Think Global, Act Local
It is important to note that there are often many NGOs and government programs operating simultaneously in the communities where you work, many of which are following a predominantly top-down, needs-based approach. Therefore, an increase in the number of external actors engaged with a particular community does not necessarily mean that its organizational capacity has improved or that NGOs and governments have become more responsive. It could, in fact, mean the opposite, namely that the community remains dependent on external inputs and does not build on the local resources.
It is important in today’s complex global economy that we are aware of what is happening around us and how we may be affected. We may experience many different frustrations as we engage with different levels of the development field and it is not possible to focus on all aspects at the same time nor beneficial to become demotivated and cynical. It may be wiser to focus attention on our ‘Circle of Influence’ (self, family, friends, colleagues etc.) and put most of your time and energy in this aspect. At the same time be aware of a ‘Circle of Concern’ which might be much broader. Trust that change does ripple out and we can have a dramatic positive effect through localized action.