Stopping As Success – Exiting responsibly: Reflections on Nuru Kenya
Amy Sherwood, Nuru International
In this blog for Stopping As Success:
“Four years ago, Nuru International exited from their activities in Kenya, leaving in place their local partners Nuru Kenya. Looking back, Field Operations Director of Nuru International, Amy Sherwood shares reflections from herself and Nuru Kenya’s Country Director on the process, challenges and successes of responsibly exiting.
In late 2017, the Stopping as Success (SAS) consortium contacted Nuru International to ask them to participate as a case study in their research on exit strategies for development projects. After several interviews with staff members based in the U.S, the SAS team sent representatives to conduct interviews and an in-depth field review of Nuru Kenya in mid-2018, about three years after the exit of Nuru’s project in Kenya. Working with SAS gave the Nuru team a useful outside perspective on our exit strategy, provided a framework and opportunity to reflect on exits, and produced transferable lessons that can be applied to future Nuru projects.”
Nuru International (NI) sets up locally-led organizations focused on development and poverty alleviation in rural areas of Africa. In each project, NI international teams “exit” after approximately five years of organizational and capacity development; leaving national teams to continue their work, scale their impact, and innovate their approaches.Nuru’s exit strategy prioritizes relationships based on mutual trust, understanding, and respect as a way to develop and reach common goals. This ethos is at the center of how I started working with Pauline Wambeti, Nuru Kenya’s Country Director, over five years ago and it continues to shape our collaboration today.
In June 2015, NI exited their project in Kenya, leaving in place Nuru Kenya (NK), which continues to thrive. In this blog post, Pauline and I reflect on this exit milestone four years after its accomplishment. Key takeaways from our discussion include that the exit strategy helped foster innovation, increased emphasis on locally-led development at all levels of the organization, and developed a strong team with a high level of trust.”