Reconsider "How we Help" in a developing country

Students who graduated from Marketing Training class

Students who graduated from Marketing Training class

Kingdom of Cambodia. Status? Developing country. GDP annual growth rate? A remarkable 7%. Foreign Direct Investment? $1.8 billion in 2015, 10% of GDP and expected to increase in coming years. Landscape? Changing everyday. Reduction of poverty is expected of both urban and rural households and even the Cambodian riel appreciated slightly this year. In view of rapid change, shouldn't we as donors or volunteers or people engaged in the humanitarian sector, rethink how we "help" this country. 

Years ago, I do agree that the poor communities needed houses, people needed dormitories to stay, NGOs came and provided hand-outs, we have to give nutritious food or just food, else starvation and malnutrition was rampant. We provided free education, free bicycles, free wells, free toilets, free everything. But we didn't teach much. Now, we have built an "entitled" generation, some of whom are still waiting for money in the midst of a burgeoning economy.

I would like to propose an alternative idea as I see the economy developing faster than the competency of local people. Instead of building fancy churches or dorms or NGO offices, let's train work skills and soft skills so the buildings won't remain empty. Instead of providing micro-loans or clearing debts, let's teach financial literacy and personal development skills such as intergrity and responsibility, towards personal and corporate monies. No business or NGO can survive if the people are not committed to universal core values. We need people of good character and moral standing to fill buildings, to conduct businesses and to continue to teaching the next generation who will live in a world more similar to ours now than ever before. 

Education and training are long, painstaking processes as compared to the quick gratification and success of building houses or feeding slum children. But eventually it is worth it. So I vote for training in every sector of developing nations. Before you give out the sum of money in your hands, do think about how it impacts the current society which has evolved from maybe even last year. If change is the only constant, then the way we approach "helping" needs to change to.   

Comments (0)

Log in or sign up to comment.

Posted By

  • Melissa Seet Champion

Published On