Global online meeting expected to draw more than 400 participants

Participants take part in a LWF evaluation of a scholarship program. Photo: LWF
Participants take part in a LWF evaluation of a scholarship program. Photo: LWF

Good management critical for diakonia work

More than 400 participants from all corners of the world will swap stories stories, expertise and skills to improve the way they deliver services to people in need, at a virtual conference on diakonia held by the LWF on March 10.

Diakonia is Christian service that embodies God’s love for the world, expressed through the collective work of LWF member churches and encompassing millions of people. This is the Lutheran World Federation’s third virtual conference on diakonia is expected improve the work of project management by churches.

Efficiency, accountability and climate justice

Good management and work practice are critical to carrying out diakonia, says Abebe Yohannes Saketa, coordinator for LWF’s Capacity for Diakonia program. “Even with the best of intentions, sustainable results are impossible in the absence of core competencies.” The real-time conference, Management for Effective Diakonia, will address some of the most pressing issues confronting leaders, staff, volunteers and partners in diakonia programs: efficiency, accountability and climate justice.

Staff and volunteers in diakonia programs may have little or no training, or try to run programs on small budgets. “In some places even basic project planning skills are not there. Some churches are small and marginalised socially and economically. While the physical presence of a church in the midst of a community is an opportunity for service, it is also a challenge because you need capacity and resources to respond to the needs.”

Meeting point of reflection and practice

The conference builds on two earlier conferences on diakonia. An evaluation showed visible improvements in diakonia as a result of those conferences. In Indonesia, for instance, a member church distributed piggy banks, encouraged communities to begin organic farming, and organized training for children with special needs.

Virtual conferences offer the chance to share new resources on diakonia with hundreds of participants from different parts of the world.

“Virtual conferences provide the meeting point of reflection and practice at different levels of the communion.

“It’s one thing to talk about what diakonia activities take place somewhere but virtual conferences enable people to share the issues they’re struggling with. We swap experiences, share learning and give encouragement. The stories become more lively and meaningful than only narrating from pages of paper. There a lot of added value when people speak to each other and mutually share knowledge.

“The conference will enable people to connect experiences to real life when they are hearing from each other. There are more chances for questions and answers than in other meetings. Speakers are more able and relaxed when presenting from their own environment.”

Open to all

Registration is free and open to anyone who is interested. Staff or volunteers managing diakonia projects are particularly welcome. Participants need a computer with internet access and speakers and headphones are needed. Small grants are available for those who need to visit an internet café if they don’t have a computer or internet access.

The conference begins at 09.00 Geneva time and will be repeated at 14.00. Participants can register online until the opening of the conference on 10 March. Most content will be presented in video format and subtitled in English, Spanish, and French.

Conference speakers include Charlie Haddad, director of education for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land; Vena Mzezzewa, coordinator of community health program at the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa; Cibele Kuss, executive secretary of the Fundação Luterana de Diaconia in Brazil; and Per Ivar Våje, Project  Coordinator of Creation and Sustainability, in Norway.


Virtual conference