There are only so many things an agency can do to address the plethora of issues that the developing world presents. Our organization has narrowed its activity to meet the needs presented to it by the surrounding communities in the four developing world regions where we serve. See below for a discussion on the subject.
Systemic Issues &
the Categories of Response
Systemic Issues are those problems that affect the whole of a society. They are problems that permeate the politics, economy, society and culture. Categories of Response are those ways in which our agency has determined we can organize our people to develop a response through a particular expertise, a service, that would appropriately respond to the issue presented and bring about transformation unto health.
The shelter has to be sustainable, but what does that mean? Sustainable for a western budget? Ethical building asks the questions related to the situation of the poor. Can this shelter be sustained with local materials? With local expertise? Are the techniques duplicable by locals with existing knowledge? Are the recipients of the service empowered to maintain the integrity of the structure. These are the questions "ethical building" asks. And our team works hard to provide responsible solutions.
Food distribution is important, but the coin seems to be necessary when that's the only consideration for getting food to the poor. Food production empowers the poor to join God's economy, where a seed is sown into the ground, and a return is harvested to feed the family. Dynamic food production techniques are emphasized to help farmers produce more food, in a small space, to have enough to eat, and enough to share. No coins are necessary.
90% of things people in the 3rd world are dying from are preventable. Education must be emphasized to bring a long-term solution to all the suffering, and to see an improved world for the next generation. Our approach is holistic in that it takes into account environment, cultural practice, and available resources. Family Health, Pediatric Care, Disease Prevention, Maternal and Infant Health, Community Health, and Emergency Care are all considered in this category of response.
Pre-School, Primary, Secondary, Postsecondary, and Adult Education are all arenas for learning that exist in the 3rd World setting, but are insufficient in infrastructure, organization, and human resources. It would cost about $1,000,000 to build a school from scratch in most regions, not to mention outfit it, and provide its faculty and staff. We move into the neighborhood of local schools and join them in the work. We renovate, reorganize, and resource to see maximized benefits with about a tenth of the money, and in half the time.
Absent moral development, a society can be given all the resources it needs, all the information necessary, and every opportunity to succeed, yet still experience mass corruption and a "justified" chasm between the rich and the poor. The principles of the bible both have universal application to any person, and also particular revelation for those who believe. By teaching God's word, we believe it's an investment into sustaining any good work done in a community; it's a guarantee that people will have a sense of justice and right that doesn't come from themselves, but from the God who created the heavens and the earth, and his project is still going.
Advocacy & Awareness
Up to 90% of people are illiterate in the areas where we work. This doesn't merely indicate they aren't able to enjoy a good book. For the poor it's the difference between knowing what legal rights they have concerning their land, their health, their children's education, or even the disputes that arise which cost some of them their freedom through incarceration for years, prior to even being heard by a court. Our organization not only provides representation, but also legal education to make people aware of what they can and can't do about these very real situations. I'll never forget the time we helped a woman, who had been held in prison for 14 years awaiting trial, to be released as innocent and returned to her family.
Widows, sex slaves, domestic workers, single mothers, are all demographics of women who need empowered to cope with the situations they face daily. Our teams offer viable, alternative solutions, to not only see freedom from objective circumstances, but also mental, and emotional healing from abuse and neglect.
Street Kids, Idle Teenagers, Child Laborers, and kids who are too far behind in traditional school are the targeted demographic for this kind of empowerment. Providing opportunities and social networks for these young people can be the bridge between inevitable despair and healthy adulthood.
Not only do people in the 3rd world make less than a dollar a day, the majority of them are unemployed. Economists monetize their mono-cropping subsistence farming to come up with that dollar amount, but in reality there's no market for their food, and no jobs to fund the creation of a market. We are convinced it's our responsibility to help create jobs.