This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, and I wanted to share it as I love this story.
Everyone wants to have water closer to home…..Or do they?
This story came to us from Malawi, and it has really stuck with me ever since I heard it.
There are many global international development organisations around the world that have various missions to help people in the Global South. Many times, decisions are made in one place, and then executed in another. And often not involving the people on the ground.
This story is an example of this phenomena, which unfortunately is very common.
A good few years back now a well was installed in the centre of a local community in Malawi.
Surprisingly, though, the well kept breaking. And no one could understand why.
After weeks and possibly even months passed, the local community decided to install video cameras to discover what on earth was happening.
It turned out to be the same woman, time and time again, breaking the well.
When they asked her why she was doing it, her response was so revealing.
She was being abused in her home.
Collecting water was her only excuse to leave the house and be amongst her friends. Once the well was installed, she no longer had a reason to go out. And without that outlet, she was essentially a prisoner in her own house.
The well was installed with the greatest of intentions. But one decision made in one place has knock on effects in another.
We see the world not as it is. But as we are.
Whatever decision we make, however we try and help, we always need to first remember to ask questions, and truly try and understand the local context by actively listening to the answers.
This is the primary way we can start to open our eyes and see a perspective from another person’s point of view.
The key is working with people, not doing to them.
And taking the time to understand the ripple effects of any intervention.
It’s time. Let’s do things differently! 💥 🌱✨