BUILD Partners’ priorities have developed in an ongoing conversation with other members of the BUILD family, and we currently believe that we can best serve the network in six main ways.
Connecting BUILD programmes and people with sources of encouragement and support, one another included.
Contributing to partners’ training budgets because while the lion’s share of the resources used in the delivery of training are local, external help can multiply the impact.
Consulting in order to help serve programme development, including helping with areas such as local accreditation and the documentation that requires. Our trustees and links represent years of experience in co-developing BUILD, which then serves others in the group.
Consolidating BUILD training resources and translations alongside our partners.
Coordinating the wider network in direct partnership with key local leaders. BUILD’s flat structure means teams helping teams, and BUILD Partners plays a part in this.
Co-training alongside local BUILD trainers when and where possible: the structured programme means that those from outside can slot in with work on the ground rather than driving local training as is often the case.
What areas benefit from external financial support?
“Contributing to partners’ training budgets” is one priority mentioned above, and one that deserves further explanation. If we are genuinely alert to the dangers of undermining local initiative, it naturally begs the question, What areas benefit from external financial support?
To reiterate, a defining feature of BUILD is its high impact to cost ratio, particularly when compared with traditional types of training. To cover the low costs involved in training in situ, the first port of call for resources is the local church and community in which BUILD training is taking place. Time and again BUILD has found that appreciation for the training amongst church members has led to financial contributions and gifts in kind: the free use of a venue for training, or a chicken for the trainees to eat for lunch, or funds to cover transport, although in some cases sharing a bicycle has done the job.
But these areas are ones that BUILD Partners fundraising and contributions tend to be targeted at.
1. The central training-of-trainers
Supporting the central training-of-trainers (TOT) and coordinators is strategic: it starts and sustains local efforts. At best that training takes the form of a diploma level course in Bible, Theology and Leadership, as already described. The course is similar to a post-graduate teaching qualification in that it equips those with existing theological training to use the BUILD curriculum to equip others. This top level training is critical but can be hard to support locally as it is further from the ‘grassroots’ and the resources there.
That is particularly the case when beginning new formal TOT programmes, although the beauty of such programmes, and further evidence of the value of such input, is that formal, accredited programmes attract fee-paying students, and churches who can support them through their study.
2. Budget support for local training partners
Financial support of local training efforts helps to establish the work and multiplies up the impact. This type of support is given where there is a strong local commitment, and it is always a contribution with genuine cost-sharing. We are also discovering the value of help towards coordination costs. Some churches can support coordinators, particularly where they use existing leaders and structures. But not all are able to meet these costs, again because such individuals operate further away from the grassroots and local support.
3. Travel for trainers and coordinators
With a growing number of BUILD trainers in the BUILD training region, BUILD Partners wants to facilitate their movement and to strengthen the links between them. It is extremely hard to raise support locally for these costs, but the impact is immense. Flying a regional trainer to respond to a request in another country or to learn from others is safer and quicker than a lengthy journey by road, and is a small price to pay given the knock-on effect.
4. Training materials
While manuals can be downloaded as pdfs for use on handhelds, they are expensive to produce locally in small numbers. Funds are needed for larger print runs, and partners are requesting input on web support and development, not least so that materials can end up in a variety of formats.
Training materials are being translated into different languages as the work grows. This is being done locally, driven by a desire for material to use, and is extremely cost effective. Occasional financial input on this, not least for equipment, is significant.
Accountability and reporting
BUILD Partners is able to account for exactly what those funds have been spent on locally and the impact in terms of the numbers of leaders reached with biblically faithful training.