BALUD—Building Alliances and Leaders for Understanding and Development, is an international youth-led initiative working on the development of poor and neglected communities through partnerships and youth leadership. BALUD focuses its work on fast tracking the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals through proven models of development. Our work is hinged on familiar paradigms such as participatory approaches, community-led development, partnerships, women and youth empowerment and sustainability.
What makes BALUD unique is the approach in its work to suit the changing times. We build on, recreate and innovate on other/new approaches of development. One of our strengths is on international cooperation and north-south approaches as we work in a globalized world. We emphasize our practice of engaging our international youth development volunteers who come from advanced economies to have hands-on experience in the communities. In reciprocity, we bring our local leaders to the capital or abroad for trainings and educational opportunities. We look at travel and exposure as an investment rather than an expense.
BALUD’s approach towards sustainability is pioneering, if not unorthodox, for a youth initiative. We make use of modern tools of social entrepreneurship, venture philanthropy and information technology. We have acquired properties of which all income goes to the projects. We envision projects that will create resources to sustain the activities at the same time create economic opportunities and provide benefits to the communities. In the pipeline are: an eco-resort that will employ locals, provide income for the community and benefit the environment; and low-cost university student dormitories which will benefit students at the same time earn for the projects. Our resource generation is hinged on partnerships with organizations and individuals who have strong belief on our work and who have the expertise and the capacity to deliver. We take pride in our personal approach towards our donors.
BALUD is guided by the universal principles of human rights and equality and works within the frameworks of diversity and equity and with strong emphasis on gender. We see to it that all our activities are inclusive. We do not only promote these concepts in our conferences and seminars, but we also overemphasize their practice in all phases of our work.
BALUD strives to be a green organization. We are cognizant of all the environmental impact of our activities from the international and domestic flights we take, to the papers we use during our conferences, and to the garbage we accumulate during all our activities. Our green actions come in different ways—double-sided printing for conference handouts, taking trains rather than planes, less plastics during activities, or promotion of ethical travel.
The last major tenet of BALUD’s actions is evidence-based development using scientific methods and metrics. We complement needs identification through scientific survey on top of community consultation. We use qualitative and quantitative approaches to ascertain the essentials. We use monitoring and evaluation tools to gauge our work. We take baselines to measure the impact. We move on based on our findings. We prioritize based on measures. But, we do not treat our beneficiaries as numbers but as humans.
BALUD has three major components: the Balud Project, BALUD Leadership and BALUD Partnership. You will learn more about BALUD and its projects as you navigate the website. We want you to read and understand what we do. We also want you to engage with us by providing us your comments on what we do. Your feedback will equip us with better knowledge in delivering what is best and appropriate for the communities we serve. You can also join us as our partner in development.
The Balud Project, September 2011