I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on an Indonesia Journey that just finished with a group of very thoughtful, intelligent and committed supporters of World Neighbors.
We had the opportunity, honor and pleasure to meet a large number of people whose lives have forever been transformed by the philosophy and work of our outstanding World Neighbors staff here. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it clearly takes a community to make positive progress in a community…. but first and foremost it takes special individuals who see the potential for a different future and who are willing to commit the energy and time required to initiate and work for that change. We had the pleasure and the honor to meet and interact with just these types of individuals.
We started with the local World Neighbors staff….truly exceptional people who understand the local cultures and how to work within and through them to enact positive social change. We learned that they spend up to 3 out of every 4 weeks in our program areas, listening to the voices of village leaders expressing the concerns they hope can be addressed with our assistance, educating motivated volunteers about the methods, tools and technologies World Neighbors has developed in its 61 years of successful community development, acting in fact, like a friendly neighbor whose only motivation is to be a good neighbor and help the local neighborhood community as a whole care for all of its members.
We connected with partner NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) who have learned from and adopted our successful model of neighborly involvement. These were also made of up dedicated and committed people who may have started their development efforts with a particular focus (e.g., public health), but who came to appreciate the holistic approach to sustainable development that World Neighbors exemplifies and who now are proud to note their relationship and engagement with our programs.
We met the community leaders who champion the World Neighbors approach, who understand the long-term commitment and effort required but who clearly
understand the benefits of bringing the village together to work on issues that affect the village entirety and who also sees a future with positive progress for all. These are truly special individuals and neighbors we are very proud to be working with. Their stories fill the archives of World Neighbors and are a special inspiration to all of us engaged in working beside them as they accomplish their goals and achieve their dreams. Read a few of World Neighbors stories at www.wn.org/stories.
We had meetings with Indonesian government officials responsible for various aspects of governance in their jurisdictions who praised the World Neighbors philosophy (see Jim Morley’s post on the subject) and its inclusive organic approach to grassroots development. We were extremely gratified to see our low-key neighborly efforts recognized as leading-edge and the gold standard for ongoing national support of holistic local development.
All of these participants – World Neighbors, partner NGO’s, local community leaders and national policy directors – share our mission of inspiring people and empowering communities. Though we may answer to different powers and though we may reach our goals along different paths, we all share a common philosophy….we are all world neighbors.
We all want to make our neighborhood a better place.
- David Bearden