Our best blogs from 2019 and what’s new in 2020

In our quest to find stories that we hope will both inspire and inform our readers, we wrote about a wide range of themes and places last year. From community cricket farming in Cambodia to finding forgiveness on football fields in Lebanon, our best blogs tell encouraging stories and provide learning through accessible and practical guides.

Celebrating the success of women’s groups in South Sudan, from our blog highlighting the Understanding Poverty booklet. Photo: Tom Price/Tearfund

Here are five blogs that our analytics data tells us you enjoyed last year: 

1. In 2019, young people came out and campaigned like never before. With so much happening around the world, Naomi Foxwood homed in on Nigeria. She wrote about how to support youth movements that want to change the world and shared seven key ways to help young people to outwork their passion and energy on the environment and poverty.

2. Our new series of Q&As with Tearfund’s country directors launched us on a journey around the globe with insightful overviews of different countries and Tearfund’s work there. Look out for more in the New Year near the beginning of each month. In case you missed it, for a real flavour of what’s going on in Malawi, here is our Q&A with country lead Vincent Moyo.

3. Young people are once again centre stage in this great story of how people from very different backgrounds in Lebanon are able to find common ground facilitated by sport. Written to coincide with the UN’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the story shows that everyone has their own unique spheres of influence. For this group, the football field was where they would raise the banner of peace.

4. A lot of our stories look at the amazing things that can happen when church and community work together on local projects. This story begins with a ‘meeting’ between thousands of insects and a pastor in rural Cambodia, who has worked hard to establish a successful cricket farming business and bring his community together.

5. Sas Conradie is one of our regular contributors who writes passionately about his experiences on frequent trips to Africa. He likes to explore a topical issue with both personal and theological reflections. In this blog, sparked by a desire to help firewood sellers to find alternative forms of income, he asks about new methods of cooking that are environmentally and economically sustainable.

And here are five headlines that we enjoyed writing: 

Love inspires a young man to help build a church
Want better decision making? Invite the women
Privacy at last — latrines bring relief to villages in Afghanistan
Chickens and conversation help women unite in divided DRC community
Changing mindsets around plastic bags in Kenya.

Pontha (left), a local cricket farmer, with Pastor Sounkimsin, from our blog on jump-starting community change in Cambodia. Photo: Emma Raspin

Next steps

We have some great blogs lined up for 2020. You can look forward to reading about the amazing growth of self-help groups in Haiti and the lasting impact of a church and community transformation project in Malawi with Tearfund's partner Eagles. You’ll be hearing from former Footsteps editors on their most memorable articles and as part of the 30-year anniversary celebrations we’ll keep digging into the rich Footsteps archive to bring you useful tools and inspiring stories. Having taken a smart new e-learning course on Strategic Communications, our Young Theologians will be reflecting on how to communicate more effectively, and we’ll be bringing you more stories about how communities are building livelihoods which are sustainable and also tackle environmental issues. We'll hear from one community in Tanzania harnessing solar power and from a village being powered by its river in Nigeria. 

And there will be plenty of new publications to read on Tearfund Learn. Footsteps 110 is published this month and explores issues around mixed farming systems. Later in the year Footsteps 111 will take an in-depth look at fundraising, exploring themes of generosity, accountability and ‘centre brain’ communication. 

Other upcoming resources include a new, comprehensive guide to project cycle management (Roots 5), Building a sustainable future, which explains how to make projects more economically and environmentally sustainable, and a booklet on how to develop and share a vision for holistic mission.  

SIGN UP: We look forward to sharing more stories with you in 2020. If you’re not already subscribed to our blog, please sign up here and soon you’ll be receiving a weekly email linking to stories like those above. 

 Happy New Year!

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Nick Wyke
Nick Wyke is the editor of the Tearfund Learn blog.