Help That Makes a Difference | Christianity Today
January 16, 2014
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O P EN Q UESTIO N
Help That Makes a Difference
What's the biggest change needed in how charities and federal agencies deliver aid to developing nations?
Brian Fikkert, David Beckmann, and Dale Hanson Bourke
[ posted 12/15/2009 ]
What's the biggest change needed in how charities and federal agencies deliver aid to developing nations? Brian Fikkert, co-author of
When Helping Hurts
, David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, and Dale Hanson Bourke, author of
The Skeptic's Guide to
, suggest the best way to help.
Help That Makes a Difference: Change our Worldview
The goal is not to turn Kampala into Chicago. The goal is for both Kampala and Chicago to look more like the New Jerusalem.
Brian Fikkert, co-author of
When Helping Hurts
"We were happy in our village before you folks told us we were poor. We didn't have many things, but happiness doesn't come just from
having more material things. What makes you think we want to become just like you?"
The audience, a group of American donors and development leaders, looked bewildered as Emily, a community development worker from
Liberia, took her seat. Finally, one of the U.S. donors spoke up. "Yes, of course we share your goals, Emily. That's why we keep on bringing
you more capital and technology." Emily listened helplessly, realizing that her message had fallen on deaf ears—again.
Americans are the richest people ever to walk the face of the earth, and we coexist with 2.6 billion people living on less than $2 per day.
The situation is simply immoral. We must do more, but we must do it differently.
For the past 60 years, the majority of American assistance has flowed out of a materialistic worldview, which assumes that wealth is
produced by material things, namely capital and technology. In this view, America is "developed." We have arrived, and they have not.
The assumption is that if we provide them with more capital and technology, they will be able to be just like the U.S.—a country where
families and communities are disintegrating, where addictions are on the rise, where mental and emotional illnesses are exploding, and
where rampant consumerism is bankrupting all of us.