mission statement and recent observations

Reflecting on the events of this week and parts of the article “Development as Freedom” my idea of a mission statement has taken a 180 from what it was at the onset of this experience. Granted, from day one my perspective of La Ceiba was probably skewed and misguided, but all the same it was focused on a very narrow perception of what ‘real good’ could mean.  Initially I believed that ‘real good’ could be accomplished through the logic of economic analysis; that is identifying and isolating the poverty creating entities in a society and simply prescribing a solution that would hopefully alleviate the issue. This type of mindset was vacant of the human factor associated with poverty. It was focused on increasing income by means of increasing productivity. While it is true that the relative financial security obtained by La Ceiba’s loan programs may bring a certain level of poverty relief, it doesn’t address the full breadth of what poverty actually is. I do not suggest that I have the experience or know how to, myself, define poverty but I have concluded that its overall burden on life is the robbery of human freedom. From talking with one of my clients this week I began to realize the impactful nature of our work. The emotional response of my client to our introductory conversation made me feel that on some very small level I had facilitated a brief moment of freedom from the isolation of her poverty. Her response can’t be quantified; this many tears for this period of time means she felt this amount of social frustration and now feels this amount of happiness. However, through constant communication we can observe that as the relationships with our clients become more solidified the clients and ourselves may realize the fruits of a healthy friendship. The clients may come to us with frustrations which we can in-turn help find solutions to (if such problems are within our realm of expertise, which has yet to be completely defined) and as students we learn that poverty alleviation is an effort that affects the entire person, not just their (non-existent) bank account or small entrepreneurial enterprise.  While on some level we may never be on an equal playing field, we will be able to relate and build trust which is important for long term development. The idea is recognizing where our lives don’t parallel anymore and building a bridge to make that difference a little less severe.

The above has led me to a number of possible mission statements, but for now I’ve settled on this one:

Building relationships to find personalized poverty alleviation solutions.

2 Responses to “mission statement and recent observations

  • I agree that building relationships is key to what we are doing. I especially like that you did not just end with that point. The information we gather from our interactions with the women we are giving money to must be utilized in a way to alleviate poverty. Otherwise, what is the point in interactions. I think there also should be some discussion on how we are to achieve poverty alleviation or even what your definition of poverty alleviation is. How we define this will guide our organization and shape us as a group.

  • I really like this mission statement: you cover the major issues of La Ceiba, but I like the word “personalized”. Your experience in Constant Client Contact only re-emphasizes the fact that our small size can be an asset: we are able to get to know these women on an individual level. That is one of the things that defines us, and so it does belong in our mission statement.

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