Andrew Lees Trust is committed to supporting local civil society. It regards local ownership and local leadership to be central to achieving meaningful, locally appropriate and transformational change. The Trust believes that a strong and vibrant civil society is one that serves the interests and aspirations of its local constituents and, in doing so, promotes good governance for a more equitable and just society.

Premised on lessons learnt from its responsible exit from Madagascar, the Trust developed its strategic “Groundswell vision” in 2015. This places the agendas and aspirations of local agents for change at the heart of its activity and actions. This means offering assistance in response to local requests – providing the kinds of resources and supports that local people decide are needed, and that enable them to achieve their locally identified social and environmental actions and goals.

This approach aims to place the decision-making as well as the financial and other resources firmly in the hands of local people, to direct and apply according to their vision and aspirations for change. Assistance for civil actors can be financial, as well as brokering or providing specialized training, helping to build international networks, offering technical assistance, and mentoring. It may also take the form of local accompaniment.