Sub-Saharan Africa is littered with failed development projects. Admittedly, some belong to SAM. Inspecting why these projects failed is what has molded SAM’s current approach. It focuses on sustainability, community, multisectoral investment, and inter-stakeholder cooperation, and its producing long-lasting results.
Overall, African development has struggled to produce benefit that remains after the organization moves on. Making sure that beneficiaries stay beneficiaries for generations requires investing not only in a service (such as clean water), but in a nation’s capacity to maintain and expand that service on its own.
SAM prioritizes empowering local stakeholders and strengthening existing development structures. For example, instead of only repairing a water source, SAM will work with the community and supporting government maintenance system until they are able to repair the well independently.
SAM believes when development fails, it is not the fault of the people, but the project itself - it failed to identify the community's priorities using methods the community endorses.
SAM strives to catalyze local ambitions, instead of imposing our own. The village is full of entrepreneurs and visionaries. These people are the engine and compass of our programs. Our job is simply to connect them with the opportunity (relevant expertise, knowledge, and markets) needed to realize their potential.
Solving poverty is a complicated issue - many hidden and interconnected factors reinforce one another. Without water, you can't grow food. But without gardening knowledge and market access, you can't grow nutritious and profitable food. And without financial freedom and nutrition education, you cannot feed your malnourished child a balanced meal.
SAM faces the complexity of poverty with a holistic approach. We condense our resources to develop multiple aspects of one area instead of thinning our impact over larger spaces. This allows our programs to build on one another. It also allows us to become more immersed within the community, understand how it operates, and strengthen the bonds between the local stakeholders.
There are many trying to help the world’s less fortunate: organizations, governments, and businesses. The scale and complexity of the problem demands we assist one another. Anything else results in redundancy and confusion.
SAM makes an effort to consolidate segregated humanitarian efforts around and within our catchment. We try to provoke communication and the sharing of data, resources, and ideas. This allows our impact to transcend our immediate catchment and, at the same time, allows our catchment to benefit from developers other than SAM.