In September 2012, Counterpart revised its mission statement to focus unerringly on our purpose. Our new mission statement reads: We partner with local organizations – formal and informal – to build inclusive, sustainable communities in which their people thrive.
Around the world, we are currently partnering with 2,600 local organizations of all types that have a similar vision of strong, vibrant communities. By working with Counterpart, these organizations can independently deliver – and expand – the value they bring to their communities.
How has Counterpart created its robust track record in organizational capacity building? The trick is to begin – and then take – every step of the journey with our local partners rather than ahead of our partners. This frame matters. We don’t solve a local organization’s problems. Instead, we build local leaders and organizations who solve their own problems, with our temporary assistance.
Some of our greatest satisfaction comes when our local partners turn their focus to a challenge well outside the scope of their partnership with Counterpart, independently identifying a need, envisioning a solution, and then executing a plan that meets their community’s needs. Years after our programs end, we hear stories that inevitably start with “We used the approach we learned from you to solve…”
This report tells six stories of how we are strengthening local organizations for this leadership role today – in six of our twenty-three countries of operation.
First, you will read of stronger women’s cooperatives in Guatemala, which have transformed the economic opportunities for women in an entire region. Next you will journey to Senegal to meet local non-profits who are building the Koranic school infrastructure. Your next stop will be in a remote village in Mauritania that faces ever-worsening drought, where you will find a creative village-level response that is taking hold across the country. In Yemen, you will see the power of legislation to strengthen local citizen organizations. Your final stops with communities in Armenia and the Dominican Republic will round out your journey.
We at Counterpart are fortunate to be at the center of a global movement to build the capacity of local organizations so that they can effectively lead their own development process. Thanks to support from our U.S. government, foundation and individual supporters, we are making a lasting difference in the lives touched by our 2,600 local partners, today and in the future.
Joan Parker and Jeffrey T. LaRiche