A conversation I had recently left me stunned to find out how little has changed when it comes to empowering people within the countries we are serving.
A lady working for a development agency explained to me how, in order to get $100 reimbursed, she had to wait for numerous people in various countries to sign off on the expense, which took months.
We're not talking about an intern here - this lady was at the top of her game. She worked directly with the country government, and headed up her area of work. And yet - clearly her influence didn't go as far as being able to make a decision worth $100.
What type of work can get done in these set ups? This lady was spending her entire time in the office, dealing with ridiculous bureaucracy, while problems of poverty, disease and conflict ravaged the country around her.
I truly believe that most of the solutions to the challenges in countries, lie with the people that spend their lives there. Not in some far off HQ; even if it is filled with PHDs and a ton of cash. The latter's job is to serve the countries' people with the ability to work - not tie their arms behind their back whilst paying them a salary.