We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, August 7, 2015

Resilience Is Futile: How Well-Meaning Nonprofits Perpetuate Poverty

Click here to access article by Melissa Chadburn from The Wrong Kind of Green.

This is a testimony of someone who was highly motivated to do good for poverty stricken people (and not the One Percent) and sought out and was hired by an NGO supposedly doing good. She was soon trained to forget about thinking of real solutions to poverty, instead she was trained to encourage poor people to become more self-reliant, and to measure self-reliance.
The story the campaign told was a story of lost resilience. The narrative they preached was how to get it back. This is a common theme in community work. Over the years the term “resilience” has been applied more and more frequently to people in distressed communities to mean their capacity to bounce back from dysfunction or breakdown. Increasing community resilience becomes a solution to chronic barriers such as poverty, trauma, and class inequity. Dozens of programs that encourage resiliency have been introduced in schools and low-income neighborhoods all over the world in an effort to help children recover from trauma and also cope better with their day-to-day stresses. 

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