Job Posting for ‘5N2’ Program Manager / Administrator

5N2 Network is extending its reach and we need your help. We’re looking to hire a part time Program Manager / Administrator to work with our BIG / LITTLE team of global initiators.

Were BIG, because we’re a network of member organizations from around the world. But we’re also LITTLE, because we are lean and mean with very few staff and a virtual office. We now need a very real person to manage that virtual office. We’re looking for a highly organized and personable go-getter who can interface with our network members from around the globe – tracking with projects, solving problems, evaluating outcomes and generally changing the world one email, skype call, or mouse click at a time.

5N2 is a young organization, but we’re built upon the countless development experiences, learnings (and failings) of our founders, as well as the latest research on sustainable community development. We take a radical approach to tackling poverty, whereby every project begins with materials found within the community itself. The common thread across the network is a shared belief that sustainable outcomes are best achieved when the vision, knowledge, skills and resources come from within. Community Development from the “inside-out”.

Based on who we are, we need someone who shares our passion to see vulnerable communities transformed from the inside-out. Aside from general office management, we would ask you to liaise with 5N2 member groups globally – fielding questions, managing budgets and disbursements, as well as tracking and evaluating program outcomes.As we are a small team, we need a sort of utility knife that can step into different roles now again – working with donors, collecting and collating stories for communications, and whatever other needs arise. Your organization and management skills will help us to streamline and focus on what we do best. More than anything we want this to be a place where your strengths and passions will shine.

Please send resumés to connect@5n2.org

A Traffic Jam Gift

Being stuck in traffic can be so irritating. It’s money, profit and work all being put on hold. For people in developing countries, it’s the difference between having food, medical care and shelter… or not.  

In the bustling city of Kinshasa, John, a welder, and most of his welder friends do their work on the side of a busy road with no property or space to store materials. It’s a difficult business.  They must get their supplies from downtown through thick traffic, day after day. Semis, buses, van shares, motorcycles, cars and pedestrians all weaving their way through streets with no lanes, no rules and barely a traffic light in sight. Something needed to change.

Together with his friends, John devised a plan whereby each welder would take turns retrieving supplies from downtown.  He realized the benefits of working together, and over the years they have established a sense of trust, learning to share some of their expertise and supplies. 

Having heard about an organization that mentored groups like them into a new way of mobilizing, John contacted our partner organization, CRAID, to lead them through 5N2 training.  Buoyed by the inter-dependency already established in the group, the welders were quickly able to identify their shared assets. By recognizing the strengths of each entrepreneur, and the benefits of cost-sharing, they began to envision further possibilities. 

They formed a formal association by developing five clusters, each have their own leader.  As a team, they now can take on a greater scope of work. If a bigger project arose, group members would assemble, do the work together and share the profits. 

As the association grew, a new objective became clear. By opening a shared store-front they could reduce the constant need to bring in small batches of supplies and materials. They would save money through bulk ordering and even have a place to show off their work. Through their shared revenue and association fees, they continue to restock the shelves and expand the business.

The welders are a classic example of how local vision and assets lead to sustainability. As they see the results of their own hard work, there is an upward cycle of empowerment, leading to greater innovation and success.  

At 5N2 we are thrilled to see outcomes like this, where communities “use what they have, to achieve what they have not”. In the coming year we are piloting a new program that recognizes the success and investability of communities like the Kinshasa welders.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall 2019 Visits

This Fall we’ve laid out an ambitious plan to visit most of our network Member organizations. Between Jamie, Murray and Daniella, we will be in Laos, Nepal, Philippines, DR Congo, Lesotho and Malawi all before Christmas.

Our goal is to provide further training, as well as to fine tune our reporting and communication practices. In some cases we are meeting with new prospective network members. These are generally people or organizations we know who are practicing ABCD and would like to benefit from the training and resourcing that we offer.

As a point of interest, we’ve begun work with Internally Displaced People (IDP’s) in the Congo interior. The old ABCD adage that “nobody has nothing” will be tested to the extreme. The belief is that by beginning with what they have (social networks, local knowledge, access to resources, leadership skills, etc) these IDP populations will be better equipped to manage their vulnerability and eventually transition home.

Stay tuned on social media. We look forward to sharing some of the success stories built on nothing but local assets and the grace of God.

Canadian High School Students Learn ‘ABCD’ Principles

Did you know that British Columbia’s new kindergarten – grade 12 curriculum includes a course on Social Justice?  Oh how I wish we had courses like that when I was a teenager. In fact, research shows that this next generation has a resounding focus on empathy, especially on marginalized people groups.

Each course in this new curriculum has “Big Ideas” that the course is centred around.  In the case of Social Justice, this includes:

  1. Social justice issues are interconnected
  2. Individual worldviews shape and inform our understanding of social justice issues.
  3. The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society.
  4. Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems.

I used “Big Idea” #4 in our unit on globalization and went through principles of Asset-Based Community-Driven (ABCD) development.  We talked about how communities are invited into a process of realizing their skills, resources and vision to reach their own development objectives.  We walked through basic principles of ABCD, and ended off with case studies highlighting stories of transformation. Beautiful conversation on topics such as dependency, aid and culture brewed out of these lessons that I am certain will stay with these students as they go on into the world.  

For their final exam, students were asked to pick a Social Justice initiative they felt best demonstrated how individuals and systems can be transformed from any of the units we discussed as a class over the course of this semester.  Here are a few excerpts from their reflections-

“Not every country is perfect and therefore requires the people to 1. find the qualities of their community 2. brainstorm ideas that utilize those qualities to benefit a certain problem, 3. Carrying out that action plan to the end, and 4. evaluating what worked and what needs to change with the plan in order for the problem to be solved.  These community-based movements can inspire individuals to contribute to the cause and convince their governments that the issue is worth fighting for.”

“In developing countries, sometimes community is all they have, with lack of government involvement, or corruption, coming all together is all they have left as a choice.  We can all benefit from communities coming to work together, we are all in this together and should be demonstrating support and initiatives within our community.”

“The best way to transform a community for the better is to help support, and listen to members of that community.  Whether the community is big or small, they can make a big difference.”

“(ABCD) involves evaluating the current situation and finding qualities of the community that can be used in developing change within the community.  These influence factors such as sense of community, security, health, economy or even government. As soon as these communities confront their own issues, they begin to take pride in their home.  They are working towards breaking a system of reliance and dependency on other people and taking action for themselves.”

Sure these high school students’ reflections may seem idealistic and eutopic; but, isn’t that what fuels innovation for change? Isn’t that how we shift the power?  Personally, I can’t wait to see what is possible when people work together, giving what assets they have to offer to make transformation across the globe.