We believe in development that mobilizes people’s own human- and environmental resources, as we see that self-esteem, knowledge and creativity grow with responsibility. Instead of pitying people and make them feel they are poor we provide optimism and make them understand they are rich in so many ways, and that they in fact can solve most of their own problems without depending on any donor. The communities do the work themselves and take sustainable steps forward from poverty towards improved human rights and development.

Response Network Zambia members of staff with some of Norwegian students currently in Zambia

We are mainly focused on facilitating village self-help programs. Through a structured methodology of encouragement and information delivered by skilled facilitators, we motivate villages to start and run self-help activities to improve their life situation. As a base for village programs, we use Self-Help Manuals providing detailed information on how to start and run self-help clubs within ~16 different thematic areas – e.g. community school, adult literacy, skills training, know your rights, women’s rights, health and nutrition, organic growing, HIV/AIDS, children with special needs and sports. Some of the areas have grown into extended programs where we link the communities to donors. These programs are Building Community Schools, Women in Governance, Sports Program and Women´s Self Help Group for Save and Borrow.

As a separate program, Response Network also runs an education sponsorship program for orphans.

Over time, astonishing results have been achieved. Communities truly appreciate the approach and have proved to have a huge underlying source of initiative. From 2005 to 2012 Response Network has facilitated village programs in more than 600 villages. These villages have started ~3.000 self-help clubs with ~60.000 members, building confidence, knowledge and skills and improving their life situation.