Our work is guided by four factors we believe are essential to the success of development initiatives:
In recent years many countries have grown economically, improved infrastructure and communication, expanded health and educational facilities and generally developed favorable conditions for their citizens to flourish. However, evidence also shows that economic growth alone does not reduce inequity. Growth must be sustainable and equitable for the poor to benefit from it. Productivity must mean improved and new employment opportunities created. In practice, the interests of people (particularly women) living in poverty are rarely considered when drafting or implementing policies. As a result, development agendas are largely built around issues that do not tally with the interests or inherent energy of large parts of society. This both "misses the point" and fails to harness considerable local potential.
Inclusive development actively listens to and engages with people living in poverty, be they producers, workers or consumers. Not by creating special niches for them, but by linking them structurally to sustainable development processes that are both fair and just. We believe that better inclusion of the poor in public agendas and markets has the potential to enable change for large numbers of people.
Realising inclusive and sustained development at scale goes beyond strengthening the capacity of individual players to provide better services to people living in poverty. It also requires shaping an enabling environment that addresses the systemic constraints underlying poor performance and inequality.
Improving sector or system performance is therefore more critical than individual client performance, although the latter is often a vital element of the former. SNV combines services that address the capacities of local agents to improve their performance (outreach, productivity, quality) with the role of change facilitator. We connect to both sub-national actors and national and macro-level actors who have the potential to positively influence policies and systems in favour of the poor. This multi-actor approach includes, amongst others, national governments, large companies, investors, industry associations and influential civil society organisations.
The magnitude and complexity of the challenges we are facing around food, energy and water requires action and innovation at all levels. Effective and sustainable solutions can only be achieved if local actors shape and drive their own agendas. This has consequences for the role external actors can play. SNV recognises this and focuses on facilitating the resourcefulness of local development partners rather than leading development processes for and on behalf of the poor.
There are no 'one-size-fits-all' solutions to development challenges. Effective and lasting solutions need to take context into account - to be tailored to the nature of the issues at stake, the political, administrative and financial environment, and social and cultural conditions. However, solutions do not necessarily have to be invented from scratch. SNV uses its local presence and networks to make tested solutions available globally, enabling approaches to be tailored to local contexts and providing effective yet economical solutions to development problems.