AN INNOVATIVE NEW APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA
Welcome to African Development Choices (ADC),a non-profit organisation working to improve the well-being of children and communities in Africa. We do this by championing increased access to essential public services such as clean water, adequate sanitation, and child-friendly facilities like playgrounds.
Founded by Kenyan-born Londoner, Mr Moses Tai, we strongly believe that the opposite of povery is not income; the opposite of poverty is dignity. And access to essential public services safeguards the dignity of those living in poverty.
Why the new initiative?
“Moses founded African Development Choices to carry out his mission of empowering communities and leaders in Africa to manage local resources and meet local needs independently.”
As a child growing up in Kenya, Moses wondered why there was so much poverty around him. As he got older and became more politically aware, it occurred to me that the the answer is three-fold:
- Leaders mismanage local resources and fail to provide access to essential public services to their communities, thus exacerbating poverty.
- Communities have low expectations of what can be achieved if local resources are better managed, due to lack of precedence.
- As a result of the above, communities lack capacity to demand accountability in the provision of essential public services by their leaders.
So, Moses founded African Development Choices to carry out his mission of empowering communities and leaders in Africa to manage local resources and meet local needs independently. We do this using our innovative Three-Step Approach to development.
How does the new approach work?
“Our new approach is based on three steps: setting new precedence, raising expectations, and promoting community participation.”
Unfortunately, mismanagement of local resources by leaders is the entrenched precedent in Africa. This has diminished communities’ expectations of what can be achieved if local resources are better managed. Due to the dimished expectations, communities lack capacity to hold their leaders accountable. In other words, lack of good predence leads to low expectations, which in turn leads to lack of community participation.
This is based on our philosophy i.e. people’s lived experiences shape their beliefs, and their beliefs shape their expectations, and their expectations shape their realities.
So, in order to empower communities in Africa to hold their leaders accountable, we must first raise peoples’ expectations of what can be achieved if local resources are better managed. And to raise expectations, we must first set precedence to better management of local resources.
Setting new precedence gives people new lived experiences, which leads to new beliefs, new expectations, and new realities.
Our innovative Three-Step Approach to development provides the solution as follows:
Step 1: Set precedence to better management of local resources
We achieve this by fundraising and initiating school and community projects that deliver essential public services such as clean water, new toilets, and child-friendly facilities like playgrounds; while being accountable and transparent about the use of resources.
Step 2: Raise expectations of what can be achieved if local resources are better managed
We achieve this by informing communities the true cost of delivering our projects; and encouraging comparisons between the cost and impact of our projects with the cost and impact of projects initiated by local leaders using local resources.
Step 3: Promote citizen participation and empowerment
We achieve this by informing communities how to play an active role in the decisions made about spending of local resources on public services. This will empower communities to demand accountability in the provision of essential public services to meet local needs.
What makes this approach different?
“Our approach builds the capacity of Africans to break free from the cocoon of poverty and fly away to a better life.”
Let’s use the analogy of a butterfly and cocoon to illustrate the problem. The reason the butterfly goes through the struggle of breaking the cocoon by beating its wings against the cocoon is to build the strenth of its wings to fly. When the wings are strong enough to break the cocoon, they are strong enough to fly. If you break the cocoon to save the caterpillar from the struggle, you cripple its wings and it will never be able to fly away to a better life.
Like a caterpillar, Africans are struggling to break free from the cocoon of poverty. If they don’t have the capacity to break the cocoon by themselves, they will not be able to fly away and escape poverty. So, Africans don’t need someone else to break the cocoon to save them from the struggle; they need help to build the capacity to break the cocoon.
Current and traditional approaches to development have sought to build the capacity of those living in poverty to lift themselves out of poverty, but they do not focus on setting new precedence in order to raise people’s expectations. As a result, they fail to address the root cause of this lack of capacity in Africa. And without addressing the root cause of the problem, these approaches have so far failed in their efforts to help Africans build the capacity to break free from the cocoon of poverty.
Our approach provides the solution by empowering local communities and leaders in Africa to manage local resources and meet local needs independently.
Be a part of the change
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Click here to visit our crowdfunding page and donate to our latest school and community project by making a single or monthly donation.
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