What is sustainable development?
Development is sustainable when it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability for those receiving services to meet their own needs in the future. In other words, it does not create dependence or discourage empowerment.
In simplest terms, we do life with people.
But what does that mean? We go to their villages, eat in their homes. We listen. Over time, we make friendships. Discuss needs. Make plans together. Commit as partners.
We didn’t always do things this way. But after many years of trying many different things and staying around long enough to see the long term effects, we know that good intentions ≠ good outcomes. We are strongly committed to programs and services that positively impact others without leaving a trail of harm in its wake. We have departed from many common mission practices that seem harmless, or even helpful on the surface, but in reality promote dependence and reinforce helplessness.
These five concepts have emerged as our internal “rules to live by” that help us say “yes” or “no” to proposed projects, programs and services in the mission.
Do no harm. We refuse to engage in charity practices that promote dependence, reinforce feelings of helplessness, and destroy the dignity of human beings.
Better Together: Development and Discipleship. Always do these together. Together these elements communicate genuine care of the whole person.
Healthy Rules of Engagement. With endless need and limited resources, we partner with and invest in individuals and communities who actively seek to improve their current circumstances. Our partners are not passive recipients of charity; they are the primary change agent of their future. Our role is to catalyze that change.
Relationship as Process. Transformation is continuous and life-long. It's not a "one-off" and is not achieved in the short term. Commitment must exist on both sides of the relationship to achieve long term goals.
Teach Him to Fish. Knowledge is better than gold. Salvation is priceless. No one can steal them away from a person. And both can be shared time and again with others for multiplicative benefits.