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You are here:Dioceses & Bishops Kurt Schmidli
Thursday, 31 July 2014 20:46

Kurt Schmidli

Written by
kurt Schmidli kurt Schmidli ACoM Santo, Vanuatu

ACOM Learning institutions; ownership - self-reliance - sustainable.

SMART people understand the importance of sustainability and the connection with ownership and self-reliance. Leaders and economists around the world, particularly from developing countries encourage their people to adopt the concept of self-reliance. The leaders of the Anglican Church of Melanesia are no exception. They understand that self-reliance will lead to a healthy nation and consequently healthy and happy people.

·         Confidence in your own abilities and judgment

·         Not needing help or resources from other people.

·         To manage one's own affairs; not to be dependent.

·         Self-reliance is the ability to depend on yourself to get things done and to meet your own needs. An example of self-reliance is growing your own food.

·         To make our own decisions

Self-reliance is our chance to take the reins of our life and lead from the front. To give us the chance to discover more about our life and ourselves than if we are led through life by circumstance or others. Being self-reliant gives us great freedom. And this experience opens our eyes to new possibilities, to new prospects, to new options. To rely on yourself gives great satisfaction. If dealt with honestly and with intelligence it can open up a new era in our lives. But no matter what the problem is, you can never force people to help themselves. That's one of the advantages of self-reliance. The addict has to want to get well. The person who is lacking training and resources must be willing to sacrifice and work hard to obtain that training or resources.

Unless there is great need, you are never really motivated to do much, and that's the danger when circumstances suddenly change or disaster strikes. When governments or aid agencies start giving handouts, you learn to depend on others rather than yourself, and eventually you lose both your motivation and your self-respect.  Those who are independent and self-reliant typically survive and function better in society than those who are dependent on others for happiness and sustainability. Taking control of basic tasks and life skills will not only help you stay in control of your own life, but will ultimately contribute to making you a happier person.

Examples:

Independent

Dependent

It gives us the power to make decisions in our own interest.

We have to do things that are in the interest of the people who gave us the aid and most of the time these things are not in our best interest.

We develop our own organizational capability.

We depend on other people and their organization.

We are taking responsibility for our own well-being.

We give someone else the responsibility for our well-being.

We can change things in our best interest.

We cannot change things in our best interest.

We take advantage of all our resources and creativity.

We waste our resources and do not develop our creativity.

We work hard in our own interest.

We become lazy and don’t develop good work habits.

We gain confidence in our ability and we have dignity.

We become beggars, we feel inferior, and we lose our dignity.

We will develop enough to solve our problems and someday even help others solve the same problems.

We will never be able to help ourselves and therefore we could not help anyone else.

We set an honorable example for our youth that our youth and we can be proud of.

It is the worst example for our youth.

It leads us to the emancipation of women and of all of the people.

It is a continuation of the oppression of women and of the people.

We need take ownership in the way we want to live. For example, treat education as an asset or a resource. It gives us choices and opportunities, so we should appreciate it as such and make the necessary sacrifices to get educated or at least give our children the opportunity to do so. Every day a child misses school is a day it misses out on education, so we need to address absenteeism. Take ownership of your communities. Community development increases opportunities for participation and enables the transfer of skills between people, leading to self-reliance. This development ensures local ownership of its infrastructure, its churches, schools or projects and utilizes local resources to solve local problems. Government and Church of Melanesia resources are limited. They are unable to fully fund all their education providers’ projects and activities so priorities need to be set to address issues of training, funding and maintaining in a most cost effective way.

It is anticipated that eventually the government will train and provide teaching staff and the church along with the local parishes will fund the operations of all the schools the Church manages.

The church expects that communities get more involved with their schools and provide assistance for maintaining the school’s infrastructure. This can be addressed in various ways, depending on the school’s location, availability of land, community relations and the land ownership situation:

·         Do fundraising to pay for some of the maintenance expenses. However as most of the schools are located in remote rural areas where communities have very limited access to finance, the rewards of fundraising may be quite small. Community members and students may engage in craft work or produce goods that may be unique and of high value and which can be sold to outsiders, to markets in the bigger centres or to cruise ship visitors.

·         Start a school pet project, like a little poultry business; a small hen house for about 20 hens. The students can get involved in the daily feeding routine and the eggs can then be sold locally.  

·         Schools should allocate plots of land to grow vegetables and fruit for the school’s own use or for sale to the teachers and the community.

·         Grow kava, a product that appreciates in value over time.

·         Grow trees around the school’s periphery, like Namamau or perhaps Natangura. These trees will contribute as building materials over time to the maintenance of school buildings or future community projects.

·         Grow trees for the long term (15+ years). Depending on climatic and soil conditions, plant sandalwood, whitewood or mahogany. These trees will greatly benefit the schools and communities in years to come. It is important however that the ownership of the land for these long term projects is recognised and isolated from land disputes and claims. 

·         Schools in conjunction with the communities should consider introducing a planting day, perhaps once a month, where members of the community and pupils work the gardens and plant crops and trees. At the same time, the working group could take care of the school infrastructure and carry out repair work and maintain the buildings and furniture to a good standard.  

If we want to create vibrant communities, particularly for young adults, it is critical that these people feel ownership over what they are building. Without having a sense of ownership over their own work, young leaders will not be empowered to take control of their own success and it will become impossible for us to cultivate new leaders. It is not enough to just give young adults a seat at the table – we need to give them the tools, support and, most importantly, the confidence to build and engage in a Christian way that makes sense and has meaning to them. This is the only way to help ensure strong leaders for our communities who can build an independent future for the young people of Vanuatu.

Last modified on Saturday, 02 August 2014 12:28