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How To Do More Harm Than Good

If you have the opportunity and good intention to make a change in someone’s life, would you choose to make a change based on their needs or one based on what you think they need? Would you want to deliver long-term sustainable change or a short-term, sometimes harmful change?

Below we will discuss the difference between the two approaches and help you build healthy partnerships vs the Santa Claus approach.

Providing the Santa Claus approach can be a short, sometimes one time thing, that can be done like a transaction and leave the donor feeling good that they have helped. Most of the time it is clothes, shoes and toys, other times it is cars, food, medicine and medical equipment. The Partnership approach is based on donating to a local and already established organization working on developing that area. Both methods at a glance may seem helpful, but only one of these methods has a long term, sustainable outcome.

The Santa Claus approach can provide more harm than good. What seems like a kind gesture could actually take away from the local community’s economy. A clothes or shoe maker or other small business may lose their income when we ship items to the local area, and that is not all. What we sometimes don’t realize is that cargo shipments must come into a dock, and the person picking up the items must have the money to pay for the container to be released and if they don’t, weekly fees will be accrued. Even if they find the money to have the shipment released, how they will bring the items to their local community creates another problem, the dock is often many hours away from the community and taking these items with them may be impossible.

The Santa Claus approach shows the donors’ good intentions, but they are most of the time based on what they think other people need. If you ever have travelled to a country where clean water is needed, you probably have seen the thousands of dried up, broken wells littered across area. This is because a group of donors decided to help by building wells, without discussing the issue with the local community first. By partnering with locals, they could have helped develop a plan for delivering clean water by assessing the land and what approach should be taken, for example: bore hole or piped in, etc. They could have trained the local community on how to maintain and fix a clean water source when needed to ensure they never would have to travel back to fix it for them. This sea of western failure that blankets many local community’s land is one reminder that we need to stop, listen and help local communities in a more sustainable approach.

When we look at the Partnership approach it allows an already established organization to take ownership of their project, assess their needs and have you help them in a very productive way. Your donations go further, help more people, and are used for a real purpose. When we empower a local community to further develop what they were already doing, we can ensure the project is sustainable and when we leave, that they can continue to run the project on their own.

If you would like to know more about Partnerships vs the Santa Claus Approach, developmental projects and helping people in general, read our founder’s eBook  Helping People Overseas. You can purchase this book at this Amazon Link and 100% of the profits will go to Devxchange to help our projects!

If you are planning to start a project and would like to learn more about how we can help, please check out our website at

Lastly, you can visit our website to learn more about our projects and the great work they are already doing!

Author: Devxchange Team

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