Mind to Change aims to help (re-)build the postwar society in finding ways for the society to absorb and involve vulnerable groups and people who find themselves in the margins of society, through empowerment of members of vulnerable groups with the tools to help them develop into responsible citizens and to help them (re)build their own lives.
Mind to Change will mainly target former child soldiers, war affected youths, the war disabled and children and youths who deviate from mainstream society, as well as talented young people who lack the means to develop themselves in their professional careers.
Our main goal is to bring members of vulnerable groups back to mainstream society and to actively involve them in their communities, raise their awareness of their rights and duties as citizens of the community and the necessity of their contribution to society, and finally, to enable them to take responsibility over their own lives.
Our main activity is education, in every sense thinkable. Our programs will range from basic literacy and basic knowledge trainings to scholarships for basic education, academic education, to professional training and job counseling. Mind to Change will make long term investments in individuals as part of their communities. We will relate the needs of the individual to the needs of their communities and the society as a whole, to advise and to enable them to undergo the appropriate training for their professional development. We will employ an ’all the way’ approach: a twenty two year old ex-child soldier who is detached from his/her family and community who has the potential to develop him or herself in the academic field, for example, will be guided through his or her educational career until we can deliver him or her at their first job. From secondary school level to university and from university to the practical training necessary to fit in the job market. Mind to Change will provide the individual with material and immaterial assistance and we will try to re-establish his or her ties with their families and communities and find ways to put them back in the care of their legal caretakers.
Mind to Change will focus its projects and programs on empowering and capacitating individual members of vulnerable groups to enable them to develop their own lives in the postwar society through education, capacity building and skills training.
Mind to Change will:
- Stimulate durable peace,
- Protect and promote the rights of members of vulnerable groups,
- Stimulate societal reintegration and (re)building of the postwar society,
- Educate donor countries about the effects and challenges of war and living in a postwar society, as well as educate donor countries about life in a developing country.
- the implementation of programs and projects in postwar societies
- educational campaigns in postwar societies and donor countries to raise awareness
- scientific research for the development of effective programs and the general good
- participation and involvement in the political debate and policy making
Mind to Change believes that a humanitarian approach means that both beneficiaries and staff members are individuals, with individual needs and interests and both should be in harmony with each other. We also believe that:
- the needs of the beneficiaries should always be central in our approach.
- the knowledge and ideas that beneficiaries have of their own problems and of solutions for their own situation should lie at the heart of our projects and programs.
- for every problem there must be a multifunctional solution.
- our work must have a lasting impact.
- knowledge is power, in every sense thinkable.
- in many cases, a chance is all people need to help themselves.
- the people involved know what they need,
- therefore change must come from within the individual and the community,
- and therefore effective assistance should come from within.
- our beneficiaries should not become dependent on us.
- Practical skills training with a special focus on illiterates, with the purpose of: (Re) building the postwar society and enhancing the quality of individual lives
- Basic education, with a special focus on adult education and basic literacy training for illiterates
- Higher education, with the purpose of creating better job prospects for individuals and (re) building the postwar society
- Computer skills training for individuals, with the purpose of preparing individuals for the job market and creating better job prospects for individuals
- Supplying materials, start capital and knowledge for small businesses
The backbone of Mind to Change will be a personal approach, in which the needs of the individual are directly related to the needs of the postwar society, so that both the individual and society as a whole benefit from our projects and programs.
The keywords, that form the foundation of Mind to Change, are:
Chance, Small scale projects, Personal approach, Individuals as part of the community, Target group involvement, Community involvement, Reciprocity, Knowledge before implementation, Long term benefits.
Mind to Change believes that developmental aid should have a lasting effect on the individuals and the groups that it targets. Short term help is ultimately a ‘band aid’ that can even cause bigger problems, if the problem remains to exist. The projects of Mind to Change will therefore always focus on the long term, and provide the help and/or assistance that will make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals and the society as a whole. An individual is a member of society, and should get the kind of assistance that will enable him or her to function in his or her own society. Mind to Change will carefully assess the needs of the individual, his or her own community and the wider society before designing and implementing projects, or giving assistance to individuals. The needs of people in agricultural areas, for example, differ from the needs of people in big cities. Mind to Change will find the link between the different needs and interests and will design projects that place the individual in the whole and that will suit the whole on a long term basis, instead of the different parts on a short term basis.
The word ‘chance’ is key and central to our method. Mind to Change aims to provide individuals and groups with the fair chance to take control over and to (re)build their own lives, to (one) enhance the quality of life in general and (two) avoid future dependence on humanitarian help.
For developmental aid to be successful and to adequately reach the needs of the beneficiaries, it is necessary to actively involve the target group, the community and the wider society. Mind to Change will therefore actively involve the target group and the community in designing and implementing projects and programs and work closely with (local) government and local organizations to assess the needs of all parties involved and to efficiently implement our projects and programs. Mind to Change will first carefully explore the needs in the field and of the parties involved, and organize workgroups and think-tanks before designing our programs. We will work with pilot projects to monitor the effect of and flaws in our programs before implementing it on a larger scale. Follow up research on the long term will be part of our strategy to monitor our own methods and programs.
Mind to Change believes that reciprocity should be one of the backbones of effective help. We will ask our beneficiaries to actively contribute to our programs. If you receive assistance, you will have to give something in return. With this approach, we hope to spread knowledge and encourage the (re)building of trust relationships in the community. By asking recipients of a computer skills training, for example, to teach other groups, the recipient gains experience in teaching, shares his or her own knowledge with others and broadens his or her social network.
Mind to Change also believes that there is a great potential in the community with regard to humanitarian help. What may seem to be a ‘service’ or ‘sacrifice’ for some groups, could prove to be a benefit or chance for other groups. Mind to Change aims to relate needs, so that they can mutually promote and solve each other. By using and guiding local students, for example, to research the field and our projects, Mind to Change will gain better knowledge (that has its roots in the local community) and help develop the local educational system at the same time.
The ultimate goal of our method is to enable people to help themselves. Our projects will be designed in such a way that, if their prolongation is required, they can be continued or maintained by community members.