First Do No Harm

Today’s blog was inspired by a conversation last night with my good friend Teddy of Project Diaspora this was one of those “catch up” sessions that we have once a week or so.

As we are both involved in the Women of Kireka (WOK), it is often the first point of discussion and last night was no different.

I asked Teddy what was new with WOK and as he run me through what his team was doing, one of the points lead us down an exploratory route. Teddy informed me that they were looking at approaching someone in local government to see how the women’s working conditions at the quarry!

The question we had to explore was whether this was the best way to support the women? Are the women looking for improved working conditions on the quarry or would they prefer to earn an income making jewellery? The answer is here. If that is the case isn’t it best to put the resources that we have in ensuring that the women sell more jewellery?

What if we intervened because we feel the working conditions are not up to our western stands and the women lost their slots at the quarry? Can we afford for that to happen right now when work to launch their brand of jewellery is in its infancy?

We considered the lesson that we could take away from the folk at ICT4D and their experience in Zanzibar where they sought to maximise income for the Seaweed pickers.

We concluded that we have to approach everything in the WOK project with an attitude of DO NO HARM and that this would involved understanding what is important to the Women of Kireka and how their community is organised even consider who has clout in this community and why. Above all that it was more important to be lead by the women themselves.

What was interesting about this discussion for me was how many of us in the west often step back and consider the impact of our actions on the communities in developing world that we seek to help?

Why have expressions such as the “so Called do Gooders” sprung up?

Have you got an example of any of the issues raised here? If so Please share it.

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