How We Work
Our Approach & Belief
Community Aid international (CAI) approaches its development work with the conviction that the power and will to improve the quality of life lie with the communities in which we work. We believe in directing our effort in helping people to strengthen their capacity and increase their momentum as they work towards realizing their potential in improving their quality of life.
We have adopted a two-pronged strategy of Practical-Needs Approach and Rights-Based Approach to human development. In this strategy, we design and implement two sets of activities: one that addresses poverty and low quality of life through practical actions that improve people’s capacity to increase their livelihood, and, another set that empowers the citizenry to enhance their participation in public affairs and demand for the fulfilment and protection of their rights to better services and accelerated socio-economic development.
The philosophy behind the rights-based approach is that the citizens, as tax payers and the owners of sovereign power, hold the rights to improved service delivery and faster social and economic development. In the social contract with the state, they have delegated the responsibility and duty to their elected leaders and government to use the public resources to improve the quality of life of all. Therefore the citizens, as rights holders must hold the state and public officers, as duty bearers, to account.
We believe that the existence of poverty and deplorable quality of life in many communities is not a natural phenomenon, nor are there any groups and communities destined to be poor and live in those unacceptable conditions amid plenty in resources and opportunities; but poor societies lack good leadership and good governance; they lack visionary and selfless individuals with ideas and are driven by commitment to servanthood that can use the available state institutions and instruments of power to move these nations to prosperity for all.
The above is the basis for our two main programmes: Leadership and Governance, and, Community Aiders Programme
Community Aiders Programme
We fight poverty by: working with communities and partners in identifying and developing talent among the youth; building the capacity of young adults and women in entrepreneurship; and, enhancing the capacity of households to increase food security and/or income.
In line with our poverty reduction efforts, we have established a partnership with the local communities in Siaya County in western Kenya, where we provide credit to support development and growth of small and medium-size businesses. This programme has so far benefited over 7,000 individuals in the region.
Nurture young entrepreneurs to create wealth and employment opportunities. In partnership with J9 Foundation in USA, we are nurturing what is emerging as a movement of compassionate entrepreneurs. We train young men and women using an expanded curriculum on entrepreneurship. We give them loans with which they start or improve their businesses, and, we work with them to mentor them and incubate their businesses. They strive to be successful entrepreneurs and contribute a portion of their wealth to practical development efforts in their communities.
We empower women to fight for inclusion in leadership and governance. CAI is one of the foremost NGOs in fighting for empowerment of women and gender equality in Kenya. Over the years, CAI has particularly been on women economic empowerment and inclusion of women in decision-making, leadership and governance.
We promote Primary Health. We have been working with communities and other agencies to fight the spread, manage the impact of HIV/AIDS and promote reproductive health. Since 1990s, CAI cut a niche in HIV/AIDS community-based and workplace programming. For over eight years, from 2003, CAI was the agency that trained all UN staff in Kenya through partnership and sub-contracting by the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON).
Working with communities on Environment and Sustainable Development: We work with and build the capacity of targeted communities to conserve the environment and adopt social and economic practices that ensure sustainable development. We also work with county governments on Climate Change Governance.