Principles of Engagement

This document explains the principles Beyond Borders ( & Fodasyon LimyŤ Lavi should follow when financing a project.

April 1999 Draft

The old saying is true, ďThe rock in the water doesnít understand the misery of the rock in the sun.Ē It is the people who suffer with some problem who understand their problem the best. They also have the greatest interest in finding some resolution to the problem.

Organizations which have funds, technical resources, and materials and who have a mission of helping people in need are the rocks in the water. The problems they are trying to resolve are other peopleís problems, not their own.

Often, these organizations end up doing a lot of harm even while trying to do good. For example:

Because of these sorts of problems there are sometimes local reactions against some organizations. Some organizations have been pillaged. Sometimes suspicions grow so great toward some organizations that local people begin to believe that the organization is part of a plot to keep the community under domination.

LimyŤ Lavi believes that it is nevertheless possible for funding organizations to play a positive role in a number of different ways.

In light of this reality, we must ask ourselves a question: How can LimyŤ Lavi have a positive impact for people in need while avoiding the risks of intervention? In an attempt to respond to this question we have developed these principals which should guide us when we fund a project:

1. As people who donít suffer a problem may understand it differently from outsiders, members of LimyŤ Lavi should sharpen their hearing so they may hear those who are in need. We should not isolate ourselves in such a way that we donít taste anything of the suffering of the poor.

2. The suffering of the poor is not simply an accident. Their suffering is related to the fashion in which riches arrive into the hands of those who are rich. We should each act responsibly to avoid participating in the exploitation of others.

3. They who are in need, the ďrocks in the sun,Ē have the greatest interest in their problems being resolved. If work is being done that aims to be in their interest, they should have control over it. In other words they should be an active part of every aspect of the work.

4. If the people in need are to be able to participate in all of these activities they must be organized. An outside organization can help provide the training they need in order to organize. This is why LimyŤ Lavi puts so much emphasis on training and education that leads to liberation, that helps individuals and communities hold in their own hands the tools for building better lives.

5. LimyŤ Lavi should not initiate a project on its own. There should be local organizations that invite LimyŤ Lavi to come work with them. LimyŤ Lavi should support the work the local organizations are doing.

6. LimyŤ Lavi should do research on local organizations before it decides to finance them. When an individual or a group says it represents the community, we must be very careful too that they are not simply representing their own personal or their groupís interests.

7. LimyŤ Lavi should give its support built on the support of a clear agreement.

8. A community should not become dependent upon outside aid. LimyŤ Lavi should support projects that lead to the community becoming more autonomous.

9. LimyŤ Lavi should support work that helps local people recognize all that they have that is of value, their culture, their understanding, their capabilities, etc.

10. LimyŤ Lavi should work in the interest of people in the greatest need. We should support work that is being done in the most neglected areas and that reaches the people most marginalized (for example, children in domestic servitude, illiterate peasants, women, elderly people, etc.).