Earlier this year we were awarded a small research grant by the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health (WCCEH). We'll be using the grant to explore ways to create and measure community-led changes to health and wellbeing. To get started, members of our network in the UK recently held a workshop for like-minded people to share stories and ideas, and to nurture future partnerships. Here are some reflections from those present...
Stephen Hinchliffe - WCCEH Deputy Research Director: "WCCEH focuses on transformation: transforming relations (with each other, authorities, and the environment), transforming health (across the life course), transforming engagement, and transforming institutions. That’s why we’re interested in the idea of building different kinds of networks, connecting the emergence of local issues with global expertise."
Gareth Hart - Plymouth Social Enterprise Network: "It was an honour to discuss network-building and socially-entrepreneurial approaches to international development work with Arukah ... I found the approach of Arukah to be refreshing and deeply considerate. It made me realise we should work to internationalise and build more partnerships if we want to really create a better society and an economy ... It also made me think we need to speak our truth and ideas quietly but also firmly."
Robins Odiyo - Network Curator at Arukah Network: "I was encouraged by the high levels of trust and vulnerability between us all. I think this is key to a healthy and working relationship. If I compare this with similar meetings back home (in Kenya), most of us are dishonest with each other. Many people feel insecure; greed for money and resources creates unnecessary competition. All this is the result of dependency on donor funds. If we want to go far, this mentality has to be changed."
Hazel Stuteley, Susanne Hughes, Katrina Wyatt - C2 Connecting Communities: "Listening to Arukah Network's experiences of developing Clusters, we were struck almost immediately by the similarities of our own journey. The workshop felt like a totally safe and honest space ... to share our frustrations about the poor levels of understanding of our approach... We spoke of the challenges we both face, not only in funding our networks, but in current methods of evaluation, that never seem to do this marvellous work justice to reflect the passion and energy of the amazing people within our communities" (read the full comment here).
Elizabeth Wainwright - Co-Leader at Arukah Network: "Conversations like this are key to how we at Arukah Network grow and develop. Some of this learning will be fed into the creation of our 'impact assessment framework'. As well as helping us to show how our model can contribute to improved health and wellbeing, we hope that our framework can also be used by other small community-led organisations."
Learn more about our partnership with WCCEH here.