When Helping Hurts – in Chad

When we were in Chad in the fall, we saw a great example of "When Helping Hurts." And maybe you noticed it in our photos or video. Look closely at these two pictures.

Maramara 1

Do you see that building in the background? It looks like a concrete building – doesn't it? It is!


Maramara 2

Here is a closer view of it.

When we talk about "When Helping Hurts" – the issue isn't that no one is offering help in Chad. The problem is, often the way people help – doesn't help at all… and maybe it hurts. 

This is perhaps the most vivid example we saw while there. An NGO (non-government organization) came into the village and told them they needed storage for their crops to protect them from animals and to have a way to keep them longer. The village didn't ask for it. The NGO told them they needed it.

And they built the building. And then – they locked it and left the village.

When we were there – the building was locked and no one in the village had the key or any understanding of how the building could be used.

Hopefully, that NGO will come back and give some explanation. But without the input of the village, building that building can be well-meaning, but can hurt more than help. Our goal is to let the village tell us where they have needs and what expertise we can provide. In cultures like Chad, if you "tell" them what they need, they will nod their head to be polite, but will often neglect the very thing that they "agreed" to needing. It also makes them dependent on outsiders. It tells them maybe they aren't smart enough to know what their needs are. And the longer outside NGOs help them, the more dependent they become on them. We want to avoid that. 

This is just another reason we love partnering with World Concern! They are committed to doing these things well.

Just had a passing thought today that I wanted to share…


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