Robust Regional Development ... a better life for our children
     Robust Regional Development                                                     ... a better life for our children   


We are a US-based foundation which has been working in Africa for fifteen years.

Grassroots 'Household' Focus
We foster and facilitate an innovative "grassroots-connected" development approach based on ...

  • empirical field research
  • world class development change-management expertise
  • strong partnerships with African leaders and their civil society ... also with selected and insightful global NGOs

We began by listening to the 'Customers'
Our 2007 "voice of the customer" survey across four East African countries found that the approaches used by foreign NGOs in development did not make the people they aimed to help their real "customers".  The root goal was good stories for their donors!  The rural poor in developing countries had little effective input and received little or no lasting benefit. (Not so surprising - organizations usually gravitate to pleasing those who fund them.)

Need to Embed in Local Culture
We found continuing development aid was delivered much like emergency relief aid, designed and planned far away from its true customers. It measured success in near-term milestones that did not include whether it was embedded in the local culture and therefore dsustainable. We need to transfer the locus for development work into the local cultures.

Applying global best practices for strengthening local Operating Cultures
We brought a broad practical understanding of how world-class development capabilities are built in global corporations, working within their cultures. Those principles, structures and tools are being applied here to build local capacity for developing communities and regions to both manage and implement initiatives to meet their development goals.

Huge savings in development cost 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 "household" level needs holistically and builds learning locally. It avoids expensive parallel donor infrastructures which more often destroy than add development value, as they remain based in different external cultures.

Holistic Implementation
We know how to make all this work in practice. In African regions we facilitate and coach to build the sustainable mechanisms needed to operate this innovative framework. We work with regional leaders and practitioners, first to assess a region’s readiness, second to plan how to move it from its current state to full "grass-rooted" development and third to facilitate that change, working closely with both management and execition teams.


Including external donors
We also develop best practices to help donors and NGOs implement the changes they need to become more customer driven ... to take the time necessary to build a compelling story of locally-owned systainable development. Those leading the way to these higher levels of development effectiveness can then grow faster!

We are growing
There is already demand for more resources to expand this pilot facilitation to other regions in Uganda. We  are happy to locate more partners and take donations!

Building Local Ownership to Sustain Development

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Achieving Local Ownership to Sustain Development © Seeking Sustainable Development Foundation, Brewster, MA. USA