Our Impact on NGOs
The Story of House of Hope
By Thea Lavin, Managing Director @ House of Hope
“We need more help,” said Jamie with exasperation during our monthly Board of Directors meeting. “We are not going to be able to make a difference for House of Hope without more resources. We need interns or volunteers who can really work.”
Jamie was right. It had been four years since we launched our U.S. Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Supporting Hope, and 12 years since our partner Palestinian NGO, House of Hope Vision School, started serving children and women in the West Bank.
The teams at House of Hope and Supporting Hope had done all we could to grow our sustainability and visibility. We organized six U.S. speaking tours for House of Hope staff, countless fundraising appeals, dozens of grant applications, and two video shoots in Palestine.
It wasn’t enough.
Despite the tireless work of House of Hope staff in Palestine and a small but hyper dedicated pro bono Supporting Hope team in the U.S., we were missing opportunities to get the word out, to win more funding, to more effectively measure the impact of House of Hope, and to determine how its work could scale throughout Palestinian society.
And we were exhausted. We knew what needed to be done to move the needle forward for House of Hope, but there simply were not enough hours in the day. We needed interns, smart, capable interns, who could step in and co-create with us.
That is when the email from Embodying Peace arrived. “Hi! My name is Hannah, and I am from Embodying Peace. We are placing capacity building interns at peacebuilding NGOs in Israel and Palestine. Are you interested in participating?,” wrote Hannah Miller, an Embodying Peace founder.
That moment forever changed the growth trajectory of House of Hope Vision School. The capacity building gains we achieved in partnership with Embodying Peace have been stunning.
Capacity building is the process of developing an organization’s strength and sustainability. It is essential for your NGO’s health and longevity, and it is Embodying Peace’s specialty. Capacity building enables you to focus on your mission—not simply on survival.
House of Hope Vision school has experienced tremendous growth since partnering with Embodying Peace. Several times a year, Embodying Peace checks in and asks what top capacity building goals we could use help to achieve. As our organization grows, so does our work with Embodying Peace. Researching grant opportunities. Applying for grants. Mapping our Theory of Change. Developing a Storytelling Ambassador program. Editing our research. Designing measurement and evaluation programs. Managing donor databases. Ideating programs. Fundraising. Graphic design. And on and on.
Every step of the way Embodying Peace has supported our growth with smart, savvy interns that help us achieve our mission: nurturing the next generation of Palestinian children to become leaders for change, prosperity and peace in their community.
Civil society organizations are rewriting the future in Israel and Palestine. I know because I have seen it first hand. House of Hope changed the lives of over 15,000 Palestinian children. Our teachers and children have recited their pledge of nonviolence 52,800 times and conducted over 423 Palestinian music and dance heritage events for children and families. 135 House of Hope teachers have been trained in holistic, trauma-informed teaching methods.
If we rely on the actions of governments, there is no chance for collective safety and prosperity.
The future lies in the hands of everyday people, the grassroots civil society workers who are building the future we all want to live in.
Embodying Peace helps our organization to put that future within reach.