Mission and History

Village Earth helps reconnect communities to the resources that promote human well-being by enhancing social and political empowerment, community self-reliance and self-determination. We do this by strengthening intermediate and grassroots organizations through fiscal sponsorship, networking, training, research and advocacy.

Village Earth (originally called the Consortium for Sustainable Village-Based Development or CSVBD) was born at The International Conference on Sustainable Village-Based Development hosted by Dr. Maurice Albertson and Dr. Edwin & Miriam Shinn and held from September 28 – October 2 , 1993 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Co. The conference was attended by over 250 delegates from 40 different countries who came together to discuss how to make aid more effective at reaching the grassroots. More than 200 papers were submitted forming five volumes of Proceedings. By the end of the week-long conference, the organizers were given the mandate by the participants to form the CSVBD to promote the strategies developed during the conference. The CSVBD was officially incorporated as a U.S. Federally recognized 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization in 1995 and later renamed Village Earth.

The conference, as well as the roots of the Village Earth approach, were heavily influenced by Agenda 21 which came out of the United Nations Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro on June 14, 1992. In particular, Village Earth drew from its recognition that poverty is not the problem, rather, lack of access to resources is the primary obstacle to building a better life for the majority of the world’s poor. As such, the the Village Earth Approach emphasizes the role of intermediary organizations who work to mobilize village leadership and planning and from that, develop linkages to resources institutions such as governments, single sector NGOs, universities and the private sector. This type of organization is commonly referred to as a Grassroots Support Organization or GSO.

Conference Proceedings

Click here to view the abstracts and download the Proceedings from the 1993 International Conference on Sustainable Village-Based Development.