In putting together the November issue of Collaborator Magazine, I was amazed by some of the phenomenal work being carried out in this world. It is inspiring and heartening to see people crossing what could be divides and instead tapping their differences to tackle various social problems.
During my undergraduate days I traveled to Guatemala, Bolivia and Zimbabwe and learned about the field of international development. I came away with very mixed feelings about it – on the one hand, I wanted nothing to do with projects that were imposed upon people, to be an outsider telling someone what he or she needed to do to “develop”. I had also seen examples of people working on their own accord to better their social and material circumstances and realized that working “for” or “with” could be appropriate, but that mindfulness and humility on the part of the outsider was crucial.
So when I approached several of this issues’s contributing collaborators, I asked some pretty pointed questions to learn what their collaboration looks like – do those indigenous to an area have a token say in the project, or are they true partners, perhaps even driving the agenda? What seems common between the various projects is that the collaborative partnerships were approached with humility, a spirit of service, and a lot of questions about what was needed and what might be possible.
So keep an eye out for these and other fascinating stories of collaboration near and far. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.