Monday, March 12, 2007

Basic Principles for Delivering Humanitarian Aid

The following are principles that we follow in responding to natural disasters. They are also applicable to the community development work we engage in. This won't be obviously interesting to many of you but for those of you involved in development work I encourage you to read carefully and comment if you would like.

  • Most of the resources necessary to prevent, withstand, and recover from a disaster are to be found in the local community.
  • A community working cooperatively is more valuable and effective than any amount of humanitarian aid. This follows on our basic understanding that the nature of poverty is relational and the cause of poverty is spiritual- Brent Myers.
  • Effective leadership is the most valuable commodity that can be imparted in a humanitarian aid program.
  • Imparting values to people will more effectively elicit change than simply exchanging information. A Bible study is a good thing, but working together on a common project is a great thing.
  • Local volunteers can bring about real change more quickly and more effectively than teams of trained outsiders.
  • The Government through the Ministry of Emergency Situations, International Organizations, and Non Governmental Organizations all have roles to play during the times of disaster but their work is made much more effective when the community is prepared to work in cooperation with them to help alleviate suffering and return the situation to normal as quickly as possible.
  • The Holy Spirit knows what these people need. Ask him.
  • To avoid the ‘rice Christian’ problem always give aid to an entire community. Never give to individual families. If a family is hungry they are rarely alone. Make a distribution list and serve their whole community.
  • No Small Visions.
  • Luke 10. Read it and follow it.
  • Pray for the sick. That’s in Luke 10 but it bears repeating.
  • Pray before you go, when you go, as you go, when you get there, with everyone who will allow you, after you leave. Pray without ceasing.
  • Communities do the projects, we just aid them and encourage them. Local ownership is not an option.
  • Avoid new technology. It is better to improve on what they have rather than introduce something new. Time again we have found that their grandfathers knew how to solve the problem. They just forgot, we need to remind them of what they knew.
  • Servant leadership is essential for all workers on the project. Do not assume that your national workers are following your example when you are not around. Train them and follow up. They must be Servant Leaders.

These are just a few thoughts on what we do that relate to some discussions I have had with folks on other blogs.


Lon said...

that's quite the blogroll, how do i get myself on that christian bloggers list?

Strider said...

Lon- I don't know dude, try googling 'Christian Blogger Survey' and see if you get there.

Anonymous said...

Hey Strider, Top of the morning to you! Whew I was sweating the last comment out from the previous post surely am glad you cleared the air! :) Looking forward to more stories. Angie.

Alycelee said...

Strider, I have been watching your comments for some time. I finally saw a link to your blog site.
I'm linking your site to my blog-because I want to support those who are on mission for God and serving Him. If you would like to email me and give me information about your ministry, we will put you on our churches prayer list and pray for you, your family and your ministry continually.
"Blessed are the feet of them that bring good news"


Alan Cross said...


This is really helpful. We are putting together some conferences on the roof of the world in October to merge development and ministry to create a holistic perspective. You already sparked some ideas. We're in way over our head, so I'm trying to gather information. Actually, they already know how to do it, so through our presence, I hope to be a catalyst to get them working together for the first time. Any information that you could point me to would be much appreciated. You can email me if you think of anything.