There are a lot of great things to learn from other nonprofits, NGOs, United Nation teams and military operations about strategies on the ground. But one core way we differ from "nation building" is that we are working WITH locals; we do not work blindly FOR THEM nor do we act like they blindly work FOR US. And in the end, they must be left 100% in charge -- that's a failing point of pretty much every international group / military / contractor / NGO we've seen with very few rare exceptions (even in those exceptions, it's debatable how well they left local leaders prepared and able to "connect the dots" of their own local area and adapt to future problems). That's the beauty of our Communication Platform; everyone is a specialist but everyone understands each other's core views and concerns about one another because all local societal leaders are talking even if they don't agree. We need to be on the same page as local leaders and even more, various local leaders need to be on the same page with one other when we (the foreigners) leave. Plus there needs to be follow up of some kind. Plus parameters mutually agreed upon for qualitative and quantitative data sets measured that they, and we, can view as success. Lastly, it's a process leaving a village or town to do it's own quality control, such as anti-corruption measures, preventing defection or espionage of insurgents in their local police/military units, etc. We have gotten pretty good at this in very small numbers because we ourselves in this organization are very small numbers.
As you can see, we've decided to release lots of our work freely to the public, however, not our Team Epiphany(c) full protocol which is the step-by-step instructions for each of our specialists to do the prep work online 6 months before travel, about 3-4 weeks during our travel, and lastly the paramount follow up lasting months to years after our return. We are the starter fluid but really, these various local officials and community leaders are the gas and engine. And once you get to a place that everyone in the world thinks is a living hell, but in reality a local police chief is bragging about a new success to their spiritual leaders, who in turn are discussing public health issues with the local doctor or clinician, who has a program set up in the local primary and secondary schools, who works with neighborhood leaders of each area to see girls are getting in schools too, than you've started something truly special. Now a town or village is operating as a living organism together, not fragmented or uninterested. And most importantly, these local leaders must be taught to ORGANIZE themselves in our monthly Communication Platform(c) meetings to know how to reach out to their state offices and their worldwide Diaspora for support and updated news. Some places are starting to do this, but not like this.
Probably the biggest myth, as you may know if you're in the business of "big aid" or military, is that these places all have nothing. No, no, no -- there are some with very little, but actually many poor third world areas have lots to offer. One of our team leaders chuckles when he speaks of his time in the Sudan, when all the Europeans and Americans on social media were asking about how "desert-like" the soil was because they knew it was one of the hungriest nations on Earth. But actually, you just drop a seed in South Sudan soil, and a plant will sprout up tomorrow every time. So obviously, there are some major misconceptions about the WHY of many problems and sometimes even WHAT the problem actually is.
Let's talk more to see if we can learn from each other; we've discussed these things with military leaders of South America, spiritual leaders of East Africa and former small business owners in developing cities of Asia. Not to mention lots of UN, NGOs and foreign military's looking to up their game. It's not always about throwing millions or even billions of dollars at a problem to force a result that is usually artificial, temporary and often unravels falling apart. We may not take on an entire country, but in our towns and small cities, there's no unraveling.
Please note: The views and movement to local political action affecting School Board elections and any other public participation in such processes does not represent in any way Army of Saints 501c3 nonprofit nor represent the views of its volunteers or Board of Directors.