Our partnerships make us very cost effective. In one village, we recently obtained a 9:1 matching grant from government and village input, creating a warm space and learning center and training its staff for the entire village of over 150 persons with a minimal cash input. Human Resource matching grants are just as high: government departments depute their finest teachers to our training programs, and villagers provide us with food and housing for any training we conduct 'out in the sticks'. Our total in-India administration costs remain below 10%.
Our programs stress facilitation rather than charity. Villages join our program for a 3-year period, with every household in the village signing a co-operation agreement. We target women and children as they are most often the ones disenfranchised by development aid. The women organize a village co-operative through which they gain new skills, improve conditions and create a micro-enterprise which pays for their own future projects. The co-operative directs all village projects – allowing for inclusive ownership, power being channeled back to the village and strong new relationships. The women make their own links to other NGOs and government officials. When we leave, the relationships endure.
While we only focus on a few villages each year, the learning from program design and implementation is shared across a region the size of the state of Michigan. Through our partnerships, we jointly operate teacher training programs for any teachers serving remote villages and the government resource people responsible for future training programs. We create tri-lingual learning materials (in all local languages, and English) for adult literacy, the Department of Health and government primary schools across the region. Our women's cooperatives, and their training programs, are already the model used by the entire district. They have created successful micro-enterprises in a dozen remote villages. Our interns are now successfully placed in 4 Government departments working throughout the district.