It all comes down to the poverty trap: which is anything that sustains the cycle of poverty. While there is a place for disaster relief and charity, when it comes to helping communities crawl out of poverty the issue is far more complex. Over our lifetime we’ve seen billions spent annually on foreign aid. Even though the money has addressed critical needs, these communities remain trapped in poverty.
Let’s be honest. The causes are numerous. But we’ve noticed that a poverty trap’s systemic issues can often be traced back to three general areas. We could go into more detail, but here’s a brief overview.
When dependence, isolation, or exclusion are rooted in a community, they implicate a relationship with foreign aid as a massive contributor to the crippling cycle. When cyclical poverty is treated like disaster relief, it can paralyze communities. These poverty trap roots each have pervasive effects.
Using aid to medicate cyclical poverty results in the oversight of incredible resources and untapped potential in communities. Look no further than a community in Matagalpa, perfectly situated to grow cacao with a willingness to work, only lacking the initial investment and insight to begin. Aid in this community would cripple potential.
Small business is the backbone of successful economies; isolation from global economies & dependence on continual aid is directly antithetical to empowering business owners to grow an economy from the ground up.
It goes like this. A need arises… aid fulfills need… need comes back… the wait for aid begins…
Exclusion removes ownership. And without ownership; dreams, goals, & ambition are diminished. Any solutions must encourage active participation from the communities in need. Everyone has to own their future in order to dream big.
Traditionally, charity includes a donor, a receiver, and a gift. When analyzed giving the gift often elevates the donor and subjugates the receiver.
To combat this trap, we must flip our focus from each communities‘ immediate needs to their existing resources and ambition. These undervalued resources are the key to breaking the cycle by creating sustainable streams of revenue.
Every community that we encounter is bursting with talent. Their individual skills, passions, and livelihoods contain innumerable stories. We want to see poverty stricken communities be treated as something of value and worth. Something worth partnering with and investing in. So we‘re doing just that. Investing.