Research and analysis of various projects around the world has shown that national leadership is a critical aspect of any best practice-driven, long-term, sustainable solution to issues in the developing world, including those surrounding orphans, widows, and at-risk communities. The national leader creates opportunities for greater ownership and deeper buy-in by the community in the project, which are necessary if they project is going to thrive over multiple generations.
The leader also serves as a model and mentor to others in the local community, showing them in a real way that leadership and capacity exists even in the most impoverished communities, in people just like them. He or she is able to mentor and develop those same people in the community into future leaders of the project in a way that a foreigner simply cannot, due to gaps in cultural norms and knowledge, among other things. And in developing the children into leaders, it is invaluable to have leaders from their own culture and community showing them the way.