Our goals at OIC are ambitious, and we’re setting ourselves up to do something that has never been done. It’s an entirely new way of looking at an old problem — how to execute something meaningful for a large population in need, and then getting out.
Never in the history of humankind have we had more potential to act. There are more charities than ever, more people volunteering overseas, more crowdfunding campaigns to support at a click of a button.
And yet, amongst all of this good work, there is the underlying paradox of the entire charity sector. It is a commonly held belief that for a charity to exist, someone must remain suffering.
In 2006, I spent 6 months volunteering in an orphanage in Vietnam. To find out what kind of legacy I left, I went back after 12 years.
There are so many international projects in poorer countries. But what happens when this work ends? What legacy do they leave behind?
Principles connect your values to action. If we truly value compassion, empathy, and respect, then the work that we do in other countries should reflect this. But often, the principles we base our work upon are either wrong or unclear.
So here are 3 basic principles which you can use to create more meaningful impact in the world around us.
You know you’ve solved a problem when you’re no longer needed. This is as truistic a statement as it is common sense. And yet, how many international charities follow this principle?
It’s been coming on 5 years of hard work from hundreds of volunteers, staff, supporters and advisors, to get a huge unaddressed issue – the lack of speech therapy in Cambodia, on the agenda. But this bit of recognition, from the Australian Government, is a significant stepping stone.
After close to a decade of working in developing countries, and founding an initiative in Cambodia, I realised I had fallen into a trap. I was perpetuating a myth: that change comes from the heroics of foreigners like myself. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
5 years ago, I came to Cambodia knowing virtually nothing about the country. Now, I still maintain I know next to nothing. As I step back from leadership of OIC Cambodia, here’s 5 things that challenged my preconceived ideas of working in Cambodia.
I leave OIC Cambodia in country in a far better state that I could have imagined. With structure, an exit strategy, and most importantly, the best possible people controlling its destiny. Our new leader, Chenda, is not “replacing Weh”. She is entering a new position, has her own style of leadership, and will do things her way. She has my full support from afar, to make decisions her way and guide the organisation in the way that she sees fit.
In 2013, I started OIC Cambodia . Now, I’m months away from handing over leadership.
Stepping back from OIC, the organisation I founded, will be bittersweet. But this move isn’t just necessary, it’s also crucial to our future success. Here’s why.