SERVE’s Partnership Approach

If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together – Lilla Watson

From the start, the SERVE approach has been characterised by partnership, working together in solidarity with individuals, communities, and organisations that share the same goal of reducing vulnerability and improving livelihood security. SERVE works through a partnership model as we believe that this is the best way of achieving sustainable development.

SERVE is closely linked to the Irish Redemptorists and working with young people. The Irish Redemptorists have a long tradition of overseas mission and working with poor and abandoned communities. This mission tradition and the associated commitment of resources and energy to working with young people acted as the catalyst that inspired the SERVE initiative. The Dublin Province of the Redemptorists provided the space and the initial seed capital to develop this ambitious vision. Three of the founding members of SERVE moved into a small house in Cherry Orchard in West Dublin, working tirelessly to turn their passion and enthusiasm into a tangible reality.

In the early years, SERVE had many partners, and were able to support a range of short-term initiatives in countries as diverse as Brazil, Thailand, India, Mozambique, and Haiti. Over time, SERVE has evolved, developing a small number of strong partnerships and investing in long-term sustainable development programmes in Southern Africa, India, and South-East Asia.

The partnership approach requires flexibility and tailored responses to the specific needs of each partner. It is not a case of ‘one size fits all’. SERVE has developed a toolkit of varied ways of supporting partners, including the assignment of long-term volunteers, targeted financial supports, and capacity building initiatives. SERVE has a specific interest in increasing access to Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) for young people. SERVE also recognises that specific groups are especially vulnerable and excluded. It is ensured, therefore, that gender, HIV/AIDS, and human rights are mainstreamed throughout all partnerships and projects. This approach is reflected in the SERVE vision.

Everyone has an opportunity to realise his or her potential and make a meaningful contribution to society