Cornel and Duncan are in town, and I was privileged to have the opportunity to pick their brains about what graduating the 5,000th client means to them. It was incredible to hear them talk about their goal 7 years ago of opening 10 centers and graduating 1,000 clients. It is awe inspiring to see how God has taken their vision and exceeded their greatest expectations. We know, however, that we cannot pause to celebrate for too long- we must continue to work toward the next 5,000.
After a long discussion, Cornel and Duncan identified three challenges and three opportunities that CARE for AIDS is facing as we work toward the next 5,000 graduates:
1. Keeping Up With Growth– as the Kenyan team grows and as we open new centers in Nairobi, Kisumu, and Mombasa, it is a constant challenge to create systems and structures that will support such rapid growth.
2. Local Investment– Although we have incredible supporters in the U.S. who make our work in Kenya possible, it is necessary, as we continue to grow, to find new and creative ways to partner with organizations in Kenya so that we can continue to leverage in-kind donations and make donors’ money go further.
3. Leadership Development- We now have over 60 staff members in Kenya, and it is increasingly difficult to provide enough personal and professional development resources to keep up with staff growth.
With each of these challenges, however, come incredible opportunities that we are ready to run after. The top three opportunities Cornel and Duncan identified are:
1. New Partnerships– Now that CARE for AIDS is more well established and the program is increasingly more well known in Kenya, we have a new and exciting opportunity to partner with other local organizations. One specific opportunity is with local Universities. We have reached the point in country where the Kenyan team has the capacity to take on interns, which is an exciting opportunity to scout new talent and to continue to spread awareness in Kenya about CARE for AIDS and our mission.
2. Alum Involvement– With 5,000 proud and happy graduates, we are perfectly poised to create opportunities for CARE for AIDS alumni to get involved in mentoring and training current program participants.
3. Reflection and Measurement– After nearly 7 years of operating centers in so many communities throughout Kenya, we have a wealth of information and experiential knowledge that we can use to continually improve the CARE for AIDS model.
We are so excited to press on in our work and take advantage of all of these opportunities- here’s to the next 5,000!