The aid gap: inapt activity v resigned inertia
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We know we must change, but are you helping?

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs


KUNDIAWA – Papua New Guinea needs to reform its outlook on development by changing our behaviour so as to transform our society.

But so much of the planning for us - planning that uses foreign concepts and ideologies - does not work.

A planning matrix needs to be home grown and an integral part of our holistic development.

We cannot accept somebody else's ideas just because foreigners say they will work.

Imposing upon us what consultants think is best and will work for us is paternalistic and usually unrelated to our way of doing things.

Our mode of development is based on spirituality, culture, the environment and kinship.

This is our basis of sustainable development and it needs to be understood.

Our planning should be guided by Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs - from basic physiological needs like food and sleep all the way to self-actualisation – morality, problem solving and acceptance of facts.

I hope development workers and planners have a fair idea of Maslow's humanist model.

Sometimes I think that if they have not travelled all the way to self-actualisation, how can they really help us.


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Albert Schram

The supply of aid workers depends on the number of graduates who cannot find employment in their home country.

They are supposed to implement incomprehensible aid programs designed by ‘development experts’ who have only been in 5-star hotels in the host country's capital.

Stephen Charteris

1. Dr Momia Teariki-Tautea - “We have the local knowledge, we live it.”

2. Philip Kai Morre - “Our mode of development is based on spirituality, culture, the environment and kinship. This is our basis of sustainable development and it needs to be understood.”

3. May I be permitted to add something about identity:

Each of us is the continuation of our ancestral line on our land.

In my view sustainable development happens when communities, who are by definition on their land, participate in solutions that meet their needs.

This is usually through the addition of technology, knowledge, facilitation or some combination of these.

So I would postulate that, if sustainable development were written as a mathematical formula, it might look like this:

sustainable development = [lived knowledge + (spirituality, culture, kinship, environment)] ÷ [ancestral land + (community participation x technology, knowledge, facilitation)]

The knowledge, technology and facilitation may well be the provided by government, local or international partner but the key is to transfer ownership and responsibility for outcomes to the community.

When that is done, accountability for outcomes is in the hands of those who most need and desire those outcomes.

Whether it be education or health there is no reason why primary level services cannot be based in each and every community that wants them.

4. Philip Kai Morre - “A planning matrix needs to be home grown and an integral part of our holistic development.”

I am yet to see a community where the rhythm of life is not holistic, especially for women.

Internationals, who obtain their daily needs from a supermarket, have no concept of the effort required by a woman to grow her family’s food and ensure food is available 365 days a year, every year.

Nor do they understand the importance of the social obligations surrounding the use of land, kinship, extended family payments and all the other social imperatives that impact upon daily life.

To this mix add children and older folk who become sick. It falls to women to nurse them back to health.

Children attend school, which means money to be earned for fees or project payments.

Everything about life is interrelated and is dealt with on that basis.

The message for development partners is unless your goals harmonise with those lived realities, you may briefly achieve them but they will not be sustainable.

Improvements to health and education will not happen in the absence of women’s empowerment.

Improvements are dependent upon women mobilising money in rural settings. They will apply their income to meet these needs.

Women’s empowerment cannot happen in the absence of appropriate economic activity, market facilitation, income generation and banking services tailored to their needs.

Men too require income opportunities that are culturally satisfactory to them.

It follows that improvements to primary health and education services must be seen as part of a holistic package that includes community input and ownership as well a public sector support.

I am happy to relate that I am part of a group of PNG citizens who have witnessed the untapped power of communities to be part of the solution.

The group has commenced activities with like-minded communities to facilitate economic empowerment as part of the basis for improved health and education outcomes.

My apologies if I stuffed up the equation, Stephen. Typepad isn't the most sophisticated program for Comments and the equation became scrambled in transmission - KJ

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