Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Organization Profile: A Single Drop

"Teach a man to fish..." We all know how to finish that saying. It sticks with us because it makes intuitive sense - teach someone how to provide for themselves, and they will no longer need your help. Basically, this is the work A Single Drop does - teaching local organizations the basics of water technologies and implementation so that they can do it themselves.
A Single Drop started in the Philippines and has recently expanded to Africa. Their philosophy focuses on providing a training workshop to local communities, which afterward will form a water group to manage local water resources. This training lasts for several weeks, with each week covering different aspects of implementing a community-wide water program. The first week teaches the community how to inventory their needs and identify areas for improvement. The second week is devoted to teaching the actual water technologies - embankments, rainwater collection, sand filters, sanitary toilets, etc. The last two weeks focus on budgeting, fund raising, and bookkeeping.

A Single Drop provides the training to implement projects - the actual construction is left to the local communities. This ensures that the communities take ownership of their own development. Also, by explaining water issues during the first week of training, A Single Drop helps to "open the communities eyes" so to speak, but doesn't tell the community what it needs. In this way, the community learns to identify its own problems. It can then look to the available technologies and decide which is most appropriate to their situation. The solution may look different for each group.A Single Drop follows a philosophy of growing influence in the world of development NGO's - working alongside communities to provide assistance, but not just giving things away. The idea is that when recipients take ownership of their development, the projects that are established will last long after the group providing assistance has left. In this way, long-term, sustainable development can be achieved.

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