Photo Credit: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

How we work

We work alongside our partners to build on existing local strengths and resources, so that communities can drive their own development.

We use the Accompaniment Model, which means that we work alongside communities to assist our partners to create meaningful change. Because we are embedded in local communities through the churches and prioritise long-term development programs over many years, we build strong relationships with our partners. 

Our Strengths-Based Approach identifies and builds on the existing collective strengths of communities. This approach leads to more sustainable change, and allows everyone in the community to participate in building a better future.

Sorting cocoa beans at cocoa fermentary in Bougainville, as part of the Bougainville Youth Initiative program run with the support of Caritas Australia and partner organisation, Tulele Peisa Credit: Cassandra Hill/Caritas Australia

Accompaniment means walking side-by-side with our program partners. It means supporting them and following their lead.  

We accompany our program partners by providing: 

  • Training and mentoring 

  • Technical support 

  • Risk management 

  • Organisational development

  • Funding

  • Amplifying their voices

How we identify community strengths

Human strengths

Skills, knowledge, labour and health.

Social strengths

Social networks, relationships of trust and reciprocity.

Natural strengths

Land, water, fertile soil, animals and weather patterns.

Financial strengths

 Cash, livestock, grain stores, savings or pensions.

Physical strengths

Roads, bridges, clinics, schools, transport, shelter, water supply and sanitation infrastructure.

Phany with seedlings in Cambodia. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.

How the strengths-based approach works

The approach starts with 'what people have' and builds on this. It ensures that communities design their own development and are less reliant on external ‘experts’. Under the approach, communities:

  • Map their assets using a variety of tools
  • Develop a vision for their community
  • Share skills and assets with each other
  • Strengthen positive community relationships and trust
  • Work together to advocate for community needs
  • Regularly monitor their own progress

Never see a need without doing something about it.

St Mary MacKillop