Coady Institute's microfinance participants in Addis Ababa visited a local restaurant owned by 12 women, who pooled their savings to open their business. The women are members of the Kesht savings and credit group near Johannes Church in Kibebe, urban Addis-Ababa. They serve home cooked and affordable meals and freshly brewed coffee to local construction workers. Coady's participants spent a day visiting different groups of women in the city who are managing their own financial services and running their own businesses, by investing the capital raised through their own savings. Video shot by Anuj Jain of Coady Institute.
My entrance to the Coady Institute confirmed my treasures for the contribution of social movement in driving social change in poor and vulnerable populations. The profound words of Mr Coady capture this very well.
Course objectives were very relevant to my experiences and the development priorities of my country, South Africa. These objectives were very successful in prompting and facilitating debates specifically on realities such as the widening gap between the rich and the poor, structuralist and instrumentalist framework of the market economy. The course objectives exceeded my expectations.
The course and the presentation methodology empowered the participants in reconstructing and improving knowledge base for better facilitation of community development programs. It was able to help us (the participants) to locate and contextualise poverty realities in the globalised market economy. This made the flow of new knowledge to flow organically and very easy to comprehend economic development tools, such as, the assessment tools for subsector and value chain analysis and other ways of facilitating the development and improvement of microenterprises.
Case studies, field trips, interaction with fellow participants and practitioners (course facilitators) stretched our cognitive abilities while appreciating our experiences and empowering us to integrate our experiences with new Coady course experiences. This transformational learning helped us to reconstruct and conceptualise new strategies in solving poverty related challenges that frustrate and disempower many vulnerable communities in our respective countries.
This course has improved my application of economic development strategies for the poor and vulnerable communities in South Africa. Currently I hold the position of a National President of the South African Red Cross Society and participate in other boards and structures engaged in social and economic development in the Republic. My development agenda is clearly influenced by this course as many of my peers occupying public offices are continuously persuaded in institutionalising the pro-poor community development approaches - where beneficiaries are not seen as passive participants but as active and innovative actors of their development spaces. For instance, we aim to see a complete change of the approach of the SA Red Cross where victims of poverty due to disasters, conflict and structural failures of market economy become change agents in their communities.
I wish Coady Institute to investigate partnership arrangements with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Centre for Adult Education unit in Pietermaritzburg campus as a way of replicating the approach to learning as well as other benefits of Coady courses. I am available to facilitate this action.
Finally, I was blown away by acceptance of foreign national by the Nova Scotia community in general. We felt very accepted and safe in all social spaces inside and outside the campus. This was amazing. Support staff was exceptional. I have a good time in Coady and plan to return for another short course in the very near future.
Thank you very much Coady,
Nqe Dlamini, South Africa
2010 Graduate, Livelihoods & Markets Certificate