NRSP works to release the potential abilities, skills and knowledge of rural men and women, to enable them to articulate their aspirations and to effectively marshal the resources they need to meet their identified needs. The purpose is poverty alleviation – enabling people to break the cycle of poverty, which begins with lack of opportunity, extends to the well-known miseries of economic and nutritional poverty and leads new generations to endure the same conditions. The process is social mobilization – bringing people together on new terms for a common purpose. The conceptual tools are ‘social guidance’ (recruiting local men and women who will take on a leadership role), advocacy, capacity building and awareness raising. The programmatic tools are training, support to institutions, micro-credit, infrastructure development, natural resource management and ‘productive linkages’.
Our purpose as an advocate for the poor is to bring the concerns of economicallymarginal men and women to public consciousness and to affect policy so that the poor are brought into the mainstream of the economy.
NRSP’s vision is manifested in expanded opportunities for income generation; community schools which provide quality primary education, community owned and managed infrastructure schemes, improved agricultural productivity, and higher returns for labour and so on. From the widest perspective the vision is manifested as the first stages of a transformation of civil society.
For both new and long-term CO members, participation brings about new levels of awareness concerning service provision and infrastructure development in their villages. CO membership also helps people to improve their asset base, by increasing both their income and their ‘social capital’. This might be brought about by adding land to their holdings, increasing the number of animals they own, pooling economic resources to buy new and improved inputs and equipment for farms or businesses, or diversifying the stock for their small shops.
CO participation enables people to accumulate savings, perhaps for the first time in their lives. It gives the rural poor access to an affordable financial service (micro credit) that is designed specifically for them. It provides an outlet through which to invest their savings for household needs and community development schemes. For some of the very poorest and most vulnerable people. NRSP membership provides the possibility of achieving a foothold on a more certain and improved economic future.