During its many years directly implementing training and education programs in rural areas, the Badi Foundation witnessed the great potential of rural populations to take responsibility for bringing about sustainable development in their own communities. In order to unleash this potential, in 2005 we launched our Institutional Capacity Building Program. Through the Institutional Capacity Building Program, the Badi Foundation facilitates the establishment of community-based organizations (“CBOs”) and builds their capacity to contribute to the sustainable development of their communities.
Institutional Capacity Building Program Process
The Badi Foundation identifies individuals who aspire to be of service to their communities and assists them to fulfill these aspirations by helping them to establish CBOs in their hometowns and providing them with the opportunity to receive training to implement either the Environmental Action Program or the Moral Empowerment through Language Program according to local conditions and opportunities. Each CBO then enters into a long-term collaborative relationship with the foundation in which it receives ongoing training in its chosen program and to develop institutional capacities. Central to the Institutional Capacity Building Program is the development of educational materials that enhance the institutional capacity of CBOs to contribute to the advancement of their communities. This more sustainable approach allows knowledge and learning to be integrated into curricula in greater levels of depth and in a way that can be applied to different settings. It also gives participants a more active role, as the study style is participatory and assists them to immediately put into practice the learning gleaned through study. The Institutional Capacity Building Program curriculum is designed around a set of seven capabilities identified as being necessary for organizations carrying out programs of social and economic development:
- constructing a conceptual framework,
- reading society and forming a vision,
- translating a vision into a program,
- implementing a program in a learning mode,
- raising up and deploying human resources,
- developing and managing financial resources, and
- forming and maintaining relationships with government and civil society.
The Badi Foundation’s Institutional Capacity Building Program seeks to contribute to China’s goal of promoting the healthy development of a non-profit sector that is characterized by cooperation and synergy with government, rather than by concerns for control or struggles for power. Sustainable social advancement is a complex and long-term process that requires the participation of all stakeholders— men, women, urban inhabitants, rural inhabitants, corporations, academic institutions, donors, NGOs and government.
Collaboration and Reciprocal Learning
The relationship between the foundation and each CBO is one of collaboration and reciprocal learning. Each CBO determines its purpose and vision, makes and implements plans of action and manages financial and human resources according to its own perceptions and understandings of the conditions and opportunities in its community. The foundation’s purpose is to build the capacity of collaborating CBOs to make meaningful contributions to the social and economic development of their surrounding communities, and to develop a vibrant network of CBOs through which learning and experience can be synthesized and shared. The foundation does not attempt to direct the work of its collaborating CBOs or require them to meet pre-determined goals and objectives. Rather, it recognizes that sustainable development organizations invariably start small and grow organically, and that initially, flexibility and some degree of ambiguity is to be expected. Thus, it seeks to foster a relationship of mutual learning and collaboration with each CBO. As they gain experience building the capacity of youth or rural women in their communities, the foundation is able to learn from this experience and synthesize this learning into a body of knowledge that can be shared with all CBOs through seminars, training materials and technical support.
The Foundation is currently collaborating with 31 community-based organizations in diverse locations throughout Anhui, Gansu, Guangdong, Hebei, Henan, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shanxi, Sha’anxi, Shandong and Yunnan provinces. Since 2005, these organizations have worked with over 27,000 program participants in China’s rural regions.