The world is rich with information these days and a lot of us settle for taking in that information and then thinking we know something...
Although do we really know what we know? Maybe we just think we do…
Well with my recent trip to Malawi I had first hand experience of realising I didn’t really know what I thought I knew when it came to hunger and poverty.
You see, probably like myself, you also had an idea of what poverty and hunger is about. For example we get shown the pictures of a young child, crying, bloated and hungry.
Immediately I would think this child needs food, how can I help?
So as asked, I would donate, give my money to a non for profit helping bring food to these children.
Or donate and they will build a school and pay for a child’s education.
Or donate and we will build a well and provide clean drinking water.
Or donate and we will provide medicine and health aid.
Or donate and we will build homes.
It all made practical sense to me and I wholeheartedly thought this was helping solve poverty and hunger, as this is what I knew of poverty and hunger.
Without thinking, I suppose like myself most of us would reach into our pocket and do our bit.
Sometimes not just as individuals, but also companies get behind these non for profits to show the world they are doing their bit and giving back.
You see it all sounds good but how do you really know your dollar is really going where it needs to go? Do you know how much of each dollar is actually making it on the ground? How do you know what you are apparently helping to provide in the way of aid to these people is actually helping?
You see I didn’t just want to be ‘seen’ to be doing the right thing in the world by helping financially, I wanted a first hand experience so I felt as though I really knew what I was part of.
Well during my trip into Malawi, through my direct experience I discovered that individual aid is only a band aid and a lot of the money we donate doesn’t end up where we think.
In the words of a local man in one of Malawis villages ‘We don’t just need aid, we want the skills to live a better life. To be able to farm through drought and survive for ourselves.’
In getting to know these people and hearing their stories over the week I spent there, I discovered that poverty is not a single approach situation. It needs a holistic approach.
Most of all, we must change our mindset in believing the people of poverty and hunger are a problem and instead see them as the solution.
One thing I found staggering is whilst visiting the mud brick homes of the villages, I heard that people don’t come and talk with them. They said they come to build a school, a well or drop aid but rarely do they engage and spend time talking to the community.
I thought to myself that isn’t that the responsibility of these organizations? Shouldn’t they be getting out from behind their desks and immersing themselves on the ground instead of just taking money and telling us what they have done to fix a problem they themselves don’t seem to even understand.
I saw on this trip how when we change our own mindset and work with the people by not giving hand outs, but instead empowering them through a holistic approach they actually thrive and themselves overcome poverty and hunger.
Its not an overnight solution, but it is a solution to end poverty and hunger.
So this is why I am involved with the Human Kind Project. Because I’ve been on the ground and seen how they are empowering thousands of people within Malawi and around the world to overcome poverty and hunger.
During my trip I spent time in a epicentre called Ligowe which was one of three in the area that had become self reliant and beaten hunger and poverty. An epicentre is made up of a number of villages which The Hunger Project is working with. It took a minimum of eight years for Ligowe to achieve self reliance, now not only are these people living a quality of life but now they are also reason for others to believe and change their own hunger and poverty mindset.
Although this work doesn’t just happen. It takes a team of people over time to educate thousands of people through working with community leaders. This requires money and resources to keep this training up along with the supple of resources to ensure communities then reach a state of self reliance.
This is not just about the villages within Malawi. This is a message through human leadership and a real, true example that hunger and poverty can end in our world.
To ensure my part I have partnered with The Human Kind Project and The Hunger Project to bring a epicentre call Nchalo to self reliance. Nchalo is home to 37,483 people spread over 24 villages. The Hunger project had been there for 17 years. This epicenter was one of the first in Africa and was only one stage away from self-reliance but funding cuts four years ago have slowed progress. They are only two years away from reaching it along with the last amount of financial support required.
For myself I don’t feel like I’m throwing money at a problem, I’m actually investing in the human potential of real people on the ground that have the willingness to live beyond their circumstances and not only bring change to their immediate loved ones, families and communities, but bring about a generational and worldly impact that will ensure hunger and poverty become a thing of the past.
One immediate effect of this partnership is that they will be able to complete a health clinic so that it includes a birthing centre for the 275 births that occur each month. What that means is that mothers don’t have to risk there lives trying to give birth in a mud brick home or upon trying to make their way to the nearest birthing centre which is over 30kms away whilst in labor.
The long term effect is empowering 37,483 people in being able to live life with the basics we take for complete granted. And for a moment, look at that number and imagine 37,483 faces. Because we must not forget humanity and the reality of what connects us all in being human when reading numbers and facts.
As an entrepreneur, I now know I can help myself and always live a quality life. It only feels natural that I now extend my fortune in the life I live by helping others.
If you would like to come along on this journey and partnership in empowering thousands throughout the village of Nachalo over the next two years I ask for you to join me by investing with me.
Lets do this together and share in a story we can tell of how we beat hunger and poverty in this world.