We're asked constantly why we chose to support The Hunger Project with our family's resources. The basics are obvious: THP's methodology to help villagers move from poverty to self-reliance; the success rate; the management team (especially on the ground); and of course the programming, from empowerment training to micro loans.
But we love THP for their terminology too. Yes, just the words they use. What do I mean? First, there are no donors or recipients. We are investors, as in investing in the lives of others. We expect a return on investment, which comes in human transformation. The people in the villages are partners, in other words, our teammates.
Maybe this sounds trite to you. After all, doesn't action matter more than words? Sure it does, but words are also a reflection of action. For instance, when you view people living in poverty as partners and not recipients to be pitied it changes the approach. THP and our family believe that villagers are the authors of their own future, not us. We don't build a bunch of stuff for them, they build it for themselves. We invest in our partners as they invest in themselves.
So, it didn't surprise me today when I got a receipt for tickets I bought for our family to attend THP's Fall Event. You've gotten those receipts before, and if you read them they usually say something like: "Thanks to your support, we are able to do blah blah blah." The message is standard: When you donate, the organization does its work for those people.
By contrast, THP's receipt included this sentence: "In Africa, more than 100 clusters of villages (known as “epicenters”) have launched projects to generate income and build classrooms, food storage facilities and nurses' quarters to ensure ready access to health care." Read it again. The Africans have launched projects. They are building their own futures, not us, not THP.
Who are we betting on? The people in the villages, with some guidance from THP based on proven strategies.
Read carefully. You can learn a lot.