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Communities are an adaptive system consiting of interconnected sub-systems driven by purpose, relationships, certain norms and rules, and the specificities of their context.  These dynamic sub-systems operate in multiple local realities which are constantly evolving or re-shaping. Strengthening systems to promote community self-reliance requires the facilitating of each community to act through the analysis of its own systems

Facilitating communities to empower and sustain themselves is an achievable goal which requires a systematic and coherent self-help approach. This is enabled by strong community will and cost sharing; an openness to truly collaborative practices with state and non-state actors; vigorous commitment to an ambitious vision; and modest though adequate resourcing that is well-targeted

Improving the choices of poor people through improved access to development opportunities requires us to understand our efforts in the context of national policies; to reduce inequities in access to services that improve development outcomes; to cultivate genuine partnerships with the communities and local governments with whom we work; to make available a credible evidence base; while always remaining focused on the rights (and responsibilities) of all people to ensure the highest attainable standard of physical and mental well-being for all. Apart from tapping available resources, such an approach requires and leads to tapping apparently “untapped” local resources.

Working through strong partnerships across sectors with local, national and international organisations presents us with opportunities to see ourselves as part of an array of initiatives to increase impact, share learning and facilitate outcomes far beyond the capacity of our own resources. In our experience this requires a genuine alignment of core operating principles around strategic goals and a capacity to respectfully accommodate a diversity of views. We are prepared to invest the time, effort and resources required to build genuine partnerships that help realise our vision and to respectfully withdraw where they do not.

Separating the management of services (by asset owners), from the licensing of compliance (by local governments), from the regulation of failure (by the central government) can improve the incentives to ensure services for all. By strengthening the legal, social, economic, technology and arbitration instruments deployed by local governments we seek to innovate to demonstrate the potential effectiveness of decentralizing service provision functions without necessarily devolving the associated funds and functionaries.

Building a strong and dynamic organisation capable of positively impacting public opinion, policies and practices in Bangladesh has clearly demonstrated the value of attracting, investing in and retaining quality staff. Along with our Board members and supporters who identify with our Vision we seek to work together to meaningfully contribute as part of a team to deliver ambitious development outcomes

Since 1994, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Swiss Red Cross (SRC), The World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), NETZ, WaterAid Bangladesh, HYSAWA, local governments, NGOs, and civil society organizations, we have demonstrated our openness to work in new areas with new partners to improve development impact.