When the Music Changes

Yesterday marked the kickoff of our second annual Partner Summit!

Representatives from our partners working in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia, and our two newest partners from Malawi and Mozambique have gathered in Nairobi for a week of collaborative learning.

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When the Partner Summit launched last year, it was dream come true for Blood:Water. We had always wanted to bring all of our partners together to exchange ideas and learn from one another, and we hope this week will leave all of our attendees feeling strengthened and encouraged.

The theme for the week is an African proverb:

When the music changes so does the dance.

Recognizing that organizations are dynamic, continuously interacting with changing external environments and enduring their own internal changes, this week will be a time to focus on how we all can adapt to change in a way that does not alter who our organizations are, but allows them to exist and even flourish amidst the change. Together we will look for ways to go forward being more attentive to the changes of the music, ready to transition from one dance to the next.

To do this, we started Monday with an introduction and update on the organizational structure of Blood:Water, an overview of our Africa Partnership programs, changes we’ve made to our reporting system for our partners, and a workshop on storytelling to help our partners communicate and connect with donors.

Tuesday morning allowed time for our partners to provide us with feedback and also to share their experiences with one another, while this afternoon will be dedicated to discussing the organizational strengthening we have been rolling out across partners and more time to talk about storytelling.

Throughout it all, we never have to worry about finding a volunteer to lead energizers to make sure everyone is staying on their toes! (Probably because everyone wants to be sure they’re loosened up for the next dance.)

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Already, the creativity, energy, and honesty of our partners has been evident in the sharing sessions and workshops, and we can’t wait to see what the rest of the week has in store.