One way of learning and improving your work is to ask for feedback from others. These can be people you serve, or your peers, who can give insight into areas you need to change and encouragement about what you are doing well. Asking for feedback requires humility and a choice to listen to and value other people’s views, even if they are difficult to hear. But requesting structured feedback allows people to be honest with us and enables us to evaluate and make changes based on what we hear. This also prevents criticism being delivered to us in anger or when we are not expecting it.
At Footsteps, we are committed to producing a magazine which serves its readers well. We are always looking for ways to hear your views and welcome all suggestions of areas you want to have covered in future issues, articles you found helpful or difficult to understand and stories of how Footsteps is being used where you are.
In January 2012, we started a review of our mailing list in order to be good stewards of the resources which God has given us. We wanted to check that those receiving ten or more copies of the magazine still wished to subscribe and were registered at the correct address. We also took the opportunity to gather information and views from our readership. Over the year we have sent out three questionnaires to bulk mailing recipients and have been analysing the responses. We are very grateful to those who have responded. Next year, we hope to ask for feedback from readers who receive fewer than 10 copies.
We asked people how they heard about Footsteps, how they used it now, who they distributed their copies to and whether they promoted Footsteps to others. We also asked for any stories, photos or other feedback they would like to share. Below is a selection of the responses.
‘‘We work in the area of Agroforestry at our centre. Reading Footsteps and speaking to others, we train ourselves and transmit information to villages we are visiting each week.’’ Benin
"The magazine is seen as a useful tool by staff in the eight CHAL hospitals, as well as at the four nurses’ training institutions. It is particularly used by nursing personnel who have direct contact with Health Centre Nurses, community health workers and members of the community. We therefore feel strongly that this is a useful tool to use in health service delivery, particularly because there is a strong focus on Christianity.’’ Lesotho
‘‘The subjects are great. I work with indigenous people and since most of them know Portuguese, I can give the magazine to them with happiness, faith and optimism.’’ Brazil
‘‘We live and work in Torit Eastern Equatoria, South Sudan. There is so little for people to read here and people around us like to look through Footsteps. Some come and ask for extras to take back to their villages.’’ South Sudan
‘‘Because of Footsteps, people have been inspired to harvest honey, and also to make small trailers for bicycles.’’ Democratic Republic of Congo
‘‘Footsteps has helped the community where I am working. Before we had cases of ringworm as a result of drinking dirty water from the pond and stream but now I cannot see anybody who is suffering from this problem because we now have clean water. The community was suffering from kwashiorkor* as a result of ignorance about how to cultivate vegetables, fruit etc, but now they have knowledge on how to prepare a balanced diet.’’ Nigeria
(*Editor’s note: a form of severe malnutrition in young children due to an inadequate diet.)
‘‘We really love Footsteps in our rural communities. Getting an emailed copy is like not getting it at all! I do have internet, but often can’t download attachments. We are rural people.’’ Kenya
‘‘Each time I receive Footsteps, I first turn to the Resources page and write off for free books recommended there. This has helped me to equip a modern library where friends and students come to read and do research on different topics of their choice. Our problem is that it is expensive to access the internet and the high cost of laptops and computers have also discouraged us.
I thank you for the past years you have sent Footsteps to us. The type of English you use is very easy to read and understand. You understood that we live in an undeveloped area. The small salary I receive is not enough for me to eat, otherwise I would have helped by contributing towards Footsteps copies which are distributed in other countries.’’ Nigeria
‘‘Footsteps has been a very useful paper, providing information that affects the communities where we work, especially about health and environmental issues. For example, Footsteps 87 had articles on tobacco and smoking which supported our ‘no smoking’ campaign both at our university and in the wider city.’’ Philippines