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WE Villages is based on a model of development called Asset-Based Community Development. Simply put, it means we focus on a community’s strengths rather than its problems, and mobilize their talents, skills and assets to create sustainable solutions. This is what we call an assets-based approach; most conventional development programming is needs-based. What’s the difference?
We only work in communities to which we have been invited, and rely heavily on the guidance of community members to select and prioritize the most appropriate projects and activities—those that not only address specific community needs, but also can be implemented sustainably and respectful of local custom and culture.
Prior to undertaking any development intervention, country staff carries out needs assessments, which include a survey of the community’s development issues, strengths, resources and priorities for change. Analysis of the needs assessments guides the way in which we proceed, ensuring our efforts are respectful of local needs and wants, are sustainable and contribute to local capacity building.
Members are involved in the implementation of our programs at every step, so they take ownership of their success and learn to keep the structures in place and running for generations. That’s what we mean when we say WE Villages is sustainable. That’s what we mean when we say it empowers people to transform the world.
Our staff works in partnership with the communities on an on-going basis, regularly monitoring and evaluating all programs. All elements of the WE Villages model are designed to be owned and maintained by the community, and self-sustained after project implementation is completed. On average, we are able to finish our work with a community in 5-7 years, leaving them to sustainably manage and grow their own development.
We employ local staff familiar with the unique needs and challenges of each community in which we work. The team is versed in the language, customs, environment, politics and laws of our partnering communities. They work side-by-side with community members and the government, creating holistic and sustainable solutions for education, health, clean water and sanitation, agriculture and food security, and alternative income and livelihood.
We’ve invited third-party experts in the world of international development to look at our model from every angle. They confirm that our solutions are effective and built to last.
We connect partners and supporters in North America and the UK with communities overseas to build relationships that inspire change worldwide. And through our social enterprise partner ME to WE, you can take volunteer trips to meet and work with your partner community.