We use the Sustainable Livelihoods approach to put people at the centre of development projects, fully involving the community members that we work with and understanding their views. We strive to understand the constraints to people’s livelihoods in order to help them to develop strategies to tackle these, in line with their own livelihood goals.
For example, in Sierra Leone we have developed a sustainable community development model over many years with our partner MAPCO. Our approach focuses on creating, supporting and exiting from viable community-based organisations (CBOs) in disadvantaged communities. CBOs are a mechanism through which economic support, such as small revolving business loans, agricultural support and literacy training, can be established within communities. Alongside this, CBOs have an elected leadership team, trained in rights, governance and accountability, and with particular representation of vulnerable groups who have traditionally been excluded from decision-making at the local level. The CBO leadership team manage and oversee the economic support activities, which provides the pathway for CBOs to continue to operate sustainably once our project ends, without relying on further support.