Core Principles

Sago Network is guided by five Core Principles which inform the team's approach to the unique circumstances surrounding each community development programme:

Principle 1: Community-Centred Approach

Seen as the most important principle, Sago Network seeks to place people at the centre of their own development process throughout each project. This includes: 

  • Community Engagement through a process of community consultation that initiates each project and guides communities toward determining their own development priorities, often identifying, unprompted, water and sanitation as the most critical needs.

  • Local Committees of community members are formed to identify local champions to drive water and sanitation projects toward the community-determined objectives.

  • Inclusive Decisions throughout all stages of a project ensures that an equal representation of men, women, youth and other relevant groups are involved in all consultations, committees, decisions and actions.

  • Partnership Agreements clarify the contributions to be made by all stakeholders, especially community contributions.

  • Financial Contributions ensure community members save toward an agreed portion of their project to be genuinely invested and to foster community ownership. 

  • Strategic Partnerships are formed around the host community with key government, educational and private sector stakeholders all connected to the project and introduced to community members according to project requirements.

  • Collaborative Implementation facilitates the involvement of community members through project delivery to ensure that sweat equity is invested and local ownership built.

  • Awareness & Training because success is created by what people do, that is, by behaviour’s and practices. Sago Network thus seeks to empower individuals to make lasting change in their communities through safe sanitation and hygiene education.

  • Sustained Monitoring and Maintenance performed by both community members and Sago Network, aims to ensure that communities progressively transition toward full autonomy and ownership of their facilities. 

By placing community at the centre of their own development processes and decisions, Sago Network seeks to engender a capacity-building experience for participants to strengthen the skills, knowledge and network of community members so that they become active agents of their own on-going change.

Principle 2: Philosophy of Process & Product

Sago Network values both product and process, seeking to achieve carefully considered built results through an inclusive and capacity-building process. Built interventions are rigorously researched, carefully detailed, locally appropriate and site-specific responses. Projects containing a built ‘product’ are complemented by an awareness that sustained progress is supported by a ‘process’ that is empowering, explanatory, collaborative, supportive and sustained. 

Principle 3: Strategic Partnerships

The team aims to catalyse strategic partnerships between communities and organisations who stand to gain from collaboration. This constellation of project partners is unique to each project and can extend from community partnerships with: 

  • Government looking to deliver services to their constituents

  • Private sector seeking to contribute as part of corporate social responsibility programmes

  • Industry who can supply communities with maintenance skills or replacement parts to ensure long-term functionality of facilities

  • Educational institutions with students interested in getting involved in community development and supporting a community

Sago Network strives to form a network of support around communities that can assist in make lasting change. The complex and inter-related development challenges of water and sanitation have been tackled by Sago Network by forming a diverse and multi-disciplinary team which is flexibly configured around the needs of each community.

Principle 4: Education and Empowerment 

Education and empowerment are critical components to programme delivery, empowering communities with knowledge that will ensure long term sustainable improvement. We value education, especially of children, women and young people, and aim to reduce factors that may affect their ability to access a fruitful education. Sago Network’s educational material is shaped to be contextually relevant and focuses on sanitation, hygiene and health as well as the technical knowledge surrounding the appropriate use, monitoring and maintenance of facilities being implemented.

Sago Network believes in active learning and engages communities through the use of local staff or community members for educational delivery where possible. In order to promote gender equality and social inclusion (GESI), Sago Network incorporates GESI processes into all programme activity. 

Principle 5: Reflective Practice

Sago Network maintains a commitment to learning from projects previously undertaken to ensure that each subsequent effort is strengthened with the following measures assisting this reflective mode of practice:

  • Assessment, monitoring, maintenance reviews and evaluation 

  • Qualitative assessments of projects with community members 

  • Quantitative and empirical evidence and data collection  

  • Project process is continually reviewed and improved to ensure a framework of approach that reflects best practice and learning to date

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