Giving Voice to Best Practices


10_best_practices_345x200.jpg
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. (1Peter 4:10)

The Voices of Faith Best Practices Project sets out to analyze the work of women of faith around the world and synthesise their experiences into transferable learning opportunities.  “Best Practices help us to achieve in a more efficient way the results we are looking for and to prove that change is possible ” says Chantal Götz who is the Director of the Fidel Götz Foundation and the driving force behind the Voices of Faith’s newest Best Practice Project

Voices of Faith newest Best Practice Project.

In 2016, Voices of Faith has decided to draw on the collective wisdom of the women who make up the network to initiate a Best Practices Project. “Best practices are an expression of our commitment to be responsible stewards of God’s creation and of the gifts of creativity, intellect and community.” explains Petra Dankova who leads the new project. “Good will is not good enough.” she continues, ”we owe it to God and to those whom we serve to do so professionally, in line with what was empirically proven to work and not squander our resources on ‘reinventing the wheel’.”

The Voices of Faith Best Practices Project sets out to analyze the work of women of faith around the world and synthesise their experiences into transferable learning opportunities. “Best Practices help us to achieve in a more efficient way the results we are looking for and to prove that change is possible ” says Chantal Götz who is the Director of the Fidel Götz Foundation and the driving force behind the Voices of Faith’s newest Best Practice Project.

What specific form can best practices take? They may, for example, create specific benchmarks to ensure quality of services or offer ways in which innovative methods that work in one place can be scaled to change the lives of a wider group of people. The goal of the project is to encourage women leaders, those furthering the mission of the Catholic Church, and all people of good will, to intentionally rely on best practices in their ministry. “The life-giving mission of the Catholic Church can be radically advanced and the enormous potential the Church has to effect peace, to alleviate human suffering, to effect justice, and to extend mercy can be more effectively realized.” believes Kerry Robinson, who directs the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management in the USA.

 Somali woman at the Melkadida refugee camp prepares to conduct a community needs assessment.

Somali woman at the Melkadida refugee camp prepares to conduct a community needs assessment.

Using best practices and helping to create best practices for others have been at the core of the ministry of many of the women who share their stories as part of the Voices of Faith network. In a recent survey, over 80% of these women leaders reported that they conduct initial assessments and then carry out regular monitoring and evaluation of their work – activities that count as best practices across a variety of fields.

Many women within the network have positive experiences with using best practices. Cecilia Oebanda Flores whose innovative work against human trafficking in the Philippines has impacted tens of thousands of at-risk women, men and children says quite simply that best practices have helped her to “learn what works and doesn’t work. It continues to give me a clear vision of the desired impact in my work.”

Mukti Bosco, a co-founder of the Healing Fields Foundation, has pioneered health-care solutions for India’s poorest families. She believes that training and deploying women to lead their own communities toward better health is the best strategy for her work. For this, she has to be in touch with many local communities. “We constantly strive to improve the program based on the findings from monitoring and community feedback,” she explains and adds that best practices gave her the opportunity to “create transparency and scale the program” to help people across regions and particular circumstances

 Women leading community-based initiatives in Burma/Myanmar collaborating on action plans for their organizations

Women leading community-based initiatives in Burma/Myanmar collaborating on action plans for their organizations

Voices of Faith believes that best practices can truly support the mission of the Catholic Church. Angelika Mendes, one of the Advisory Board members of Voices of Faith, says that the Catholic Church is for her “the pilgrim people of God entrusted with the mission to keep Christ alive throughout the ages, proclaim his good news in the world and to steward and spread Christ’s love for us.” Taking advantage of best practices would according to Mendes help “to operate more effectively and efficiently, carrying out the mission in a bet-ter way and strengthening the credibility of the Catholic Church.” Sr. Mary Doris, a Blauvelt Dominican Sister and the director of a ministry for homeless women in the Bronx in New York, USA, adds that best practices in the Church “will encourage those who have creative ideas to come together to respond to the signs of the times by presenting possible creative ways to involve others in outreach.”

The Voices of Faith Best Practices Project focuses in its first phase on analyzing and sharing best practices in the the areas of forced migration, peacebuilding, education and community development. It will also present the unique angles of women leaders in areas such as smart management for social change and multiplication of impact through official church structures. Finally, the project also gathers insight of women leaders on how their personal faith journeys spearheaded their ministry and what drives them to persevere in the face of adversity.

Stay tuned for individual case studies and topical guides on the Voices of Faith website, social media and beyond.