Sending qualified Canadian labourers overseas to build communities has its benefits. It's fast, we know the job will be done right, and that a good deed has been done.
However, what happens when aid organizations leave? What happens when there is no one left who has the know-how?
Africa is littered with deserted wells and power mills that no longer work. When this infrastructure breaks down, there is no one to fix it and no one with the knowledge to build more because the professional overseas labourers have long since departed.
Christian Children's Fund of Canada believes the answer lies in training locals for the work. Teach them the skills to build, repair and maintain wells and other infrastructure on their own. This will guarantee sustainability and increase the impact of our efforts after we are gone.
We work with communities to identify their needs and scout to see what resources are available locally.
Too often we find an eager, but unskilled workforce and not enough materials to complete projects. This is where CCFC can help. Our goal is to give people the tools they need to better their communities and the confidence necessary to persuade local decision makers and governments to invest in them.
In most cases, the local community supplies land and labour and CCFC supplies the materials - purchased through donor funding. This isn't a fast process. It takes time to educate the community on how to lobby their government for the land, raise funds to purchase the land, teach the community how to help build the project and then actually do the work. It is a long, yet worthwhile process.
When a community invests in the project physically, emotionally, and economically, it is more likely to appreciate and value it.