Mensen met een Missie strongly believes sustainable social change is catalysed by grassroots initiatives that originate from within communities. We excel in engaging with dedicated (faith based) organisations and exceptional individuals who work with heart and mind in grassroots communities to support these initiatives. Mensen met een Missie invests in the organisational capacity of partner organisations, supports their programmes and connects organisations for knowledge exchange, learning and joint action in lobby and advocacy. These three strategies are mutually complementary and reinforcing.
Investing in strong partnerships for change
Strong long-term and personal partner relations are important to Mensen met een Missie. During frequent contacts and regular visits to partners, our programme officers strengthen interpersonal relations, while being updated on the local situation and introduced to the supported communities.
Developing and supporting capacity building programmes is key to achieving sustainable programmes. Partner organisations are supported in various organisational steps, including strategy development, improving staff skills and knowledge, designing and implementing more effective programmes, and developing standard administrative practices.
Building learning organisations
To bolster organisational learning, partner organisations are accompanied by our programme officers, our contemporary missionary workers, local expert institutions or/and by fellow partner organisations (read below) in performing monitoring and evaluation.
Our planning, monitoring and evaluation (PME) system covers both country programme and partnership levels and is based on the five capabilities (5C’s) developed by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM). We keep track of our partners (1) capabilities to commit and act, (2) capabilities to deliver on development objectives, (3) capabilities to relate, (4) capabilities to adapt and self-renew, and (5) capabilities to achieve coherence. Starting with a baseline survey on the basis of the 5C’s indicators, progress is measured at least every two years, but in most cases annually.
Mensen met een Missie also invests in developing PME practices on significant programmatic outcomes. Techniques such as Most Significant Change (MSC) are appreciated by partner organisation for taking into account the non-linear character of change processes. Complementary midterm reviews and evaluations by external consultants contribute to an objective picture of progress of both partnerships and country programmes.
Combining forces and exchanging best practices
As a learning organisation, we actively connect our partners in our global network for solidarity building, knowledge exchange and – ultimately – more effective social change.
Our knowledge exchange and mutual learning programme covers a range of cooperation modes, and is first and foremost demand driven. Partner consultations are regularly held in each country to discuss progress, to plan joint action, to boost interpersonal relations and to identify new developments and organisational needs. Partner organisations are encouraged and enabled to support each other in strategy development or in joint capacity building programmes. Independent of these consultations, many of our partners meet on a regular basis to find common ground.
Unique strengths but shared agendas
Depending on the issues our partners work on, in some cases a shared analysis and a joint agenda for change are developed by both grassroots organisations and stakeholders in national capitals or in international networks, resulting in sophisticated and coordinated programmes that combine grassroots advocacy and (inter)national lobby. Linking partner organisations in the South with international stakeholders is both effective and successful, especially in cases when human rights violations are at stake and national authorities fail to protect the rights of vulnerable (minority) groups. Partner organisations receive the opportunity to speak out in international fora, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council. International lobby and advocacy groups offering these opportunities appreciate the contributions of Mensen met een Missie’s partners, as these stakeholders themselves often lack extensive grassroots networks and personal accounts from the situation in crisis areas.
Mutual learning by social professionals
Personnel cooperation is part of Mensen met een Missie’s missionary tradition. To be clear: our contemporary missionary development workers are neither directly, nor indirectly focused on evangelisation. Personnel cooperation is about the encounter of cultures based on shared underlying values like human dignity, and the thrive for (social) justice, peace and respect for human rights. Bringing people together, investing in mutual trust, building capabilities, promoting international understanding and mobilising passion and compassion are (still) at the core of the mission. Missionary development workers contribute to strengthening the capacity of partner organisations and – sometimes – their target groups. At the request of our partners, we detach a few dozens of (junior) experts each year. Often these truly global workers also act as facilitators of joint projects, and – upon return – become ambassadors for Mensen met een Missie and his/her specific cause.