indigo foundation aims to apply the following key operational principles to projects:
1. Core funding
Funding should not be tied to specific projects or activities, but rather provided for the general use of the organisation. Funds can be used for ongoing costs (such as salaries or recurrent administration expenses) or specific program activities. However, we need to be assured the budget of the organisation aligns to and reflects a robust strategic planning process (including appropriate identification of community needs) and the reporting of funds received and expanded is transparent to the community.
The establishment phase of the project may require some conditionality on use of funds as the relationship (and trust) is established.
2. Commitment to relationships
We believe that robust relationships based on equality are at the core of successful community development. Strong relationships provide a foundation for honest and meaningful exchanges, and when circumstances become difficult. Our commitment to relationships is formally expressed through our Commitment Agreements which should aim to be for three years. A pre-existing relationship is a key criterion for supporting an organisation, and should be maintained and supported through both formal channels (such as liaison officers, reporting requirements) and informal means (emails and telephone conversations).
Most marginalised communities we support do not have access to national or international support: they do not have adequate access to telecommunications and/or are not large enough to be noticed (or considered administratively efficient). Strengthening and broadening links to the greater development community (and those who can provide higher levels of technical or financial assistance than we do) should be a key component of project management support.
4. Risk taking
Empowerment and change do not happen without taking some risks. We support calculated risk taking (mitigated by a thorough risk analysis which includes risk management options) where it has a strong chance of supporting a community’s development priorities. Such risk taking may include supporting new or fledging organisations (noting that small community based organisations in marginalised communities are inherently risky because of limited capacity and usually a strong reliance on individuals) or providing catalytic funding to test or demonstrate the validity of a development idea.
Quality monitoring and evaluation of support is crucial to ongoing development access. indigo foundation believes that at the core of effective monitoring and evaluation is the ability to critically self analyse – and an open and ‘safe’ environment for discussions about mistakes and lessons learned should be facilitated. Partners should be strongly encouraged to not only reflect on their own progress but on the support that we have provided. We have developed a process to encourage our partners’ self reflection.