Build capacity, not dependency

We should neither conduct activities that a local community can do for itself nor participate in one-way financial giving. the process of getting to know your partner — in order to build capacity — often takes longer than expected and requires patience.

What needs to be done in order to fulfill the need?

  • Generate discrete lists of appropriate interventions to be conducted and appropriate resources needed for those interventions.

What cultural aspects are built into orientation for anyone participating in an international outreach activity?

  • Cultural competency should be a core component of all orientation programs.
  • Make sure participants in the project understand before any interaction that small gifts to individuals or families can create division within the local community.
  • Offering free candy or other items could undercut local vendors of such items.

How will impact be measured, monitored and communicated?

  • List key outcomes and determine what can be measured and monitored before work begins.

How will decisions be made when interventions need to be changed?

  • Situations in-country may require modifications to planned activities, but should not be decided unilaterally by the U.S. partner.

What do local health workers say they would like their U.S. partners to understand about their medical practices, procedures?

  • Local community members best understand their needs and the potential success of many proposed interventions. Never assume to know more or better. For example, they may know that malaria bed nets are used more for fishing than as bed nets and that the in-country efforts should be focused on education before distribution.

How is follow-up care coordinated?

  • Local health workers should be trained to look for expected side effects and the U.S. partner should anticipate the resources that may be needed to deal with complications after they leave.

Are the capacities of the local partners identified in the needs/asset assessment?

  • Locally trained health promoters can be used to deliver culturally sensitive educational messages on any number of topics, such as the benefits of immunizations and vaccines.