Addis Ababa for Womankind’s four partner organisations in Ethiopia: AWSAD, ICEDA, KMG and Siiqqee.
We looked at who their audiences were; local audiences such as beneficiaries, local media, general public, government and services providers, and foreign audiences such as existing donors, potential donors and international organisations.
We considered what information these people want e.g. the general public might want to know how someone can contact the organisation for help or how they can get involved and support the work. On the other hand, a potential international donor might want to see the organisation’s achievements, read a recommendation from an existing donor or find out current statistics to access how critical the need is.
How to bring supporters closer to the work
We discussed how to show donors the life-changing work they do every day if they are not lucky enough to visit Ethiopia and speak to the women they empower. We talked about using facts and statistics to explain the local situation, telling the stories of the women and how their lives have changed, using photographs and quotes to strengthen the stories and demonstrating clearly how donors can help.
New ideas and challenges
We also explored using new media, could our Ethiopian partners use their websites, set up a blog, set up a facebook page to engage with supporters given the limitations of technology and government directives? And what about fundraising in Ethiopia from companies, individuals, groups and grant-makers? A new and challenging prospect but one that could deliver real sustainability.
I hope that our partners left with a host of ideas to explore further and that they found it useful to learn from each other’s experiences. I certainly learned a lot about the local context in Ethiopia that our partners have to work in and hope that the fundraising team at Womankind will be better able to support them. I also left feeling grateful to the 10,000 people in the UK who support Womankind’s work and hope that one day our partners in Ethiopia will have 10,000 local supporters of their own.