“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
— Gen. George Patton
While our experienced U.S.-based team, which includes a number of Haitian expats as well, has some great ideas regarding the how-to’s of development in general, the community members themselves know best about determining their own direction. We’ve also noted that the best leaders we have in the field are those chosen and trained by the community themselves. We provide guidance and grooming on our end as well, but have done well by encouraging our staff to mostly build up their own team and their own capacity.
As GSI’s focus grows (and along with it our programs, projects, and outreach of course), so has our need to not just engage the community but have them lead the initiatives themselves. This has meant starting by holding household interviews, staff meetings, and community forums to ask them what they think needs to be done and how best to go about it.
When working with both our staff and the community in the field, our consultants DO NOT seek to bring in largely American answers & resources and then unilaterally implement them. We’ve instead found it best to equip the nationals and collaborate with them on finding contextualized, sustainable, and reproducible solutions to development issues. We mostly see ourselves as the spark that helps to jumpstart opportunities that weren’t present before, then get out of the way as they develop their own solutions.
GSI will operate only in a way that is in alignment with our faith beliefs and is culturally, environmentally, communally, and ethically responsible. Our enduring aim is to equip and empower those we work alongside so as not to create dependency for we recognize the innate capacity of any hardworking community that has resolved to lift itself out of its inadequate living conditions with our assistance. We will support and work with the local people regardless of their age, religion, mental capacity, or social status.