The days when people and communities could depend on the state to look after them from 'cradle to grave' are fast diminishing and in some countries are over. What is now becoming an enduring phenomenon is the concept of "self-help" and "mutual initiatives". In countries where "self-help" and "mutual initiatives" effectively operates, they have helped to take off the load of social welfare provision (safety nets mechanisms) by the state. Further, "self-help" and "mutual initiatives" counterbalance breakdown in social cohesion in communities. Their potentials are enormous as they can provide a platform for skills exchanges and experience sharing and cushion for example, the impact of poverty and help others step back into the mainstream of society.
Center for Development Initiatives (CDI) exists to build upon and sustain self-help initiatives through which individuals, groups and communities can cope with their immediate socio-economic needs, underdevelopment and social exclusion. As spring boards' self-help and community initiatives offer routes to empowerment, engagement and have been found to generate new possibilities for social interaction and solidarity. We therefore work to build vibrant, equitable and tolerant communitiesthrough a range of activities that promote social justice, education, public health and livelihood opportunities. In all our programmes, we seek to create knowledge formation by encouraging creative activities to generate resources from within the groups and communities to enable them take control ,rely on themselves and solve their own problems their own way. The programme activities take a multi-sector approach to raising awareness on human trafficking and expanding livelihood opportunities in communities particularly those in Northern Ghana (Upper West, East and Northern Regions) that have been deviled with inadequate socio-economic infrastructure, low levels of health, nutrition, incomes and well-being in addition to selected migrants settlement areas in urban Accra and Kumasi.
CDI activities emphasizes capacity building and quality data collection on development initiatives and action research on the root causes and consequences of poverty and vulnerability in order to support national and international development initiatives.Our initiatives relies on local expertise of the communities, board members and stakeholders. We make efforts to encourage comparability of results in our interlinked areas of education, poverty reduction, and community development with other stake holder; both state and non-state actors. Through this collaborative effort, CDI seek to turn the hub of communities and self-help efforts into grounded knowledge-base for a sustainable development agenda in our areas of operation and impacting positively, the districts, regional and national development agendas.
Another major element in our activities is our commitment to networking with and through partners towards self-reliance. This is because partnership has been noted to help:
By promoting networking we share new ideas, experiences and information with the communities in order to influence our programmes outcomes. Review of existing literature and research work by CDI in 2010 show that, while their technical experience in planned interventions may be limited, local people and communities generally know the context and enjoy the trust of the people and communities in need. They usually have a more sensitive understanding of the situation can mobilize the people freely and discreetly to support and sustain development initiatives. With the resources in communities and groups identified and harnessed, the agenda for sustainable poverty alleviations, infrastructural and human resource capital development can be improved upon considerably.
At CDI, we demonstrate in all our works compliance to and /or with the required legislative and established standards. We also strive to pursue a policy of equal opportunity and accountability to our constituents in all that we are and do. Due to the increasing importance of participation, these approaches are intended to help increase effectiveness of our interventions and enhance broad individual and community ownership and lead to better "partnership". This is crucial since sustainable development can only become enduring if the knowledge and experiences of stakeholders are tapped and incorporated into the design and implementation.
Giving a space to the communities and other constituents in development planning is not enough, the real issue is how to ensure that, that space is used effectively to challenge structural adjustment.