Our Operational Footprint
|Cameroon||Niger||Ivory coast||Chad||Irag||South Sudan|
We are in places where no other organization or few organizations operate. This matters not only for delivering assistance, but for learning what is going on in these places – who is in charge, what assistance resonates with needs, what dynamics are at play, and what does not work. Communities are at the center of our learning.
Whether first on the ground to remote parts of Haiti after the 2008 earthquake, to regions in the Philippines impacted by natural disasters and extremism, to conflict areas in western Africa, our approach allows us to test and act to learn and gain entry into communities that need assistance most. Our operations have built community resilience to impacts and supported a sense of normalcy at critical periods.
In the Philippines, we learned quickly that addressing immediate needs was insufficient. We had to understand the impacts within the social context – the concerns of women and families, in particular, to help match assistance to longer-term concerns. We worked with the government’s social welfare department to pilot livelihood skills in shelter program which simultaneously provided an immediate benefit, while building useful skills. We also partnered with the private sector, telecoms to incorporate a longer-term partner that could also employ trained persons.
We have been deliberate about our office structure so that it allows us to be in the middle of communities and have a presence without being just a shop front. We involve local community members and organizations to be part of the project – supply chain, implementation, service provider, information source, and other resources. This spreads the accountability for project delivery and builds a sense of belonging and local ownership that fosters sustainability. And people get to use and develop the skills they have learned through capacity building – it provides an opportunity to share with and learn from one another.
We have helped communities, civil society, local authorities, and the private sector see the value in coming together and working in concert to guide assistance efforts and to be part of the solution. Working side-by-side is powerful when it is genuine and well-managed.