One-sixth of the world’s population is hungry and malnourished. About 70% of the hungry, poor and other marginalized people live in rural areas. As the rural-urban divide wides and the youth leave their original communities in search for better opportunities in urban areas, the ability for rural communities to make their issues heard becomes a tougher challenge.
Rural development is the process of improving the quality of life and economic well-being of people living in rural areas, often in relatively isolated and sparsely populated settings.
The issues of rural communities are complex and aggravated by many factors, like climate change, young population migrating to urban areas in search of better opportunities and limited or nonexistent internet access.
Traditionally rural development has been provided in a top-down approach, by regional authorities or international development agencies. These outsiders view the local challenges from an external point of view, with a limited understanding of the setting, language, customs and often different interests.
The disadvantage of a risk of a pure top-down approach is that when a project reaches its end of life, this also means that much of the progress that was made is lost.
To fix the top-down approach new models of development have surged in the last decades, an example of this are integrated development programs. This new type of interventions approach the challenges of rural communities with a holistic approach, providing more space to grassroots leadership and creating infrastructure that can withstand to changes in central governments and international development budgets.
Affordable and easy-to-use mobile data collection apps, like Teamscope, make it possible for local organizations to collect and visualize their own program data, without depending on foreign NGOs nor expensive IT capacity.