Our strategic positioning is specifically informed by 3 trends. Global reports observe deeper growing poverty and inequality, and on a smaller scope we equally conclude that we are not easily reaching the poorest that we intend to reach with our work. A second observation is that stress on planetary boundaries is growing, with adverse effects on the poor. We hear from our target groups that climate change effects are dramatic for their communities and reinforce complex webs of causes that keep them in poverty – or push them back. Thirdly, this growing complexity and the persisting inequality issues ask for different approaches that take on more structural and systemic changes. We take on this trend to explore working in different roles and partnerships to achieve more scale and impact. Towards 2025 strategic choices for our work will thus be guided by the following three policy themes.
Reaching the unreached
A guiding insight that will help us is to not treat ‘unreached’ as a homogeneous group. The unreached target group is diverse though often characterised by a combination of material, relational and cognitive poverty, which places people in a very vulnerable position.
Categories of unreached are geographically isolated people (‘white spots’), people excluded from services through gender-related and culturally embedded norms, including people with disabilities and exploited children. To make this policy theme practical, we will invest in a standard exclusion analysis to identify the unreached groups, context- and program-specific. This will inform targeting strategies to make these people groups visible and enable to work on inclusion and monitoring the success of such strategies. We aim to contribute substantially to the reduction of exclusion through an integrated focus on gender and disability in our work, a bias for new programming in white spots, a focus on exploited children (Education program) and collaboration with national and international expert organizations and local churches and community organizations to find entry to unreached communities and individuals.
Pro-poor climate resilience
We acknowledge that the world’s poor are most severely impacted by the effects of observed climate change. This policy theme, therefore, is closely related to reaching the unreached. People living in vulnerable contexts face even more hardship resulting from extreme weather,
freshwater shortages and related issues like growing conflicts over natural resources and irregular migration. In the context of increasing pressure on their livelihoods, we aim to strengthen our target groups’ abilities to cope with changing conditions, and where possible benefit from climate change. To do this effectively we will develop tools to assess more precisely how climate change effects people’s daily lives. This will be a basis for developing relevant climate-resilience programs and searching new partners and donors. Our ambition to build climate resilience in poor communities will be supported by influencing policies of Dutch and EU institutions which have a direct effect on the resilience of our target groups, engaging in dialogue and awareness raising activities with our supporters base, and a sustainable corporate way of working (our CSR and ICSR policies).
Value-based systemic change
We respond to the increased complexity of poverty causes by positioning into new roles and focussing interventions on sector level. With systemic change we aim to influence root causes of poverty and social-economic inequality.
The scope of our programs will more than before include multiple levels of an area in which we work: national-level government policies, sector-level services, community-level attitudes, and personal-level skills, knowledge and a new way of thinking. We will commit to longer-term partnerships in selected target areas and work with a broader range of stakeholders. In our partnerships we will seek to provide or influence strategic leadership in the implicated sector and bring in innovative capacity. A new emphasis for our lobby experts working in Brussels and The Hague will be to seek more collaboration and engagement with lobby activities of our Southern partners to support systemic changes, especially in the area of our policy themes. Important for us will be to seek or negotiate for collaboration based on ethical practices that translate our core values. To realise this, we will pro-actively engage in value dialogue. To gain better view on stakeholders and political dynamics in the context, we will introduce (and use existing) tools for system mapping and monitoring. Within our partnerships, we aim to contribute to better decision-making in the sector based on reliable data and analysis, with a focus on inclusion. This allows for continuous adjustment of strategies in response to trends and opportunities.
Strategic monitoring & learning
The focal policy themes are guiding for our portfolio development in an integrated way, and thus define the shared impact areas in our thematic programs. This allows for cross-organizational and cross-partnership growth in expertise and learning on new concepts, approaches and tools.
For each policy theme we monitor a central indicator. These inform our strategic learning agenda as well as quantify our progress and underpin our track record. Each policy theme will have a learning lead, a new focal role to bring together and share new insights, trends and lessons learned on the specific theme. We seek collaboration with qualified experts and organizations on each of the policy themes to invite ongoing expert input on our strategic choices.