Building Bridges to the Future Foundation (BBF) helps increase the role and viability of civil society in conflict and disaster-affected developing countries by providing capacity building and small grants to grassroots groups and local organizations in order for them to become sustainable and effective. It accepts requests for assistance from groups wishing to develop programs to benefit people living in areas that are usually remote and outside the focus of large relief and reconstruction organizations.

Our ultimate goal is to assist in the creation of locally registered service agencies, and train local staff to manage their programs, with on-going assistance from BBF as necessary. We work closely with our local partner organizations in order to insure best practices in the areas of fiscal management, grants and contracts administration, and local/international government and inter-agency cooperation. To that end, BBF provides a portion of the local agency's operating expenses and administrative costs.

BBF also helps these organizations formalize and strengthen their relationships with community and governmental partners by working with them to coordinate with local governments, civic and business leaders, village leaders, large NGOs, and international organizations to identify and articulate local needs, develop local solutions, and pursue international funding opportunities.

The majority of BBF's programming assistance is directed to groups working in the areas of sustainable "green" agricultural livelihoods improvement, adult literacy, and the professional training and accreditation of local social workers.

Livelihoods in Agriculture – Economically & Environmentally Self-Sustaining

BBF and local partner organizations identify and work with promising new entrepreneurs in remote villages. With comprehensive training, start-up supplies and livestock, we help local partners provide resources to ensure that these small businesses are economically self-sustaining within a few months.

To protect local natural resources and community health, BBF has developed environmentally self-sustaining livestock and agriculture programs that can be tailored to each area's needs, current resources, and traditional operating methods. We help partners identify and utilize locally-available veterinary treatments, and provide a variety of training to trainers in the areas of controlled breeding processes to ensure growth of goat herds and poultry, production and marketing of locally-made, organic fertilizers, and optimum crop cultivation and rotation practices.

Beneficiaries are then able to provide nourishing food for their families and sell surplus produce and animal products to earn income. The skills they develop and the resulting new economic and education opportunities strengthen both the family and the community, insuring a healthier future for successive generations. BBF's livelihoods model, used by partner organizations, includes:

Adult literacy

In rural areas, illiteracy can significantly impair a community's social and economic progress. BBF believes that improving adult literacy creates new opportunities for families and entire communities.

BBF works with a government's Ministry of Education to authorize partner organizations to implement their respective certified equivalency education program for adults and children who have been unable to complete school. When working with partner organizations to develop livelihoods programming packages, we require the inclusion of a literacy program in which the organization employs local teachers in order to offer literacy training to the entire community where the livelihoods program is proposed. Where possible, BBF assists with the development of adult education programs to accompany local government degree-equivalency tests.

With a government-approved equivalency certificate in their hands, adults who may have missed schooling due to civil conflict or natural disaster are now able to pursue new opportunities.

Local solutions to social challenges

Communities everywhere are faced with the difficult challenges of providing adequate child protection services, HIV/AIDS prevention programs, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, domestic violence programs, and elder care. Developing nations often lack the social systems needed to address these issues, which are often exacerbated by the destruction caused by natural disasters and man-made conflicts.

BBF supports the education and training of local social workers who can provide services and counseling. Additionally, we work with local governments to establish internationally recognized standards for government social services in areas such as child placement and health institutions.

BBF's partner organizations are committed to improving social welfare, and are encouraged to address these issues in all of their programming whenever feasible. The programs we help develop and implement offer women the opportunity to own their own businesses and property. Teens accustomed to civil conflict are encouraged to participate socially and economically in their communities. And all BBF-sponsored initiatives use a community-based approach that includes women, religious leaders, youth and the elderly in program planning and beneficiary selection.

A Few Months of Learning, a Lifetime of Earning
New Skills, New Jobs
Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities