Burn it to the Ground; or, Defining Needs: the miniseries

So I need to write a series of posts about my own process (which I'm trying to go through again, right now) of defining the place of an international NGO in a poor community without defining said community as needy or said NGO as some god-like expert figure. Obviously, that process starts with a definition of the terms I just used ("community", "poor", "expert", "needs" and "place" are gonna be key words here, since I'm pretty OK with the standard definitions of international and NGO, or at least, OK enough that it's not going to come into play here).

The partial disclaimer to this is that I'm working with a start-up NGO that's based in the US and India (unfortunately, I'll bet you can already guess the dynamic there), and specifically thinking about one community in one slum in one city, and I've not decided yet whether I can name any or all of them--at the very least, please assume there's a lot more concrete thinking going on behind the scenes than you're going to see here. So, yeah, quick update about what's going on, and now it's time to actually think.


1 Response to "Burn it to the Ground; or, Defining Needs: the miniseries"

J. said... 10:13 AM

In recent years I've come to think of aid, development, relief, whatever... as a "conversation." A conversation where all parties contribute, participate, get something out of it, and at least potentially have something to lose.

In my experience, the most difficult part of that for the international NGO or expat is acknowledging that they gain from the conversation and also that the other participants have something to lose.