Allow the communities to take ownership of their own voice.
“We are not doctors and our beneficiaries and communities are not patients we have to cure.”
You cannot solve a problem you’ve never experienced firsthand or if you do find solutions, they may not be inclusive or grow together with the community through the years. Because of this, we must learn to let the communities we assist to take the lead. Most of the problems that minorities or underdeveloped communities face are deeply rooted in our society and its regulations; in order to bring about progress to our fellow countrymen, we should support them as they find their own solutions to the problems only they can face.
Remember: true progress is inclusive. You may think of societal growth as wide roads, tall buildings, and well-lit sidewalks but others dream of owning land, steady harvest, and free education for all. We must rid ourselves of the subconscious biases we have and stop seeing these communities as people we must “save.” We should use our privilege and capacities to bring them closer to pathways of solutions instead of thinking that we know what’s best for them.
Over time, their needs may change so it is also important to keep in touch with the communities you are working with to ensure that your projects are continuously and effectively serving them.
Together Tip: Engage with your partner-beneficiary with fresh, unbiased minds. Cultivate a safe and growth space: non-judgmental, open, and respectful.