In the ongoing work to end poverty, nonprofit organizations and foundations around the world are implementing various approaches to uplift communities and provide sustainable solutions. One such model is the Poverty Reduction Model of Development (PREMDEV)© created by Gail Nystrom, Founder and Director of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation (CRHF).
This innovative model adopts a unique upward spiral shape, encompassing different stages to address the basic needs of individuals and gradually build stronger foundations for long-term development.
1. Beginning with Basic Needs
The spiral-shaped model starts at the bottom, which focuses on meeting the most fundamental needs of individuals – food, water and clothing. By addressing these basic needs, the CRHF ensures that vulnerable populations have access to the essentials required for survival.
2. Building Stronger Foundations
As the spiral moves upwards, it encompasses shelter, healthcare, health education, education and sports. The CRHF understands that improving these aspects is crucial to empowering communities and breaking the cycle of poverty. Access to safe and affordable housing, quality healthcare, and education helps individuals in gaining skills, knowledge, and the tools to lead healthy and productive lives.
3. Training, Micro-Enterprise, and Community Development
Once the basic foundations are established, the next stage of the model emphasizes training, micro-enterprise, and community development. Through various programs, individuals are provided with vocational training or skill-building opportunities to enhance their employability and income-generating abilities. The CRHF also encourages entrepreneurship and promotes the creation of small businesses to foster economic growth within the community.
4. Strengthening Empathy and Compassion
In the subsequent phase, the CRHF focuses on strengthening empathy and compassion within individuals. Recognizing the value of these qualities, the foundation organizes awareness campaigns, seminars, and workshops to instill empathy in community members. By fostering a sense of compassion, people become more inclined to work together, support one another, and contribute collectively to the betterment of their community.
5. Right Action (RA) – The God of Sun
RA, which stands for Right Action, represents the pinnacle of the model’s spiral. Drawing inspiration from its namesake, the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation looks to illuminate areas where poverty persists. It symbolizes the epitome of selfless action, where not only individuals, but entire communities commit to creating positive change.
It is through this stage that the spiral model encourages community members to embrace social responsibility, advocate for justice, and uplift others who are still struggling.
6. The Spiral Shape
The shape of a spiral was chosen for several reasons. Other models usually portray a linear triangle or steps. The spiral allows for going back to visit places where we found ourselves previously in life, but from a different perspective. As with so many things in life, the spiral model allows to waiver keeping the end goal in sight.
7. Ecological and Adaptable
The PREMDEV uses an ecological model which focuses on an individual level initially. By empowering and strengthening individuals, we begin to incorporate families into the model. And by incorporating families, we are by default creating stronger communities. Finally with these stronger communities, we reach a national level, creating more peaceful societies.
The PREMDEV is adaptable to different scenarios. Not only can individuals and communities benefit from the model, but it can also be applied to business, government and globally.
8. Family Well-Being Centers
The physical space used to develop the PREMDEV model is named Family Well-Being Centers (FWBC). In these centers we provide a safe space for numerous activities which support the PREMDEV. Some of these activities include women supports groups, early childhood development, food programs, clothing drives, health checks and preventative health campaigns, sports leagues and education support among other critical resources.
The Poverty Eradication Model of Development of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation provides a comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing poverty and laying the foundations for sustainable development.
By encapsulating essential needs, education, vocational training, community development, and a focus on empathy and compassion, this model empowers individuals and communities to break free from the cycle of poverty.
Through our strong presence in various poverty-stricken areas of Costa Rica, CRHF has shown that positive change is possible, and that this spiral-shaped model can indeed bring light where darkness prevails.