Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Roots of Development

Roots practices Community-Led Development and “Development Without Dependency®.” Instead of dictating which projects should be implemented or bringing in materials and experts from the U.S. to address the problems of a local community, we support local solutions to local problems. The process is entirely locally driven. It empowers communities and emphasizes the value and sustainability of local resources.

Roots of Development has been practicing community-led development for over 15 years. It has a uniquely strong understanding of what community-led development is and what is needed for it to work. The partners it chooses to work with have a deep understanding of local contexts, resources, and needs, and all organizations are committed to a patient, long-term engagement with the community or country they serve.

Since Rasin Devlopman’s founding in 2017, Roots has not been directly involved in the day-to-day operations on the ground in Haiti. Instead, Roots provides support to our partners in the form of strategic planning, fundraising, consultation, partnership development, and organizational capacity strengthening. We also work to advance community-led development and development without dependency through advocacy and thought leadership.

Questions about Community-Led Development & Development without Dependency

Development without Dependency® is more than our tagline–it’s a philosophy. Because of poor practices in international development and aid work throughout the last several decades, many communities around the world have become dependent on aid handouts. We believe in practicing development that makes communities more self-sustaining and independent, so they can lead their own development.

Per the Movement for Community Led Development: Community-led Development (CLD) is a development approach in which local community members work together to identify goals that are important to them, develop and implement plans to achieve those goals, and create collaborative relationships internally and with external actors—all while building on community strengths and local leadership. Roots of Development has been a member of MCLD since 2016.

Traditional aid practices rely heavily on external knowledge and resources, which disempower and devalue local knowledge, expertise, and agency. Throughout decades of these practices, a “dependency mentality” can be created among communities, as they come to believe they are unable to solve their own problems without external help.

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (From the International Institute for Sustainable Development).

Traditionally, international development has been a field of economics that sought to raise the GDPs and economic productivity of so-called “developing” countries. However, for us and many others, international development is now a field of its own, which seeks to end poverty, raise standards of living, and achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Often, aid dependency refers to a government relying too heavily on foreign aid. When we use it, we mean the dependency of people and communities. Because of international development and aid work, many communities are no longer self-sufficient entities, looking internally for resources to collectively solve problems, instead looking outward for aid and expertise before acting.

Capacity strengthening activities improve an organization or a person’s abilities. In our context, this means helping CBOs do what they do better by strengthening their skills in financial management, community-led development, internal operations, fundraising, communications, project impact, and more.

Questions about Rasin Devlopman

Rasin Devlopman is Roots of Development’s partner in Haiti, which is based on the island of La Gonave. Rasin was founded in 2017 when Roots’ leadership realized that our work would be improved by transferring the management of projects and programs on the ground over to a local, fully Haitian staff and Haitian board.

Rasin Devlopman is based on the island of La Gonave, Haiti. it works directly with community members, elected officials, and other organizations on the island to 1) build the capacities of individuals and communities to lead their own development, and 2) collectively plan and implement projects throughout the island.

Twa Woch Dife is the name for Rasin Devlopman’s work on La Gonave. Every project and program falls under the broader umbrella of “Twa Woch Dife” (Three fire stones) which refers to the three stones used to prop up a cooking pot over a fire. In Rasin’s program, the three stones are: community members, local elected officials, and nongovernmental organizations.

Unlike most organizations, Roots of Development’s staff does not come up with ideas for projects–and even more unusually, neither does the staff of our Haitian partner, Rasin Devlopman. All projects are designed and implemented by the residents of La Gonave, supported by strategic workshops and trainings, and then reinforced with physical, technical, and financial support from Roots and Rasin.

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