“Capacity is the ability of individuals, institutions and societies to perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve objectives in a sustainable manner”. UN Development Programme.
Millions of people throughout Africa remain the victims of protracted crisis, limited resources, social exclusion and broken infrastructures, limiting their possibilities of achieving self reliance. Thus it is imperative that durable solutions be achieved, through developing the capacities of individuals, communities, local organizations, institutions and governments. Only in this way can people truly benefit from humanitarian protection and assistance.
To this end, AHA runs a broad range of capacity development programs, addressing the varying needs of diverse groups of people across Africa. Be it training community health workers in Ethiopia, rehabilitating dams in Sudan or initiating agro-forestry programs in Namibia AHA works to strengthen the capacities of affected populations, promoting self reliance in order to realise effective and long lasting change.
The task cannot be achieved alone and requires engaged and enthusiastic community participation and leadership, along with strong and effective partnerships. For this reason each of our programs is unique to its community, designed, implemented and owned by the people it seeks to empower. Activities build upon
the strengths of a population and are integrated, as far as possible, into existing community infrastructures.
In order to empower a population to realize its own potential AHA seeks to deliver information, education and communication (IEC), hand in hand with practical assistance. Our IEC program is far reaching and socially inclusive, providing information, offering educational opportunities/training, and raising awareness/sensitizing people to important issues. Activities see us working together with both the young and old, disempowered and powerful, running workshops, training sessions, campaigning, supporting action/support groups and establishing new ones where required.
AHA’s services extend beyond the provision of just advice and training, to guiding individuals and organizations through all of the necessary steps to achieve sustainable results. Drawing on the skills and abilities of affected populations, AHA recruits 99% of our staff from the communities in which we work. In this way our programs benefit from essential local knowledge and understanding, whilst the gains of increased employment, opportunity and professional development are ploughed back into a community.
Complementary to AHA’s IEC programs is our work in practically assisting affected populations; ensuring communities have the necessary tools and resources to sustain healthy living. We can often be found rehabilitating and constructing schools, health centers, vocational training centers, dams, irrigation systems, nurseries and agricultural facilities. Micro-loans are provided, following training programs, to those wishing to develop their economic capacities and start up small businesses. Common enterprises include cooking, gardening, tailoring, knitting, soap-making and hairdressing, amongst other things.
For development to be effective, strengthening the structures, services and programs of local institutions, organisations and governments is critical. Towards this end AHA supports communities in developing good governance, popular participation, equality, accountability, peer reviewing and effective management, leading to better service provision, stronger coping mechanisms and increased opportunity. In doing so we seek to reinforce existing structures, integrate new improved services and support innovative measures. In this way communities are empowered to achieve their own developmental goals, sustain improved living and further negate the impacts of poverty.