Partners Unite: Africa Learning Forum

Anglican Overseas Aid’s African partners united in November last year for our ‘Partner Learning Forum’ held in Kenya, hosted by The Anglican Church of Kenya, Mt Kenya West Diocese.

AOA staff who travelled to Kenya to take part included Jo Knight, Kylie Wingjan, Head of International Programs and Tim Hartley, Disaster Response and Resilience Coordinator. They were joined by partners from Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and Mozambique.

The Forum’s theme, Building Resilience in a Changing Climate, was particularly relevant to Millicent and her team from the Anglican Church of Kenya. Millicent shared their experience of dealing with drought and how resilience had been strengthened through strong and equal partnership with AOA.

Vincent Ondieki, an Environmental Governance and Climate Change Specialist at Hivos International, spearheaded a session on climate change adaptation, delving into the repercussions of our changing climate and its impacts on the various facets of existence.

Upon returning from the ‘Partner Learning Forum’, Tim Hartley offered some reflections on the value of peer-to-peer learning and relationship building that give some insight on the importance of meeting together with our global partners.

Q: What were the goals you had for the partner learning forum?

It's a pretty unique opportunity to bring a lot of disparate partners from all these different countries together face-to-face in the one place over a fairly long period of time to enable and facilitate a lot of peer-to-peer learning, relationship and trust building. We shared challenges and discussed potential solutions.

Q: Why was climate a focal point for partners meeting together?

In terms of shared challenges, across all of our partners in Africa, it’s an increasingly troubling challenge and the largest challenge that they are dealing with. What we’re seeing is that climate change is a threat multiplier on all the existing challenges that they are facing.

So, partners are all facing slightly different challenges in all their different communities, whether they’re farmers, pastoralists or living in urban areas. But these challenges are being exacerbated by climate change in ways that they can't predict anymore. And so, it was a very common theme, across our partners. It was the feedback that we've been receiving. And so being able to bring everyone together to discuss the challenges they were facing and explore potential solutions was highly valuable.

Q: What were your key takeaway from the forum?

Climate change is an increasingly urgent problem that we need to work to address.

The types of work that we do relies on trust and relationships that still are greatly facilitated by face-to-face engagement. Being able to draw on those relationships when they’ve had a disaster is really important.

The Partner Learning Forum’ in Kenya was supported by Australian Aid through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP)