Philosophy of Operation
HUNDEE is committed to serve resource poor, highly vulnerable and marginalized community groups in rural and peri-urban areas of Oromia. As such, we realize that the relationship we have with these communities and specific beneficiary groups is a power relationship where HUNDEE is depicted as a powerful partner vis-à-vis the communities expecting development support and services from the same organization. As its organizational ethos, HUNDEE aspires to change this power imbalance through building the capacity of local community organizations and institutions so that they would be able to assume major roles and responsibilities, while HUNDEE continues to accompany their development as a facilitator and capacity builder. For us, the ultimate purpose of accompanying communities is to ensure that the excluded, those at the margins, gain greater access to and control over the decisions and resources that directly affect their lives.
The energy that continually drives and motivates us hugely comes from poor communities’ extraordinary determination to bitterly fight poverty if we, as development partners, are able to lubricate blockages that poor communities encounter in addressing their development challenges and also in seizing new opportunities. In this regard, we are confident that we more or less internalized core organizational values and principles that strongly influenced and shaped the way our organization and its members behave in their interactions and relationships with the target communities. The overarching principle governing the process of our intervention and the nature of relationship and partnership we want to build and pursue draws heavily on the wise saying of an Australian Aboriginal Elder quoted as “if you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together”.
We strongly value and respect the culture of the communities’ we work with and for. Our partnership with target communities at grassroots level is based on the fact that we give due consideration to the receiving culture. We also believe that traditional economic and social support systems and structures will serve as landmarks in the development of new interventions. Here, we adopt the ethos which says “start with what the communities knows” as our philosophy of operation. It is to our firm conviction that the communities we serve lived without our support for many years. Apart from their production practice, they have articulate distributive and mutual support systems by which the poorest segment of the communities can get access to resources including productive assets for survival. Such distributive justice has started fading away over time due to the fact that the number of population joining the poorest segment of the society has tremendously increased. In other words, economic poverty has led to the collapse of various social and mutual support systems and traditional safety nets. In the context where struggle against economic poverty requires mobilization of the poor, these social networks will have immense contributions. Maintaining and building on these social networks (also known as social capital) remain the challenge we need to address in our development endeavors. It is with this understanding that HUNDEE has revitalized the traditional support systems in favor of the marginalized section of the communities.
HUNDEE has employed the following strategies in the implementation of its core programs and projects. These are:
- Community organizing and capacity building of local institutions;
- Gender Mainstreaming;
- Networking and Partnership; and
- Learning and Continual Improvement.