The push this month has been to get the ground leveled and the foundations properly poured before the American team arrives in Lusaka. So, I’ve been catching myself humming the old VBS song “The wise man built his house upon the rock…” and this got me thinking about a better way to explain the function of Friendly Planet Missiology:
People state-side love financing tangible development projects. We love knowing that our money bought a bicycle, a mosquito net, a cow, a clinic or a water-well. Like a house, all of these things are intrinsically good. The issue, though, is whether these projects are built on a firm foundation or whether we are being fools building on the sand. When we talk about Friendly Planet making leadership development its #1 priority, what we mean is that we spend time and resources making sure the local leadership has the desire and capacity to support a project before we start pouring money into it. Yes, the projects on the ground that we advertise may sound similar to what other organizations are doing, but the projects we ask you to finance are unlikely to collapse because they are being managed by inspiring local leaders whom we know well.
Building strong foundations can be expensive. It requires site visits, salaries, training, and follow-up. This is what we mean when we talk about calculating the total cost of a project. Advertisements that promise that “100% of your donation goes directly to purchase an X” may sound appealing, but stop and ask yourself “Where is the money coming from to make sure the X that I donate gets from point A to point B and that it works once it gets there?”
Friendly Planet cannot and will not make you “no admin costs” promises. Instead, we promise you that the funds you donate will be used to develop strong local leadership and to finance the projects of these leaders. We are very excited about the projects of the Congolese and Zambian leaders whom we have the privilege to call colleagues, and we hope that you will help spread the word about this ministry.