Monday, 25 February 2013

The Challenge of Articulating Criteria: Part Two - Projects

As I mentioned in part one, we’ve been working at articulating the criteria we will use to evaluate whether or not a household, a project or a savings club should appear on the GAD website.  On the one hand, I thought it would be quite easy, but in reality determining appropriate criteria is a challenge.  Part one looked at people, now we turn our attention to projects.

It’s tough too because there are projects we come across that my entire being immediately jumps up and screams “Yes! We must support that!” like the fistula hospital in Niger providing surgeries and counselling to young teenage girls who are married while they are still children and then become pregnant at ages when their bodies are not fully developed, causing all manner of problems.  Like the Step by Step school in Tanzania providing a chance at education for children with mental and often physical disabilities.  These are projects that I feel we must support as they are providing opportunities for people who are vulnerable and often cast aside by society.  However, I also am aware that I am not overly interested in supporting schools or hospitals in general.  It’s hard to articulate why other than hospitals and schools are targets of many other reputable charities doing great work, which I’m not convinced there is value in duplicating.  So I guess there is something in the impact of the projects as I think both the fistula hospital and the Step by Step school seek to help their recipients rebuild some of their own dignity.  There it is – the main criteria – not completely 100% and the wording can likely improve, but that’s the heart of it.  Of course there are other things like being legitimately registered in their country, having annual accounts, business plans, a sustainable ethos, and a history/background that can be confirmed, etc. 

At the same time, in the category of projects, Give Aid Direct values livelihoods over handouts.  I know this may sound odd due to the fact GAD primarily came out of the notion of giving cash directly to people affected by a disaster, but I see the two working together.  When disasters strike, those affected by the disaster often need assistance to get back on their feet again.  I think all of us do.  This doesn’t need to be a huge amount of support; it can be small, but receiving something small helps.  In a similar vein, GAD wants to give a small amount of cash to people, individual households, to allow them to choose how to use the money to begin to restore their lives.  We have no illusions that we will solve all their problems or that cash is the only answer.  We believe that GAD works along side of other agencies who are rebuilding health clinics, schools, roads, and training teachers and health staff.  The cash from GAD is direct to the household level of the community.  However, in terms of projects that GAD wants to support is around livelihoods like small businesses in the local community, which also get affected by disasters and often need support to become operational again.  At this stage, we’ve defined it as wanting to support projects that build the capacity of local businesses to
  • be more resilient to disasters,
  • build more resilient, fulfilled, and inspired communities
  • create a future that is inclusive and values all members of the community (e.g. employs vulnerable people as employees)
  • protect and restore the environment

That’s it at the moment, that’s where we have got to.  It needs more work, but it’s a starting point and I think gives a flavour for what we are seeking after. 

At the moment, we are continually on the look out for situations, projects or savings clubs, so drop us a line here if want us to consider something you are aware of.  

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