Sunday, October 15, 2017

Autumn in Colorado and Utah - BeadforLife Conference

Marilyn with the Continental Divide in the background
We spent three days at the YMCA Conference Center just outside Rocky Mountain National Park attending the biennial conference for BeadforLife Community Partners.

The mission of BeadforLife is " creating sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of poverty by connecting people worldwide in a circle of exchange that enriches everyone."

What began as a mechanism to support and sustain women in Uganda in the paper bead business has transformed over its 14 year life as a powerful training organization for partner non-government organizations (NGO) weeking to impact the lives of women and children who live in extreme poverty--less than $1 per day.  BFL has developed a training methodology and approach that has had measurable results on the lives of more than 46,000 women and children in Uganda.   Refining their experience, BFL has created a training, support and mentoring program which can deliver astonishing results.  This program is known as The Street Business School.  

Over its 14 years, BFL has tailored its approach to fit the cultural and economic circumstances of Uganda.  Rather than aim to duplicate that success in other East Afican countries, BFL is now working with other NGO's as partners.  Training the trainers is provided to these partners who can then take the proven techniques and adapt them to the local circumstances within which they work.  So far NGO's in Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Rwanda, and others have become Global Catalyst Partners and are implementing The Street Business School in their localities.

While these NGO's invest money to attend the training sessions, the overall work of BFL continues to be sustained by the continuing bead business--where it all began.  The difference is that now it is possible to envision a future of impacting the lives of 1,000,000 men and women by 2027 throughout Africa and Asia.  Early results indicate that the The Street Business School partnerships can achieve this goal--something not possible directly through bead sales.

Working on one of the training exercises
This all works because BFL continues to be faithful to its underlying values of empowerment, relationship building, and listening.  We spent a day and a half going through two segments of the full eight day Street Business School Coaches training so we could get a better understanding of how the SBS works and, more important, why it is proving to be so successful.  Built on the ten years of BFL experience in Uganda, this training allows other NGO's to achieve similar results with their target groups without going through the ten years of trial and error that BFL did.  As somone who has trained trainers, I can testify that this training is comprehensive, well designed, and built on sound adult pedagogy.  Very impressive.

Chris and Korri
We also got to spend time with the staff of BFL who are
directly involved in the SBS training:  Chris, Korri, and Rachael.  Rachael is a member of the BFL staff in Kampala, Uganda.

Click here to view more photos of the BFL conference.

Bull overseeing his harem
Of course, it wasn't all work.  Marilyn and I drove into Estes Park early one evening to watch the elk gathering on the golf course adjacent to downtown.  We were not disappointed.  As I had experienced in Rocky Mountain National Park about 39 years ago, the young bulls would meander into one of the harems of an older and much bigger bull only be driven off when the older bull decided to pay attention to the girls.  This is preceded by those whistle like buglings.

We also had a nice view of the Stanley Hotel from a top the visitors center parking structure.  This permitted me to get some shots without all the ground clutter and wires.  On our way out Sunday, we will be driving by for a closer look but this distance shot will probably be better than any closeup since it shows its setting against mountains.  This was the inspiration for King's "The Shining" but not the setting of the movie.

The view just outside our lodge.

The next morning I was up early to catch the sunrise and its wonderful light on the continental divide which stretched before us as we walked from the lodge where we were staying.  The next day I captured what I think will be some real keepers on the sunset on that same scene.  But in order to maximize that chance, I took multiple exposures in RAW format and will have to wait until I get home to process them.  In the meantime, you can see more images of the landscape here by clicking here for the photo album.

1 comment:

  1. We stayed at the Stanley a few years ago on our first trip to Colorado so these pictures are bringing back a lot of memories. Loved Estes Park! Enjoy :)