“A better life where you are.”
Statement of Personal Vision, Mission, Values
(Note: This paper was written in the late 2020/early 2021 as part of a Non-profit management course)
“The Global South is being drained of resources by the rest of the world, and it is losing far more each year than it gains. Africa alone loses $192 billion each year to the rest of the world. This is mainly in profits made by foreign companies, tax dodging, and the costs of adapting to climate change. Whilst rich countries often talk about the aid their countries give to Africa, this is, in fact, less than $30 billion each year. Even when you add this to foreign investment, remittances, and other resources that flow into the continent, Africa still suffers an overall loss of $58 billion every year. The idea that we are aiding Africa is flawed; it is Africa that is aiding the rest of the world.”
- Health Poverty Action, 2014
This statement aligns with historical evidence that shows that when aid flows to Africa were phenomenally high in the period from 1970 to 1998, poverty in Africa increased by a staggering 500 percent ( Wales, 2009). One of the reasons this is the case is that what Africa assumes it gains from aid it loses in trade and other outflows. As primary extraction takes precedence over value addition, African economies are locked in a cycle of powerlessness and poverty (Omungo, 2007), and as Africans put in all their efforts by legal and illegal means to escape both the debt and death trap that their countries have become, the immigrant populations to the Global North rises.
Among recently arrived immigrants to the U.S. in the period from 2000 to 2013, African immigrants had the fastest growth rate of 41 percent (Anderson, 2017). These immigrants to the U.S. and other developed countries are in search of a “better life.” What if they have the opportunity and support to have a “better life” in their countries. What if this better life was not taken away from them in the first place through global systemic anemic structures. What if this is the time for the Global North to be weaned off its savior’s complex. This is the time to halt and reverse the osmosis of ports and trade routes and disempower negative instruments of drainage and technologies of underdevelopment.
My vision is to have a world where every child is able to maximize and fulfill their potentials where they are. In this world, every child would be supported with an environment where they are able to thrive, provided opportunities, and given the support and mentorship they need to utilize those opportunities. In this world, they will be empowered to overcome the systemic barriers positioned to keep them down.
Although our programs and interventions will be available to everyone, the target group for the majority of our programs and interventions would be those living in the low and middle-income brackets. The focus of our programs and interventions (mission) will be tripartite on two levels — at the individual and at the strategic planning level. The aim will be to develop value-adding individuals, communities, and nations and placing them on a path to path to independence and financial sustainability.
Since many African countries are religious and have aspects of their religion focused on stewardship, the individual facing aspects of our mission would help individuals develop a sense of connection to those values that behooves them to make the world a better place and make the most use of their intellectual and physical endowments. Children and youth would be provided safe spaces where they can play, learn a craft, sports, music, and build relationships that enrich their lives and impact positively on their self-esteem. They will also be provided mentors with the same gender as they are who will help them with study techniques, assignment support, and also help them navigate other challenges so they can focus on learning and not emotionally and psychologically thrown off balance by concerns related to peer acceptance and pressure, in a society where drugs and quick money-making schemes seem to be the order of the day.
These children would also be supported as they choose their careers and make life decisions so that their decisions show the trajectory necessary for the end goal that they have in mind. When it is time to transition to the labor force, they will be assisted to tailor their resumes for the positions they are applying for. For those who want to start companies, they will be helped with ideation and support with incubating their ideas so that they do not just mimic an existing product, cannibalize an existing product, but are able to carve a niche for themselves. There will also be training on transferable skills such as coding, data analysis, and presentation.
At the level of the community, community members would be encouraged to having collective spaces where they can do collective activities together, for example, exercise. There will also be a mechanism to identify members of a community with a lack and the best ways to support them anonymously from a collective purse. There will also be collective workspaces such as makers spaces, agro-processing infrastructure, shared offices, and libraries.
Strategic plans to create enabling conditions for a better life at the national level will include training for individuals, civil society, and nonprofits on how best to lobby and advocate for policy change in an African context. They will be trained on how to write policy papers to government institutions and international actors. Members of the community will also be encouraged to form location-based communities of practice and employ participatory approaches to propose and design solutions to challenges within their communities. There will also be advocacy to create and implement environmental and sustainable development guidelines to ensure that efforts aimed at creating a better life do not stifle the intergenerational better life.
To achieve this mission, the values that will be most important to me are being proactive, collaborative, and resilient.
· Proactive; because it is so easy to procrastinate and doubt if any impact will ever be made, but that is why it is good to start early and do all you can and see what comes out of it.
· Collaborative; because there will always be the need to work together with others, and especially identifying like-minded people who have resources to sponsor some of the common good community facilities, resources, and spaces, and other like-minded people who have time to volunteer towards achieving the missions stated above.
· Resilient; because I have to keep learning and understanding what can be done, how to do it better, and not just give up even if it positive change is slow in coming
Central to a more effective attainment of this vision would be an empowerment approach that trains persons in communities to be lifeguards and pathfinders and champions of the ideals that help create a better life for people where they are.
I see myself as an experimenter (“I innovate, pioneer, and invent. I take risks and course-correct as needed”), visionary (“I imagine and generate our boldest possibilities, hopes, and dreams, and remind us of our direction”) and guide (I teach, counsel, and advise, using my gifts of well-earned discernment and wisdom) (Iyer, 2020). I look forward to a society with the people made of the same fabric and a society of caregivers (“who nurture and nourish the people around them by creating and sustaining a community of care, joy, and connection”) and disruptors (“who take uncomfortable and risky actions to shake up the status quo, to raise awareness, and to build power”) who will not stop until there is a better life for themselves, their community, and countries.
Anderson, M. (2020, May 31). African immigrant population in U.S. steadily climbs. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/14/african-immigrant-population-in-u-s-steadily-climbs/
Development aid to Africa negligible in comparison to illicit outflows. (2014, July 16). Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/211-development/52662-development-aid-to-africa-negligible-in-comparison-to-illicit-outflows-.html
Iyer, D. (2020). Mapping Our Roles in Social Change Ecosystems. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from http://deepaiyer.com/2020/07/mapping-our-social-change-roles-in-times-of-crisis/
Omungo, R. (2007, September 27). ‘’A Foreigner Cannot Develop Us’’. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/220/47296.html
Wales, J. (2009). Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa by Dambisa Moyo. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://ssir.org/books/reviews/entry/dead_aid_dambisa_moyo