The Development Instructor Concept
To become a good Development Instructor (DI) it is important to first of all know the personal reasons we are here. It is important to have clear and specific goals that we really want to realize. Goals like meeting new people, new cultures and sharing common life and work, like getting a job, or reaching Africa, learning English and so on... it can be different from person to person. But for sure, all goals chosen can serve to improve ourselves, not only through knowledge and experience but overall to become a better person at any social and human level. That must be the target of a DI!
But that’s not enough! It is essential also to know what ‘development’ means…
We have to ask ourselves: is global development and the conditions of the poor improving or getting worse? It depends, evidently, on the area and on the historic period, but in my opinion, in the last period they are getting worse! In fact, global development policies that have promised to solve world hunger have, so far always failed!
Actually, we have two kinds of Development; economic or capitalistic development centred on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Human Development (HDI). The GDP considers the global riches produced by a country with main emphasis on the financial indices - it doesn't consider the human indices like the wellness and wealth of the common people. It doesn't consider access to healthy food, clean water, a dry home, dignity, a job, personal aims in life etc. It doesn't consider what are probably the most important factors of the life of the people...
For example: if a country builds big institutional buildings, has a small percentage of very rich people but the rest of the population is extremely poor... it could still have a high GDP as in the case of Mozambique. While, ideally, another country could have the same level of poverty but without a big gap between the poorest and the very richest, with, for example, better social equity, better employment and a better access to the primary needs... and have a low GDP and a high HDI.
So for governments and businessmen of a country it is better to have a high GDP. Economic development takes care only of profit based on endless economic growth. But the planets resources are not infinite and the people are not machines! This just proves that economic development without social and environmental factors being taken into account is an unsustainable system.
The DI has to know both about GDP and HDI but deals with the second.
For the poorest people, but also for the middle class (the majority of people in any society) it is better to have a high level of HDI. The most important goal of a DI must be sustainability. Sustainability in this respect means to take care not only of the economy, but also of the overall environmental and social impact for both current and future generations. This demands aiming to maintain, as much as possible, the right balance among the social, environmental and economic sectors.
To do that it is basic that the DI improves his/her skills, and knows and understands as much as possible the real life of the people in the developing country… culture, lifestyle, economy (salary and/or subsistence job, nutrition, life costs...), society (education, health, traditions, beliefs...) and the environment.
The specific purpose of Humana People to People is to develop projects capable of protecting the environment and the human society, together with the local communities. At the same time, the projects must give people the instruments and the possibility to begin and develop in a self-sufficient way also for the next generations, e.g. through the system of micro-credit. This makes it possible to give a future to many people who otherwise would remain crushed by an economic system that doesn't take care of the poor people. The DI is part of this important work.