Development Work

For us, development work doesn’t mean just handing out money. Money alone isn’t a long-term or sustainable solution. On the contrary, that’s how dependency is created. Our understanding of development work is based on three principles:

firstly, we act entrepreneurially
We support entrepreneurial projects, particularly microcredit projects and agricultural projects, such as the production of vegetables or soybeans and rice. We implement projects in a way that helps the beneficiaries build up their own businesses and earn their own income. It’s all about helping others help themselves. We only provide money when we see that the will is there to do something useful with it and to turn an entrepreneurial idea into a reality.

secondly, we accompany our project partners
We accompany our project partners as they build their businesses. Together with them, we plan and implement the projects and monitor and evaluate them as time goes on. We remain by their side until the project partners can run the projects on their own, meaning until the projects pay for themselves. In order to accomplish this, we’ve set up local organizations which remain very close to the action while the projects reach maturity. They coach, educate and of course encourage.

thirdly, we act sustainably
We aim to ensure that our partners are capable of operating the projects on their own. This means that they’re able to save enough money to secure a living on the one hand, and keep the business up and running on the other. Additionally, we make sure that things are done sustainably by gently and carefully using natural resources. This is how we work with renewable energy. The pumping and irrigation systems in our projects are powered using solar energy and we also rely on sustainable agricultural methods and measures.

In the cooler evenings the students of the Gambian Youth Project work in the vegetable gardens for a couple of hours. ©Sarah Keßler/ Sabab Lou

Vegetables growing the gardens of the Gambian Youth Project ©Sarah Keßler/Sabab Lou