Palm Project is a community based programme initially formed to make soap to assist with the eradication of the increasing cases of scabies, louse and skin infections. The soap has become so valued that Palm Project is now in phase two of the project and hopes to turn the soap making into a business that will improve the livelihoods of the whole community.
Statement from Liane Farry Trustee of New Zealand/Aotearoa Children’s Health & Education Trust:
“There are many different conceptions of what constitutes ‘aid’. For us, it is vital that we are always working to assist the people and the communities we are involved with towards self-reliance and self-determination. The word assist is very important. This means that in practise we get to know the people, sit with them and if possible live with them and ask them what they need and want and then act as facilitators, working with them to make the project happen. We are very careful not to impose our ideologies/values on the people we work with.
In my experience, projects often fail because the projects are imposed on a community rather than initiated by the community. It is a far better practice to ask the people what they require to improve their lives and then put those initiated and supported ideas into action, always continuing to be guided by the people themselves.
I am often asked what I consider to be the major mistakes in the field of aid and I always reply, never go into a village and presume to know what the people need or what they want – ask them what they need and what they feel would improve their lives. Actually the most important factor ensuring the project’s success will be the organisation’s ability to build authentic and meaningful relationships with the people and the community. This means that we have to let go of all of our colonial and racist mindsets and engage with the people from a place of genuine respect, trust and love. Building authentic relationships is about the reognition that the relationship is a two way process.
In other words, that the two parties will learn from each other and contribute to each other’s development. I have to say that over the years, as much as we have been able to assist the people in the villages we have worked in to achieve growth, transformation and development, they have assisted us right back in terms of our own growth and development.”
We support our commitment by insuring:
- All donations go directly to initiated project
- All workers are volunteers and often pay for the privilage
- All project are based in health, education and sustainable economic enterprises for the benifit of the community
- All project muct be initiated by the community and supported by the community.
- All project are designed to promote self-determination and self-reliance.