The Ever-Present Dependency Conundrum

Dependency is always a consideration at the forefront of what we do:

I posted last year on ways we as outsiders can work with local leaders in healthy ways and it begins to address the dependency issue but not in full.

Last week I stumbled across this article by Justin Long which begins to tackle it head on and I really liked what it had to say.

First of all it sheds a bit of light on why it’s typically a bad thing:

Read the article for further details on what he means by these things. I think it’s an important read if you have any interest at all in the aid” space (regardless of whether it’s religious or not).

As I read it and was reflecting, the notion that it feeds money addiction” struck me anew as I was remembering a specific situation from some time ago. I had a meeting scheduled with someone, a local, who runs a nonprofit in East Africa, and he wanted to explore how we could be partners. Unfortunately the entirety of the conversations revolved around money (How much can you provide for this need?” - How much will you pay people to come to trainings?” - Will you put our teams in fancy hotels?” etc). It definitely felt like this gentleman was used to getting lots of money from outsiders to the point of being wholly dependent on it.

Long’s article continued on with his rules of thumb” for dealing with money in these sorts of situations; I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was almost identical to mine. In brief, here they are (but again, read his article for further details):

I think these are quite good and strike a needed balance. We know that outside money kills reproducibility and sustainability faster than almost anything else but sometimes its necessary and will feed emerging movements in healthy ways so we can’t be completely closed to the idea. Balance is important.

I might add a couple of rules:

I’d love to hear if anyone reading had any thoughts or any rules that they’d add. Feel free to comment if so.

February 23, 2016 · dependency · aid · Culture · Faith


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