A Holistic View
Global Brigades uniquely implements a holistic model to meet a community’s health and economic goals. Our model systematically builds community ownership and collaboratively executes programs with the end goal of sustainably evolving to a relationship of impact monitoring.
The Empowered 100 is Global Brigades’ commitment to empower 100 rural communities in Ghana, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama that represent about 65,000 persons to permanently rise out of global poverty through 3 core components: healthcare, WASH, and economic development. These 3 components correspond to 6 goals for an Empowered Community and align with United Nations Sustainable Development goals. Our ultimate goal is to create a blueprint to end rural poverty in our lifetime.
Our Alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda.
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Public Health
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Human Rights
Learn About Our Programs
Mobile ClinicsMobile medical clinics and preventative health workshops are implemented within partner communities through the utilization of student and health professional volunteers. Community members are provided with pro-bono general medical consultations, pap-smears, vision screenings and other specialized care based on the scope of the health professionals.
Dental CareAt mobile clinics, dental professionals, with volunteer assistance, provide a variety of dental care services to patients including cleanings, fillings, and extractions. Dental education workshops are implemented with children in the community, who are also provided with fluoride treatments.
Community Health WorkersSelect volunteers living in the community are trained by our staff to become Community Health Workers (CHWs). CHWs provide basic medical care, monitor chronic conditions, and serve as point persons for urgent care cases year-round.
Regular Access to Doctors & MedicationGlobal Brigades' Healthcare Professional Access program provides affordable access to doctors and medication on a regular (monthly-quarterly) basis using a financially sustainable model. Patients can access general medical consultations, optometry, OBGYN, and dental care in their own community.
Community BanksLocal leaders are identified and trained by our staff and volunteers to organize Community-Owned Banks to provide critical financial services to the community. Local governments recognize these banks as legitimate institutions allowing them to provide access to savings and loans.
Access to CapitalCommunity banks provide access to savings, loans and financial literacy. Through regular trainings, our staff and volunteers work to create a culture of savings in the community alongside the creation of the banks. Saving demonstrates the value of longer term horizons, goal setting, provides for a safety net, and capitalizes local banks with funds available for entrepreneurs to take loans or create micro-enterprises. In addition, access to loans and education on responsible loan usage allows communities to further grow their businesses.
Income GrowthOur staff identify business opportunities and facilitate consulting projects between volunteers and entrepreneurs to help small businesses grow. Staff and volunteers help entrepreneurs determine the financial return on potential investments and whether loans are a prudent tool for growth.
InvestmentVolunteers and donors contribute essential funds for community-owned banks to lend to local businesses for their investments. The funds are repaid and recirculated back into the local economy, exponentially growing the accounts. Commonly, our banks start with just a few hundred dollars but will grow within 2-3 years of having more than $10,000 USD. For communities averaging about 100 homes and making less than $2 it can be life-changing.
Clean Water System DesignWater systems are designed, planned, and budgeted with partner communities, international volunteers and the support of our local staff of engineers. Designs take into account accessible water sources and community needs with the goal to provide clean water piped directly to families’ homes.
WASH LeadershipLocal leaders are identified by the community to serve as the community’s Water Council, which collects monthly water fees from households to operate and maintain the constructed water system. This locally empowered team ensures the future sustainability of the project once construction is complete and receives regular follow-up from our local staff. A Basic Sanitation Committee is also trained to carry out in-home assessments of Public Health projects, such as latrines, clean burning stoves, and water storage units.
Clean Water System ConstructionOnce designed, clean water systems are constructed with local community members working alongside volunteers and local engineers. Systems include the collaboration between community members, government and Global Brigades. Construction may take several months to complete and can include several large scale components, such as dams and storage tanks.
Healthy HouseholdsVolunteers, masons and families work together to implement projects to improve health, hygiene and sanitation. Eco-stoves to target respiratory diseases, latrines and water filters to decrease the spread of infectious diseases and parasites, and water storage units and showers to improve hand washing and hygiene. Through collaboration with Community Banks, families save in order to contribute financially to their WASH infrastructure, thus investing in their own health.
While not the primary focus of the Holistic Model, our supplementary initiatives are baseline factors that underpin the model and are integrated into our programming.
Education | Aligns to UN SDG 4
Through specialized, skill-based trainings for adults and children, community members are equipped with knowledge and tools to advance their community’s sustainable development and assume leadership roles. These trainings focus on establishing leadership committees within our partner communities but also aim to spread information community-wide on topics ranging from sexual and reproductive health to financial literacy.
Women’s Empowerment | Aligns to UN SDG 5
To ensure inclusive decision-making practices and reduce gender discrimination, women in our partner communities have equal access to leadership positions and trainings, health information, reproductive health services, economic resources, and conferences for female leadership. The ultimate aim of these initiatives is to reinforce gender parity in community leadership and ensure more equitable development outcomes within our partner communities.
Our Women’s Conference initiative, in particular, encourages discussion of gendered practices and violence against women while reinforcing existing leadership roles.
Legal Empowerment | Aligns to UN SDG 10
In order to increase access to legal services and knowledge in rural settings, community members can access legal clinics and education workshops through Legal Empowerment Brigades. In addition, Global Brigades works with leadership committees to register them as legal entities in order to increase their visibility, transparency, authority, and effectiveness.
How We Fund Our Model
Global Brigades is almost entirely funded through our volunteer’s fundraising. We empower more than 500 chapters worldwide to mobilize their peers. Volunteers fundraise to meet a Donation Goal, which funds the project, as well as covers our year round work. Volunteers who are able to meet their full Donation Goal are able to join us in the implementation of the projects on the ground.
Donors & Grants
Global brigades is lucky to have individual and family donors that contribute directly to the implementation of our holistic model in communities. Since all of our overhead is covered through funds raised for Brigades, we are able to utilize 100% of these funds for healthcare, economic development or WASH projects. In addition, has received some funding through grants and we continue to pursue further opportunities in this area.
Global Brigades works with numerous government and non-government partners, both internationally, and locally in our programming countries. Finding common ground in our respective missions and models allows us, and our partners, to benefit mutually from each other’s contributions to our partner communities, accelerating impact.