The Power of Partnership
In April, I reported that our team in Nigeria had completed two water projects in the first quarter of 2021 (Angwan Jatau and Angwan Ambugame). Since then, we have completed two more (Ninkada and Ngabar Communities) and are nearing completion of the survey and pre-construction planning of three more projects. Completing four water projects in six months is a significant accomplishment, one that would not be possible without the support and collaboration of our many partners.
A partner that has been an instrumental financial supporter, unofficial advisor, and official friend since the inception of Partners For Water is Steven Schoolcraft. Steven is a well-respected and established business leader and scholar and was recently appointed to our Board of Directors. We are thrilled to have Steven as an official part of the team and eagerly anticipate the benefit of his input and international experience.
In considering partnership and its nature, the importance of like-mindedness cannot be overstated; this isn't to say that partners must think the same (in fact, that can be detrimental and lead to all sorts of problems). Instead, it is to say that a partnership is at its best when the goals and values of opposite parties are combined.
We have begun to see the importance of like-mindedness also referred to as integrative goal-making in community development in Nigeria, where some community populations can be more focused on oppositional rather than integrative goals. Oppositional thinking can be described as "what's in it for me" versus integrative thinking, described as "what's in it for us." When the goals of "me" and "us" become the same, a "win" "win" is established, and everyone is a victor. This is the power of partnership.
Establishing a "we is greater than me" ethos in the communities we work in is foundational to our community development mission. Without true community partnership, additional development efforts related to education, technology, and healthcare (all of which we aspire to stimulate) are likely to fail. In May of this year, our Nigerian partners, Chuga and Friends Foundation, held the first of many community development workshops (photos below). These workshops are designed to increase community partnership and occupational skills and serve as an essential component of community development. As we continue to scale and impact more and more communities, we must ensure that we > me remains a driving force.
As I mentioned at the outset, we have completed four water projects to this point, have three more nearly ready to begin, and target at least two more beyond that. If we meet these targets, we will have completed nine water projects in 2021, a significant accomplishment our start up. As always, in closing, I want to thank our partners and remind you all of my favorite African proverb "if you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together”. I want to go far, and I want to go with my partners.