Our Model

We work to mobilize God’s church in the very poorest places to unlock people’s God-given power and potential to create flourishing and resilient communities.

Across Africa and Asia, we are seeing a new hope and significant change among poor, marginalized and vulnerable communities – and it all begins with the local church.

Called Church-Based Community Transformation (CCT), Tearfund works with churches in the most remote parts of the world to help the poor escape from poverty and transform their lives.

Unlike other solutions to poverty, which often focus on economic or physical symptoms, we believe that Christ came to achieve complete restoration (John 10:10). CCT is a model which strives to address the root of poverty and its spiritual, emotional, social and environmental elements.

Church-based Community Transformation is Biblical, holistic, sustainable and life-changing.

How it Works

Stage 1: Awakening the Church

Churches are trained and understand their biblical mandate for holistic restoration – to care for the physical, spiritual and social needs of all God’s people and creation. They mobilize their members and resources for holistic ministry.

Stage 2: Church Mobilizing With Community

Churches work with their community – acting as a leader – to help people escape poverty in all its forms. Communities are mentored in relevant topics, such as prayer, group formation, empowerment, conservation agriculture, gardening, savings and loans and other subjects. Churches and communities understand their situation and have the motivation and options to transform it positively.

Stage 3: Church & Community Transformation

Churches are mobilized to serve their families and communities holistically. People find economic, spiritual, and social restoration.

Program Specifics

Our Model 1

Church Training & Empowerment


Our Model 2

Conservation Agriculture Training


Our Model 3

Village Savings Groups & Loans


Our Model 4

Disaster Relief & Rebuilding


Church Training & Empowerment

The local church is God’s preferred approach to continuing His mission on Earth and the best way to transform lives, restore relationships and lift people out of poverty.

Through church training and empowerment, we help to equip and mobilize congregations throughout Africa and Asia to help them release people from poverty. We provide custom-tailored training, seminars and workshops designed to help churches see the vision of holistic ministry within their communities and identify the resources they already have which can make a difference.  This is done through custom-tailored training, seminars and practical workshops which help churches identify the assets they already have and how they can practically demonstrate the love of Christ by assisting their community’s needs.

CCT Process

  • Step 1 – Awakening the church: The church understands its biblical mandate for holistic ministry and begins to apply it, and thus truly becomes ‘salt and light’ in the community.
  • Step 2 – Church And Community Description: People ‘read’ into their reality and desire to transform it themselves, using the resources available.
  • Step 3 – Information Gathering: The church and community have accurate information that truly describes their situation, and when analysed, will enable them to make informed decisions.
  • Step 4 – Analysis: The church and community deeply understand their situation and are motivated to transform it positively and holistically.
  • Step 5 – Decision: The church and community make informed decisions that, if implemented, will cause their situation to be transformed in a holistic and God-honouring manner.

Over the Next Year in just 25 targeted communities:

Pastors will be Trained
Farmers will receive Agriculture Training
Savings Groups Will be Started

Conservation Agriculture Training

Through church partners, we teach farmers conservation agriculture (CA) techniques to help them grow more food for them and their families. Over the course of two years, farmers learn a set of soil management practices that minimizes the disruption of the soil’s structure, composition and natural biodiversity.

Conservation agriculture enables farmers to grow 200% to 400% more produce even during times of drought. This not only helps reduce or eliminate food shortages, it also provides farmers the ability to sell some food and save money for the future.

Conservation agricultural also is an excellent Climate Adaption tool, helping farmers deal with the increasing number of droughts and torrential rains an increasingly turbulent climate is producing.

With a reliable source of food, farmers do not need to forgo or sell critical items like the metal on their roofs for health care or clean water. Women and girls are particularly better off, no longer having to eat only one meal per day to ensure that the men get enough to perform the field labour.

Three main principles of CA:

  • Our Model 5

    1. Mulching and Maintaining Soil Cover

    This keeps available moisture in the soil, prevents erosion, improves soil fertility, and suppresses weeds.

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    2. No Till Cultivation

    Retains water, keeps organic matter close to surface, and reduces labour and machine expenses.

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    3. Smart Crop Rotation

    Keeps more land in production, disrupts the development of diseases and pests, preserves land capacity indefinitely.

      Over the Next Year:

      Farmers will be trained
      People will have a reliable source of food

      Village Savings Groups and Loans

      A village saving group is a financial cooperative composed of 10-30 people (primarily women). Members gather weekly to make savings deposits, distribute loans, make loan repayments and contribute to the social fund. The group’s assets are held in a simple metal box, with three locks. Three elected and trusted key holders guard the funds.

      The benefits of these groups are invaluable. When paired with conservation agriculture training, these groups help farming families save money for times of drought – which would otherwise force them to go hungry, turn to exploitative lenders, or sell essential items like metal tools, cooking pots, or even roof panels.

      Saving groups help lift people out of poverty. Members can use loans to pay school fees for children, purchase tools, seed or livestock, and to start small businesses. These groups have many other benefits including bringing communities together in building and strengthening social support systems. Participation in Village Savings Groups is strongly supported and encouraged by Churches and Pastors in their communities, as they help families in a holistic manner. 

      Transformative Impact:

      When there are 8 to 10 savings groups in a region they often form an association to tackle larger challenges. One association in Ethiopia is creating remarkable change.

      We are working on road maintenance in our community and constructed a bridge. We mobilised community and government support to build a new local school with three classrooms. We organised a petition with 558 signatures to ask the government for better water and now we have seven drilled water points.” 

      Over the next year:

      People will be enrolled in a savings group
      People will have increased financial security

      Disaster Relief and Rebuilding

      When conflict and disaster arise it’s usually the poor who are hardest hit. Of all the people killed by disasters around the world, 69% live in poor countries.

      Tearfund Canada responds to disasters in a variety of ways to help the poor recover and rebuild their lives. When possible, we work with our existing church partners, who have the local expertise and knowledge, to identify the greatest needs and to work with communities to help provide immediate aid in food, shelter and basic life essentials.

      Where we don’t have partners, we work with other members (below) to ensure that those who need help, receive it.

      Wherever we respond, we seek to work with and support local Christians and churches on the ground who eager to provide the love of Christ to their members and communities.

      Program Excellence

      Tearfund is committed to the highest quality of delivery to humanitarian standards and to technical expertise in prioritized areas. Our programs adhere to:

      • The Red Cross code of Conduct
      • The SPHERE standards for humanitarian assistance
      • The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability
      • The Integral Alliance Quality Standards

      Emergency Response Partners

      Our Model 8Our Model 9Our Model 10Our Model 11

      Partner to Stop Poverty

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