We are a US-based foundation which started in 2006.
So far, the focus of all our work has been in Africa.
Grassroots 'Household' Focus
We are fostering and facilitating an innovative "grassroots-connected" development approach based on three things ...
We started by talking to the 'Customers'
Our 2007 "voice of the customer" survey across four East African countries 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 isn't so surprising - organizations instinctively try to survive and grow by pleasing those who pay them.
Need to Embed in Local Culture
Development aid is thus delivered much like relief aid, designed and planned far away from its true customers. It is only 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 the development work into the local cultures.
Applying global best practices for changing local Operating Cultures
We bring a broad and practical understanding of how the most complex development capabilities are established in global corporations, working from within their cultures. Those principles, structures and tools are being applied to give the developing poor a huge boost to their local capacity to meet their development goals, and to make their progress robust and sustainable.
Pilot in Rwenzori Region - 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 less effective "head-in-the-clouds" approach used now. Why? Because it targets needs holistically and builds learning locally. It avoids expensive parallel donor infrastructures which more often destroy than add development value, because they remain rooted in a vastly-different external cultures.
We know how to make all this work in practice. In African regions we fund the facilitation and coaching 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.
Including external donors
We also develop best practices to help donors and NGOs implement the changes they need to become customer driven ... and to eventually get a much more compelling development story. Those who lead the way to these new levels of development effectiveness will grow the fastest!
We hope to grow
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 next year, but are happy to take donations sooner!
Africa & USA