For fws, "sustainability" involves these four areas:
fws has a strong organisational base and a great deal of planning goes into our ventures. For instance, we stipulate that one of our core team members must have spent a year living in a particular developing country before we establish a children's village there. This gives us the solid, dependable local contacts and organisational structures required to build sustainable children's villages.
An integral aspect for any fws children's village is for it to eventually fund itself as much as possible. While our children's villages are established with funding donated to fws, all children's villages will be set up to investigate local trade options.
For instance, in Tanzania, the Kesho Leo children's village has begun to set up small businesses (organic vegetables and sewing merchandise) in order to draw an income and take greater steps away from reliance on sponsorship and towards economic self-sufficiency.
By their very nature, most children's villages ensure they bring benefit to society – kids off the street is generally a good thing. That said, fws children's villages go the extra mile, through "social learning" programs to ensure Kesho kids are well-adjusted and skilled socially to prosper in the world they must enter.
Furthermore, our "interactive education" program engenders Kesho kids with the ability to earn a living (whether they excel at school due to the boost our learning programs give them, or whether they opt to pursue the eco-friendly agricultural practices we've taught). And of course, there's the fact that all fws children's villages employ local staff wherever possible.
In the design of all of our children's villages, we follow international eco-tourism guidelines with regard to ecological sustainability. These procedures ensure our children's villages don't impact negatively on the environment around them.