Tearfund is a Christian international aid and development agency working globally to end poverty and injustice, and to restore dignity and hope in some of the world’s poorest communities.
When it comes to development, Tearfund works through local churches and church-based partner organisations. When local churches are mobilised and equipped to help their communities, the results are not just survival, but transformation. Churches bring knowledge about local and individual needs, they have continuous presence in a community, and they’re uniquely placed to help bring about the material, emotional and spiritual transformation that can free their communities from poverty. Tearfund work to mobilise and equip local churches to bring that transformation to their communities. And when the local church operates as part of the global church, its capacity and influence are a mighty force for change.
Tearfund have a vision to see 50 million people released from material and spiritual poverty through a worldwide network of 100,000 local churches.
In 2018 St James’ Church became a Tearfund Connected Church Partner supporting a three to five-year Church and Community Mobilisation Programme (CCMP) within local churches in Kondoa, Tanzania.
Supporting CCMP is a way that all of us at St James’ can help to make a difference to people living in poverty. We are needing to raise £15'000 per year.
St James’ is working with Tearfund to enable 11 churches, in five parishes, to take part in the Church & Community Mobilisation Programme (CCMP) in the Diocese of Kondoa in Tanzania.
15 facilitators have been trained to guide their churches on a journey towards understanding and addressing the needs of their communities. This process helps the churches to build strong relationships with the local community and work together to respond to the issues they face, by using local resources that will help to transform their lives.
Thanks to the CCMP, churches and communities in Kondoa are working together to build strong foundations for communities to flourish and lift themselves out of poverty.
CCMP training and outcomes:
Bible-studies: Through the CCMP facilitators have learned how to run Bible studies, focusing on relationship building, so that churches can adopt positive and close relationships with those in the local community. Biblical truths and examples are strengthening how individuals and churches respond to challenges in their local community and their faith has been strengthened as they work together to bring about change to these problems.
Self-help Group’s: Facilitators have been trained in mobilising and training Self Help Groups (SHGs). These are groups of 15-20 people who come together regularly to support one another financially and offer encouragement. The facilitators were able to start ten new SHGs, enabling members to save money together and take loans from the group to begin income-generating activities such as farming, poultry keeping or other small businesses.
These income-generating activities are allowing SHG members to meet their immediate needs to alleviate suffering from hunger and health conditions. They can also use their earnings to repay
their loans, so that other members can start projects to lift themselves out of poverty. SHG members are taught to save so that they can eventually have larger sums to respond to their bigger needs such as making home repairs or buying further equipment to increase their income.
Farming: Facilitators have been trained on good agricultural practices and animal husbandry. These skills are being passed on to church members and are helping members of the community to successfully grow the crops they need for survival as well as making an income. It has been observed that church members are putting their new skills into practice and are planning to start a ‘demonstration farm’ to show others how to farm in an effective way.
Marketing and value chain management: The facilitators, and one church elder, have been trained on marketing and value chain management. In the harvest season, farmers joined together to sell their agricultural produce and livestock and saw a higher income from selling their produce. Joining together meant that they could avoid the middlemen who usually do not pay high prices for small amounts of supply. They were able to sell directly to the buyers that paid them a good price for their produce. This is helping community members to improve their standard of living as they are receiving more income than they received prior to this project.
Monitoring visits are conducted by the CCMP training co-ordinators, the diocese and the local Tearfund country office, to observe the progress and changes in the communities where projects are being implemented.
Joyce is 57 years old and has one son and three daughters. She lives in Sanzawa, one of the poorest villages in the diocese. Since her husband abandoned her, leaving her to look after her three children, life has been unbearably difficult. The walls of her future came crumbling down as she struggled to make ends meet day to day. Joyce and her children moved in with Joyce’s brother, but this put pressure on him as he was already struggling to feed his own family. But how could he turn his sister and her children away?
The two families lived in a small house which was barely big enough for them all and carried on day by day doing what they could to earn the income they needed to look after the children. Job opportunities were few and poverty across the region was widespread. Joyce was desperate to provide her children with the opportunity to grow up in a stable environment where they could discover their talents. As Joyce and her brother struggled on to even feed the children nutritious food, the hopes of building the foundations for a better future seemed impossible.
Both families felt so alone in their suffering. Poverty was taking away a hopeful and happy future, brick by brick. A life of potential and flourishing that God had designed for them did not feel attainable. This struggle sadly was not unique to Joyce. Many families across the village were trapped in the rubble of poverty and saw no way out.
What difference did the CCMP make?
Joyce’s began attending sessions run by the CCMP facilitator in her church. Through the training Joyce received, she was able to learn how to start a profitable income-generating activity. She began selling soup and small bites at the market and was able to use some of the profit to meet her family's immediate needs, as well as put some aside for savings. “I feel economically emancipated today” says Joyce as she recalls her difficult past.
Realising hopes and dreams
“To build a house for my children was my biggest dream but I did not know how I would achieve my dream” says Joyce. “Through CCMP, I have learnt to dream and to plan how to achieve my dream”. Joyce was able to save money aside from selling food at the market until she had enough money to buy the materials, she needed to build a home for her family. “My children are now living in the house I built myself and roofed with iron sheeting” Joyce shares joyfully.