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Listening & Learning: An EMpower Essential

Listening & Learning: An Essential EMpower Element

At the core of our work is the belief that young people are the experts on their own lives. They identify the most important issues they face and, with our local grantee partners, propose, test and implement solutions. Listening means paying attention, valuing the voice of youth and grantee partners, recognizing that EMpower’s work and investments will be more effective if based on local wisdom, as well as global evidence and best practice. Our commitment to learning is to continually improve, grow and evolve so that EMpower’s approaches and support are as relevant and effective as possible. And, we invest in co-learning, with grantees and peers, believing in and having seen the power of sharing strategies, failures and hard-won knowledge.

Here’s what a few of our current partners shared with us about this essential element that EMpower brings to the partnership. In their words:

Our relationship with EMpower is special …. it’s not just a donor-based relationship where you tell us to do a project and then sit there… The best part of our relationship is that we have a co-traveler in building capacity in these learning workshops that happen throughout the year. We are together on this journey; we realize the challenges that exist in working in communities, in working with young girls, in working with girls from minority communities as well. So it’s a partnership I would say, which is built on mutual respect, mutual contribution.

EMpower is always committed to learn about the social, cultural and socioeconomic aspects of the community where its partners are based. In our case, we received site visits, and promoted dialogs with people that live and work in the community so EMpower staff could understand these factors.

The Empower team has always shown great understanding of the sociocultural and economic factors embedded in the context in which we conduct our work, and has always been willing to learn more about the peculiarities existing in Colombia and the Caribbean region.

We like that EMpower always asks us about these social, cultural or socioeconomic factors- then we have the opportunity to develop and explain them. I think it helps alot with mutual understanding.

They (EMpower) are open to learning and this is most important—as no one can know everything about everything. We are all learners together.

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