Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Think Before You Serve

 Contributed by Jessica Diaz of the Wide-eyed city Blog
The Poor Will Be Glad: Joining the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty is a great book.  Written from a Christian perspective, it serves as a guide to understand microfinance and gives churches practical advice on how to get involved.
However, what I loved most about the book was that it highlighted how important it is to think before we serve. It’s easy to get excited about doing something to help others, but there’s some behind the scenes work that must be done if we plan on making a real difference and creating sustainable change.
We need to keep in mind that even if we have good intentions, actions without thoughtful planning can have an adverse effect. When considering a new project, remember to research the problem, communicate with those who will be served, communicate with organizations successfully serving the area/cause you will be involved in, plan carefully, and evaluate your efforts. Remember, planning properly will only empower you to make an even greater difference.
The Poor Will Be Glad uses examples of both kinds of projects, those that lack planning and those backed by research and a solid plan, to illustrate the importance of this idea. It may not be a brand new concept, but it’s definitely one worth revisiting.
Quotes from The Poor Will Be Glad
“If we don’t understand the problem, how can we choose an appropriate solution?”
“Misguided giving can actually rob the poor – not of their physical resources, but of their dignity, responsibility, and self-worth”
“It is important to take a serious look at successes and failures and honestly evaluate if our efforts leave communities better off than before our ‘service’.”
“Each of us has something to give and some responsibility to use our resources and skills to serve”