SurfAid is an international development organisation that is dedicated to enriching lives, and increasing people’s choices and possibilities for realising their potential. We work with, and in support of, the community – from the idea for a program to the implementation of the program.
Supporting ‘positive change’
The simplest definition of community development is ‘positive change’. SurfAid supports bringing positive change to remote communities. SurfAid contributes to the efforts of communities to nurture positive change, and ensure local ownership so changes can be sustained well beyond the life of the project. We hope to see the impacts of our work extend for generations to come.
The ongoing support of the surfing community, and many others, has allowed SurfAid to deliver the highest calibre development programs. This is driven by relationships built on mutual respect with the local people. We aim to have relationships that ensure long-term engagement, enhance learning with our partners, are adaptable, and attract and retain staff of the highest quality and integrity.
SurfAid gives the highest priority to the needs of the people we work with and we are committed to the remote locations where they live. We work with our local partners in project identification, assessment, design and preparation, implementation, right through to completion and impact evaluation.
How we work
We consider aspects of people’s lives that impact on their health such as livelihoods, belief systems and social structures. In collaboration with the communities, a more detailed project design is then developed.
1 Identification and Assessment
Developing projects that will deliver enduring, positive changes involves forming an authentic connection with potential partners. Together, we help assess their needs, understand their aspirations for themselves and their families, and evaluate the suitability of SurfAid’s approach to providing support.
One of the critical components to successful implementation is a close working relationship with our partners on the ground. At all stages of the project, SurfAid staff nurture and foster relationships with local partners at all levels. For example, each project is identified by a name in the local dialect. Local partners are involved with decision-making, for example with a water project, the type and location of the water facilities their community needs. Community members then play a huge role in the project implementation, from being health volunteers, to collecting and carrying the local materials needed for the water facilities.
Our focus is on the communities, their health status and behaviours, and the availability of support services. We consider aspects of people’s lives that impact on their health such as livelihoods, belief systems and social structures. In collaboration with the communities, a more detailed project design is then developed. Our boards and networks help us to find the necessary funds to implement the projects.
Monitoring, both formal and informal, is ongoing. It provides useful information to the local participants, and listening to their feedback is pivotal for relevant and responsive interventions. Training village volunteers and health staff in monitoring is a key part of ensuring the quality and sustainability of the projects.