Community-led development and sustainable partnerships

Our work is rooted in the communities that we serve. We encourage the direct leadership of community members in our projects and we work with African organisations who have local expertise to ensure relevance and sustainability.

These partners include a range of organisations and structures, including representative movements of different marginalised groups, such as women or people with disabilities. We see great value in working closely with local organisations who offer their expertise in making decisions about how best to support vulnerable communities.

We also work with other actors who can contribute to the sustainability of our impact. This includes local government agencies which support activities to promote equality, or provide services for people running small businesses – market structures, access to loans and safe working environments. We work with the private sector at different levels – buyers, traders, organisations co-ordinating informal workers or farmers for a stronger voice; and many other organisations with complementary roles.

Our work in action

CBO loan committee managing repayments and disbursements

Community-based organisations, Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, we work with community groups (community-based organisations – CBOs), to actively involve community members in decision-making and leadership of our projects. With the right tools and skills to manage their CBO, communities are able to sustain the benefits of the projects long after our support has ended.

For example, small business loans are a key area of our support to vulnerable people to develop their livelihoods. The loan schemes are managed by CBOs for maximum sustainability and we support each CBO to set up a loan committee to manage the revolving loan fund. The committees are trained on their roles and responsibilities and set their own interest rates, disbursement criteria and loan duration periods. This community ownership of the project activities has proven to be highly successful, and enables most CBOs to continue to provide services to their communities, such as loans, after the project ends.

Building capacity of civil society organisations in Sierra Leone

Our project in Kenema district, Sierra Leone, with partner CARD, is working with four other local development organisations and 40 community groups (CBOs) to empower women and girls to strive for their development as individuals and collectively for future generations. We are working with CBOs to support 3,500 women to develop literacy and business skills and access apprenticeship opportunities, while promoting women’s rights and gender equality. We are also building the technical and management capacity of the five local partner organisations that we are working with, so that they can extend and improve their work with women and vulnerable groups in the long-term.