RSWR FAQ

1. What are some Quaker perceptions on development?
2. What is the mission of the Right Sharing of World Resources program?
3. Who works with Right Sharing?
4. Why are we called partners?
5. Why are the projects small in scale?
6. What are some examples of projects?
7. What is the message of Right Sharing to Friends in the United States?
8. What motivates our work?
9. How does the RSWR program function?

1. What are some Quaker perceptions on development?
Development is a process whereby more and more people achieve a flourishing ‘quality of life’ or well being. Development is also a process which, if it occurs as it should, is an expression of peace, justice and a right ordering with the natural world.

2. What is the mission of the Right Sharing of World Resources program?

God calls us to the right sharing of world resources, from the burdens of materialism and poverty into the abundance of God’s love, to work for equity through partnerships with our sisters and brothers throughout the world.

3. Who works with Right Sharing?

On the one side are newly established and small organizations working in the developing world. Grants to these organizations support innovative income generating projects and environmental regeneration. On the other side, partners in North America donate funds and educate ourselves as to the meaning of our affluent lifestyle both in practical terms – the greater our wealth, the greater the needs of the poor – and in spiritual terms:  Is materialism the highest good? Is consumerism the path to happiness and to God?

4. Why are we called partners?
Partnership benefits participants mutually. Friends in the United States offer material resources and testimonies of peace, equality, integrity and simplicity. Project partners abroad offer experience and expertise working in grassroots development, a vision of community and a commitment to working toward a world of peace and justice.

5. Why are the projects small in scale?
People in the developing world often have little or no access to capital. Right Sharing grants provide seed money which is recycled within a community. RSWR supplies each project with no more than $5,500 per year, the idea being to provide enough capital to begin a small business. After receiving RSWR funds, organizations and communities are frequently able to obtain local funding. By giving small grants, Right Sharing is able to help women begin as many projects as possible with our limited resources.

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6. What are some examples of projects?

Kamobo Friends Luminary Youth Group – Kenya

This group is a member of Tuloi Yearly Meeting.  Their focus is to bring two different tribes, Nandi and Luhya, together to “address the issues affecting them such as vulnerability, unemployment and empowerment”.  For the nine months prior to receiving their RSWR grant, KFLYG has been involved in small scale businesses that include meager table banking and the creation of a credit facility as a revolving loan fund.  In their table banking system, the members repay loans with 10% interest.  For the RSWR project, members will engage in either hair dressing salons/barber shops, poultry raising, milk sales, or other small scale businesses (food vending, cell phone card sales). Loan repayment monies will be put back into the group accounts and will be revolved as women have repaid their first loans.  Examples of two of the businesses are:

Salons: Four experienced hair dressers will jointly engage in a salon business at Kamobo market center.  A “fully operational mini salon that is currently operated by the chairlady will be renovated and stocked.”  It is anticipated by the end of 3 months the project will be fully operational, serving five customers during the week and 10 on the weekend.  An average monthly income expected from the salon is Ksh117,400 ($1,297) for the four women.

Milk sales: Four women will buy milk from local farmers for Ksh25 (28cents) per liter and sell for Ksh35 (39 cents) for fresh milk and Ksh45 (50 cents) for sour milk.  They will sell to hotels, individuals, homes and schools for an expected monthly gross income of Ksh42,750 ($472).

The report from the site visit to KFLYG states: “This is the only multi ethnic group of young women based in the Rift Valley.  The group is based in an urban center that is surrounded by fertile farm lands.  The projects they have chosen are viable and have available markets.  The group is important for it will strengthen the young women’s capacity to organize and to learn effectively from each other and the community in which they operate.  Youth are a group who do not have their own assets and are as vulnerable as any women in African societies.”

Team for Women and Agriculture Development (TWAD) – India

TWAD is a past RSWR partner, having completed successful projects in 2004 and 2006.  They have formed over 80 women self help groups and have good rapport with the people.  In 2009 RSWR funded a three year project for TWAD in which 20 women from four SHG receive funding each year for agricultural projects. The project is for inter crops planting with a variety of produce such as greens, vegetables, peanuts, and grains.  Additionally the women establish seedling nurseries for sale of Neem seedlings and develop natural herbicides and pesticides for their own use and for resale.  The  reports received from TWAD indicate that the women are receiving training in agricultural skill development and have established successful organic farms free from chemical use.  They also state that other farmers in the villages are buying organic inputs and obtaining knowledge of organic farming from the project beneficiaries. A steering committee of beneficiaries oversees this project and the revolving loan fund.  One beneficiary from TWAD reports the following: “Usually women would not be invited to agriculture training and input sessions.  I thank RSWR and TWAD for providing me the opportunity to undergo training and learn things about organic and natural farming methods.  I have used the neem oil extract and it made wonders in keeping away the pests and fungi from the crops.  That contributed to a very good harvest.  Now my family is getting regular income and my spouse and in laws are happy about my involvement.”

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7. What is the message of Right Sharing to Friends in the United States?

We in the United States benefit from more than our share of the world’s resources. Some of these resources are available to us as gifts of God and some as a result of exploitation. From its beginning, Right Sharing has offered Friends a deeper understanding of how most people in the world live and of the inequitable distribution of the world’s material resources. It has also challenged Friends to respond to these inequities through spiritually rooted Quaker witness. Right Sharing lifts up two queries for all Friends:

How does materialism and consumerism affect my relationship with God?

How could my lifestyle be adjusted so that it is more consistent with Quaker values and sustainable in the world without depriving others?

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8. What motivates our work?

Right Sharing of World Resources is a Christian Quaker organization and our work is motivated by the calls to justice and right sharing that we see throughout the Bible and in the writings of our Quaker forefathers:

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”
Isaiah 58:6-8, NRSV

“But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving… Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: ‘He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.’ ”
2 Corinthians 8:7, 13-15, NIV

“Our gracious Creator cares and provides for all creatures. His tender mercies are over all his works; and so far as his love influences our minds, so far we become interested in his workmanship and feel a desire to take hold of every opportunity to lessen the distress of the afflicted and increase interest from which our own is inseparable — that to turn all the treasures we possess into the channel of universal love becomes the business of our lives. Oppression in the extreme appears terrible, but oppression in more refined appearances remains to be oppression, and where the smallest degree of it is cherished it grows stronger and more extensive: that to labor for a perfect redemption from this spirit of oppression is the greatest business of the whole family of Christ Jesus in this world.”
John Woolman, 18th Century Quaker

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9. How does the RSWR program function?

The board of trustees meets twice a year with program staff to review and make decisions about grant applications, plan program work and set policy. Friends are invited to act in partnership with Right Sharing in any or all of these ways: 1) by contributing to project work, 2) by planning activities such as a Simple Meal or Lighten Your Life Garage Sale, which build community and widen our spiritual consciousness, 3) by using the educational materials for study, discussion and prayer, and 4) by providing feedback on how to improve outreach and deepen our understanding of economic discipleship.

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