Posts Tagged ‘dai’

A Gift for You

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Join Us in Celebrating FBTen years ago, Development Associates International (DAI) launched a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) in Democratic Republic of Congo, India and Uganda. Before the first 80 students found their seats in their respective classrooms, 18 subject experts from around the world spent hundreds of hours writing biblically-based curriculum that DAI hoped would be both practical and transformational.

DAI designed the MAOL and each course by first listening to leaders of the Majority World and then tailoring the education to the issues they face, their working schedule, their desire for practical application and their need to develop critical and creative thinking skills.


As part of the 10 year ‘birthday’ celebration, we want to give you a party favor: a sample of the MAOL workbook for the course Leadership: Making Human Strength Productive. This excerpt takes you through lectures and reflection questions unlocking your leadership abilities and discovering a biblical view of power.





Dr. Raj Kumar Songa, a student in India, says the MAOL was, “…nothing short of a miracle for me.” Dr. Songa was promoted to be the Director of Center for Migration Medicine for the US Consulate and the Australian, British and Canadian High Commissions. He shares further, “I had not applied for a single one of my promotions…I found it overwhelming as a physician skilled in patient care to be thrust into a role requiring a totally different framework of thinking, wisdom, and skill set. My inadequacy was starkly evident in the context of management. Then along came DAI with its robust course – which seemed to be tailor made for my needs. It is amazingly timely! With DAI I’m ‘required’ to craft, execute, and evaluate program strategy. WITHOUT THESE SKILLS I WOULD NOT BE SUCCEEDING!

The MAOL is about transformed leaders transforming their communities. Eva Mulema, who is the Chief of Party for USAID Governance Accountability Participation and an MAOL graduate in Uganda, says the program both changed her and has great potential to transform communities. Eva explains, “We work in an area where there is a lot of cynicism and corruption…We kept saying how [the MAOL] is so good. IF ALL THE LEADERS COULD HAVE THIS, IT WOULD REALLY TRANSFORM THE COMMUNITIES WE LEAD.

Eva shares more in a video located at

Thank you for joining with us to celebrate the growth and the success of the MAOL, as well as the transformed leadership of Dr. Songa and Eva and many others.




Investing in One, Impacts Many

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Investing in One edited

I grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a community where most families live below the poverty line. In many cases, parents have to choose who goes to school. Political instability combined with civil wars and a high level of poverty make it difficult for parents to pay for a proper degree. In my own experience, I was only able to complete high school.

Through the generous giving of missionaries, I was able to complete graduate studies in Congo and a PhD in Pastoral Theology in South Africa. I usually refer to myself as a “Mission Kid.” Matthew 25:31-46 comes to my mind in connection to donors who have been so faithful to the Lord. The scripture concerns the last judgment where faithful ‘donors’ will be rewarded for “whatever they do for one of the least of these brothers…”

This also applies to DAI in Francophone Africa. Because of financial support from donors, we celebrate the French-speaking MAOL growing from one country to eight and from one university to nine in just 10 years.

When the MAOL started in 2004, I was working as Academic Dean/Provost of Katanga Methodist University. A group of staff members, myself included, tried some of the DAI courses before offering the program at our university. The sample alone blessed me!

The courses have transformed lives and improved ways of leading. For example, two former government Ministers in Central African Republic expressed how happy they were to strengthen their leadership skills and to openly reflect with classmates on what went wrong while they led the country.

Another of the many examples comes from the Vice-Chair of Senate in Burundi. I supervised his thesis this year in which he evaluated the political leadership in his country with a view to build effective leadership. This thesis was highly valued and well received during his public defense of it.

I strongly believe that God is actively at work through DAI in Francophone Africa and I look forward to the next 10 years of the MAOL.


Author: Dr. Jean-Marie NkongeJean-Marie Thumbnail, is the DAI Senior Consultant for Formal Education in Francophone Africa. Since 2007 Dr. Nkonge has provided expert oversight of the operation and expansion of the MAOL program in French-speaking Africa. He also serves on the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

Growing Leaders at Kira Farm

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Kira Farm

In the green hills not far from Kampala, the capital of Uganda, lies the Kira Farm Youth Development Project. Kira Farm provides practical training and education to at-risk youth via a working farm, guesthouse, carpentry and hair-dressing trade schools, all rolled into one. Overseeing the entire operation is Richard Kibuuka, a 2012 MAOL graduate.

DAI recently talked with Richard about his experience in the MAOL. He shared how the program made a direct impact on his leadership skills. “I have more belief in my leadership capacity than ever before,” he says.

“I believe the MAOL program built my capacity for leadership…in a growing international NGO…by using approaches that enable the people I lead to become the people God created them to be, and therefore be [more] effective in His vineyard.”

Richard spoke about the classes that were especially useful to his role, such as Conflict Management and Resolution. He explains, “We have many young people who come with issues and scars, and they transfer those scars to this environment.” What he learned about conflict management helped him compassionately and effectively serve the young people at Kira Farm. Meanwhile, other courses in the program enhanced Richard’s skills in strategic planning, teaching and mentoring.

Richard’s spiritual life deepened as well. The Spiritual Formation course “…was a year that transformed my life,” he said. “Previously, I used to think of spiritual formation as something that just happened,” but through the course, Richard learned that spiritual growth requires forethought and intentionality.

The MAOL equipped Richard to be a more effective and astute leader of Kira Farm’s many activities, enabling him to safeguard the Farm’s influence on future generations of Ugandan youth.


Richard Thumb

Richard participated in the evaluation of DAI’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program. DAI is so grateful to Richard and everyone else who shared honestly about their experience as students, professors and coordinators of this multinational graduate degree. To read more about the MAOL 10 year evaluation, read this post: Measuring Success: The MAOL at 10 Years.

What Are We Measuring?

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Graduates editedAlthough experimental measurements in a spotless laboratory are out, there are a number of other methods by which to evaluate an academic program. In order to better understand the long-term impact of the MAOL, this summer we conducted in-depth qualitative interviews and focus groups with alumni, thesis-stage students, DAI staff and academic partner staff. For each group, we devised a set of standard questions about key aspects of the program that guided our interviews.

What did we want to know? At its most basic, we wanted to uncover what’s working and what needs improvement. Below is a sampling of the questions we used to get at this information.

For students:

  1. What would you say are the primary strengths of the program?
  2. What challenges are you experiencing in your job that you wish had been addressed – or addressed more thoroughly – during your MAOL program?
  3. What were some of the best educational practices you experienced? Which ones were not so effective?
  4. Did the MAOL help you grow in your spiritual life? If so, in what ways?

For staff:

  1. What are the greatest strengths of the MAOL in your location? What do you think is missing? What would you want more of?
  2. Imagine a time when the partnership between you and DAI is operating really effectively. Can you describe what that relationship would look like?
  3. If you were to recreate the MAOL for future cohorts of students, what would you do?

See Also: Measuring Success: The MAOL at 10 Years


Jim Gieser ThumbnailAuthor: Dr. Jim Gieser, Director of the MAOL Program, joined DAI in 2013. Jim manages the enrollment process, curriculum development, academic partnership development and faculty recruitment and training. His new eyes and fresh perspectives are wonderful additions to the MAOL team during their 10 year evaluation process. Jim holds three graduate level degrees the highest being a Doctorate of Education. He has lived and worked in Germany and South Africa.

Measuring Success: The MAOL at 10 Years

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Interviews editedAs our Brussels Airlines 737 touched down in the quiet of a Burundian night, the question again arose in my mind: What would we discover? What would the students say?

The answer is found in the quotes throughout. Almost to a person, these were the types of responses we received when we asked alumni in Africa and South Asia how the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) impacted their lives and leadership. My colleague, Dr. Duane Elmer, an expert in cross-cultural communication and professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School near Chicago, and I were visiting five of DAI’s 19 academic partners in order to talk with alumni and administrators about the program.

“We are what we are because of DAI.”

The MAOL celebrates ten years of operation this year. Now is the time to celebrate this wonderful milestone and to take a long look in the mirror. How has the program impacted its graduates? How can we improve in the future? The overriding conclusion: God is indeed taking this ordinary program and doing extraordinary things with it. Time and time again, I listened as our students described how this degree changed their lives in profound ways. I felt humbled and amazed.

“I wished I had begun this when I started ministry years ago!”

The DNA of DAI and the heartbeat of the MAOL is leader transformation. However, as an academic program we also have an additional goal that drives what we do: student success. In an academic program, that means students who complete the program, start to finish.

“It is so relevant. Almost everything I have done [in my apologetics ministry] is adopted from DAI material!”

As we look to the next ten years, our aim is to see a greater number of our students experience not only personal transformation but also graduation. We want to graduate leaders who are prepared to impact their worlds according to the model of Jesus, the greatest servant leader of all.

 See Also: What Are We Measuring?

Author: Dr. Jim Gieser, Director of the MAOL Program, joined DAI in 2013. Jim manages the enrollment process, curriculum development, academic partnership development and faculty recruitment and training. His new eyes and fresh perspectives are wonderful additions to the MAOL team during their 10 year evaluation process. Jim holds three graduate level degrees the highest being a Doctorate of Education. He has lived and worked in Germany and South Africa.

A Letter from Jane

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Celebration Filled with Gratitude

DAI Letter from Jane Nov 2014

As I reflect on the first ten years of the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program, my heart fills with gratitude. I am so grateful for the fantastic contributions made by hundreds of committed staff, volunteers and partner universities, whose sacrificial work gave birth to this program and filled it with life and opportunities. Then there are the 1,700 students who, throughout the program, have come to embody servant leadership. They were deeply impacted through engaging the curriculum, taking advantage of every moment and sharing what they were learning with scores of others.

I am so thankful to each of you who has given so generously to make a program like this available to those who could not pay the full cost themselves, but wanted the chance to learn and grow. And, of course, I am most grateful to God for leading us to create this MAOL, showing us what to do, and then filling the pages of simple courses with his Spirit so that transformation often happens.

It is such a joy to look back and see God’s guiding hand at every step, even as we look forward with great anticipation to all he wants to do through us in the future! Join me in celebrating the tenth birthday of the MAOL program!

Jane Overstreet
President / CEO


Multiplying 1,700 into 17,000 servant leaders: Return on Investment

Read more about the MAOL program


5 Warning Signs of Destructive Power

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
Blog originally written for Frontiers USA.

PowerAtWorkI was recently in a meeting with former staff of a mission agency. They had worked all over the world, sacrificing a great deal in their desire to serve God and the vision and leaders of their organization. They were taught and encouraged to model servant leadership, sacrifice and commitment to Christ. Yet, as I listened, I heard many stories of leaders who started with a pure heart and wonderful intentions but ended up becoming manipulative and controlling.

The missiologist James Engel once said:

“If we do not break the yoke of power-motivated, controlling leadership and unleash the resources of the Body of Christ, there is little hope that the world can be evangelized.”

Engel believed this was the CENTRAL CHALLENGE of the world-wide church.

Before talking about the redemption of power, we need to understand the elements of destructive power and what it looks like. While power is morally neutral, how it is used, makes it good or bad. What makes us as leaders susceptible to the destructive effects of power?

  1. Pride is the exaggerated sense of our importance or significance compared to other people. We easily slip into pride because of the intoxicating effects of wielding power and the deference we are often show.
  2. Arrogance rears its ugly head when we are unwilling to be checked, opposed or questioned. It is the “wrongness of those who think they are always right.” Arrogance damages relationships and leads to deception (Obadiah 3). The more successful we are, the more we need people to save us from our arrogance.
  3. Our selfishness tempts us to use power and the things that it gives us access to for our own personal gain. Ezekiel 34:2 warns us that we should care for those we lead and not use power for personal benefit.
  4. Our drive to succeed can create a lack of awareness of how our decisions impact our followers. How often do we make unreasonable demands on the time of those we lead, and/or require them to serve us and our vision with little consideration for them and their families? Do we consistently show genuine gratitude and thankfulness?
  5. The temptation to dominate and become a tyrant in the name of Christ is in all of us. Do we maintain our position at all cost? Do we manipulate in order to get our way? Do we demand unquestioned obedience? Are we emotionally or physically coercive – using threat and bribe?

The temptation to use power destructively is in all of us. But power and leadership can be redeemed. That is the topic of our next blog.



Karl Mueller (2) - Copy (270x270)Author: Karl Mueller, DAI Senior Consultant for Church and Leadership Services, strengthens international partnerships between ministries around the world and churches in the USA. He joined DAI in 2014 and brings with him 35 years of ministry experience. Karl serves on the boards of African Leadership And Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM) and Community Health Evangelism (CHE).

Who Is A Leader?

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Note to the reader: This blog post first appeared on the Frontiers blog. Karl Mueller of DAI has been writing a series of articles for Frontiers on the topic of leadership. To read other blogs in his series, click the hyper-links throughout this post. 

How many times have you heard someone say “What we need are real leaders?” You’ve probably also heard sports commentators say “This player not only has tremendous athletic skills, he also provides great leadership.” It is often easy to sense a lack of leadership in a situation. At the same time, it becomes relatively easy to recognize real leaders when we see them. Yet, when we are asked to define “leadership” we often struggle. In many ways it seems that leadership is an intangible quality that we can sense, but can’t easily define.

Any conversation around leaders and leadership has to start with a good definition. Dr. J. Robert Clinton, the author of The Making of a Leader defines a leader as “a man or woman with a God-given capacity who influences a specific group of people towards His purposes for the group.”

This definition isolates the key aspects of leadership in the Christian context. It is these aspects that I’ll be focusing on in upcoming blogs. God-given capacity refers to the natural abilities, acquired skills and spiritual gifts that God has invested in each of us. Influence is at the heart of leadership. A specific group of people refers to followers – after all, you aren’t a leader if you don’t have followers. His purposes for the group implies that as a group, you have been called by God to accomplish something for the Kingdom.

Join me in the coming weeks as I embark on a journey of exploring Kingdom leaders and the principles of leadership.


Karl Mueller (2) - Copy (270x270)Author: Karl, DAI Senior Consultant for Church and Leadership Services, strengthens international partnerships between ministries around the world and churches in the USA. He joined DAI in 2014 and brings with him 35 years of ministry experience. Karl serves on the boards of African Leadership And Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM) and Community Health Evangelism (CHE).

3 Tips to Build Young Professionals

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

3 Tips to Build Young ProfessionalsOver the last seven years we helped hundreds of young leaders in South Asia make a kingdom impact in their context. Our goal is to train young people as servant leaders while encouraging their enthusiasm and energy. Although there is a lot to say as to the best approaches to bless and nurture young leaders three stick out for us:

1)  Encourage More Than You Critique:

Most young people know when they have made mistakes so they don’t need help identifying the error. Rather they need help picking up the pieces and restarting with a clear mind.

God often uses seemingly bizarre ideas to fulfill His purposes. One young man we have been working with had a big vision to buy a plot of land and start a café to reach out to students right in front of the biggest university in Delhi, India. Many thought the idea was ridiculous and economically unrealistic, yet he sought out funding for his vision for five years. Low and behold, through much encouragement, he received the investment he needed (in the millions) and is opening the café soon!

2)  Enable Forgiveness and Move On:

Forgiveness is an issue we keep coming back to in our trainings. The devil loves when we have sludge of past relationships still present in our hearts. Jesus’ command for us to ‘love and pray for our enemies’ seems to be the key to finding breakthrough. When we pray earnestly for those who have hurt us, something awesome happens in the spiritual world. Praying with younger leaders for those who have offended them in the past and present helps them take less offense in the future.

3)  Create Working Groups:

Young people need each other to bounce ideas and enthusiasm around. Giving the younger generation ownership and projects in groups is a good way to help them practice servant leadership in a relatively safe environment. For example, trainings we conduct in Nepal are planned, organized and carried out by a core group of young leaders who take ownership of the trainings. We’ve found that the more ownership you give, especially in small groups, the more young leaders come on board with the vision.

We are currently in the American football season where we witness the excitement of team play. Like football, being able to work together towards a project goal is always more motivating than going at it alone. All achievement is then shared collectively. Such fraternity brings joy to the soul. Imagine if everybody was just as excited about achievement as they are when football players scored a touchdown. What a team that would be!

Author: Jonathan Abraham, is the South Asia Initiative Coordinator for Development Associates International (DAI). He and his family live in India while engaging young leaders in South Asia on issues pertinent to their generation through forums, workshops, awareness campaigns and media.

Pouring Into the Next Generation To…

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Mountain TransMove Mountains Through Mentoring in Belgium

Tanja was overwhelmed by ministry work; demands had become a barrier in her life, like a mountain range one could not see beyond. With mentoring and insight from DAI-Belgium staff, Tanja developed a plan to resolve her challenges at work and to see new possibilities. She shares that these mentoring efforts helped her see beyond the mountains and now she feels she is able to even move mountains with the wise counsel of the DAI-Belgium staff. Sometimes an outside perspective is needed to bring hope and a way forward to
overcome an overwhelming situation.

Door TransOpen Doors in the Middle East

A young man from an Orthodox Church attended our emerging leader workshop. He shared with us that he replicated the seminar at his church and taught on Servant Leadership and Strategic Thinking principles. The Orthodox pastors were impressed and asked him about the source of his teaching. Because of this young leader DAI now has a good reputation and an open door to the Orthodox Church.

Flag TransGo Far and Finish Strong in Nigeria

Victor shares about his mentor Reuben Ezemadu, DAI-Nigeria Ministry Center Director, “I remember the program my wife and I attended some years past in which you were a speaker. Since that time, I desired that the Lord bring us much closer so we can tap from your reservoir of knowledge and experience in missions…There is a paucity of genuine servant leaders in the Church and when you find one, you do not need to be told. We believe that with people like you around, the Lord will help us learn so that we can go far and finish strong.”