Then, the foreign donors brought in a machine, drilled the hole, set the pump, and left. They may have had a meeting with the community about it, but most likely they didn’t. The average community member had no knowledge of its coming and no discussion about its location. They had no power or contribution in the situation. (And we’re not even getting into the gender inequalities with women being responsible for the water but having no power to influence where it is located). They’ll celebrate the clean new water and use it while it lasts. (That is, unless, the headman had it put at his house and tells everyone else they can’t use it. That’s another issue, but we won’t go into that here.) So, for a few years the village uses this new borehole and they have good water.
Then a $30 part breaks and the $10,000 borehole is kaput. No one in the community was involved in the process of acquiring it, so they have no ownership of it. No one knows how to fix it and there are no systems in place to raise funds for the part or the repairs. That foreign donor is far away & tooting the horn about what they did for these people, while the people have gone back to getting their water from the river they always depended on. If the community had been consulted and involved, they would either know how to fix the borehole or the donor would have provided supplies for the village to dig their own hand dug wells that can easily and cheaply be fixed by the same community. That solution costs less than a 10% of what a borehole costs and it is sustainable. It just doesn’t sound as good on the donor’s newsletter.
So, besides a nice little lesson on my opinions of boreholes, why am I telling you this? What on earth does it have to do with you? As your coach, I could come in like that foreign donor and tell you what I see as the best solutions for your problems. That might even give you a nice shiny solution for awhile. But, because the solution didn’t come from you and you didn’t really buy into it with your whole heart and your own action; when it stops being easy you’ll just give up. It wasn’t really your solution, it was mine. Instead I’ll come to you open to all the possibilities. I’ll suggest alternatives to the ones you’re looking at and help you dream big, using YOUR knowledge and special skills to make the best possible solution for you. And because of that ownership, you will fly higher and farther than either of us can even imagine, because the world is all yours for the taking and we’re not limiting you to the ideas I come in with.
(You can also probably see that I’m not likely to encourage you to donate to foreign aid projects unless you know for sure that they’re assisting the local people to implement their own ideas.)