Community Engagement

Developing sustainable solutions and shifting cultural norms

Community engagement is key to ensuring that programs are appropriately contextualized and that communities have the skills and support needed to sustain initiatives after a project ends. Effective engagement ensures community buy-in, which is essential to bring about lasting changeparticularly change that shifts cultural norms, like educating girls and women or ending gender-based violence.  

We engage communities to participate in program delivery, and contribute to and support teaching and learning. Together, we work to overcome development challenges like limited or no access to water, health, and social welfare services. We mobilize resources and work to change harmful cultural norms related to gender and human rights, including child protection, gender-based violence,  child marriage prevention, gender equity, and inclusion. 

Our work is centered on approaches that invite communities to assess, plan, and implement activities, while we provide capacity building and monitoring as needed. We equip grassroots-level non governmental nongovermental organizations, women-led advocacy and saving groups, community health groups, parent teacher associations, and school management committees with the practical, organizational, financial, and strategic planning skills and systems to manage activities on their own. Over the longer term, these approaches can foster democratic practices and civil society development. 

A young girl sings a song as part of an awareness event in Nepal.
Mothers' Groups

Gaining an education at any age lifts families and entire communities. Building adults’ literacy skills, particularly women’s, also result in daughters being better educated. Our community-based approaches center on mother’s associations, which increase mothers’  literacy and give them the tools and confidence to advocate for their children’s education. These associations also have an intricate role in creating savings and loan groups that have enabled women in the most rural areas to fund beneficial community projects.

Conflict Mitigation

A “do no harm” approach is at the heart of our work in risk assessment, conflict mitigation, and peacebuilding. Using our Participatory Community Diagnostic Tool, we take into account the causes of potential conflicts, such as gender biases, ethnic and religious differences,  and income and resource inequality, and work with local partners to avert them. Through this process, we ensure that the most marginalized groups are involved in a combination of focus group discussions, meetings, and thematic working groups. By building trust, we are able to strengthen or create programs that not only work to mitigate conflict but ensure that services, including education, are provided, despite the conflict. We help communities set up centers and have developed mobile education programs for out-of-school children.

Disaster Risk Reduction

We step in to assist when disasterwhether an earthquake, typhoon, or infectious diseasedisrupts communities. In addition to assisting with immediate relief and rebuilding focus on sustainable livelihood development to increase community resilience. By strengthening microfinance and collective savings groups and offering vocational, agricultural, and self-employment training activities, we help vulnerable families and communities create sustainable income streams that will reduce their susceptibility to exploitation and allow them to rebuild.

Community-Based Inclusive Education

We deliver participatory, learner-centered, responsive, and emotionally supportive programming to people who are hard to reach and vulnerable children, including those with disabilities. Our programs are often implemented in areas where formal education is not available and there are many out-of-school children. With the community, we identify those children and enroll them in accelerated learning programs so they can reintegrate into formal education or enter into the world of work. With our trained peer educators, community facilitators help caregivers ensure that children attend school and complete their education. The key to our success is to ensure that community leaders and oversight committees are brought together to support community-based facilitators. 



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