“Employment and economic development, not handouts, are the most effective and lasting ways of addressing physical and spiritual poverty.” Peter Greer
Economic self-sustainability is a necessary component to any organization’s or program’s long-term results and successes. Orphan and at-risk community care projects are not an exception to this rule. To have any chance at long-term success, there needs to be real ownership and buy-in by the community serving and being served by the project. This “ownership” and “buy-in” can come through revenue-generating businesses, other entrepreneurial ventures, and “sweat equity” in various ways. The important thing is that it happens so that the project does not reinforce a dependency on outsiders that is ingrained in so much of the developing world.
In seeking self-sustainability, we want to be clear that we are seeking economic, not relational self-sustainability. In fact, as our community integration prong discusses, deep and authentic relationships along with collaboration are critical to a healthy community and development toward self-sustainability.