By: Adam Faber, Program Specialist- International Teams Canada
At iTeams Canada, we have been reflecting a lot this year on the concept of trust. The charitable sector has been rocked by this pandemic. We are no exception. We too have experienced the difficulty of maintaining strong collaboration over Zoom. Our donors face financial pressure that affects our fundraising. At the same time, our partners around the world continue to battle an unprecedented health crisis and an increased demand for their programs. On top of this, the typical tools nonprofits use to solve these challenges have become in many ways unreliable and unpredictable. We have had to place a lot of trust in decisions made without a clear view of what lay ahead. We have asked our partners to trust us to get them what they need to care for their communities in the midst of a pandemic. And we have had to trust — even when we can’t predict what will happen next — that we are a part of God’s much bigger plan.
Trust just isn’t possible without lots of investment in systems, structures, and relationships. Over the past 20 years, iTeams Canada has invested heavily in ensuring that these are in place to support the local leaders we partner with. During this time of crisis, this earlier investment has enabled us to continue working around the world because the local leaders themselves have earned the trust of their communities and know what is needed. Our partners in the Dominican Republic are a perfect example of this: through a global and community-based effort, they have adapted to COVID-19 restrictions by moving to a fully virtual learning model with their students. Local leaders have worked with the government to install Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the community so that families can easily access the internet from their homes. Teachers and staff go to the school every day to teach online and put together homework packages for the students to pick up and complete. Church and donor communities in Canada raised enough funds to purchase over 70 tablets for students who needed them.
In the face of great uncertainty, we have all — our local program leaders, the staff at our head office in Elmira, the many volunteers, and the donors and churches who support our programs financially — been able to rely on the systems, structures, and relationships that we have spent two decades building together. Even now, charitable organizations are developing creative solutions to the challenges that muddy the waters around us. As iTeams Canada looks ahead to the next few years, we are hopeful that the innovative approaches that have emerged during this pandemic will be trustworthy during future times of uncertainty as well.