MDO is built on a grassroots approach to community development and MDO firmly believes in the value of awareness raising amongst community members and participating organizations. Social mobilisation (SM) is also a major component of MDO’s community development programs; SM activities seek not only to raise people’s awarness, but to enable people to think and act independently, and eventually to undertake and support their own development initiatives. MDO’s long-term goal is to develop people with technical and managerial skills and strengthen organizational capacities for good governance and human rights so that they can ultimately assume control of and responsibility for their own health and well-being.
MDO respects local people as capable partners rather than simply clients of community development projects. MDO’s approach thus seeks to involve people and local organizations in all aspects of its community development activities. By enabling and empowering local communities with appropriate skills, knowledge and technical assistance, MDO hopes to enable all sectors of rural communities to better themselves, as well as their domestic and community situations. MDO also makes a special effort to empower women and disadvantaged groups, (e.g., Dalits, or those traditionally considered lower castes), and also enables children and youth, to improve their quality of life.
MDO believes that singular, sectoral development activities alone will not lead to sustainable community development, thus MDO is a strong advocate of an integrated approach. Furthermore, recognizing that environmental and social problems are intricately intertwined, particularly at the rural community level, MDO strives to integrate envirionmental concerns into any and all community development activities. When and where environmental concerns are deemed critical and given priority over development needs and, for example, access to forest or other resources are thereby restricted to local people, then alternative resources will need to be provided. The strengthening of existing or creation of new or alternative income generation opportunities and energy sources must are also complementary to an integrated, holistic approach to community development. Through an integrated conservation and community development approach (ICCD), MDO aims to develop and maintain a balance between environmental and community development concerns and objectives.
MDO stresses that development aid, (both monetary and non-monetary), should not be made available free of charge. Everyone, from individuals, communities, VDC’s and districts alike, should share costs and contribute something (e.g., material resources, labor, funds) towards the resources, support and services they receive. Only in this way will local people and communities feel ownership of, and a sense of responsibility towards the, new or strengthened development processes, organizations, and infrastructure implemented.
MDO always seeks to co-operate with local government agencies to access resources and expertise for the benefit of local communities. It also works to provide training and other assistance to government agencies to strengthen their capacities to delivery to communities improved services and support in a variety of technical areas, (e.g., health and sanitation, clean drinking water, trail construction and maintenance, alternative income generation, group cooperatives.) Furthermore, environmentally friendly alternative energy activities like improved cooking stoves (ICS), backboilers, biogas plants and solar panels will help enable local people to conserve natural resources and household incomes. Unless local people are fully involved and motivated them feel ownership and control over the programmes, the protection and conservation of the forest resources is not possible by simply making the laws and act. Easy access to schools without any restrictions for all segments of the population in their own community will further provide better opportunities. This will certainly enable local people to remain in their own communities, as well as help reduce the growing urbanization problems in Pokhara and the other cities in Nepal.
The local government authorities are the main responsible bodies to create and run the development programme activities in the communities. However, members of local government lack appropriate knowledge and skills in the fields of planning, resources mobilization and monitoring. MDO therefore develops and conducts programme activities to educate, facilitate and advise the local leaders in the fields of resource mobilization, planning, implementation and monitoring of the programmes on the basis of participatory approach. No party politics should override the development programmes. MDO strongly believes that the political activities should not influence development work either in the village or national level to achieve the emancipated development objectives. MDO attempts to work itself against the scenario if it exists in the community.