Global Communities, an international nonprofit headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, works in over 20 countries around the world to bring about sustainable change for some of the world’s most vulnerable. In order to improve the lives of the poor, Global Communities engages with governments, the private sector and non-government organizations to work with communities and not just provide services for them.
Global Communities was founded in 1952 as the Foundation for Cooperative Housing and has expanded its work to Africa, Asia, Europe and the Caucasus, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the Middle East. Its work is founded on the principle of “bringing together complementary strengths and shared responsibilities to work toward common goals,” and focuses on empowering entire communities to become healthy and self-sufficient.
Global Communities boasts expertise in the following areas: Economic Development, Micro/SME/Housing Finance, Infrastructure and Construction, Governance and Urban Management, Civil Society and Capacity Development, Global Health, Humanitarian Assistance, Working With Women and Youth and Food Security and Agriculture. They apply these expertise to communities around the world to solve complex problems and strengthen weak systems.
To begin a new project, Global Communities engages a new community by holding a community-wide council meeting where local leaders direct the decision making and prioritization processes for future work. Throughout the entire process of development, community leaders are closely involved with the project to help ensure a higher likelihood of sustainability.
Once projects are complete, they are often maintained by the local government, an important reason for local government to be involved from the start. When communities do not have positive relationships with their government, for example, in post-conflict situations, Global Communities works to teach these two parties to interact constructively.
In regard to other partnerships, Global Communities works to build the technical capacity of local organizations as they tackle a problem together and advises businesses in the private sector. All the while, the goal is to eventually make the work of Global Communities unnecessary—that is, empower the community to undertake their own development without outside help.
Global Communities’ financial approach is accountable, efficient and effective, with 89.6 percent of its funds spent on programs. Each dollar is accountable to the donor, whether that donor be an individual or a government. Progress for each project is managed by donor’s standards, and regular updates are given on the Global Communities website as well as in publications. They have repeatedly won the MIX Transparency Award for their work in micro-finance as well as many awards throughout the years. Find an exhaustive list here.
After 60 years of work, Global Communities understands that the world is continually changing and always will be. These changes are acknowledged, but Global Communities will continue to thrive as an organization that recognizes its core purpose amid a changing world- to “empower the vulnerable and help them be leaders of their own development.”
– Madisson Barnett