Our Village Development Model was first tested in the Kalimpong, a rural community is West Bengal, India. The model aims to increase the standard of living in poor rural communities in a holistic way, through multiple interventions addressing the different areas of the person’s life, including their education, health, shelter and basic needs. The model’s strength lies in its core philosophy of local empowerment and ownership, ensuring that communities play an active role in their own development and are able to sustain themselves and contribute to the further development of their own communities and that of their neighbours.
A new component of this model is the use of international and local volunteers, who bring project specific expertise to the projects and who in turn also learn a range of new skills and competencies, and who will be more inclined to continue giving back to the community in their personal capacity in future.
Key projects include the installation of water filters and modular solar units, basic repairs to homes, improvements to school learning equipment and innovative educational projects, health-focused workshops and provision of supplies, and business and vocational training and coaching. GFF adds a range of other projects based on the results of its baseline survey and consultations with the village.
These are delivered through GFF staff, local community members and experts, locally recruited volunteers and overseen through the creation of a local committee and project-specific sub-committees.