Back from Chamanuka, Discussion at the Deputy Heads Ambassadors house U.S. on development

Thursday 2010-01-28
Back from Chamanuka, a bwano kwambili resort, for our COS (close of service) conference. Most of the actual conference was fairly straightforward info about what we had to do before we left and options for when we returned to the states. The food was really good and I don’t really need to eat for the remainder of my service.
This evening many of the volunteers, several Zambian PC staff and US staff who work at the embassy or for various NGO’s went to the deputy ambassador’s house (where I had stayed a little over a year ago in the PC home stay program) to discuss development, what it meant and how it was best implemented. The discussion was very productive and really showed how much the people who work in Zambia (be it PCV’s, Gov. employees or NGO workers) collectively have a grasp on how to best carry out development. The basic points that clarified, enhanced and added to my idea of how to bring development and/or the challenges in bringing development during the meeting were:
1. That skill and knowledge aid should be the primary focus and that financial aid should only be implemented when it is the only limiting factor impeding the organization from growing.
2. That when possible, any form of aid should first be sought out locally
3. That a large factor contributing to lack of development is the lack of motivation to improve and bring new change and new ideas.
4. That one likely reason for this is the lack of an education system that has resources and sparks innovation in the children of Zambia
5. That, turning the camera in the other direction, if a Zambian came to America and said that they were here to help your town develop, would you except their idea with open arms and readily stop what you were doing and turn to embrace whatever development strategies they employed? The Zambians, in large part do, but the more radical a suggestion is, the more resistance a volunteer faces.

Now all we have to do is actually take these ideas and turn them into action (as is one of my signature* quotes:
Vision without action is a daydream,
Action without vision is a nightmare,
One needs both to succeed.)

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