5 Focus on Generations: We hold a perspective that is not only about today and tomorrow, but on two generations forward. This yields a new perspective on sustainability. When we understand that we are building for the future, our projects, organization and outcomes become ones that must be built to last. We build quality in all that we do. It can survive an earthquake or staff turnover. It’s built for the grandchildren.
Outputs: This idea is really a perspective. We believe and disseminate that all our work has to be with grandchildren (or great grandchildren) in mind. Whether we’re talking about a water source, toilets, classrooms, or a program to develop computer skills, knowing that what we’re doing is not intended solely for today is crucial. This perspective shift is the “output.”
Outcomes: Communities (and our organization) are building projects that last and have sustainability as a primary component. When we’re building walls we’re looking at how much rebar is used or how strong are the tie beams so that the building can withstand an earthquake. When we’re working on a system for managing our donors, or digital imagery asset management, we spec out the parameters that include that we’re not looking for a 1 or 2 year solution, but instead something that will last into the future. We won’t have to redo this system in a year. And perhaps most significant to the infrastructure we build, this perspective creates emergent outcomes around maintenance, repair and replacement of the systems. Communities must plan for how they will own the solutions to keeping a water system operating over the years.
Impacts: In the development world too often projects fail after 3-4 years. But if we’re diligent in focusing on Future Generations, the output and outcomes above will begin to yield longer lasting (sustainable) solutions where we not only can count on increased health outcomes, but also lowered re-development or re-deployment costs for the NGO’s themselves, which means that we can devote more resources toward a larger audience.