How do you ensure your projects are sustainable for the long term? Are they?

We disagree with current development model with its emphasis on community development. Go back to your communities and look at all the so-called development projects which have been funded by foreign donors. How sustainable are they? How many hoes, rakes and tillers have funding agencies donated to local communities. Go back and make a list of all the local projects which have survived five years after the donor funding was withdrawn? For whatever reasons, community projects in Africa don’t work. Go back to your community and make a list of all the successful projects and businesses. Are they community owned? Many of them are. We, however, recognise that every community has different needs and face individual challenges. So, when we have to engage in community projects, like putting up solar panels, we do that in collaboration with communities to develop solutions most likely to succeed in the long term. Spare parts must be locally available for the solar system, and the community members should not only be trained in maintaining and managing the system, but should be able and willing to bear the costs of repairs.

Our approach is de-emphasising communal ownership of projects and businesses. AU Watch is looking forward to the day, when it will be able to give substantial amounts of funding for single projects to individuals, and in collaboration with the government and members of the local community, work with the individuals over four years before handing over the ‘keys’ of the project or business.

What are the requirements to receive AU Watch grants or loans?

To qualify to receive funding for one of our project’s individuals must be able to prove the following:

  • Longevity of the project or business.
  • Capacity of growth of the project or business, over say, five years.
  • Employment capacity of the project or business.
  • The project or business must be able to transfer skills and knowledge.
  • The project must be capable of being replicated by other members of the community.
  • The project must not only prove its corporate socially responsibility, but also have a built-in policy and practice of corporate philanthropy.

We also conduct post-implementation studies that monitor functionality and the use of facilities, and gain insight from these. Through the insights such studies provide us, we continually work to improve the sustainability of the services our partners deliver.

Read more about what we do and how we deliver for our communities.

Why do you work in the countries you do, and not in others where there is need?

With over more than half a billion Africans in need of everything, including good governance, AU Watch is not that presumptuous to assume it can to solve problems alone. For now, AU Watch has offices in seven countries. The job of providing, for example, clean drinking water, decent health facilities and education for our communities, are the responsibilities not of CSOs and NGOs, or foreign governments, but our own governments. It is because our governments are inept that we are where we find ourselves today. The objective of AU Watch is to have a physical presence in every African country.