As a Board member I have personally seen the consistent results of Outreach International's work in Bolivia, Nicaragua and the Philippines. Sending only a trained facilitator (who is a local national) to teach cooperation and inspire hope, the power of community spirit and working together transforms poverty into prosperity and hope.
Too often we assume that poverty can only be changed by material things from the outside. Instead, it is an intrinsic thing on the inside that really changes poverty. Outreach International's "Participatory Human Development Process" transforms how a village thinks about themselves, others and the challenges that result in poverty, and provides a new way to address those challenges.
It is a joy to see the results and hear the stories of those who have together improved their lives for a better, sustainable future.
Outreach International is the only poverty-fighting organization I know that takes the time -- the patient, long-term view-- to ensure lasting change. They combine research, experience, and fundamental one-to-one relationships in the field to foster independence and self-reliance. Then, each generation in the village models that behavior for generations to follow. So the resulting change stays there, for good.
From the perspective of a Board member and a regular donor who has visited Nicaragua three times with Outreach International, I can tell you that it means so much to hear the community members in a developing country speak with personal pride about the things they have done for themselves and their communities. Outreach employs local people to facilitate communities to organize and get what they need and want. Why wouldn't I love this sustainable magic?
I was looking to get involved with a charity that made a meaningful difference in helping people take control of their lives to build their own better futures. Outreach International "teaches" villages how to get things done to improve their circumstances. We have better long term data than any other group I'm aware of that demonstrates that our villages are legitimately better off and that those changes stick. We embed highly trained locals that guide villages through what is essentially a change management process. For the first two years a lot of hand holding is required, but that quickly phases out as teams learn how to improve on whatever their most pressing need is, whether that's food, shelter, sanitation, medical care, education, it doesn't matter. Outreach teaches how to work as a team to build long term solutions. We typically are involved with a village for roughly 5 years, after that they are able to make progress independently. If you teach a man to fish...
Poverty has no simple or easy solution. Outreach International has a validated process that teaches people how to drastically improve the quality of their lives by focusing on problems that most need solving. Outreach teaches empowerment so that villages can solve current, and future problems. Data supports these conclusions, Outreach rigorously tracks progress across key measures and has many years of supporting data showing the success of this approach. Outreach makes a sustainable difference and richly deserves your support.
I have supported the wonderful work Outreach International does for over 20 years! I've had the privilege of volunteering as a Board member to attend two trips to the field (at my own expense) to see the work of empowerment in action in Nicaragua and Bolivia: new homes, latrines, and clean water in Nicaragua and smokeless ovens, greenhouses to grow fresh vegetables, and trees planted for harvest in Bolivia. It was an amazing experience to hear the local people in both locations talk about THEIR accomplishments as they worked together to better their lives. What a wonderful gifts were developed beginning with the work of Outreach: a sense of pride in new found abilities, a culture of consciously working together in community toward a common goal for the good of all, and, the realization that extreme poverty does not have to be a continual way of life.
Outreach International builds confidence in people living in poverty to solve their own challenges and teaches them the skills they need to improve their lives! As a volunteer Board member, I've seen smiles of pride on the faces of community members building safe, concrete homes and meeting together to wrestle with their problems of water availability in Nicaragua. High on the pampas in Bolivia, I visited some of the poorest communities in the country where families were learning to grow fresh fruits and vegetables in green houses they had built themselves and were learning farming techniques for growing trees to sell for lumber. Outreach International truly stands for sustainable good!
Outreach International engages the collaborative energy of the whole village to sustainably address poverty. Instead of dependency ("giving a man a fish"), the Participatory Human Deveopment Process of Outreach International facilitates lasting change and capability ("teaching the village how to fish together"). This approach is both efficient and effective, as it only requires one trained facilitator to organize and equip the village to transform itself. I have seen this success in dozens of villages in m trips to Bolivia, Nicragua and the Philippines.
Coming from a financial background, I am most interested in organizations who address the problem of poverty with both financial effectiveness and sound, open financial stewardship of the gifts from their donors. Outreach International excels on both accounts. I have personally seen, in a self-funded site visit to the Bolivian Andes, how donor contributions change the current and future lives of men, women and children, with dignity and empowerment. I also pay close attention to how funds are being spent on administration, and again I consistently see personal responsibility and careful management of donations at all levels of the organization. Outreach International is a rare breath of fresh air!
Outreach International is a truly unique organization in the way that it approaches the problem of poverty. Few organizations are patient enough to do it right -- break the cycle of dependence that so many of the world's poor have on outsiders, and create change within the hearts, minds and spirit of the poor themselves.
Through Outreach International, communities embrace a new life-view -- defined by solving problems for themselves, by themselves. Then, as the younger generation in these communities witness the success that comes from self-motivated change, they perpetuate the practice until it becomes a part of the culture for the long term.
There is nothing temporary about the impact of Outreach International -- the change is lasting, sustainable, and passed down through successive generations in the village.
This is the way to do it.
I have worked with and served on the boards of a number of charitable organizations. Outreach International is made up of exceptional people doing very good work to produce REAL results in locations around the world where the needs are substantial. It is a classic "Teach A Man To Fish....." model - and it works.
I have visited in many of the International locations where this organization has project work, and find the work inspiring and truly sustainable. Teaching people to truly help themselves by working together with their neighbor to identify and solve their community issues means improving their life situations.