We asked participants what they learned about community organizing and this is what people said…
“The essence of unveiling the power of the community in solving social issues. The power of public narrative as an effective tool of mobilization.” -James Kituzi
“The way to make things happen using the resources we have and achieve our goals.” -Jane Njeri
“Community organizing enables people to share ideas and come up with a concern that makes the community to identify its challenges and try to come up with solutions.” -Naomi K. Murigi
“Community organizing is a system of leadership where leaders working with people using available resources to expose power to bring desired change to the community.” -David Oyaga
“Coming together as a group will help our community understand the value of education and more children will be in school in our community.”
“Form of leadership that enables the community to turn its resources into power to make change.” -James Muoso
“There are resources available in the community which can be harnessed to affect change.” -Stephen Muturi
Those are just a few of the inspiring words from our participants. Each day we are encouraged by the work they are doing in their communities.
One of the most terrifying things when it comes to community organizing is that you never really know how the community will react. We base it on assumptions and imagine the outcome and reaction prior. You do not know if they will be receptive or not, but always hope it is the case.
My first time working with the Ng’ando community was hard as most people did not understand what it meant to have ground up solutions applied to the challenges affecting the child in the community. Top down solutions come with fast results, but often treat the wrong ailments and there we go again, back to step one trying to figure out why poverty is still chasing us.
Ground up solutions, on the other hand work towards the root cause and consider community involvement as fundamental. ”Do not sit down and wait for anybody to solve your problem”,were the words Clement spoke out as she looked at her baby seated on her lap. That was a breakthrough for me. At that point I knew the community was ready to begin initiatives towards eradication of child poverty by mobilizing local resources.
The Ng’ando community has set up a leadership team, vetting/oversight committee and decided to increase the number of children going to school as their initiative.
In my case, what I hoped for is what happened. What have you hoped for your community before?
-Liz Njeri, Community Organizer in Ng’ando
There are moments in our work where we sometimes feel like we are not accomplishing anything. It can be hard to quantify the work and see a tangible impact. That does not mean one does not exist!
Last week James held a meeting for the vetting committee in Rongai and the committee had invited a few new members to see what was happening. When those new members started asking questions, something incredible happened- James did not have to answer!
It may seem like something small, but when the members of the vetting committee were able to effectively answer the questions James became aware that something was happening and his work was moving forward.
Look for small details in work that show you are doing something because they are there.
One day as Rose walked to a meeting with a Priest at the Catholic church she met Jane.
Jane is only 15 and is a mother to a 2 year old son. In order to provide for him she collects metal in a large dumping area in Ngong. Jane expressed to Rose how much she longs for an education, which was cut short due to her early pregnancy.
The Ngong community has decided to start an intiative addressing the education issue. Rose is so excited because now when she attends meetings or hosts forums she can think of all of the ‘Janes’ out there that they are working to help.