Outreach exists to help communities to work together and address their own issues. That’s it. 

The goal of facilitating community-led development is to bring people to a level of experience, organization and empowerment that there’s nothing more for us to impart. It’s an actual moment. We can measure it, and when it arrives, celebrate it. 

This moment is the goal of Outreach’s time with every community with whom we work when they become a Graduate Community.  

A community in the Philippines poses for a group photo to celebrate their status as a "graduate community"

Why are all these members of a community in the Philippines smiling? Same reason you are: Their lives, and all the lives they touch, will be meaningfully improved by their hard work and expertise, creating new opportunities for generations to come. Feels great, right?

Degrees of Mastery

After roughly five years of Outreach facilitation in a community, the people there have grown from facing issues on their own to a unified, dynamic, driven Community-Led Organization, complete with leaders and roles and an ability to access resources from outside networks — essentially, they know what they want, know how to get it, and won’t be discouraged in reaching their goals. 

It also means Outreach facilitators can go on to work with new communities, to start the process all over again elsewhere. 

A ’typical’ Graduate Community “looks like a group of people who care for themselves, and for each others’ welfare,” says Nancy, Outreach Philippines’ PHD Coordinator, Trainer, and International Mentor, one of the people who has helped define our work for years. “When problems hit them, they can immediately talk with their neighbors, discuss what to do and identify who will lead. When there are resources that they can access, they do so as a community, for the good of all.” 

As with nearly everything else on Earth, the COVID crisis necessitated some rescheduling for communities’ graduations. Prior to February, Outreach Philippines’ teams planned to celebrate 18 different communities’ graduations at the end of 2020, and have tentatively rescheduled for mid-2021. Official paperwork aside, these communities already everything else they need to know. 

Superlatives

“This is a manifestation of a community’s ability to analyze its situation, then act to address the needs of the many in their decision-making process.” A soon-to-be Graduate Community looks like this: “When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted and our government [in the Philippines] imposed lockdown,” continues Nancy, “people in Outreach-affiliated communities, particularly the local leaders, started to communicate — they informed community members that they would be making adjustments on their food loans and low-interest cash loans, purposely to give these members peace of mind.

Eventually, we’ll run out of new places to empower. We can’t wait! Until then, we’ll stay busy. Keep an eye out for more news about Graduate Communities in the near future! 


How to Help

Thanks to the support of our donors, every victory at Outreach is shared by all of us. Your gifts make it possible for communities to recognize their own respective ability to change their lives, as well as their collective ability to reach their goals as a team. Everything we do at Outreach, we do together, for the good of all. Even better, 100% of all donations to Outreach go completely and directly to support empowered community-led development worldwide. Donate today, and feel good forever.