‘The most significant thing that has happened to me through my learning with Agents of Change is how to identify the need in the community and how to tackle it. I used to think that if there were a problem in the community others would do it. Now I know that it should start with me.’ Sakakoma Andy, Mtendere Parish, Lusaka, Zambia
Many congratulations to Zulu Mathias, Michelle Mutonono and Sakakoma Andy, who are the first graduates of the newly revised Agents of Change course in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
They started the course last October when they took part in launch workshops held in Lusaka and Bulawayo (news 3 November). Since then they have put many hours of study into working through the 8 modules of the course, which provides participants with the skills and knowledge to set up a development project in their local community. This can be any kind of project that helps bring about more abundant living for all members of the community, reflecting Jesus’ words in John 10:10 and Luke 4:18. Starting with a module on dreaming dreams for their communities, they went on to look at consultation, planning, inclusion, protection, governance, finance and project management. This has been self-directed study with the support of an overseas mentor.
‘Agents of Change is very educative because it inculcates us with skills and experiences.’ Zulu Mathias, Mandevu Parish, Garden Community, Lusaka
Asked what they found the most interesting parts of the course, Zulu Mathias responded, ‘The foundation itself that is “dreaming dreams” is one of the most interesting because it made me develop an interest in how to come up with a project idea and how to do it’. He added, ‘It is also important to know the resources available in the community, because resources will determine the type of project set up’. Michelle chose ‘The activity schedule. It really gave me an insight of what my project really looks like. It showed me exactly what would be happening when it is underway’. In contrast, Sakakoma Andy picked out two different aspects of the course: the Bible studies that accompany each module and the workbook activities, commenting that ‘The setting of questions was excellent, well balanced, challenging and fair’.
‘The course is such a great thing, which should continue to spread across nations to preach God’s love and reinforce the Anglican 5 Marks of Mission’. Michelle Mutonono, St Katherine’s Parish, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
As they went through the course, the participants applied their learning to their own idea for a community development project. The ideas chosen by the three were wonderfully varied, reflecting not only the particular challenges faced by their communities but also the resources, skills and experience found there. Michelle Mutonono developed a plan for a tree and plant nursery to help reverse deforestation, occupy youths and generate income; Zulu Mathias worked on a skills-training club for young people to help tackle problems of alcohol abuse; Sakakoma Andy’s project idea was to build a fee-paying toilet block which would promote good sanitation and generate income to support orphans and the elderly. The primary purpose of developing a project idea is to help participants focus their learning and bring it to life, but it also means participants complete the course with a well thought-out idea, which they can share with their community.
Please join us in praying for Sakakoma Andy, Michelle Mutonono and Zulu Mathias as they decide how to take their learning and ideas forward.
The three have been mentored by the Agents of Change course coordinator Elizabeth Perry, who says, ‘It has been a privilege and joy to accompany Michelle, Mathias and Andy over the last few months. They have worked really hard to achieve this success and have got to grips with the course material with determination and enthusiasm. The course is not easy: it is academically rigorous and challenging – and they have completed it to a high standard. I’m thrilled by what they have achieved’.
To find out more about Agents of Change please contact Elizabeth Perry at:
Elizabeth will send you the introductory guide to read and an application form.
We are currently planning the next phase of Agents of Change and by May will be able to let potential participants know about course availability and start dates.
You might also like to watch the reflection and prayer for Agents of Change below.
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