Being able to help some of the most impoverished and disadvantaged people on the planet to lift themselves out of poverty is an honour. But it’s also a challenge; it can be very easy to get it wrong and the developing world is littered with the carcasses of discontinued projects that well-meaning people have started, but have not had the funds to continue. That is why Evergreen Africa has sustainability at the core of everything we do. Our ultimate aim is to enable the communities we work with to develop for themselves the infrastructure and facilities they need and, crucially, the capability to sustain them without outside help.
Some programmes can have self-sustainment built in – and Evergreen’s goat programme and Village Savings & Loan Schemes are good examples, they are now fully established and require no external funding for them to continue; the local communities can operate and grow them for their own expanding benefit without further help from Evergreen. But some programmes cannot ever be self-sustaining. A school for example, requires constant funding for scholastic materials, staff salaries and so on. Similarly, Community Health Promoters, while acting themselves as volunteers, need continuing professional development training if they are to maintain their professional edge and their motivation.
Therefore, Evergreen Africa has developed a model of Sustainability Programmes. The concept is for Evergreen to help the community establish a programme that will provide an income for those engaged on it, but at the same time will return profits that can sustain one or more of those other programmes that require ongoing funding. The Sustainability Programmes we have developed to achieve this are described in this section.