19 November 2007

MRDF conference celebrates going from strength to strength in Africa

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) is holding its first conference for African partner organisations from 22-26 November 2007. The conference, entitled Strength to Strength, will be held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Representatives from 29 local partner organisations based in 11 African countries will be taking part.

There will be a packed schedule of workshops on issues such as HIV/AIDS, advocacy, sustainable agriculture and financial planning, but most importantly there will also be opportunities for delegates to share their own stories, advice and experiences with one another. Those closer to home can find out the latest news from the Strength to Strength daily blog, available at www.mrdf.org.uk .

Francis Njuakom is travelling from Cameroon to attend the conference. He is the director of an MRDF partner organisation that runs social and income-generating clubs for poor and isolated elderly people. He says: "It will be such a lovely and enriching experience to have MRDF's most trusted partners across Africa to come together and share the magic of differences that we are all using in our various organisations to transform lives and communities."

Margaret Nakato is the co-ordinator of a women's development project in rural Uganda. She explains why she feels that this conference is so important: "I believe when there is face to face interaction, people relax and get to know each other better. In the process they share a lot of information about themselves and the work they are doing. Some of this will be unique and provide new insights. I am looking forward to hearing those stories that are difficult or are not normally put in writing."

MRDF Director Kirsty Smith, says: "At MRDF, we are very excited about this opportunity for our partners to get together and share their knowledge and experience. Good financial management or strategic planning may not sound very glamorous, compared to buying goats or sinking wells, but only well run, financially sound organisations can improve the lives of poor communities in the long term. Training events, like this conference, help ensure that money from our supporters is well managed and that programmes are delivered by well equipped and trained staff. By sharing skills and resources, we can all become stronger."

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