Respect and mutual learning guide relationships in URI. URI looks at “what’s working” to improve our ability to work with one another with respect, so we are able to give support that is in tune with what a person or group truly needs and wants. Nyambura Mundia, former URI country coordinator for Kenya, reflects on her experience as a staff person working with a group of Cooperation Circles (CCs). In her reflection, we see more clearly how her work with CCs is based on respect.
"We must refuse to be people who wait upon tragedy to be moved to action...we must attend to the least of injustices and disruptions with equal resolve." - Nyambura Mundia
Cooperation Circles as Respectful & Resourceful Partners
The joys of working with CC communities that have too little are plenty and rewarding. The rewards are not so much for what we as URI staff give, but that we see again and again: what might at first be perceived as too little, is actually enough and can go a long way!
In working with CCs in URI, I have learned that, as URI staff, we do not come with solutions, but we come to communities to help them explore possibilities and identify what would add value to their efforts. Ultimately, empowerment is theirs to define and achieve.
If you have had the pleasure of visiting Nairobi, and visited with Kenyan CCs, you might know that most of our CCs come from low-income areas. We have a cluster of youth CCs that come from an informal settlement called Kibera. In a recent training, participating CCs were asked to bring five members who would commit to going back and training other members. In this way, we facilitated CC members helping one another. We also find like-minded stakeholders in other organizations in the community, whom we invite to get to know about a CC and validate their work. We see ourselves as respectful partners with CCs - we support them as they invent and labor and create.
- Nyambura Mundia
Read more posts in the Every Voice series, which presents thought-provoking quotes showing how people all over the world give voice to URI.