International development model

What is LiveDifferent's Development Model? We focus on mutual empowerment, with volunteers working alongside community members to meet basic human needs while motivating each other towards life-long kindness, hope, and change.

By combining sustainable community development practices with integrated volunteering, we can create a meaningful impact for everyone involved in our projects, and work towards long-term positive outcomes.

We're all in this together.

on common

There is no single path towards building strong, healthy communities.

We know that by working together, with the same intention, we can respect and acknowledge the different views around the table that help us get to the best outcome.

By engaging in genuine conversations and consultation with our partners, our volunteers, and our communities, we are always improving our approach. We welcome all questions, concerns, and ideas that have the potential to increase our effectiveness.

The Five Key Elements of Our Development Model


Basic Needs

We work on building infrastructure that supports basic needs; homes for families in the Dominican Republic and Mexico, a safe environment for children in Thailand, and a school in Haiti. Ensuring access to basic needs like safe shelter, clean water, and education helps communities succeed for generations.



Relationships are the key to cooperation and progress. We value our relationships with local governments, partner agencies, volunteers, and supporters. Without these strong relationships, we would not be able to work effectively in partnership to create the type of lasting change we are so proud of.

We also understand that the relationships our volunteers form with each other, and with the people they meet during their time with LiveDifferent, will change them forever. We understand that this is a huge part of the value we get from working on these projects.



We value the opportunity of being welcomed into a community and getting to know the people working so hard to change their futures. We believe in the value of local families and communities investing in themselves. We not only include and employ local workers, but we also partner with families and community volunteers of all ages who engage with our programs.

We are diligent when it comes to community research, program creation, follow-up support, and evaluation. Before we bring volunteers to work in various communities, we conduct years of prep work and build relationships with stakeholders. We network with local leaders, government officials, community members, and other organizations who may be working in the area, so that we, and our volunteers, can be assured that all efforts and resources are maximized completely.



A key driver of LiveDifferent’s development work is to restore a sense of dignity and worth of people in the communities we serve. Operating with respect, compassion, and empathy for local families, and genuinely treating them as equals, develops increased confidence and self-worth that is often as valuable as the physical building projects that bring us together.

We believe it is important for families and communities to know how much they teach us and how much we appreciate their incredible hospitality, generosity, and ongoing relationships. We genuinely approach each project as a shared learning and life experience, not as a ‘hand-out’ but a ‘hand-up’, and the beginning of a life-long friendship.



A key objective of the volunteer experience is for each person to leave with a humble awareness and sense of their capability, potential, and responsibility to continue to contribute to change both locally and globally. We are purposeful in challenging all volunteers to follow their passions while connecting them in some way to helping vulnerable people at home and around the world.

We also want our staff and volunteers to appreciate the perseverance, strength, and spirit of people who are living in these challenging circumstances, who we are privileged to work alongside. In our work, we gain as much as, if not more than, we give.

Want to learn more about the work we're doing together?