March 2014 Non-Profit Spotlight: Breakthrough Partners
Every time they needed grain the 900 women in Ouelle, a village in the Ivory Coast, would walk four hours to the nearest grain mill to have their grain ground. This strenuous, time-consuming task was eased for only $1,200.
With help from Edmonds-based Breakthrough Partners, the women were able to form a small savings and credit co-op, cull resources and buy their own grain mill. They can now grind their own grain, which has freed up many hours of their time and allowed them to spawn other community projects including literacy and math programs.“For these 900 women, it makes an incredible difference,” says Kari Fordice, executive assistant at Breakthrough Partners.
Started in 2005 by Gary Edmonds, Breakthrough Partners mentors and provides training to community leaders in areas of Africa, Latin America and Asia to help communities leverage their resources and improve individual lives. With a strong conviction that local leaders are the best vehicles for creating change, the organization under Gary’s leadership works in poor regions of the world to help communities locate resources, develop local partnerships and identify sustainable solutions to issues of poverty and economic development.
Breakthrough Partners’ philosophy and mission is based in Christian principles, and the organization often works directly with already well-regarded church leaders in small communities.“They have needs, but they also have incredible potential and incredible hope,” says Kari of the dynamic, capable local leaders Breakthrough Partners works with. “They just need to be strengthened in who they are and encouraged.” The organization’s goal is to make sure programs can continue long after Breakthrough Partners’ staff or volunteers have left. This was recently put to the test after elections in the Ivory Coast when violence broke out leaving a village that Breakthrough Partners had worked with essentially cut off from outsiders.
The local leader the organization had trained was nonetheless able to continue pushing forward on key projects. The work was carrying on successfully on its own.
For more information about Breakthrough Partners, visit www.breakthroughpartners.org or call (425) 775-3362. Written by Linnea Westerlind, 5/2013