Skip to content

Helping Without Hurting in Africa

Train leaders working with the poor in Africa to proclaim the gospel in both word and deed.

  • Empower churches to bring lasting change with their own resources.
  • Train leaders to help low-income individuals and communities wisely.
  • Apply biblical poverty alleviation principles.

Helping Without Hurting in Africa Training works through three steps:

Get your guides

Buy the Facilitators Manual and download the free Participant Manual for your team.

Lead your team

Use the Facilitator Manual to train your team on biblical poverty alleviation principles.

Apply what you learn

Use the biblical principles of poverty alleviation to help people without hurting.

“I think that we all need to know that yes, communities would benefit from external help but, these communities are not necessarily poor to a level that they cannot contribute. And when you contribute to your own development you own it more, you find a sense of belonging more, it is more sustainable because then you’re already contributed to it and it is part of you.”
—Naomi Makau, Development Worker, World Renew


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I purchase the Facilitator Manual?

    The Facilitator Manual can be obtained from Oasis International.

    It can also be purchased in bookstores around the African continent and purchased in book version or kindle version from

  • How is Helping Without Hurting in Africa related to the book When Helping Hurts?

    This curriculum is based on the poverty alleviation principles written about in When Helping Hurts, and Brian Fikkert is an author common to both books.

    However, Helping Without Hurting in Africa has contextualized these principles to the African setting, and includes many additional concepts, topics, approaches, and lessons that are relevant to the African environment, which are not contained in When Helping Hurts.

  • Who are the intended participants for a training?

    The primary audience of this training guide is Christian leaders in Africa including pastors, church leaders, missionaries, government workers, NGO workers, politicians, community leaders, business owners, and any other interested groups.

    Foreign missionaries could also be welcomed as participants. Some of the most engaging discussions in the training come when there is a mixture of Africans and foreigners discussing these principles together.

  • Who should facilitate this training?

    The ideal facilitator is an African who has already completed the full Helping Without Hurting in Africa training and received the certificate of completion. Because there is so much emphasis on the local church in the training, the most fitting facilitators might be pastors, church leaders, or church-based development workers.

    Besides having completed the training themselves, facilitators should also have a good understanding of the information and principles in the curriculum, good knowledge of English, and some past experience in working with the materially poor. Most importantly, facilitators should be people who practice what they preach. They should be people who love and care for the poor, and who are caring for the materially poor in wise ways according to the principles of this curriculum.

    Christian missionaries from countries outside Africa could also make good facilitators. We emphasise caution here, however. Foreign missionaries should have read and carefully studied the entire book When Helping Hurts, or they should have completed the Helping without Hurting in Africa training themselves and received the certificate. They should have at least a little experience working with materially poor people in their own country and also in the African country in which they want to facilitate. They should be familiar with the African host culture and, hopefully, have lived for some years in Africa. For short-term missionaries, we emphasise even more caution. They should have the above qualifications and, in addition, have a long-term relationship with the people they plan to train.

    Having foreigners as facilitators can at times unintentionally support the notion that foreigners are superior to Africans, or that Africans always need to be dependent on foreigners for facilitation and training. These are false ideas that this curriculum seeks to change. Foreign missionaries should not assume they are capable of facilitating just because they are missionaries. In addition, foreign missionaries or foreign development workers would do well to make sure they are trying to work themselves out of a job. A missionary facilitator should do the training together with another African leader if possible. Then, once a training finishes, the facilitator should encourage and help the participants to go and train other groups, rather than doing every one of the trainings him or herself. A foreign facilitator might also help participants gain access to purchase Facilitator Manuals from other countries in case they are not available in local bookstores.

  • How long does the training take to complete?

    The Facilitator Manual states that the training will take around 35 or 36 hours in total. However, the authors wish to make an apology that this is not an accurate time allotment in most contexts. Future editions of the manual will update the time recommendations for each lesson.

    Many groups will take significantly longer than the time allotments shown for each lesson. It is safe to estimate about double this amount of time to complete all 20 lessons. This allows for thorough discussion and better learning. The training may be done in a one lesson per week format in a local area, or if participants have to travel for the training, in 2-3 sessions of 4-5 days each.

  • How do I set up a training?

    If you wish the authors to facilitate a training, please contact them through their email addresses. If you wish to facilitate a training yourself, you are very free to do so and this is encouraged. There are long and detailed instructions at the beginning of the Facilitator Manual that explain how to host and facilitate a training.

  • Are there Powerpoint or Google Slides available for facilitators to use while teaching?

    Yes, there is a detailed slideshow available for all 20 lessons. This slideshow can be shared with those who are facilitating trainings. Contact the authors to obtain access to the slideshow. However, the training was designed in such a way that it can be done without any expensive technology, using only Bibles, manuals, and flip-charts. Using slides is completely optional.

  • Is Helping Without Hurting in Africa available in other languages besides English?

    Currently the answer is no. However, translation projects are underway in French and Kiswahili. Please contact the authors to let them know of your interest in having the manual translated into other languages.

  • Is it permitted to photocopy the manual for others?

    The Participant Manual can be freely downloaded. It is encouraged that photocopies are made for all participants or printed and binded locally. It can also be shared digitally.

    However, the Facilitator Manual should not be photocopied nor shared digitally but should be purchased.

  • How should trainings be paid for?

    We understand that in some contexts, financial partners may help to sponsor the training's costs. But we highly encourage that all participants interested in the training contribute something towards the training, even if only by paying for the cost of the photocopied manual. In most situations, we would recommend the facilitators covering their own travel, food, and accommodation costs, and participants paying for their own manual, transport, accommodation, and food.

    We strongly discourage the practice of paying participants a “sitting fee” or any other form of allowance to attend the training. This practice goes against the principles we are trying to teach. If participants are not willing to take part in the training without a sitting fee, then it is probably better to spend your time training others who are willing. Once people become aware of the impact of the training, some people might change their expectation and come to the training without requesting a sitting fee.

  • Can the training certificate count for course credit at a university?

    This training is not accredited. This would be very difficult as each country has different standards of accreditation. However, some colleges and universities utilize the material in their own curriculums. In such cases it can count for course credit. But as a stand alone training, it is not accredited towards any degree or accredited certificate. But participants who complete all 20 lessons will receive a digital certificate (that can be printed), which shows that they have fully completed the course. Generally speaking, those who wish to facilitate the course should first complete it and obtain the certificate.

  • What topics are covered in Helping Without Hurting in Africa?

    Lesson 1: Introduction and Opening Exercise
    Lesson 2: Why did Jesus Come to Earth?
    Lesson 3: What is Poverty?
    Lesson 4: Broken Relationships in Africa
    Lesson 5: Fighting Poverty through Reconciliation
    Lesson 6: Relief, Rehabilitation, and Development
    Lesson 7: Asset-Based Community Development 
    Lesson 8: Opening Exercise Evaluation 
    Lesson 9: Working for God’s Glory 
    Lesson 10: Worldview Transformation 
    Lesson 11: Broken Systems 
    Lesson 12: The Prosperity Gospel 
    Lesson 13: African Culture and Money 
    Lesson 14: What Causes Change in Someone’s Life?
    Lesson 15: Participation of the Community 
    Lesson 16: Church Benevolence Ministry 
    Lesson 17: Urban Ministry: Opportunities and Challenges 
    Lesson 18: Mission Trips within Africa 
    Lesson 19: Foreigners, Missionaries and Sponsors 
    Lesson 20: Seed Projects and Further Resources 

See what training participants are saying about
Helping Without Hurting in Africa

Jonny Kabiswa Kyazze is a community and organisational development consultant with a deep interest in contributing to the transformation of individuals, communities, and organisations. He has worked with various national and international development organizations at different management levels, and has over 20 years’ of experience in community-based development working with the rural and urban communities. Jonny is currently working with Resonate Global Mission as the partnership coordination manager- Eastern and Southern Africa. He holds a master’s degree in management and Organisational Development, a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Based Development and a Diploma in Business Management. Jonny is also a consultant in management and organizational development and the author of another book titled: The Influence of Organizational Culture on Employee Performance.

Anthony Sytsma and his wife Sara work for Resonate Global Mission in Uganda, where Anthony mentors and teaches pastors. He is passionate about encouraging Christians in America to listen and learn from Christians in Africa so that they can work collaboratively to reform mission and development efforts in Africa. Anthony has worked for World Renew in Uganda and Kenya. And he hosts a podcast called Meet an African Pastor.

Dr. Brian Fikkert is Founder and President of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College, where he also serves as a Professor of Economics and Community Development. He is coauthor of 8 books, including the best-selling When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Yourself. Dr Fikkert earned a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University, specializing in international economics and economic development.

Please feel free to contact the authors if you are interested in trainings, have questions about the curriculum, need to access facilitator slides, or you wish to share a testimony. The authors also appreciate constructive feedback about how to improve the curriculum.

Jonny and Anthony are happy to facilitate trainings themselves as they have time.

  • If you wish to call upon them, first make sure you have identified the host and venue for the training in your region.
  • If one or both of them is available and willing to facilitate the training, the host can then mobilize participants and plan the training.
  • In most cases the host would be responsible for meeting the cost of travel and accommodations for either of the co-authors who came to facilitate.
  • Sometimes the co-authors may also be able to cover part of their costs related to the training. If the authors are unable to come themselves, they will suggest other recommended facilitators for you to call upon.
  • The authors also encourage those interested in the training to study carefully and understand the content in the Facilitator Manual before leading a training themselves.

Jonny Kabiswa Kyazze

Anthony Sytsma

Share on Social Media

Sign up for our newsletter

Site Designed and Developed by 5by5 - A Change Agency