Theory of Change Macha Works
There are two fundamental inhibitors for structural rural development:
- The community lacks the capacity to attract and retain talented people, because they are reluctant to establish themselves permanently within the community.
- High distribution and transaction costs present significant barriers to economic activity and the ability of government, businesses and local organisations to reduce the significant gap in service provision.
Many rural institutions have difficulties attracting good people. Rural schools with only 8 out of 12 approved teacher slots filled are no exception. In that context, it’s fundamental to keep the people that work, within the organisation. Most rural institutions face high attrition rates of 40% to sometimes 50% of employees, year after year. Any capacity building program in that context is set up to fail.
Similarly, efforts to implement stand-alone interventions in single areas such as healthcare or education have proved unsustainable because of high distribution costs. Different gaps in service delivery are linked and deficiencies in one area can have an impact on others. For example, losing a talented and innovative head teacher at a school not only reduces the quality of education but also makes it harder to retain health professionals or entrepreneurs in the community because they see less opportunity for their children.
So what makes capable people stay? During the past years in rural Zambia it has become clear that the decision to stay is linked to opportunities for people to learn and develop. Good quality education for their kids and a learning environment within their jobs are key reasons for people to establish themselves permanently.
The successful Macha Works approach therefore comprises of three fundamental steps:
Macha Works helps build the capacity of talented people within the community, our local heroes, whilst simultaneously creating a learning environment for them. Retaining these people is as important as building capacity.
Internet connectivity helps our local heroes to connect to peers and professionals and be part of the learning environment. The infrastructure also contributes to lowering distribution costs to reach the people in the communities.
There is consensus that the only people that can develop Africa are people from Africa itself. Macha Works puts them in the drivers seat to decide what is needed and implement solutions that work within the context of their own community.