MRDF conference celebrates going from strength to strength in Africa

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) isholding its first conference for African partner organisations from22-26 November 2007. The conference, entitled Strength to Strength,will be held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Representativesfrom 29 local partner organisations based in 11 African countrieswill be taking part.

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

Francis Njuakom is travelling from Cameroon to attend theconference. He is the director of an MRDF partner organisation thatruns social and income-generating clubs for poor and isolatedelderly people. He says: "It will be such a lovely and enrichingexperience to have MRDF's most trusted partners across Africa tocome together and share the magic of differences that we are allusing in our various organisations to transform lives andcommunities."

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

MRDF Director Kirsty Smith, says: "At MRDF, we are very excitedabout this opportunity for our partners to get together and sharetheir knowledge and experience. Good financial management orstrategic planning may not sound very glamorous, compared to buyinggoats or sinking wells, but only well run, financially soundorganisations can improve the lives of poor communities in the longterm. Training events, like this conference, help ensure that moneyfrom our supporters is well managed and that programmes aredelivered by well equipped and trained staff. By sharing skills andresources, we can all become stronger."