Why We’re Different

Free The Children’s WE Villages program is based on a model of development called Asset-Based Community Development. Simply put, this means we focus on a community’s strengths rather than its problems, and mobilize their talents, skills and assets to create sustainable solutions.

Our development approach is rights-based; conventional programming is most often needs-based. What’s the difference? A rights-based approach accepts that communities are active partners in their development; a needs-based approach accepts that communities are passive recipients of aid.

We believe that together, we change the world. WE Villages works because we collaborate with developing communities to create solutions that empower families to lift themselves out of poverty.

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How We Work

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We Are Respectful

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.

We Do Our Research

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.

We Are Local

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.

Our teams 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.

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We Invest in a Community, Not a Resource

Community members are involved in the implementation of our programs every step of the way, 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.

We Partner with Communities to Develop Sustainable Programs

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.

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