This article focuses on how holistic community development can be used to end all types of poverty. The conventional belief is that poverty is the lack of money and material possessions. However, when you inspect things from a holistic perspective, it becomes clear that the conventional definition of poverty is erroneous because poverty can manifest in various manifestations. These manifestations are ultimately a consequence of leading an ill-advised life that drives a person away from internal peace. To gain contentment, an individual must strengthen their connection with God and His creation.
This concept is elaborated in detail in Fikkert and Corbett's book When Helping Hurts. The authors of this book note that the definition of poverty differs in different areas of the world. Countries having a higher earning status are likely to define poverty as a lack of material gains while those towards a lower income scale tend to associate poverty with a more psychological indication of unwellness, marked by instances of humiliation, shame, and so on. These observations offer essential considerations for those who want to help the poor because they help them identify the roadblocks they must overcome to empower them.
Those who want to engage in philanthropy must find the right means to help the poor. Otherwise, their help may eventually lead to more problems. To understand this, let's look at an example provided in the same book. A needy person approaches a church for help to pay his bill. An initial analysis may give the impression that this is merely a material problem. However, a more in-depth inspection may reveal that this is due to a lack of self-control to maintain a job and budget well enough to pay his bill. This case demonstrates how individuals end up treating the symptom of poverty in many cases as opposed to its cause. When this is done, it worsens the condition for both the helper and the individual who is receiving help—such help results in making an individual more dependent and incapable of rising to face his actual challenges.
So, what is the solution? The first and most important thing that a person must do before attempting to solve a problem is recognizing its cause. Using the same example as above, the book directs how this can be done; it would have been much better to refrain from financially helping the person because that might hurt him further while wasting resources and negating the church's duty. Instead, it would help if the person was taught to identify the root of the problem because otherwise, a person becomes incapable of helping himself. Typically, individuals are convinced that they lack enough resources, while mostly the actual problem is in their thinking framework – which is that of a victim.
It is clear that to end all types of poverty, one must recognize that the root cause is mostly a weak relationship with God. This results in a lack of purpose, sense of direction, motivation, and will to be righteous. Consequently, the person leads a life that lacks meaning and good deeds and is tainted with sin. Developing Our World functions on this very perspective, and therefore aims to implement holistic community development while instilling in people the love of God. We believe that strengthening our connection with God is the first step in solving any worldly problem because our problems result from moral and spiritual deprivation and distance from God. If you would like to learn about our work, please read other articles or get in touch with us today.