Is Vision of Community Any Different than Traditional Development?

The end result of FHIF’s work is what we call: Vision of Community (VOC).  This means a sustainable, healthy community that can keep growing without us. If a community still needs FHIF’s outside funding or experts, we have not succeeded.

There are two major differences between VOC and traditional development programs:

  1. The Process
    For VOC, the ideal steps in the process are:  1) Relationship Building, 2) Leader Training, 3) Asset and Problem Analysis, 4) Future Vision Creation, 5) Planning, 6) Implementation, 7) Review Results, 8) Celebration.Most conventional strategies switch this order, especially putting Leader Training nearer the end to carry on the organization’s program. But in this case, who is the owner?  Unfortunately, we become the owners and this is not sustainable.
  2. Answering the question, “When have we finished?”
    For VOC, the answer is when the community can keep growing themselves. Our aim is a process, not a level.
    Conversely, for traditional development, success is often a level.  For example, 90% of a community’s children are immunized.  But this is not the same as VOC.  For VOC, if 25% of the children are immunized, but we are convinced the community can keep immunizing themselves, we are on the road to success and can begin to carefully step away.

Interestingly, VOC appears to be much slower. in the first couple of years.  In the longrun, however, creating a sustainable VOC process is dramatically quicker, less expensive, and more sustainable then traditional ways.

Reflection:  What order of steps are you using in your community?  How is it working?