Philosophy and Approach
Sustainability Partners is founded on three beliefs:
While people in the developed world are increasingly worried about sustainability in the face of environmental damage and social disorder, for a majority of the world's population the main concern is to escape from poverty and achieve adequate levels of nutrition, health and security. We believe it is possible to have both - indeed it is impossible to protect the environment without addressing poverty.
Major initiatives by governments, global corporations and large NGOs are needed but they are crude tools, often inefficient and slow to reach the most needy. Small scale initiatives by local enthusiasts are far more effective but often struggle due to lack of funds and organisational skills.
Sums of money that seem almost trivial to us can achieve a great deal in poor areas. The price of a meal in an average restaurant in Europe or the USA can support a rural social worker and her family for a month.
Based on these beliefs, our approach is to find small organisations and individuals who are already working to improve the lives of themselves and their neighbours and support them in their efforts. We choose people who demonstrate vision, determination and courage. We rely on them to know their own society and its needs; we do not impose our own vision of development.
We offer modest but regular, long term financial support and access to knowledge, ideas and skills training.
By providing a minimum level of 'no strings' financing we enable people to develop their organisational skills, decision making ability and self-confidence. The results of our support are not a new school or clinic but a stronger organisation able to raise its own funds and sustain its work in the future.
Here are some examples of the things our partners do to help themselves: