FGA Approach to Social Change


FGA Approach to Self-sufficiency and Social Change

FG has a history of self-reliance and community empowerment that is based on a participatory and inclusive decision-making processes; gender equality, transparency and accountability and sustainability. It has used its proven approach (SEED-SCALE) in its target areas in Afghanistan. SEED is an acronym for Systems of Self Evaluation for Effective Decision-making. The focus of activities from the beginning is to facilitate sustainable community based, community owned socio-economic and systemic change in resource-poor settings. Rapid expansion occurs with systematic promotion of training and support with ideas but with minimum outside funding to build self-reliance, community capacity, changes in behavior and social norms and community empowerment. The SCALE is an acronym for Systems for Communities to Adapt, Learn and Expand in rapid extension from successful local sites, then transforming the best successes into Learning Centers, which extend to new regions to form a network of Learning Centers for national coverage. The SEED-SCALE is the FGA Framework for action that allows communities to analyse their conditions in relation to national dynamics, take appropriate actions based on their priorities and resources and lasting change.

FGA specializes in a partnership-based approach that strengthens linkages and skills among communities (bottom-up human energy), government (top-down enabling policies and financing), and non-governmental organizations (outside-in technical support) to address the needs of people living on the margins of society and protect fragile ecosystems. The core of FGA work is a system that communities and governments can use to shape their futures. In its entire project portfolio, FGA stresses the importance for self-reliance and empowerment of local communities. The institution’s intention is to create the attitudinal and behavior changes that will improve the lives and livelihoods of community people. In our approach, efforts to instill in all activities a “You can do it” set of convictions builds capacity in our entire target areas.

It is common these days to speak of methodologies of self-reliance and empowerment – almost all organizations in the world claim to do or at least promote these. But most organizations attempt self-reliance and empowerment by giving services. Self-reliance is not giving to, but rather it is building out from people. Future Generations has an exemplary world-encircling evidence base of achieving both self-reliance and empowerment. Distinctive about the Future Generations approach is that it is based on scholarship begun with funding from UNICEF in 1992, which continues today. The methodology that has been developed is known as SEED-SCALE that the process was first presented in two monographs at the 1995 United Nations Summit in Copenhagen and more recently articulated in the book Just and Lasting Change: When Communities Own Their Futures. It continues to be refined through ongoing research, collaboration, and field application.

FGA implements SEED-SCALE theory of change that offers a process for each community to develop its own services and enhance its efficacy and control. The approach uses resources all communities have, and builds from actions that have already started. The SEED-SCALE process activates the energy and resources of communities (SEED) and expands successes across large regions through government partnership (SCALE). SEED-SCALE is a framework to understand how to enable community empowerment as well as methodology (complete with guiding principles, action steps, and evaluation criteria) that can be taught to and used by communities functioning at the most basic level.

The essence of SEED-SCALE approach is the recognition that community members are the primary authors and actors for addressing their socio-economic problems, and awakening them to a possibility for a better life and self-reliant actions. FGA will ensure its humanitarian and development programs with communities are:

Targeted the most vulnerable – for their Self-sufficiency that is the ability to provide everything one needs in sufficient quantities to save life and livelihoods.

Dynamically Transformative - community members uncover their own definition of human well-being and the direction they themselves define as most desirable to ensure it. This shifthelps them to move away from dependencies.

Empowering - communities through participatory planning, implementation, and management of local development activities.

Improving – local leadership will be strengthening to become more accountable and inclusive.

Connected – although arising as local initiatives, strong linkages and partnership are forged with regional and national development actions.

Iterative so community – initiated success leads to another and then to another until community networks are established district wide, regionally and nationally.

In all its humanitarian and development works with communities, FGA will not present itself as a source of funding, but as a facilitating partner and capacity builder. The SEED-SCALE approach has enabled the FGA to focus communities on how they themselves can channel their social and human capitals towards overcoming socio-economic problems rather than always looking for outside sources of support and funding. This means the work of FGA promotes self-sufficiency in the emergency or humanitarian situation and moves toward self-reliance and empowerment.


Distinguishing Features of SEED-SCALE

SEED-SCALETraditional Development
Key Resource Human EnergyFinancing
Planning Mindset Evolutionary GrowthConstruction Engineering
Planning Process Agenda - Plan - BudgetBudget - Agenda - Plan
Who Does the Work Three-way PartnershipProfessionals
Implementation Structure Local InstitutionsConsultants/Project Units
Ultimate Accountability CommunityDonor
Approach Build on SuccessesFix Problems / Answer Needs
Criteria for Decisions EvidencePower, Opinions b Habits
Major Desired Outcome Behavior ChangeMeasurable Results
Criteria for Evaluation Strengthening 4 PrinciplesBudget Compliance
Learning Mode Iterative, ExperimentalGet it Right the First Time
Management Mode MentoringControl
Commitment Horizon Depends on Utility of Partnership Depends on Donor's Budget Cycle