THREE YEARS AGO, WE BEGAN HOSTING AN ANNUAL PARTNER SUMMIT, WHERE WE GATHER REPRESENTATIVES FROM EACH OF OUR PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS FOR A WEEK OF COLLABORATIVE LEARNING. THROUGH TRAINING AND PEER LEARNING SESSIONS, OUR PARTNERS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO STRENGTHEN AND ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER AS THEY SHARE THEIR IDEAS, EXPERIENCES, AND VICTORIES.
The second and third days of the Partner Summit solidified the theme and revealed the heartbeat of Blood:Water, as the days were fully centered on our partners. Each organization representative shared their work, strategies, and challenges with the entire group, and every presentation ended with space for conversation, Q&A, and a mutual learning environment. Their competency, passion, and love for their communities were fully evident in the work they presented, and it was truly humbling and inspirational to be a part of the days of shared learning. The last day of workshops concluded with learning and discussion about organizational topics including resource development, organizational culture, and avoiding fraud.
The final day of the Partner Summit was a new addition to the schedule this year, involving a field visit to Ethiopia ACT, one of our long-time partners. We visited ACT’s office and learned about their medical support, spiritual care, psychosocial support, and data systems. After, we ventured out into the Suki community and visited a series of homes of ACT beneficiaries. The lasting impact of ACT’s programs and services was evident.
While in Ethiopia, we also had the honor of celebrating an Ethiopian holiday, Meskel, and it was an incredible cultural experience–one not to be forgotten by Blood:Water staff or our partners. Although it was hard to say goodbye to the representatives who joined us from several countries in Africa, it felt appropriate that our time together ended in celebration!