Local Leadership Changes Everything

If you’ve been connected to 1MISSION for a while, you know the value we place on locally-led and locally-initiated programs. There’s simply no substitute for the powerful impact of community development initiatives dreamt up and carried out by people who know and love their own neighbors.

No outside forces can compete with that.

So when life as we all knew it screeched to a halt in March 2020—when borders closed and governments in Mexico and around the world issued stay-at-home orders to keep people safe from the COVID-19 pandemic—1MISSION’s community development work was 100% in the hands of local leaders.

And guess what? They kept doing incredible work. In fact, they got creative, pivoting to meet the unprecedented challenges of the moment.

Susana, the leader of our sewing program in Puerto Peñasco, enlisted a few of her sewing teachers to distribute the materials for much-needed masks to participants who had sewing machines at home. Soon, 18 women were creating masks for their families and selling them to their immediate neighbors, providing just a bit of income. Other masks were donated to the local hospital for use by doctors and nurses. Still more were distributed to inmates in prison.

Meanwhile, during a time when large groups could not gather safely indoors, our community gardens became outdoor community centers. Men and women continued to plant, cultivate, and harvest a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables. They continued to add these crops to their daily diets, while also selling them to supplement their meager incomes. And even those not actively earning hours by serving their neighbors recognized that these gardens were places they wanted to be.

They’re called community gardens for a reason.

There’s so much more we could say about how local leaders stepped up to make their communities safer, stronger, and kinder during those extremely difficult days. Like offering homework help via WhatsApp on mobile phones, or distributing food baskets, or developing curriculum for COVID-19 prevention that was later used by other organizations around the world.

But the point remains: locally-led community development was and is a lifeline for the most vulnerable. That’s something to celebrate. And that’s something worth getting behind.

When you join the Supply Yard, our amazing community of monthly givers, your faithful generosity makes this transformation possible—one house, one community garden, one sewing class at a time.

To those who have already partnered with us in this work, thank you! If you haven’t joined the Supply Yard yet, please consider doing so today.

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