Self-Sufficiency projects assist organizations in becoming more financially stable and less dependent on donations. They aid in creating savings and often also generating revenue in ways that will not require additional outside funding to maintain the initiative. We developed the “Sustainable Projects Model” for designing and implementing projects.
Sustainable Projects Model
While “sustainability” is a buzzword which is frequently used in development, Kitechild has a high standard for declaring a project sustainable. Kitechild believes in working with our partners on projects which enable them to become more self-sufficient while ensuring that the partner can fully take over and maintain the project after Kitechild has assisted with implementation. Kitechild normally hands over complete control of self-sufficiency projects to the partner after three years.
Partners must be capable of continuing initiatives even after Kitechild has withdrawn from the project and after there has been turnover of staff connected with the project. They must be able to service and repair equipment or have it repaired when things break (this is a common problem for many development projects. They break and cannot be repaired). Knowledge of relevant skills need to rest in the organization and in the people who come and go from the organization, not just in Kitechild or the one person who was initially trained as a supervisor. Kitechild calls this our Sustainable Projects Model.
The pillars of this Sustainable Projects Model are:
Partnership – Kitechild finds partners and works with them as equals, where each party is responsible for various aspects of the project. The partners must have buy-in from their organization, not just one trail-blazing individual. Kitechild rejects dependency models and unending projects addressing the same challenge at an organization. Rather, we look to create long-term relationships to walk together and grow as partners’ capacity and capabilities increase and as programming shifts to address new community needs. We take on larger and more complex issues with a partner as the relationship deepens.
Self-Sufficiency – The project itself when fully implemented will generate savings, revenue or both in order for it to be maintained without additional funding. It will aid the organization or families involved into becoming self-sufficient so that they are better able to plan, budget, improve the quality of care of their children, and become independent.
Eco-Conscious – Projects are mindful of creating the smallest possible impact on the environment and attempt to reduce dirty energy. They may utilize green farming, renewable energy, provide clean water, reduce greenhouse emissions, or improve biodiversity.
Collaboration – Kitechild and our partners look outward to ask “Who can we work with? How can we reach out?” We strive to network partners to our contacts in the government, other organizations, and industry to increase impact, grow resources, support efforts, and magnify scope and scale. We encourage our partners to outreach to the community to offer their knowledge to their child residents, families of staff & residents, neighbors, and university & technical school students. The partner and Kitechild collaborate together but look to create synergy, magnifying the impact of a simple project to intersect with and assist others. Our partnership reaches beyond itself to improve the community and overcome the fragmentation of society.
The Standard of Care Trainings aid our children’s residential center partners to adapt best practices and improve the quality of care provided. Our primary focus has been Reintegration Training for children’s residential homes. While Kitechild fully recognized that the ideal place for a child is in a family, we acknowledge that societies and governments do not change overnight. Unilaterally shutting down residential centers, especially well-run ones, without addressing the complex issues, such as poverty, lack of healthcare and education, harmful cultural practices like female genital mutilation and early marriage, creates an even more dangerous situation for many children.
As the Kenyan government has provided limited guidance and resources for children’s residential centers, community organizations, and public services, we are helping children’s residential centers to shift their purpose from being institutional homes to transitional and rehabilitative programming so that children can return to family-based care as soon as is safe and appropriate.