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The history of development aid and well-intentioned giving throughout the poorest parts of the world has been rife with problems, obstacles and outright failures. Recent development efforts have pursued a community-focused model, placing a greater emphasis on social development and human empowerment. FCDE’s approach arises from this ideal - that community development, done properly, can significantly improve people’s lives and the welfare of entire communities.
FCDE’s founding members began their international community development work at the grassroots level, working in impoverished communities from Africa to Eastern Europe to the South Pacific. They experienced firsthand the challenges facing these regions and partnered with community groups, organizations, and local visionary leaders to address core issues like poor health, lack of education, and social inequity.
Over the years, as FCDE’s members’ work in the development field has diversified, each of us has remained steadfast in our belief in one aspect of development: effective sustainable development must empower communities and increase the capacity of local organizations to address development needs. This model is comprehensive with notions of justice, dignity, and true community participation. Sound development practices attend to the basic needs of a region.
Local people, communities, and organizations are best equipped to guide development in their communities. Sustainable development has not successfully progressed in many parts of the world because traditional aid and development policy has not properly engaged the intended recipients of development funds. The FCDE model advocates for a greater investment in people and their capacity for creating real change.
FCDE’s approach gains a wider perspective on social struggles in development because it addresses root causes and is built on legal foundations, with community participation as a core component. Our model is to enhance the holistic support for a community by delivering capacity-building services to organizations that work in seven key areas: health, education, small business development, social justice, women’s empowerment, HIV/AIDS, and the environment.
At the same time, we support and partner with the leaders, grassroots groups, and organizations that have already made strides towards improving their communities. FCDE's work aims to bridge the gaps, helping partner organizations overcome the obstacles that impede their initial community development initiatives. We provide resources, seed funds, technical training, and hire local personnel to create an environment where local people driving development come together and support each other. As community development strives to build upon the strengths and capacities of people, it is intimately connected to the needs, rights and will of the community in order to bring about structural change.
This is just the beginning of our story. We hope that it is one that resonates with you and that you’ll share it with friends and find a way to personally get involved.