11) Do you have a “When Helping Hurts” Story?

In 10 days, I have to teach a workshop at a conference in Phoenix on the topic of church-planting via neighborhood transformation approaches (otherwise known as Community Health Evangelism or CHE). First, to learn more about CHE, see our CHE channel at Brigada by going to this URL:


Second, if you have a story, please click the link immediately below and tell you narrative in the comments that follow. (Please don’t list any individual’s name that might be sensitive or confidential.) From these stories, I hope to put together a narrative with case studies for the workshop. I’ll be glad to send you a copy of that narrative. Again, please don’t mention anything secure. (For example, if you don’t want others to be talking about the village or city, use a pseudonym to describe your context.) Just use the comment box below to describe a situation. For a backdrop, read “When Helping Hurts,” available at Amazon or at your favorite Christian bookstore. God bless you!!!

2 Responses to 11) Do you have a “When Helping Hurts” Story?
  1. Robby Butler Reply


    I found the following in a comment by a “Jonathan,” on a guest post in the blog “The Very Worst Missionary”: .

    (This blog may have other worthy material for you.)

    — Here is the story:

    We were working in a small village in Mexico and had a group of high school students from the U.S. visiting. This village had one well and everyone got their water from there.

    I came up with a brilliant plan to carry everyone’s water. so each day i tasked different students to do just that.

    I felt extremely proud watching this team of 105lb 15 year old girls struggle with 5 gallon buckets of water.

    On the last day they showed up at a man’s house and asked him if he needed them to bring him some water.

    He told them, “No,” that it was actually his job to carry water and he earned his living by the tips he made carrying it to the different houses.

    We had stolen his business all week…

    This is a great illustration of the potential downside of common attitude “Don’t bother me with strategy, I just want to give a cup of cold water ‘in Jesus’ name.'”

  2. Andy Rayner Reply

    Here is a link to a great story here in Mali, It’s posted by SIL. About not looking at the ramifications of what we are setting up on others, and near by communities. http://www.sil.org/anthro/articles/thestrangerseyes.htm

    The best I ever read was in Dead Aid where free mosquito nets put out of business a local Net maker. After the project was over, and the nets were shredded in 5 yrs, There was no more local supply as he went out of business.
    Here is the quote: http://raynerrambler.blogspot.com/2012/07/free-aid-decimates-local-african.html

    And what is more. I can’t tell you how many people come to dry Mali and set up mechanical and motor pumps to water gardens or fields, and when the season is over, and the harvest is in (Assuming the motor does not break before hand and they loose the crop) they find out that they spent more in Gas running the motor than they made form the sale of the crop. They are selling to the poorest people on earth, so profit margins are low, as dictated by the market. They can’t even pay the fee to make simple costly mechanical repairs. Unless, of course the donor is prepared to just suck it up long term, and sustainability is not a top priority up front.

    I can’t tell you how many abandoned motors, water pumps, and old sun faded hoses you will see along any river bank in Mali, and you see the people walking by the abandoned hoses, into the river, to carry water in gourds, by hand, up the bank to water the field. Their mechanical investment long dead and useless

    We see this in Mali with China rising to be a major partner here, and frankly there investment is working. “The West made was giving something for nothing. The secret of China’s success is that its foray into Africa is all business. The West sent aid to Africa and ultimately did not care about the outcome; this created a coterie of elites and, because the vast majority of people were excluded from wealth, political instability has ensued. China, on the other hand, sends cash to Africa and demands returns.”

    ( Dead Aid. Dambisa Moyo. Pg Pg2)…..
    Some fodder… Blessings

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