Friday, October 23, 2009


Go to the people
Live Among them
Love them.
Start with what they know.
Build on what they have.
But of the best leaders
When their task is accomplished
Their work is done
The people all remark
We have done it ourselves.

This is CHIRAG’s philosophy in which they run their NGO under. As some one who studies development, I look at the work of NGOs with a critical eye. After meeting with the director and staff of CHIRAG, conversing over cake and tea with the founders of CHIRAG, and listening to the villagers in which CHIRAG works for, so far, I approve of this NGO’s position in these villages  It is impressive that an NGO is as responsive as CHIRAG. Honestly, I could gush for hours over how amazed I am by CHIRAG and the effectiveness of their projects, but, like my mom told me upon creating this blog, I am probably addressing an audience who cares more about my feelings and personal experiences than the academia realm of my trip. Those stories will inevitably trickle through my work with CHIRAG, and I just hope that I can convey the honest spirit of CHIRAG. For now, I just want to stress the meaning of CHIRAG’s philosophy and how I think it is so unique to find in a developmental organization. They are not some foreign crew who arrogantly sets up shop in a region that they are out of touch with the needs of those who live there and tells them what they think they need, and after a few years, packs up and leaves. The founders of CHIRAG are from these hills and still live here, the 240 people that CHIRAG employs are from the villages they work for, and every facet of this organization, “Starts with what they (villagers) know, Builds on what they have.” CHIRAG knows they are not without flaws, and that’s why most of what their doing is responsive work – when something’s not working, they try something else, keeping the lines of communication between the locals and the organization open.

…but I won’t gush…

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