- How do you know what families need and how long to support them?
Based on the results of our early 2016 socioeconomic & demographic survey, we mapped each family's current status on our Path to Prosperity framework. The Path to Prosperity framework tracks family progress toward sustainably overcoming poverty.
The majority of families today in five of our active villages - Tierra Nueva, Luz del Mañana, San José, Bella vista and Piedra de Horeb - fall between the Asset Building and Asset Growth stages. They have made extensive gains in food security, health and well-being, and established fledging farming businesses with high-value crops. Alongside targeted investments, the survey identified that families' main area of need is strengthening the sustainability and profitability of their farming businesses.
We have determined that over two years, with your help, we can make the necessary investments in each family's agricultural skills and business acumen to establish strong farms with in-demand, high-value, high-quality crop cultivation. We've also established contracts with major private sector agricultural buyers for each crop we are investing in with families. Over two years, families can develop a track record of success with these private sector partners, taking ownership over these crucial relationships that will sustain their farms' profitability into the future.
Importantly, we do not have a two-year plan for La Bendición, our newest community, founded in 2015, because those families still have six years left on their eight-year timeline of work with us. La Bendición's families will have a separate plan, to be released soon.
- Why is the administrative cost so high?
Our model provides a holistic array of resources, skills development, positive behavioral training, and the establishment of connections with private and public institutions. Unlike most international development operations, who offer a single investment in family well-being, we attack the complex determinants of poverty. This shifts, over an 8+ year partnership with families in a newly-formed community, from building secure homes and accessing clean water, to the development of profitable, family-owned farming businesses, and the establishment of strong, functioning governance committees and lasting connections with government service providers and private agricultural markets.
Our work with families is both resource-intensive, especially during early infrastructure-building stages, and staff-intensive. The transformational change we create with families is only possible through close, trusting relationships between families and local staff who spend the majority of their hours alongside families.
- Why is the agricultural investment so high right now?
Our holistic work with families shifts over time, as they build their village from bare earth into a thriving community. For the first several years with families, our investments are primarily in village infrastructure, including homes, clean water systems, sewage and waste disposal. Initial investments to connect families with rural healthcare outreach systems and provide training on hygiene also taper off as health improves and sustainable systems are established.
On the other hand, our investments in market-led agriculture will steadily increase. Our longterm goal is to leave families with sustainable and profitable farming businesses, providing high-value crops to major private market partners. But we cannot focus on this crucial area of our work with families until they are living in secure homes, with access to clean water, enough food and their children in school. Happily, thanks to your investment, the majority of our active communities have progressed substantially beyond basic security. Today, agricultural investment is the area where we can make the greatest impact on families' longterm well-being.