Global Brigades and The UN Sustainable Development Goals

Written By The Empowered 100 Team


From the intersection of Global Brigades’ development work and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals came The Empowered 100 initiative as a commitment to empower 100 rural Central American communities to permanently rise out of global poverty.

It has been a little under three years since the community El Jute in Honduras was inaugurated as an Empowered Community in 2015. It was a day to celebrate and reflect on the challenges and successes El Jute and Global Brigades experienced together through the implementation of the Holistic Model. Most importantly, the inauguration represented that El Jute had the infrastructure, knowledge, leadership, and economic capacity to continue as the leaders of their own development with less involvement from Global Brigades.

[5.5] El Jute - inauguration - July 2015

Since that time, the Community Bank or Caja Rural of El Jute continues to flourish and power the development of the community. What makes the Community Bank so successful? According to a study conducted by Michelle Scott using Participatory Action Research (PAR) methods for Global Brigades, there are three predominant factors constituent of the Community Bank’s success: meticulous record keeping, regular and inclusive meetings, and community trust through transparency of funds management.

[4] UCL Kings College LSE Business Brigade - El Jute - 2015

As we embark on ambitious goals as an organization through The Empowered 100, we reflect on success stories like El Jute to illuminate and inspire our vision for 100 more Empowered Communities.

[6] Tilapia - Leadership Institute - El Jute - July 2016

The Empowered 100 is Global Brigades’ commitment to empower 100 rural Central American communities to permanently rise out of global poverty through three core development components: healthcare; water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH); and economic development. Each component is respectively anchored to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) #3, #6, and #8. Guided by the three core components and their aligning SDGs, The Empowered 100 defines an Empowered Community as one that has reached six overarching programmatic goals.


With such a large objective, The Empowered 100 seeks to clearly state and continually refine Global Brigades’ understanding of community empowerment. After all, if we’re setting out to empower 100 communities to permanently rise out of global poverty, we must articulate and evaluate how that transformation occurs.

Traditionally, Global Brigades has led this conversation through an explanation of our Holistic Model, which illustrates how brigades, programmatic teams, and community members collaborate on development solutions. Given The Empowered 100’s sharpened focus on the UN SDGs, impact evaluation, and internationally recognized indicators, The Empowered 100 will translate Global Brigades’ Holistic Model conversation from programmatic outputs to community outcomes.

[2] Brandeis Brigade - Feb 2012 - Med Brigade charla

How will we achieve this? The secondary objective of The Empowered 100 is to create a blueprint from this effort that can be further replicated. In order to create this blueprint, our Monitoring and Evaluation teams conduct initial surveys to establish baselines for partner communities, collect data through participatory methods, collaboratively set development goals with community members, and conduct follow-up research to understand the impact of our methodology. These efforts play dual and complementary roles to identify how communities rise out of global poverty and allow us to maintain a results-based management system for The Empowered 100. With this information, The Empowered 100 can implement a multifaceted approach to community empowerment, using data to continually evaluate our goals for an Empowered Community and reorient our model when necessary.

[7] El Jute - leadership institute - women - 2017

Keep an eye out for more updates on the progress we achieve through The Empowered 100!

Global Brigades

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