Organize to end poverty

By Connor Malone
Flapjack Chronicle staff

With so many angles to consider in international poverty relief, many young organizations fall short of their potential. Every day new organizations are formed with wonderful intentions and goals but lack the knowledge to be effective. A well-intending organization might give hundreds of shoes to people in need, but that alone may not be enough to fix the problem altogether.

“We have respectively two-sevenths of our  human family living in poverty,” said Cory Glazier, CEO of Ending Poverty Together.

Organizations like Glazier’s have made it their goal to alleviate extreme poverty across the globe for years. These organizations number in the thousands, each with their own goals and plans for reaching them.

Because of the variety of methods used by these organizations, the effectiveness of their initiatives varies wildly. Many reach critical success while others fail to achieve a sustainable difference. During the interview with him, Glazier laid down some important guidelines to remember that many young organizations so often tend to forget.

Glazier said that smaller organizations that are started by younger activists are often times driven by emotion. They see extreme poverty and rush in to try and fix it.

Because of this, there is often a tendency in these organizations to rush into their programs, Glazier said. Unfortunately, without thorough training, they go into it with a sort of motherly/fatherly outlook; that they are the ones responsible for making the change.

“They don’t realize how smart they (the recipients of aid) are,” Glazier said. “Often times they’re going to misdiagnose, and because of this they’re going to mis-prescribe.”

Glazier also touched on the tendency for organizations to rely on their donors too heavily. Before embarking on reaching their goals, organizations collect donations on the premise that they will achieve certain objectives. This puts pressure on them to reach these goals before they go overseas and the duration they are there.

“When  you think you can’t do something, don’t rush into things and promise things that tie your hands behind your back,” Glazier said.

“Community has to have the priority,” Glazier said, “They are there for the community, not the donor.”

This need to please donors can often sacrifice clarity. Glazier wants to emphasize that the focus must remain on developing people.

“When developing human capacity, support, information, training and skills, it’s hard to go wrong.”

Glazier would like to see a shift from a focus on material goods, such as donations of toothbrushes and shoes, toward training people in working to begin empowering themselves. As he sees it, training is a much more difficult method than just handing items out to those in need, yet insists it is a crucial link in ending poverty.

“You have to invest in yourself to invest in others,” Glazier said.

More information regarding Glazier and his work with Ending Poverty Together can be found on the organization’s website at: http://www.endingpovertytogether.org/

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