We are a small organization with tremendous impact. This impact is derived from key innovations and from a very efficient approach to our work. Sixty percent of the world’s poor rely on natural resources for survival—for water, food, medicine, and energy. The majority of these people are women. Yet all around the world, organizations have approached environmental degradation as a separate issue from poverty, have failed to fully engage women in finding solution for environmental degradation, and have not ensured that women accrue benefits from conservation efforts. New Course is focused on engaging women to find solutions to address the interconnected problems of poverty and environmental decline. In short – we bring two key innovations to the non-profit community:
- We systematically engage women
- We are not an environment organization. We are not a development organization. We are both. It is difficult – if not impossible – to deliver long-term successful results if you only work on one of these issues at a time.
Our work happens in three stages:
New Course works with other organizations to learn from the past and generate improved solutions for the future. We analyze what our partners do and what they don’t do. But perhaps more importantly – we look at how our partners do things. Who do they talk to? Who don’t they talk to? Who do they train? Who don’t they train? Who benefits from their efforts? Who doesn’t? Those answers are mission critical (often with serious implications for women around the world!). We also look at data and data collection process, planning process and resulting strategies, and how and where they implement programs. Of course we also analyze results and determine what – in the end – works and what doesn’t.
After all of that thinking and learning – we have a process that is akin to a for-profit’s version of R&D. We test drive pilot programs. Working with partners, we develop and test solutions that are innovative and effective in terms of both processes and products because we know it isn’t always what you do – it’s how you do it. We try and find solutions that will solve both environment and poverty problems at the same time. And we make sure that women are included in, and central to, all of these efforts.
Finally, we analyze our findings and we disseminate them to our partners, people, organizations and decision makers so that they can “do” much more efficiently and effectively. We have many outlets for disseminating information and we have a growing list of partners that turn to us for technical know-how. Perhaps the most unique aspect of our business model is that in the end, we hope everyone takes our ideas to systematically engage women and to simultaneously tackle poverty and environmental degradation – and steals them. That’s right. We want all of our partners to take our idea and run with them. When a project is successful, an innovation works, a solution is found – we help our partners use it, deploy it and change the course of women’s lives wherever they are working.