Last month, leaders from all eight Village of Hope locations gathered in Mwanza, Tanzania for our annual leadership conference. This year was our largest group ever with a total of 31 participants. There were 17 first time attenders, including Elmer and Sherry Komant from Christian Life Ministries in Bujumbura, Burundi who we were happy to welcome as visitors at our meetings.
Pastor Alan Duncalfe from Cross Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba was our guest speaker. Pastor Alan helped us gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of what making disciples is all about. Over the four days we looked at seven habits of serious Christ followers.
Our focus this year was primarily future oriented: developing leaders who are capable of looking into the future of the children’s lives, as well as the ministry and programs their village offers.
We also looked at how our programs need to be flexible and able to adapt to changing trends and times in order to remain relevant.
We heard about the Kachimfya program (which means “Overcomers” in Bemba). Kachimfya is a pilot project being run out of VOH Kitwe. The program’s focus is a holistic approach to preparing youth for the future.
We also heard from two VOH-A Directors who attended a conference in South Africa this past June. The focus of the conference was on the changing trends of orphan care in Africa. Our breakout sessions allowed the leaders to brainstorm about how we can better care for orphans and vulnerable children.
How to develop the next generation of leaders was also discussed during our time together.
A document prepared by the Africa Committee of the VOH Africa Society called the Ideal vs. the Real was presented, and we brainstormed on how we can close any gaps that were identified.
The strategic planning process we are embarking on this October was introduced. Each village began to develop a 2020 vision for their village and discussed how to map out the way to the vision. We also looked at how to develop a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) document.
The Village Directors met separately as a group to discuss strengthening their roles as Village Directors. We need strong and competent leaders to lead our villages, and are very thankful for the men and women who provide this key leadership role.
We also reviewed some current stats and trends that relate to our work.
We discussed how these stats impact what we do and how we do it at each of our villages. Most importantly we discussed how to remain relevant in the area of caring for orphans and vulnerable children.
We worked hard but also had time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. I believe that this year’s meeting was a success. Pastor Alan’s teaching enriched us, and our discussions have prepared us to envision the future and to set a course so we can care for more children in need throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
Here are some photos from the event:
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