Thursday, January 9, 2014

Characteristics that Make Humanitarian Efforts Exceptional

I found this video explaining how TIFIE a humanitarian non-profit has worked in Africa to help eliminate poverty.  This organization functions differently than other non-profits in that it creates self-sustainable profitable situations.  For example, they help the Congolese create companies that help fund education in orphanages.  People are taught to be self-reliant but they are ALSO taught to donate their profits and talents to help others such as schools and orphanages. 

TIFIE has partnered with Robert Workman, founder of Goal Zero to distribute tools and solutions to the people of Congo.  One of the tools that Goal Zero created is a solar powered charger that provides electricity for various appliances throughout the villages.   Workman explains here that he took on the project when he realized that there weren't any suitable solutions already in the market, so he decided to create his own solar powered charger.

I love these efforts!  The idea of sustainability is something that Care for Life also focused on.  Many organizations come into the African villages with solutions without considering whether or not these solutions are sustainable.  Will the people be able to sustain the solution?  Will they be able to teach it to future generations? Do they understand the solution?  Do they understand the limitations and constraints and side effects of this solution on the individual? on the community?  All of these questions are extremely important if we want to teach a fisherman to fish.  On the flip side, how much are these companies understand the people of Congo?  Do they understand the culture?  Do they understand the traditions?  Do they understand the aftereffects or consequences of introducing these new technologies into such villages?  Is it all good aftereffects or might there also be some negative consequences?  Overall, it just makes me so happy, SO HAPPY, to see that people are helping in sustainable ways and that the Congolese in these villages are finding solutions and feeling empowered.  I especially feel overjoyed to see that the children are reaping a lot of the benefits and that the people are being taught to share their wealth and talents with the future generations of the country.  What a powerful principle to teach!