AMOR: No Ordinary NGO
AMOR Villages is based on a model of development called Asset-Based Community Development. Simply put, this means we focus on a community’s strengths rather than its problems, and mobilise their talents, skills and assets to create self-determined, sustainable solutions.
Our development approach is rights-based rather than needs-based. A rights-based approach accepts that communities are active partners in their development rather than passive recipients of aid, while never forgetting that while people learn to fish they need fish to eat.
We believe that together we can change the world. AMOR Villages works because we collaborate with developing communities to create solutions that empower families to lift themselves out of poverty.
How we work
We Have A Dream of Peace
AMOR is a dream of real peace and not an imagined peace. It is a dream of an education and human rights empowerment that will stand up for peace, justice and freedom both in ourselves, our communities and the world. It is a dream of a revolution of love and generosity on the planet.
We Advocate An Education That Doesn't Oppress or Programme
Education can inform and inspire, or it can programme and oppress. We have no interest in cultural imperialism or in development that creates more materialism in the world. AMOR promotes an education that helps develop responsible individuals and communities who are capacitated for peace, and who use their gifts and talents to destroys systems of oppression and open doors of opportunity for themselves and their communities.
We Are Respectful
We only work in communities who have invited us, and rely heavily on the guidance of community members to select and prioritise the most appropriate projects and activities—those that not only address specific community needs, but also can be implemented sustainably and are respectful of Mayan customs, wisdom and culture.
We Do Our Research
Prior to undertaking any development intervention, country staff carries out needs assessments, which include a survey of the community’s development issues, strengths, resources and priorities for change, a plan developed by the people.
Analysis of the needs assessments guides the way in which we proceed, ensuring our efforts are respectful of local needs and wants, are sustainable and contribute to local capacity building.
We Give a 100% Promise
When we started AMOR, we made a promise to the general public (before the idea became fashionable) that 100% of public donations would go directly to fund projects. We have always funded our operating expenses personally, even as costs escalate.
Today, we increasingly depend on private donors, foundations and sponsors to help cover expenses and administration costs where we personally cannot. These donors are some of our most dedicated: their investment fuels our long-term mission, our ability to scale as an organisation and our mission to continue using 100% of public donations for projects.
We Offer Joined-Up Solutions
AMOR explores novel ways of connection between donors and beneficiaries so that both simultaneously learn, use their gifts and realise their dreams in the process. In this way, AMOR isn´t a charitable dream but one which opens up an opportunity to people, an international exchange of drops of water.
We Champion the Most Vulnerable
AMOR champions individuals and communities far from the aid map or international spotlight. Very little funding goes to Guatemala, and virtually none directly to indigenous communities where there is a silent crisis. In focusing strongly on women, the columns of society and protectors of children, and on girls and orphans, we provide a safety net that helps build a solid foundation in communities, unleashing the gifts and talents of the forgotten .
We Are Local
AMOR is deeply embedded in the communities where it operates, having established relationships with the community over decades. Arnulfo and his team have not only experienced extreme poverty but also dedicated over twenty years to speaking with people about their needs in their own homes. We understand intimately the unique needs, challenges, language, customs, environment, politics, and laws of our partnering communities. All of our local employees hail from the families and communities with whom they work.
Our teams work side-by-side with community members and the government, creating holistic and sustainable solutions for education, health, clean water and sanitation, food security and livelihoods.
We Invest in Communities, Not Resources
Community members are involved in the implementation of our programmes every step of the way, so they take ownership of their success and learn to keep the structures in place and running for generations. That’s what we mean when we say AMOR Villages is sustainable. That’s what we mean when we say it empowers people to transform the world.
We Partner with Communities to Develop Sustainable Programmes
Our staff works in partnership with the communities on an ongoing basis, regularly monitoring and evaluating all programmes. All elements of the AMOR Villages model are designed to be owned and maintained by the community, and self-sustained after project implementation is completed.