What makes our strategy unique?

Vessels International began with small, decisive goals yet a holistic vision.  We recognize the necessity to approach needs strategically and build upon them, step by step, over the long-term.  At our very core, we support the individual vessel to achieve wholeness, completeness, and healing; however, we believe this needs to happen in a community, with wrap-around support from neighbors, where each citizen gains greater resilience as part of their community.

This is not a quick fix; we realize that it requires varying levels and aspects of care and support.  For this reason, we search out the veritable ‘root system’ available on the ground–meaning, we ally with existing, locally licensed, aid organizations within each area of operation, and build upon their network of operations. We find ways to build coalitions for the health and vibrancy of a community–rather than impose our models and ideals upon the locale. We ask, we listen, we collaborate to reach the most relevant and sustainable solutions–together, with people on the ground. Without grassroots participation, our organization sees no point in sowing into an area.  We’d rather go elsewhere, and augment the work of citizens who take initiative to make their lives better, bit by bit, step by step, into greater independence.

How do we choose projects?

Once a community have been identified, in a specific location, we review a list of criteria, in order to determine eligibility.  If we believe the goal to be realistic, we will begin to negotiate with partner organizations both on the ground and in our local community, in order to join hands for a common cause.  We recognize that we cannot do this work alone, and we do not relish becoming an island unto ourselves. The world is a much better place when we work together.

Next, we work with the community to analyze assets and ask them what they need. Then we work with them to customize a Vessels program agenda–created specifically for each locale–in order to meet the most pressing needs, in the short-term, and the most sustainable methods to reach self-sufficiency, over the long-term.

Clearly, our holistic vision allows us to avoid forcing “a square peg into a round hole.” We believe static formulas for humanitarian support often create dependency upon Western aid; therefore, we initiate innovative strategies and open a dialogue with communities and local humanitarian organizations, in order to narrow program goals–maximizing time, resources, and volunteer hours.

Our ultimate goal is to bring communities and partner NGOs to self-sufficiency; in other words, we do not encourage long-term dependence upon aid.  The only sustainable, “successful” programs–in our humble estimation–will actually remain rooted in the communities we serve; over the long haul, the power must remain in their hands–not ours. These partner NGOs and communities we have vetted already know what they need.  Therefore, we simply exist to join hands with them, in order to seek out the resources they require to recover, grow, and excel–becoming independently sustainable in and of themselves.

“In the multitude of advisors there is great wisdom.”

We believe in the strength of numbers.  Our organization builds upon the wisdom of veteran organizations.  We gladly consult with our “Friends of Vessels” network around the world (mentor and partner organizations).  As a small organization, we realize the need for strong advisors, as well as the importance of fully vetting partner organizations before uniting with them to accomplish worthy goals.

Upon discerning current, up-to-date needs in community, we bring unique, innovative program support, hand-in-hand with sister organizations.  These seasoned, committed, and accountable service organizations often lack the resources and volunteer mechanisms to fully accomplish their goals; many of them struggle to make ends meet, but their service records prove their steadfast resolve, sacrificial commitment, and passionate call to humanitarian service.  Rather than reinventing the wheel, we choose to troubleshoot with these accomplished veterans, in order to find creative solutions which fulfill the immediate needs of individuals in their care.