Our vision of development is based on Amartya Sen’s concept of “development as freedom”, which posits that development occurs when people have the freedom to be, or do, something they value. These freedoms encompass all dimensions of human life and include economic opportunities, social protection, security, access to information, and political participation. According to the human development paradigm, increasing the wellbeing of those in need is inextricably linked to creating opportunities for them. To us, development therefore means expanding people’s spectrum of choices, while simultaneously reducing their vulnerability.
We are mindful that living conditions, prospects, and needs of poor populations differ widely. For example, a chronically poor person faces a fundamentally different situation than a transiently poor person. Similarly, the opportunities and challenges of families close to poverty can differ from those of the poorest of the poor. The concept of poverty cannot be reduced to absolute poverty lines, since it is multi-dimensional, time-bound and relative.
We are convinced that meaningful strategies for reducing poverty need to be adapted to the specific needs of the target group. Measures relevant for one target group may not be suitable for another. For example, microcredit can enable small business owners to develop their firms, but may also increase the risk of over-indebtedness of very vulnerable or extremely poor households. The latter will likely benefit more from social security or adapted savings and microinsurance services than from microcredit.
In our work at joyn-coop, we seek to gain an in-depth understanding of the local context in order to meaningfully contribute to increasing freedoms and reducing vulnerabilities of the poor. We support the creation of economic opportunities through skill building, financing solutions and job creation, while simultaneously fostering social development through the provision of basic social services. Furthermore, we are intent on ensuring the environmental sustainability of our projects. We have extensive experience in tackling the specific challenges that arise in settings of conflict, fragility and migration. Through our inclusive facilitation techniques, we seek to empower target groups and project stakeholders. We also put an emphasis on the implementation of monitoring systems which ensure that development cooperation is effective and accountable.