SECURING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

We are a US-based foundation which started work in 2006.  So far, the focus of our work has all been in Africa.

Grassroots 'Household' Focus
We are fostering and facilitating an innovative "grassroots-connected" development approach based on three things ..
- empirical field research
- world class development change-management expertise
- strong partnerships with African leaders and their civil society
.. and also with "best fit practice" NGOs globally.

Based on Survey of 'Customers'
Our "voice of the customer" survey across four East African countries in 2007 found that the approaches used in development effectively make the donors to the development organizations their primary customers.  The driving goal is good stories for them.  The rural poor in the developing countries have little effective input or choice.  This should not be surprising - businesses instinctively try to please those who pay them. 

Embedding in Local Culture
Development aid is thus delivered much like relief aid, designed and planned far away from its true customers.  It is measured in near-term milestones that do not include whether it is sustainable or embedded in the local culture.  If this is ever going to work, we need to transfer the locus for development into the local culture.

Applying global best practices in changing Operating Cultures
We bring an broad and practical understanding of how the most complex development capabilities are established in global corporations. Those principles, structures and tools are being applied to give the developing poor a huge boost to their local capacity to meet the millennium development goals, and to make their progress sustainable. 

Pilot on Rwenzori - Western Uganda
We are applying these principles in a pilot program in the Rwenzori Region of Western Uganda, with strong indications of success. We work with local and national leaders, as well as local civil society and a local university.  We make sure policies are aligned and all critical stakeholders and resources are effectively engaged. We use an adaptive process, responding at each stage to what has been actually achieved.  This approach prepares everyone to maintain the learning and progress after the external facilitation finishes. 

Huge savings in development expense per result
Our “head on the ground” approach needs much less resource per development result than the more expensive and less effective "head in the clouds" model in use now. Why? Because it targets needs holistically and builds learning locally. It avoids expensive parallel donor infrastructures which (while saturated with good intentions) cannot add development value because that approach is too piecemeal to ever build local ownership or lasting change.

Holistic Implementation
We know how to make all this work in practice. In African regions we fund the facilitation that builds the sustainable mechanisms needed to operate this innovative framework. We fund work with regional leaders and practitioners to assess a region’s readiness, and plan how to move it from its current state to full "grass-rooted" development sustainability. We also develop best practices to help donors and NGOs implement the changes they need to become customer driven and get a much more compelling development story - those who lead the way to these new levels of effectiveness will grow the fastest.

There is already demand for more resources to expand this pilot facilitation to other regions of Uganda. We should have 501(c)3 tax exempt status by the end of the year, but are happy to take donations sooner!