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How we do it

How We Do It & Why – “Irsho”

C2C uses the “irsho” approach to support local communities, combatting traditional aid approaches that focus on assessing weaknesses and problems rather than identifying strengths and ongoing initiatives in communities. Such methods reinforce this idea of helplessness and victimization. C2C recognizing that crisis-affected people are the first and last responders to crises. C2C adapts strength-based assessment and appreciative inquiry methods to combat learned dependency and called it ‘Irsho’. In literal terms Irsho refers to an ingredient used as natural yeast to make traditional bread and injera (a staple in the Ethiopian diet). It is the ingredient that stimulates and catalyses growth. Famous in the rural areas of Ethiopia, women often offer Irsho to neighbors to enhance the fermentation and as a means of support.

The Irsho approach works in a similar way, by providing Micro grants to community members’ initiatives to execute their action plan to the benefits of the wider communities. This method seeks to enable the group to solve their own problems, empowering the community to make decisions and take control of their own narratives. The approach seeks to build confidence, promote collective actions, increase social cohesions and enable communities to consider their futures. By providing these communities with irsho, C2C hopes that locals can seize the opportunity and demonstrate their capacity to respond to crises and support themselves.

C2C’s work prioritizes innovation, creativity, and resourcefulness in finding local solutions and opportunities. It seeks to be adaptable with a strong focus on learning through doing. Applying a ‘safe to fail’ principle which provides community groups the necessary confidence to share their challenges and learning from mistakes. Coordination and collaboration with other actors are key elements of C2C’s method. The organization supports local government agencies and donors to adopt community empowering systems, challenging assumptions/norms that limits aid opportunities.


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