Over the last 40 years, fostering the growth of transparent, democratically elected village organisations has been at the centre of the efforts of AKDN agencies, particularly in rural development. Their principles for setting up village organisations (VOs) are encompassed in the following guidelines, which are used in settings as diverse as India, Mozambique and Tajikistan:
- Agree to foster a VO and to become its members (more than 80 percent of the village households must agree) and accept a Women's Group, with its own head, under the umbrella of the VO;
- Democratically elect VO leaders: Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson (head of the Women’s Group), Manager and Accountant;
- Organise and record the minutes of a monthly general meeting;
- Agree to set up the Village Development Fund and pay monthly membership fees. Members can also pay in kind. They also agree to maintain proper records of funding sources and utilisation. Decisions regarding utilisation of funds are made in the general meeting;
- Undertake planning activities that benefit the whole community as well as the poorest households;
- Create linkages with other support providers, including government agencies, NGOs, etc.;
- Maintain all projects so that benefits continue to flow for the community.