We know reading thesis documents is not for everyone. But we do know it is important that projects we support have a research base. They need to be based on more than good feelings. This may not be formal research – perhaps years of record keeping and storytelling provide the information – but where possible and significant enough, solid and reliable research should underpin initiatives that ask for thousands of dollars in funding support.
The Self Help Group approach, Foxglove’s flagship project in Rwanda, is based on such research. Before we commenced supporting this work, we completed a three-year research project tracking hundreds of women in Rwanda through individual interviews and focus groups. We were determined to answer two questions:
- Were the SHGs bringing about the reported results?
- If so, why was the approach working?
So, go along and have a read. Perhaps the chapters recalling the women’s stories or summarising that information are enough. But let’s never underestimate taking the time to ensure that what we give to is quality development based on the empowerment of people in a sustainable context. Foxglove is intentional, responsible and transparent in how it runs as a charity and supporter of work in the Developing World.
Join us. You’ll be so glad you did!
(This thesis was submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of International and Community Development. School of International and Political Studies. Deakin University Melbourne, Australia November 2014).