Poverty to Prosperity for Those Who Had Lost Hopes

Poverty to Prosperity for Those Who Had Lost Hopes

Nepal
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Poverty means different things to different people. Poverty is not the result of only economic deprivation. The reasons and causes of poverty are multi-faceted. WATCH believes that poverty is not only caused by economic issues but by social and cultural and educational status, level of participation in the political and development activities. Above all, it is the dependency mentality and lack of awareness, skills, commitment for managing available resources. Rather than looking at possibilities and opportunities available or created by situations, people like to look at them as problems which make them immobile because problems are numerous and emerge every minute. But problems create opportunities and possibilities which need to be utilized and managed for prosperity.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

WATCH usually works with the poorest, oppressed, disadvantaged, and socially stigmatized communities especially rural women; people with disabilities, affected by leprosy and HIV; sex workers, children and prisoners’ children, etc. They may own a hut and a small piece of land. They totally depend upon daily wages which ranges from Rs. 80 (one US dollar) to Rs. 200 (two and half dollar). They are totally indebted and do not know how mush and when they have taken loans. The interest rate charged is up to 120%. They need to take loans for emergencies and lean period when they do not find labour. They live hand to mouth and try to do anything for survival. Usually if male members find jobs, they squander their wages on alcoholic drinks and food. Out of extreme frustrations they come home and beat wives and children. There is a lot of cases of wives running away and males having more than one wives. Politically they are almost nobody. Their votes are bought with money, dresses, other fake luxuries and feast with meat. The data show that poverty level has come down from 42% to 21% but those people who are living in extreme poverty are never reached, no program is developed to address them. As they lack awareness about their human, constitutional and legal rights they are not even entitled to get benefits which they are supposed to receive. Usually they have 4-10 children who live in miserable conditions and become source of income for the family. Women work for 16-18 hours and are oppressed by society, community and family all.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

1. Concept: Concept itself is innovative because it takes poorest people as resourceful rather than helpless people. Resources are there and abundant, management of which lead to prosperity in terms of economic gain, happiness, peace of mind, identification goal and vision of life. People are capable and can do but they need to see possibilities and opportunities and translate them to action plans. People need to make their own decisions to engender commitment and develop self-esteem. 2. Selection of area: With local government officials and key informants poorest area of the district and poorest communities are identified. After integration with communities and information about the idea poorest households are selected using well-being ranking by the communities themselves. 3. Money and support are not hanged before them to motivate them rather they are helped to assess their own situation and capabilities through transect walks of each and every corner and make decisions about improvement or management. Then they develop action plans to do concrete things, during which they may need resources for which joint efforts are made to look for them. It is not a giving for free but looking for options which help them do so again and again. It captures inner or self motivation. 4. It is holistic, life giving and life changing. A person can not be beautiful making his/her nose or ear or dress beautiful. In Hindu it says one has to have 36 characteristics to be beautiful. Similarly; a person has capability to deal with all the situations and manage properly for development.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

WATCH first lets the people evaluate themselves on their current situation and how those people feel about it. This is based on eight stages of dialogue and conversations that are held with the people in question to determine; 1. Analysis of situation by making transect walk of available resources 2. Are they satisfied with what they have or not? 3. With the things they are satisfied with how do they want to continue or improve? 4. With the things they are not satisfied with what they think could be done or changed to improve their situation? 5. Based on this what kind of plan they want to make for themselves? 6. What kind of resources they have to manage or support the plan? 7. How can others help them carry out this plan? 8. What would they be or become if all things happened? (vision) The main activity will be "Poverty to Prosperity". The poorest families will be selected by well-being ranking by communities. They will go through process of "Poverty to Prosperity" exercise. Based on experiences until now, WATCH has come to conclusion that it is possible, feasible and viable. However, staff needs to be trained properly to conduct this exercise and also needs political training to engender commitments towards poor and vulnerable groups as well as making them independent and self-reliant. Besides, the family requires regular follow-up visits for reflections and change. Those who take part in this program have to fulfill some of the requirements like cleanliness, sanitation, children’s education, no early marriage, self respect, and so on.
About You
Organization:
Women Acting Together for Change (WATCH)
About You
First Name

Sarmila

Last Name

Shrestha

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About Your Organization
Organization Name

Women Acting Together for Change (WATCH)

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

WATCH being a right and value based organization, its advisor Dr, Narayan Kaji Shrestha made efforts to make it a democratic, inclusive, participatory, learning and action-reflection based organization. Dr. Shrestha had spearheaded user groups based community forestry programs in Nepal and elsewhere. He is a pioneer. He wanted to transfer concept and processes in the NGOs. He strongly believes that people given opportunities and being able to see values and importance make positive decisions and implement. If they are involved in decision making they develop commitment. WATCH involves management, staff and partners in policy making, program development, implementation and evaluation. WATCH has a system of periodical review, reflection and planning system with all those involved in the projects and organization.

WATCH initiated group managed saving and credit program but most of them being illiterate and not having such experiences a lot of problems cropped up. However, WATCH remained intact in its belief on people having rights to make decisions. WAYCH also provided them with investment to initiate income generation activities. Some of them were successful in making some money but they still did not have self-esteem, holistic vision about oneself, family and environment. It took only one to be sick once and they will loose all their earnings. So WATCH reached a conclusion that without vision people will not be able to reach their goals because of lack of direction. Resources are abundant and available, they need to be identified and managed.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

Success relates to desired changes and moving towards them. Visioning is made simple in terms what they want to be within certain period of time. To reach to those visions objectives are specified and activities are identified. Periodic action plans are made to do such activities gradually and systematically. Vision, goals, activities and action plans developed remain with the beneficiaries and every three months they are reviewed, reflected and further changes made. So it is not a one step plan but regularly reflected and reviewed. The documentation developed thus itself show the changes and success, If participants are doing committed actions and activities, they are moving towards success. There is a possibility of adding one section in the plan to identify measures of success through indicators with questions like how you know that you are successful or moving towards success. A database of each participant with existing condition and changes occurred in every three months will be developed. Similarly, a map of existing situation is developed and changes are plotted every six months. The existing situation and changes occurred afterwards will also be recorded visually by camera. At the end of year participants are invited for interactions with each other to share experiences including attempts, failures and successes; which will be recorded. Self monitoring will be encouraged and formats for this will be developed and regularly analyzed and used for feedback.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

101-1,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

1,001-10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

It is a strong belief that this process not only helps alleviation of poverty but moves people towards being enterprising and innovative. Those who want to reach the poorest and help them to be self-reliant will have to follow this process. The development process has made poor poorer, beggar and dependent. They lack self-esteem and self respect. The concept of assessing resources by transect walks, identifying possibilities and opportunities to improve and manage, developing periodic action plans with reflections, and letting beneficiaries themselves make decisions, etc. are applicable in any situation of personal and community development. National and international level workshops will be organized to share the process and learning so that others can learn and adapt to their situation.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

One hindrance will be right minded facilitators because they also try to impose and become expert. They like to give rather than help people to be self-reliant. Imposing ideas and giving support are easy things, whereas preparing people to make their own decisions and become self-reliant are not that easy. The facilitators need to know of various alternatives so that they can introduce them in discussions. For this cascade training, mentoring, review and reflection, feedback and regular interaction for sharing and learning will be arranged. As most of the so-called development organizations and government agencies are happy to give and make poor people dependent on them creating a mindset of begging and doing nothing by oneself, the project will face an uphill task to change such mentality to being self-reliant. However, with success stories, challenging such mind set and inculcating self-esteem and pride such mentality can be changed, Media plays critical role in terms of creating positive environment about the concept and process, so they will be reoriented from the beginning and used for sharing and reporting. Technical know how and support may not be sufficient in the project, the project will take an approach of helping oneself. The project will identify possible resources and help beneficiaries to use them and also to look for more resources by themselves. Initially the project will also provide monetary support but later they will have to learn to utilize financing institutions. WATCH will create a revolving fund for Poverty to Prosperity.

Tell us about your partnerships

The concept is result of working with poor and disadvantaged people and communities for 30 years to make them self reliant and independent with dignity. So there are inputs from all sectors including reflection on experiences and learning from others successes and failures. It is still evolving and not complete yet. Inputs from academia can not be denied because idea came from study and learning from others also. In the field level, WATCH has groups and federations or networks who will be active partner in this proves. Some of them may even initiate the similar projects and learn from each other. WATCH plans to promote local organizations to implement projects so that it van involve itself in other innovations. WATCH accepts any individual and organizations as equal partner rather than donor and recipient. WATCH is against the notion of donor and beggar. Even those who participate in the project are active contributor and participant. WATCH plans to promote such concept and wants to collaborate with any body or organizations who like to stand on equal footing regardless of their financial or human resources situation. There is need to respect each other.

Explain your selections

The project is supported by the donors who provide funding based on submitted proposals. Especially Ford Foundation, AIFO, Shapla Neer and The New Zealand Leprosy Mission contributed and helped to pilot the idea. As WATCH slowly plans to be self reliant itself too, it has created a revolving fund for Poverty to Prosperity. It aims to collect substantial amount so that the project can run by itself without getting support from outside. Some individuals, friends, family members and staff also have contributed, It plans to have some fund raising for this purpose. Once the cycle is complete and once results are made public, it is expected that voluntary donations for the project will be available. WAYCH has experience of raising funds and making project independent. Its girl’s scholarship program has already been independent, It runs by profit of investments or interest The project plans to allocate substantial portion of award to the fund. If it foes well there will be donors to fund this project, however, WATCH wants to make it independent after certain time and continue to innovate and do piloting rather than scaling up at the level of projects. WATCH wants to transfer learning to others so that they implement projects because WATCH wants to continue to innovate and do piloting for learning.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

The project has to be holistic covering all aspects of life and living including positive attitude and forward looking thinking with time bound vision with achievable goals and objectives. Still there is need to address mental and attitudinal aspects. Skills needed to engender such mental aspects have to be identified and translated into a training design to train facilitators. The whole process has to be piloted and evaluated properly. Proper mechanism of monitoring and evaluation has to be developed. Mechanism and material for self monitoring for illiterate and barely literate has to be developed. Data base system has to be developed. Proper analytical tools have to be developed or adapted. A mechanism for dissemination has to be developed. A system of regular review, reflection and planning has to be strengthened. The project has to be made visible through publicity by media, presenting articles in workshops and seminars. A cadre of facilitators have to be trained for which a cascade training packages have to be designed and implemented. Follow up support and mentoring system has to be developed. Case studies have to be written and published. Process and impact related videos have to be developed. Over all workshops and seminars have to be organized at various levels for sharing, learning and getting feedback. Resource directory for getting support needs to be developed. Sustainable revolving fund has to be created and made operational. Linkages with government agencies, service providers and financial institutions have to be made operational.

Challenges
Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Lack of access to information and networks

SECONDARY

Lack of skills/training

TERTIARY

Lack of visibility and investment

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Available and abundant resources are not identified, and possibilities and opportunities inherent in them for self employment are not explored and utilized. The project makes people aware of them and help them to access by themselves through transect-walks and assessing every aspect, events and things to come to conclusions regarding the management. Doing new things may need to learn skills for which hands-on training need to be organized; may need new attitude for which old attitude has to be challenged and required attitude needs to be inculcated. People do things which make them proud so their actions have to be made visible through publicity by media and visits. Funding may be required for which a revolving fund is created and later encouraged to utilize financial institutions.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services

SECONDARY

Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

TERTIARY

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

The process has gone through various cycles like initial focus on making money, to utilizing and managing available resources by looking at possibilities and opportunities, to looking holistically of all aspects of life and living, to developing vision and mind set of being independent and happy. The latter process are just realized but not properly introduced so they will be focused and introduced. NGOs and media will be invited to see the process and results for sharing and feedback. Some local level interaction will be organized for learning and influencing. As the concept and process are applicable in other situations also such opportunities are explored. The next step is to move from individual and family level to community level and use it in the community development.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, Technology providers, NGOs/Nonprofits.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Government provides technical services and has many welfare schemes for poor and disadvantaged, They are taken as support resources in the project and people are encouraged to use them when needed. Simple technologies like solar lights, urine manure, liquid manure, drip irrigation, smokeless stove, etc. make life easier and healthy, Proper timely inoculations protect people from deadly diseases and their impacts. A lot of people are poor and unhappy because of no knowledge of simple technologies and where to get them and how to use them. NGOs are there to support poor people and communities. Until now they come with their own baggage but if people start demanding they will try to fulfill such demands. Collaboration is there mainly to support and provide resources.