Even Church and Community Transformation projects, which are supposed to be holistic in nature, often become narrowed down in their implementation to just two or three tangible outcomes. When we introduce the LIGHT Wheel spokes and explain how they contribute to the holistic development of a community, we see pastors and those working in the field engage with important issues they had never considered before.
This has only ever really happened in our region (East and Southern Africa) when pastors and communities have been able to converse about the LIGHT Wheel in a language they are comfortable with and which makes sense to them. No matter how great our models are, and no matter how ‘holistic’ our theory of change might be, if we do not provide communities on the ground with tangible knowledge and resources, they will always only see half of the picture.
If we at Tearfund want to follow Jesus where the need is greatest, we need to look beyond the low-hanging fruit of a goat project. Instead, we need to continue to pursue the deeper issues at play in communities. Tackling the root causes of such issues is often significantly harder and more expensive, but there are some examples of this happening.
Across Africa we continue to have millions of people living in hunger and poverty. The majority of the time, I believe, it is as much due to poor governance and planning on the part of their governments as it is to poor farming methods or irregular weather patterns. By focusing our attention on, say, climate change, do we focus on a donor-friendly ‘safe’ enemy, and in the process keep corrupt governments neutrally engaged in our work?
We need to continue to test our assumptions about the sectors we work in and and how we work if we truly want to go where the need is greatest. Let us push for the harder fruit to reach a greater harvest – it will be worth it.
To find out more about the LIGHT Wheel, email email@example.com