I’ve always loved sports and the competition and challenge that comes with it. The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. Bring it on! So, being with the Bright Hope team it is not that different – just a different arena.
Battling against extreme poverty is the objective. I see myself as a player on God’s team trying to help lead a community, an individual or a family to lift themselves out of an impoverished state. This is no small feat, especially with so many lives at stake.
People ask me what is so interesting about community development. I think it is intellectually challenging because the problems are deep, meaning you must do a lot of investigating, research and contemplating before acting. Without understanding the history, culture and present environment you can easily be ineffective or less effective than you should be on your strategy.
For example, almost every community needs clean water and you can simply pass out water filters or chlorine tablets. However, they might not the adopt them because they cannot distinguish the health benefit between very clean water and semi-clean water. Therefore, you need to know something about their knowledge level and human behavior before introducing any solution. All of a sudden, training becomes very relevant in the implementation process.
Another example, electricity is a big need in rural areas for light, charging a cellphone, refrigeration, pumping, etc. What are the possible solutions? Solar? Wind? Hydro? Finding low cost solutions require careful analysis of need and availability. Yes, you might have to actually apply some of your high school science knowledge!
Last, education has and will always be the solution to ending poverty. How can we be more effective, so every community can be one step closer to addressing poverty in their areas? Is it teacher training? Is it building classrooms? Is it buying books? Is it supporting a school feeding program? Lots of questions and thoughts are required.
We will fail periodically, but these are times where we learn valuable lessons. It makes us wiser and smarter the next time around. Nothing can be accomplished individually. It is teamwork that produces a victory. Our local people, the local church, the people in the community, donors, and others must all work together to have success. Bring it on!