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Disaster strikes, transforming cities and towns into graveyards and wastelands in a matter of minutes. But help is on its way: news channels and social media relay the information to all corners of the globe in real-time, mobilising hundreds of people and organisations to aid. Yet, with standard relief packages regardless of the location, and a lack of effort taken to match volunteers’ skills with tasks, just how effective are we at helping others?
Many people want to do good, but they like to do it at their convenience. These attempts at helping often fail, and the blame invariably falls on the disaster victims, rather than looking at the suitability of aid provided. Such help, offered without a thorough understanding of the context or the impact of actions, can create situations that leave the victims worse off than before.
So how can we create real sustainable impact?
Most communities have a lot of unused human capacity. When offering help, many aid providers fail to engage the local communities, thus excluding a critical group of people with the knowledge of local ways and needs.
This book elaborates on a simple principle essential to effective aid — Never Help: Engage, Enable, Empower and Connect.