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Influenced by the new development paradigm, which puts people before things, SUHAD fol­lows a participatory approach in every sphere of its work. The traditional knowledge of the rural poor is valued and respected, and there is confidence that rural people are capable of self-reli- ant organization. On a practical level, the fundamental thrust of this approach is decentraliza­tion and empowerment.

For a community to be able to work for its own development and reduce its dependency there is a need for full involvement at all stages of the development cycle. The participation of com­munities in identification, planning, management, implementation and evaluation of projects is a key factor in SUHAD work. Internally a participatory approach is adopted in managing the affairs of SUHAD.

Externally, SUHAD role as a “change agent” helps to develop community management struc­tures that are capable of managing their own development. This increases the ability of the community to demand accountability in all their affairs, from leaders and officials. It reinforces the community’s belief in the value of their own development choices and efforts. These com­munity management structures are not parallel structures, but are built upon traditional insti­tutions, promoting equitable representation and participation

Human resource development is an essential part of our development work. This means ensur­ing that the community is trained and skilled, as well as organized, to maximize the potential of the community to take hold of its own development.

SUHAD strongly believes in maximizing its impact by transferring field experiences into knowl­edge to influence the development policies and practices of NGOs, donors and government agencies. This is important for working towards the long-term goal of eradicating poverty.