Last time I finished sharing about our three ministry areas: radio, water, and training. For long-term impact, it is essential for each of these programs to be managed with an emphasis on sustainability and stewardship. Thus, we have committed to these two values in all of our work. Let me explain what each of these terms means for us. I will begin with sustainability.
This is a word that is thrown around a lot these days. It can mean everything from the farms where we source our food to the way we power our homes.
In our work specifically, we first must have a realistic outlook of how any work in South Sudan can be sustainable in this current geopolitical and economic crisis. Without a sustainable society, few organisms within that society can be fully sustainable.
However, we can focus on building sustainable processes within the areas that we can control. But even here, sustainability is far from merely an economic perspective. Yes, financial sustainability is the steam that will keep the engine running, but no locomotive is going anywhere without the engineer. This is why people sustainability - what I like to refer to as leadership sustainability - is as crucial, if not more so, than the financial side.
Thus, we see two main connecting points for Every Village in the future. We will continue investment in project capital which cannot be locally funded, but we will also invest in human capital which is essential for future leadership.
We believe that these two investments go hand-in-hand. As we invest in the training and development of our people, we will have the leaders to carry on our projects and services into the future. And as we invest in more projects and services, we will have need of developing more leaders.
Even as we focus on empowering local leaders in the work, we must also take a systemic approach to the services we provide – always seeking to include the South Sudanese in the design and implementation phases of a program. Our goal is to never meet a need with our finances that can already be met through the local economy. And when we do have to step in with investment, we will do it in such a way as to stimulate the local economy through entrepreneurial leaders.
Much more could be said about sustainability. However, we are excited about the progress we have already seen in our ministry areas. The South Sudanese have so much to offer and we are just at the beginning of this long-term partnership.
Next time I will dig a bit more into our second value, which is stewardship.