weavers group

Our Approach

We believe that Transrural's approach has the potential to make a worthwhile contribution to the search for practicable methods of reducing poverty.

Key components of this approach, which has been developed over many years, drawing on the experience of trustees, professional staff, local partners and beneficiaries, are summarised below:


Transrural aims to act as a catalyst to stimulate change. We do not believe in using blunt instruments of aid such as blanket financial support. Instead, we strive to inject modest amounts of resources and know-how in the short-medium term with pin-point accuracy, so as to make a sustainable change in the long term. The impact of successful initiatives is broadened by sharing positive experience with others in the regions where we work, and by training community leaders to communicate their achievements and represent their interests to those who can influence policies.

 Self Reliance

We support "seed" and "pump-priming" initiatives and training to foster self-support. We encourage the formation and strengthening of groups and community-based organisations that can make best use of voluntary work by trusted individuals who are elected by their constituent communities. We do not support on-going costs of overseas initiatives such as salaries or financial/capital gifting, as this can create dependency on aid.


Art and agriculture are not normally associated, except perhaps in famous paintings. Transrural Trust stimulates the application of artistic creativity to local raw materials. Examples are the decorating of eggshells in Romania as a remarkable art form, the making of colourful accessories from fish scales in the Tsunami region, or the knitting of exquisite shawls from spun nettle fibre in Nepal.

Winning Combination

A distinctive feature of Transrural's positive approach is the combination of elements which open up people's horizons. To achieve successful outcomes, we have found that it is necessary to link up the following elements:

Local creative skills - necessity is the mother of invention, and among poor people there are those with creativity and resourcefulness.
Design input - It can be highly beneficial for remote and disadvantaged people to share design ideas with others from outside their immediate vicinity.
Market access - More than anything, to get out of extreme difficulty and/or poverty, some form of access to a market can be critical.
Voluntary association - Cohesive groups of people who trust each other, and the election of leaders by these groups to represent and serve their interests within wider forms of association, can stimulate grassroots democracy, replication of good practice, capacity to negotiate and broader impact.


In order to maximise cost effectiveness, Transrural works in partnership directly with local community-based groups, civil society organisations and foundations. While we do not provide any financial resources through government agencies or departments, we ensure that our activities fit within the framework of government policies in the countries and regions concerned.

Transrural actively promotes links between overseas and UK community-based groups, for exchange of ideas, experience and contacts. Examples are UK-Balkan links between herb grower groups, UK-Nepal links between spinner and weaver groups.


It is our experience that project activities targeted via women produce the greatest lasting benefits, including better health and education for children. Approximately 95% of those targeted within Transrural programmes are women.


Transrural aims to increase the impact of contributions by seeking co-funding for programmes. For example, Transrural raised £5,000 for its work in Nepal during 2004 from private sources, and used this contribution to help raise a further £20,000 from the public purse.

High Cost Benefit Ratio

Transrural Trust prides itself on maintaining a high level of benefit among its target groups, in relation to costs. Administration costs are low, due to the modest-sized out-of-town office arrangements. Rates of remuneration are equally modest, and personnel are remunerated in accordance with project services delivered. Several volunteers contribute their skills, for example to support fund-raising and craft promotion. Transrural recovers funds from the government under the GiftAid scheme, in respect of donations from UK tax payers. All these factors help us to maximise the flow of benefits direct to the communities targeted by our projects, from grants and donations received.


Those who work with Transrural have much experience, but even more to learn. We believe that involvement of, and participation by, those who stand to benefit is vital.

Act Positive

Mahatma Ghandi summed up the positive approach when he said "Better to light a candle than curse the darkness".