Inside Our Mission
to Change Global Development
Our mission to transform global development was born from listening to our global partners, learning from our own experiences and making a ton of mistakes. Mama Hope’s model was created in response to a broken aid system – one in which top-down models disenfranchise grassroots leadership, undervalue local resources, and reinforce harmful stereotypes of poverty.
Over the past 10 years and hand-in-hand with our partners, we’ve found a better way.
We listen first. We trust that communities know, better than we ever could, how to build prosperity and cultivate peace.
We don’t pity. When we tell stories, we tell stories our partners are proud of. Dignity and hope are at the heart of our marketing approach.
We connect. We believe that people across the world are more similar than different – and by embracing our common humanity we can learn from one another’s unique perspectives, instead of letting them divide us.
It’s our bold ambition to bring the rest of the global development sector with us on our journey to create long-lasting impact by upholding our core values of collaboration, love, authenticity, integrity, respect and empathy. Here’s how we’re doing it.
Pastor Elisha of United Hearts Childrens’ Center in Ghana shares his vision
with MAMA HOPE Programs Director Lauren Wright.
1. Invest in Community Designed,
Community Led Projects
No one wants to be dependent on a stranger to meet their family’s needs. Our partners want their projects to stand on their own and to serve their communities for generations. We support them with funding and training to manage growth so that, ultimately, their projects will run fully on capital generated from within their community — not outside of it.
2. Train the Next Generation of Social Impact Workers
Many people want to use their talents to create impact around the world, but few programs ground them in a progressive, community-first ethos. MAMA HOPE’s fellowship, the Global Advocate program, seeks to change that. We train social impact workers (“Global Advocates”) and provide 9 months of professional mentorship so they are set up for success when they embed for 4 months in one of our partner communities. We ensure communities’ needs are met by carefully matching a Global Advocate’s talents and interests to the needs of the community. We provide this training to individuals from all around the world, and have a special track for individuals from East Africa.
3. Shift Perceptions
Progress is happening all around the world, but we don’t usually see those stories reflected in the news or on TV. Instead pity is often used as a tool to drive a one-time action or donation — but pity doesn’t inspire long-term engagement in an organization or support of a cause. We believe pity-based media robs people of their dignity and perpetuates an “us vs them” dichotomy. It holds us all back from experiencing respectful and authentic human connection. Our media and media training programs bring stories of hope and progress to life while dismantling harmful stereotypes. We believe that when we stop the pity, we can unlock the potential in us all.
4.Choose Collaboration Over Competition
We can’t change the sector alone, and organizations can’t focus on making long-lasting impact while engaged in constant competition. Mama Hope challenges the idea that nonprofits have to compete for funding – we believe there are enough resources out there for all of us to thrive if it they’re shared with generosity. When we recognized our unique strengths and the strengths of others organizations we can stop working in silos, and start building complementary partnerships. The rising tide lifts all boats, after all. Here’s how we’re embracing collaboration:
5. Rethink Measurement
We believe it’s time for our sector think deep, not broad. Nonprofits often feel an obligation to show big impact numbers that grow exponentially year over year. But is the “aid” delivered actually meeting the community’s needs? Is a community satisfied to have a new school, when the residents live with food insecurity? We believe holistic community health must be the reference we use for determining positive outcomes. We also believe that re-impacting a community with 3, 5, or 10 different types of projects that address a wide array of human needs is the best way to build a strong foundation for future generations.