We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Jesus said, “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me in. Naked and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me… Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers or sisters of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me” (Matt 25:35, 36, 40).
ALWS envisages a world where love comes to life (cf 1 John 4:9-12).
A world where all people live in just societies, where we are all empowered to achieve our full potential, uphold our rights and the rights of others for a life with peace and dignity; and where we are all inspired to remember, welcome and support those who suffer from poverty and injustice (cf Gal 2:10 & Lev 25:35).
ALWS reaches out in love, for justice.
We bring together people willing to work in service to help end suffering.
As partners, we work openly and accountable, supporting programs which welcome, respect and bring hope through care to those ﬂeeing from, or hurt by, disaster, poverty and oppression.
We add our voice to those of the unheard and the excluded, together crying out for justice so that we can all live in just and sustainable communities.
Each of the following principles is important to the work of ALWS. Collectively they shape and determine the work of the organisation.
WE SERVE WITH UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
We serve all people who are poor or marginalised, expecting nothing in return.
1 John 4: 19; 1 John 3: 17; Matt 25: 35-46
WE SUPPORT THE INCLUSION OF ALL PEOPLE
We work to ensure that people have the opportunity to be included in the planning, implementation and assessment of the work which is designed to support them. Particular effort is taken to ensure that those who are marginalised by age, gender, disability, ethnicity, social class, religion, political opinion or other characteristics are included.
WE WORK FOR THE EMPOWERMENT OF OTHERS
Our intention is to enable people to determine and control their own development, guided by a focus on long-term sustainability.
WE RESPECT AND UPHOLD PEOPLE’S DIGNITY
We uphold human value and dignity which have their basis in God’s act of creation, where all people are made in God’s image, and in the redemptive love that is won through Jesus Christ.
Gen 1:27; Gen 9:6; 2 Cor 5:17-19
WE WORK FOR JUSTICE
Consistent with the church’s prophetic vocation, we express our solidarity with people who suffer from poverty and marginalisation through advocacy for justice – aspiring to speak out with courage and enabling others to speak out and be heard.
Isaiah 1:17; 58:6
WE WORK IN PARTNERSHIP
We seek alliances with others who share a commitment to alleviating poverty and promoting justice. Our partnerships are marked by mutual respect, interdependence, and learning from and with each other so all are transformed.
Romans 14:19; Ephesians 4:16
WE MAKE GOOD USE OF GOD’S GIFTS
We recognise what we are able and unable to do as an organisation and are honest about what support and resources we can provide and why.
WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE
We are accountable to those we seek to assist, working with them to ensure the best use of available resources. We will be transparent with those who support our work, enabling them to experience the joy of sharing in such a partnership.
WE VALUE PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH US
We work collegially for the good of the organisation and each other. We recognise the dedication and talent of those who work with us and promote their well-being. We welcome the commitment, interest and generosity of supporters.
WE VALUE REFLECTION
We do not have absolute knowledge and seek to learn and improve so that our work for others will be the best that we can offer. In doing this, we also recognise what our limitations are as an organisation.
ALWS’ understanding and preferred approach towards the realisation of the change that we seek to achieve through our Strategic Plan is articulated here. This document explains ALWS’ approach and includes:
1. Our understanding of poverty and injustice
2. Contributing to an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people
3. Informing and inspiring the Lutheran family about poverty and injustice
4. Improving and strengthening our work
5. Assessing what we do.
The ALWS guiding principles provide the foundation for ALWS to manage its work across the next six years, within the dynamic context of international development and aid. For further information about ALWS’ context, refer to page 4 of the Strategic Plan.
There are a range of emerging challenges facing international NGOs:
- As inequality grows within countries, development efforts will have to be carefully targeted to reach the most poor and marginalised people.
- There are likely to be more disasters, especially disasters caused by people, and these in turn are likely to be more complex and more enduring.
- Problems of inequality and poverty will be more complex, and NGOs and others will have to work together to develop solutions.
- The focus of much of this work will be on enabling and empowering people to work for change and supporting them to address poverty and injustice.
By virtue of its location, ALWS’ particular context is Asia/Pacific where climate change is already impacting the people with whom we work.
Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly East Africa, has also emerged as a geographic focus for ALWS.
While the context is challenging and ALWS will have to adapt, it can build on its existing strengths. ALWS’ work is highly valued by overseas partners because it is adaptable and ﬂexible in its approach.
The organisation has nurtured several alliances and partnerships with other organisations, including the Church Agencies Network, which enables it to expand its inﬂuence and work effectively for change. ALWS’ approach to change is built on many years of learning and practice, enabling it to shape an informed and high-quality approach to change (see Annex A).
ALWS is inspired by a belief in a gracious and loving God, and so plays a unique role in supporting work through churches or church-based partners which have a close relationship with rights-holders and duty bearers.
ALWS is recognised by both the Australian Government and the Australian Council for International Development as being highly accountable and compliant with standards for government funding. These forms of accreditation are independent verification of the high development standards of the organisation.
ALWS is part of the Lutheran Church of Australia. The ALWS Strategic Plan complements the Strategic Direction of the LCA. ALWS provides the LCA with the opportunity to address poverty and injustice in other countries. It is in turn able to draw upon the support, knowledge and experience of the Church.
ALWS’ Guiding Principles shape the work of the agency as it moves forward in this context. Building on its strengths and addressing the challenges outlined above, the agency has formed specific goals to be addressed over the next six years.
These goals identify the change that ALWS will seek to achieve over the next six years. Each goal is equally important to ALWS. The goals are underpinned by the strategic approach of the agency and guided by ALWS’ principles. Refer to page 5 of the Strategic Plan for more details.
GOAL 1 ALWS will help through partners to ensure people live in more just and sustainable communities through long-term development programs, and that people affected by emergencies receive life-sustaining care.
GOAL 2 ALWS will inspire and enable the Lutheran family and friends1 to reach out in love for justice.
GOAL 3 ALWS will strive to improve to enable it to best serve people, communities and supporters.
GOAL 4 ALWS will strengthen as an organisation to ensure it is transparent and accountable to people, communities, partners and supporters.
GOAL 5 ALWS will partner with others to leverage wider change and increase its impact.
GOAL 6 ALWS will resource its work with the people, funds and time needed to sustain the work of the organisation.