GIRONA, Spain — The poverty rate is increasing globally and even more so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the help of several NGOs, measures occurring to reduce this increase in poverty and fight to end it, as is the case of the Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting. In an interview with The Borgen Project, founder and director Iñaki Díaz explained where the idea came from and how the organization is helping to improve many lives and end poverty.
What is Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting?
After having worked for more than 14 years in a development cooperation NGO, Diaz decided to make a change and found an organization called Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting. The idea of the consultancy is to work on impact assessment in organizations and provide technical support to local NGOs in the countries where this consultancy is most active.
Diaz has also visited them personally to strengthen local institutions so that they become more involved in the projects. This is how the organization manages to reach more diverse populations through different projects. The idea is to begin increasing awareness of the projects, especially in the north of Spain, so that it can provide support to other NGOs in the region and improver others’ awareness of this facet of development cooperation. There are different fields of action of the projects, the local institutions oversee advising on management, execution and external evaluation of cooperation projects. In addition, the organization supervises and accompanies projects in the field.
How the Organization is Helping to End Poverty
All of Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting’s projects are based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the first of these goals is to end poverty. The organization deals with vulnerable people with few resources. It works on development projects to help them get ahead. Another very important aspect of the organization is training the participants in education and prevention so that once the project reaches completion, the participants will continue to fight against poverty.
The Success of Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting
The organization has seen success in each of its projects, several of which aim to increase entrepreneurship to make people self-sufficient and reduce dependency on aid. In several cases, projects helped many people to get out of poverty. For example, it implemented a project to help women create businesses and be self-sufficient. As a result, participating women have stopped depending on external aid, allowing them to increase their incomes and benefit their families.
Above all, the organization sees great potential for the development of African women. The organization’s projects have been able to help several people leave very poor rural areas and access secondary education. The populations who have benefited from their projects have become benchmarks in their community, encouraging other members of the community to follow in their footsteps and achieve a better life.
Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting’s Work in Kenya
Currently, Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting’s most successful project is the one that occurred in the north of Kenya, more specifically in Turkana. Where a certain number of young people have received scholarships from the Juan Pablo Foundation. This has allowed the young people to leave the most rural areas where they lived in a nomadic way moving from one place to another. With these scholarships, the scholars have been able to go to the city. This has allowed the scholars to study and acquire technical knowledge in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Some of the scholars have returned and have served as a reference for the other members of their community while others will follow in their footsteps to improve their situation and get out of poverty.
The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting
The reality is that COVID-19 has had a very negative impact on development cooperation projects all over the planet. In particular, it has been impactful in the countries where the organization operates, which include populations who do not have sufficient resources. In those countries, the populations cannot use preventive measures because they often do not have water available to wash their hands. This scenario has worsened even more so in the case of development cooperation projects, where funding for the projects has decreased.
For Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting, it has been difficult to carry out some projects since lockdowns have been much stricter in some countries. In some cases, citizens have not been able to go to work or go to take care of their fields for months, increasing their risk of poverty. One must also consider that some African countries have treated COVID-19 as if it were another disease because they were already facing major problems such as dengue or malaria. In the end, Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting prioritizes the nutrition of their children and being able to feed them during the pandemic.
Investments from the West
Limited investments from the West have resulted in the elimination of several projects, adding to the difficulties that some lockdowns have caused the delay of many projects. All this has had a great negative impact. At the same time, the organization has managed to get something positive out of all this. The organization has used it as an opportunity to learn new ways to reach and train people through online formats, which is where it can reach a greater number of people. This has prompted more people to interact with each other in different communities with different productive projects. Although the pandemic has generally affected them in a very negative way, the organization has managed to get something good out of it.
Upcoming Project and Goals
Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting is currently carrying out external evaluations of Italian and Spanish cooperation in Sierra Leone, Senegal, Mali, Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala. On one hand, the projects focus on sexual health. On the other hand, agricultural production projects seek innovation to help countries become self-sufficient and produce more sustainably. An example of one of the organization’s future projects is a maternity center in Mali.
The goal of what the organizers do at Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting is to be able to assess the impact that each project has had on each community. This allows the organization to see that the objectives have been successful and that the projects are working and are justified. It can also determine whether each project has been able to transform the needs of the population into reality and whether they will be sustainable over time. Additionally, observation can determine whether, once the projects disappear, communities will be able to move ahead and get out of poverty.
To achieve this, the most important thing is that the beneficiaries themselves participate in all the stages of the projects, including the design and execution of them. In other words, the beneficiaries stay with the project once the external financing ends, and then the beneficiaries can continue working on it over the years. Iñaki Díaz Cooperation Consulting fights to end poverty through development cooperation projects that seek to lift people out of poverty.
– Ander Moreno