Our development strategies are sustainable, designed to focus on holistic transformational development, and carefully aimed to mobilize local resources with no handouts.
Choosing a Location:
We identify the locations we work in based on targeted evaluations of the physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially poor and marginalized people groups in the world.
Selecting a Partner:
Our ideal partnering communities include those who are looking for a hand up versus expecting a handout. The process of selecting a partner can be complex, and often focuses on a number of key factors, both seen and unseen, such as community leadership, stability, and quality of participation.
Helping people is important, but rather than just jumping into a project “we think” is a need, our first step in working with a community is to keep the primary focus on it’s people. We take the time to get to know each partner community in depth. Starting with the youth and working our way to the elders, our programs allow us to identify and connect with representatives from the medical, educational, political, agricultural, business, and spiritual centers that play vital roles in the overall community story.
When the primary focus becomes less about the actual solution that needs to be implemented and more about the people doing the implementation, that’s when development methods, programs, and projects have a very good chance of becoming successful. When we start focusing on people – we start focusing on RELATIONSHIPS.
The Community’s Whole Story
When we take the time to learn the history of the community, we begin to get a sense of their identity. We also get to learn about their past and present story of successful and failed attempts in innovation. Once we understand how the community has been managing, adapting, and surviving, we can work together to take the positive elements of the past and use them as a source of strength for a possible future.
Local Skills & Resources:
A large part of any successful initiative is having a good understanding of what you have to work with. The Invictus Initiative performs an assessment of skills and resources that are already available inside and within close proximity to the community. This assessment analyses a number of variables such as human, social, natural, physical, and economical.
Identifying Community Needs:
Working with a community to identify felt needs is one thing, but investing the necessary time and energy to identify and bring attention to the real needs is another. Our relationship-based approach takes the time to earn credibility, develop trust, and ultimately initiate a process with the community that gets past surface-level symptoms, and gets down to the deep-level root causes of physical, mental, spiritual, and social poverty. It is during that process that projects are planned, initiated, and holistic transformational development can finally take place.
Developing Sustainable Solutions:
The Invictus Initiative works with communities to develop sustainable solutions that are designed to focus on holistic transformational development, and carefully aimed to mobilize local resources with no handouts. Project designs are customized to empower community members.
Our primary solution categories include:
Counting the Costs:
One of the most important aspects of any sustainable solution is quality community participation. In addition to implementing projects that utilize local skills and resources such as labor, materials, and funding, The Invictus Initiative will never do for any community what they can do for themselves. Our model requires projects to be community-led, have some level of community buy-in, and is overall designed in a way that helps to safeguard against the accidental damage and negative impact that can oftentimes result when outsiders conduct development work within communities.
Setting Expectations & Commitments:
After defining the project and counting the cost, we determine certain expectations to keep both the community and our teams accountable and on track to complete the project. If a community cannot fulfill their commitments as planned, The Invictus Initiative will meet the community at where they are at to set new expectations and commitments that ultimately help build up and encourage them to succeed.
Equip & Empower Community Members:
One of the most important factors in equipping community members is making sure that the community takes lead on project implementation. The Invictus team works alongside the community, never ahead of them. By playing an integral part of the process, the skills and resources that the community members invest serve to further solidify their ownership of the project. All of a sudden, the project becomes something they’re doing, in which personal dignity, self worth, and value become apparent.
Mobilize Our Volunteers:
Our volunteers come with a wide variety of backgrounds, possessing a unique set of skills and resources that complement those found within the community we are working in. Sometimes our volunteers come from a neighboring city within the same country as our community partner, other times from halfway around the globe. The Invictus Initiative pulls from the relationships we’ve developed around the world to bring together the skills and resources needed to initiate sustainable projects that improve communities and transform lives.
Making sure that our volunteers are equipped with the proper training necessary to enter our partner countries is critical to the success of our mission. This training includes a comprehensive overview of our development model, the partner community’s story, and the area’s cultural norms, practices, and proper cross-cultural engagement.
Something about the volunteering experience here… what extent will the project and experience itself impact and provide a positive learning experience for the volunteer?
Volunteers are also prepared with documentation necessary to enter the respective country they will be working in, which can include a visa and/or other paperwork required by customs.
Establishing Best Practices for Collaboration(partnership between community members and volunteers):
Establishing best practices for collaboration between the volunteers and the community is essential to the success of a trip. The Invictus effectively prepares team members for a seamless partnership with community members within the country to be visited by prepping a collaboration itinerary with clear purposes and expected outcomes. Of course, these items are never set in stone, allowing team members to really engage with the community without the burden of a “checklist” approach.
Starting a Project:
Once a solution has been developed, the costs have been counted, and expectations and commitments have been made, both sides work to initiate the project together at the pace set by the community. The Invictus Initiative is a true partner, helping guide and facilitate the change the community wants to see. Working alongside the community, we strive to empower each individual community member involved with what they need to be successful. Pulling as many skills and resources from the community as possible, each side does their share of the work until 100% of the project is eventually handed over to the community for them to complete.
Monitoring & Evaluating:
Community transformation is monitored and evaluated using two primary factors: changed people and changed relationships. Return visits allow us to evaluate both factors over the course of our work in each country. Evaluation occurs after we have met our goals, after which we review how the process went, how the change is continuing to permeate the community, and additional changes we can make to the process to make it more efficient and effective.
The Invictus Initiative ensures project sustainability through intentional relationship check-ins with key community members and partners in the countries where we work. This creates lasting partnerships that are further cultivated through return trips to each individual community.
We do it all again…
By returning to the same community and repeating the process, the relationships that we are able to develop grow stronger, additional community needs are identified, new sustainable solutions are implemented, and communities become improved and lives become transformed.
All of our projects are sustainable and result in real change, and we’ve got the results to prove it!