Facilitators: Eduardo Gustale Gill, Ana Paula Rojas April 3, 2019

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empowering families labstorm

Poverty Stoplight, created by Fundación Paraguaya, seeks to activate the potential of individuals and families to eliminate multidimensional poverty through a self-evaluation tool. The self-assessment features 50 different poverty indicators. Each indicator is presented in three different scenarios categorized as red for extreme poverty, yellow for poverty and green for non-poverty. When taking the test, families select the scenario most relatable to them for each indicator. The Stoplight self-assessment tool is paired with mentorship from program staff of local organizations to help the families implement changes in their own lives and communities.

Poverty Stoplight has ultimately improved the lives of thousands of families through a process that enables poor families to be the protagonists of their life-changing story.

Now, it is time to grow and empower families worldwide. Families currently access the Poverty Stoplight tool through local organizations. But in order to grow, the self-evaluation must be accessible outside of these organizations. How can Poverty Stoplight scale their model from an assessment that is administered by local organizations to a worldwide, open-source self-evaluation tool? LabStorm attendees rallied to find the key steps to make Poverty Stoplight accessible and empowering worldwide:

  1. Motivate usage. Currently, families use the Poverty Stoplight tool in conjunction with a third party nonprofit program. But what would motivate them to use Poverty Stoplight by itself? In order to understand what motivates usage, Poverty Stoplight should interview families who have taken the assessment and ask them. When it comes to motivating behavior, trust is an essential ingredient. Poverty Stoplight could utilize trust by creating a program where families become “partners” and recruit other families in their community to take the test. These partner families replace the need for an intermediary non-profit organization and allow usage to expand more organically.
  2. Emphasize empowerment. Poverty Stoplight shifts power away from large INGOs and into families themselves. As they work to scale their product globally, they should emphasize this differentiating factor. Some impoverished families may be tired of frequent nonprofit interventions in their lives but be more accepting of this new and different model. Local actors are also more likely to accept a product that requires no external oversight from an organization far, far away.
  3. Keep it personal. One of the major reasons for Poverty Stoplight’s success thus far is the combination of self-assessment metrics with professional mentorship from local nonprofits. As Poverty Stoplight works to scale their tool beyond nonprofit intermediaries, they risk losing this essential mentorship piece. In order to retain the benefits of one-on-one mentorship, Poverty Stoplight should consider using local community organizing. Similar to the family “partner” program, perhaps families can gain access to the tool if they volunteer to consult another family. In this give-and-take scenario, the community supports itself in using Poverty Stoplight.

This LabStorm showed us the importance of community participation in order to scale development tools.

Do you have expertise in developing community trust and buy-in? Leave a comment below or send us a message at [email protected].

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