Friday, February 26, 2010

The Good and the Hard

The main focus of this blog is to show you Fount of Mercy's work as it happens here in Uganda. But, it is important to state that working here is challenging. I read often about how other organizations approach their work, looking for ideas and inspiration. There are many different approaches from doing temporary relief/individual gifts to setting up a western-structured and led program, and every thing in between. The way Fount has chosen to work is unique, as it’s vision is to empower indigenous organizations to run their own work the way they envision it, while providing support, resources, training, and guidance. What this means theoretically is that the organizations remain self-sustaining and will grow their capacity to flourish…and it will help the leadership to grow as leaders as well. What it means practically is that it can be difficult. It means that we have to get inside the cultural parameters and navigate difficult areas where Western ideas conflict with African. It means communication is paramount and when it breaks down, problems occur. It means being disappointed when things move a lot slower than expected or things change direction. It means both sides building trust when things are difficult. And it means that hard decisions have to be made. It is just a fact of life, but will ensure that Fount is protected and remains true to its vision, and that the African organizations will be empowered rather than enabled.

Written by Tara Hawks, Fount of Mercy's Vocational Development Director

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