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This list is comprised of short best practices that should guide you as you get involved in international development
If you are doing a project in a developing country
- Don't start a project unless you have talked to dozens of locals. They know their situation and effective rememdies, they only lack the resources to implement those remedies. If you force a solution on them, A) you probably aren't addressing the most urgent need and B) the project is likely to not be maintained once you leave.
- Use local materials and construction methods. This way your work can be replicated by the locals in neighboring communities. Also, if your water pump breaks, it is important that the skills to fix it are available locally.
- Develop metrics by which you can assess your impact over time.
- "Nobody can develop a country but its own inhabitants; so foreign experts are only effect to the extent that they can transfer their know-how in the local context, and to the extent that the proposed aid fits in with felt needs and priorities in the receiving countries." ~Chriswaterguy
- Realize that persons in developing countries are as smart as you and a whole lot more familiar with their problems and how they can be fixed. That said, emphasize why things should be done and how to do them as opposed to just giving the recomentations.
Organizing a local group
- Make sure that every external communication (within reason) include a list of ways that people can get involved.
- Coordinate and delegate as much as possible so that you can be more effective.