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Global Communities
2017 Annual Report

Welcome to Our 2017 Annual Report

Click below to read special messages from the Chairman of Global Communities' Board and our President & CEO.

We don’t tell the community
what to do, they tell us. 

Global Communities is a global development organization committed to working in partnership with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable, impactful changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable. We believe that the people who understand their needs best are the people of the community itself. We make a difference by engaging with communities, governments, the private sector and civil society as partners for good – bringing together complementary strengths and shared responsibilities to work toward common goals.

Read more about us.

2017 in Numbers

In 2017, Global Communities contributed to the communities in which we work in the following ways:

2.5 million people

Supported 2.5 million people in more than 8,900 communities, to help them direct their own lives and livelihoods

105,000 loans

Loaned or facilitated 105,000 loans worth $409 million to entrepreneurs, homeowners and small and medium enterprises to help them grow their businesses and support themselves and their economies

550 local organizations

Supported 550 local organizations and 3,595 local businesses

12 national government departments

Supported and trained 12 national government departments and 280 local, regional or municipal governments to meet the needs of their constituent communities

187 public-private partnerships

Developed 187 public-private partnerships and trained more than 76,000 people to help them improve their livelihoods


Recent awards received by Global Communities:

Youth Local Councils

John P. McNulty Prize, winner

Global Communities Palestine Country Director Lana Abu-Hijleh received the 10th Annual John P. McNulty Prize for her work creating and implementing Youth Local Councils, which have been implemented in Palestine, Honduras, and are starting up in Ukraine. Youth Local Councils, originally conceived as part of a USAID-funded local governance program in the West Bank, are democratically elected bodies of youth who voice the needs of their community and help bring about solutions to address local issues. To date, the movement includes more than 40 communities in the West Bank and has involved more than 40,000 youth.

Humanitarian Assistance

Aid-Ex 2017 Humanitarian Hero Award, finalist

Veteran humanitarian program director Shane Middleton was a finalist for the Aid-Ex 2017 Humanitarian Hero Award. Shane began working with Global Communities in 2009 in Gaza, and in 2014 he developed our Syria regional response. Under his leadership, Global Communities’ work in Syria expanded exponentially, with approximately 500 staff located throughout Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Jordan, all working to help reach the most vulnerable by undertaking innovative work in shelter, camp management, agriculture and with besieged populations.  

Collaboration, Learning and Adapting

2017 USAID Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting Case Competition, winner

Development programming in fragile and conflict-affected states can present daunting challenges, not least of which is trying to generate learning for adaptive programming. Global Communities’ USAID-funded Promoting Resilience through Ongoing Participatory Engagement and Learning (PROPEL) project in South Sudan was recognized as one of 10 winners in the 2017 USAID Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) Case Competition.   

Flourishing Communities

Eddy Award for Revitalization, winner

Global Communities’ Project Director in Moline, Illinois, Annisa Wanat received an Eddy Award for Revitalization from River Action. Eddy awards are given to organizations that have gone against the current, as in an eddy, to do excellent work on the river and riverfronts in the Quad Cities.

Recent Innovations and Findings

Agriculture & Climate Innovation

Water Harvesting Systems, Honduras

Global Communities, which has worked in Honduras for more than 30 years, has helped develop rainwater harvesting systems which capture and store rain that falls during the wet season. These reservoirs are linked to drip irrigation systems that allow farmers to harvest up to three times a year instead of once, easing poverty and chronic food insecurity. Global Communities, in partnership with USAID and Invest-H, engages communities, local authorities and the private sector to protect and manage watersheds in Western Honduras, using a community-driven approach. We also help build capacity of residents and local organizations to engage them in micro-basin management, and provide sustainable access to water for both household consumption and irrigation.

Sanitation Innovation

Digni-Loo Latrine in Ghana

More than 800 million people worldwide still defecate in the open, resulting in widespread threats to public health, including diarrheal diseases that cost countless lives and billions of dollars lost from the global economy. In 2017, Global Communities Ghana Country Director Alberto Wilde, in partnership with a Ghanaian plastics company, Duraplast, developed an affordable, clean, and easily installed latrine in Ghana – the “Digni-Loo.” Wilde and his field partners implement WASH for Health, a five-year USAID project that works throughout Ghana to improve access to water and sanitation. Global Communities works to target the most marginalized households, and partners with local entrepreneurs to enable even the poorest Ghanaians to invest in a Digni-Loo. USAID held a commercial launch for the Digni-Loo in Accra in June 2017 and it is being piloted across Ghana with plans for further expansion. 

Update on Our Legacy in Poland

What Does Sustainability Look Like 17 Years Later? A Return to Poland

In 2017, in partnership with USAID, Global Communities had the unique opportunity to go back and look at how a cooperative housing project in Poland that ran from 1991-2000 had evolved. Twenty-six years after the program began, and 17 years after it ended, what did we learn? Read more here.

Where We Work

What We Do

Please read more about what we have done in 2017 in the following sectors:

Humanitarian Assistance

From natural disasters to armed conflicts, Global Communities provides humanitarian assistance to people in need. We partner with affected communities to provide immediate relief in ways that enable them to quickly recover, build back more safely, and restart livelihoods sooner. In the process of providing assistance, Global Communities develops innovative programs that lay the foundation for long-term recovery. 

Economic Growth

Improving livelihoods is at the core of Global Communities’ work. Fostering long-term economic growth is one of the best ways to achieve prosperity, helping individuals and families move out of poverty and into more secure lives. Global Communities aims to spur sustainable and inclusive growth by integrating individuals into existing markets and helping to strengthen emerging sectors. 


From poverty to urbanization to climate change, a host of critical issues dominate development in the 21st century. To properly address these challenges, effective, transparent and fair institutions from the local to national levels are essential. We partner with local governments, promoting inclusiveness and strengthening civil society to help build capacity. We focus on citizen engagement, service delivery, financial management and climate change adaptation.


With many countries in the developing world undergoing a demographic shift toward a burgeoning youth population, it is vital that youth are recognized as an opportunity rather than a problem. Global Communities has developed a unique model for how to constructively channel youth attention and passion into civic, political and economic spaces. By engaging young people and tapping into their efforts and interests, a stronger, more stable, and safer world can be built.

Financial Inclusion

Global Communities is financing a better world, using innovative and proven methods to promote financial inclusion. We help vulnerable populations and small businesses obtain capital they would not otherwise be able to access, helping them finance efforts to move out of poverty. We have been working in financial inclusion for more than 30 years, pioneering housing microfinance in the 1980s and managing lending institutions in the world’s most challenging environments since the 1990s.


At the heart of our community-based development approach is building community resilience. We seek to strengthen the ability of people, households, communities and the systems that support them to be able to mitigate, adapt to and recover from shocks and stresses. Through this approach, we aim to reduce long-term vulnerability and facilitate economic growth that includes all members of the community. 


Left: Watch the short documentary our recent Visiting International Professional volunteer, Henry Tenenbaum, produced during his work with us in Rwanda capturing video of the the USAID Twiyubake program.

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