What we do

The Assisi approach

Assisi’s approach to community development has evolved over the 40 years of working with disadvantaged communities. Our success is due to our commitment to supporting tangible, practical and most importantly, self-sustaining initiatives in disadvantaged communities. Assisi works directly with communities, particularly women, to alleviate poverty through initiatives such as Self-Help/Savings Groups, micro-enterprise and educational, health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services.

Our Goals

By June 2020, Assisi aims to achieve the following goals:

  1. Increase women’s social, economic and political empowerment
  2. Advance transformational change in institutional and social norms impacting gender equality
  3. Ensure organisational effectiveness, sustainability and accountability
  4. Enhance organisational and sector learning

Our Strategies

Assisi will implement the following strategies to achieve our goals:

1.    Ensure our work is informed by context specific gender analysis

In all countries where Assisi works, we will engage and consult with local partners and communities to develop a deep understanding of gender dynamics and the barriers to women’s economic, social and political participation.

2.  Prioritise projects that target women’s social, economic and political empowerment

Assisi will maintain and expand our support for programs targeting gender equality and women’s economic, social and political empowerment. Assisi will work with, and support, existing local women’s organisations and networks, recognising the leading role of these organisations in driving change. We will provide organisational development and technical support to our local partner organisations to improve their capacity to utilise a self-help group (SHG) approach for empowerment. The SHG approach maximises women’s economic empowerment by improving savings and asset accumulation, financial literacy and improving women’s economic self-sufficiency. Furthermore, the SHG approach has the added advantage of contributing to women’s social capital through building solidarity and peer support networks among women, creating safe (women only) spaces in which women take leadership roles and building women’s confidence to act collectively to achieve real social change.

3.  Challenge discriminatory gender norms, particularly by working with children

In recognition that cultural change can take generations to achieve, working with children (boys and girls) to breakdown gender bias and discrimination represents a key strategy for achieving sustainable change. Assisi will capitalise on our long history of working with children to implement interventions that challenge negative gender norms and stereotypes and promote children’s rights and equality. Assisi will continue to support children’s clubs as a forum for bringing girls and boys together to receive additional tuition and build mutual understanding and respect.

4.  Work with, and enable, value-aligned local organisations

Assisi works with local partners in India and Cambodia who share our objectives and have demonstrated knowledge and expertise in working effectively within their local communities.

Assisi will continue to identify in-country partners and collaborators who share Assisi’s vision, and have an interest in, and the capacity, to implement projects aligned with Assisi’s strategy. Assisi will work collaboratively with existing and new local partners to undertake a participatory approach to identifying, designing, reviewing and evaluating projects.

5.  Strengthen organisational effectiveness to maximise development impact

Assisi will strengthen our project management policies and procedures to support our efforts to maximise development impact. We will ensure that our policies and processes align with best practice and remain fit-for-purpose for a small NGO and for working in partnership with local organisations.

6.  Align monitoring and evaluation of our projects to our strategy and embed a learning agenda to support continuous improvement

Assisi will engage in robust ongoing monitoring and evaluation and report on the impact, effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of all our projects. This will include capturing valuable lessons learnt, which will inform improvements to our strategic approach, realign our current project implementation plans to maximise impact and inform future project design.

7.  Develop a fundraising strategy

To maximise our impact and reach, Assisi will seek to grow and diversify our income base. This will include developing a fundraising strategy that strengthens our ongoing engagement with existing Australian community supporters and donors and proactively seeks to engage new community supporters and secure new corporate and institutional funding.

The Assisi approach works through the set up of locally led Self Help Groups, creating a supportive space for community members to work together to determine their own priorities.

Examples of groups include Women’s groups, Village Development Committees, children tuition classes, farming groups and savings clubs.