When working in developing countries, it is of the upmost importance that we do not do more harm than good.
There are so many organizations that simply send money without knowing much about their partners and how the money is actually used. There is often little to no follow-up to measure the impact, whether positive or negative. Simply sending money isn't an option. The programs we invest in must produce measurable results.
We work closely with our in-country partners to identify the most fragile communities. These are people who are in the communities on a regular basis, who understand the true challenges. Each visit to the village, we meet with the COCODE (village leaders) and ASK THEM what is good about their community. We ASK THEM which areas they might be able to use some help in finding resources. There has to be a buy-in from the community....a commitment to work in partnership in bettering their communities.
There are many areas in which people need assistance. Usually at the top of the list is access to clean, safe water. It's shocking to see how many people live without this. Health, including aspects of Hygiene & Sanitation is generally the next priority followed with Education.
Many Americans would argue that education should be at the top of the list. Education is extremely important. However, if a child doesn't have food/water and no energy, they won't even be able to make it to school. By focusing on water, health & hygiene first, we can help create a path for them to be at school.
Generally, third on the list is education. We are currently working with our partner organization, Guatemala Outreach, to provide scholarships for students in Quebrada de Agua, Guatemala. Most students aren't able to go to school past the fourth g