Because Gorta-Self Help Africa assists populations on another continent, they are affected by global factors as well as Western factors in Ireland, the UK, and the United States. These are places where SHA works through satellite fundraising offices.
An issue they often face is how to solve what would be an easy problem in the Western world, in a country in Africa with limited resources and technology. For example, they are trying to implement a health and nutrition program in the Northern Province of sub-Saharan Africa. The people here simply do not have the means to wash their hands before and after preparing meals, or after using the bathroom. My company must figure out what sort of apparatus can be installed in these countries to achieve the same function as a sink does here.
SHA also struggles with some political and social factors. For example, we saw a presentation the other day and learned that one area in Benin is extremely dangerous and SHA employees are no longer permitted to travel there. Because of the terrorism and violence from the bordering countries that is seeping into this area of the country, SHA’s efforts are thwarted. It’s very difficult to train farmers and implement their programs without actual people on the ground there. Furthermore, they have no way to measure the success of a program if they cannot send their employees there to administer tests and collect data.
Because of the nature of their work, SHA plays a role in advancing the economic success and overall GDP of African countries. They are working to lift communities out of poverty and hunger through self-sustaining smallholder farming. They are also essentially advocating for human rights, as they fight for their farmers to achieve equality, both economically and socially. They aren’t contributing to the economic success of Ireland, or the country’s with their satellite offices, because they are a non-profit.
This non-profit, as most, depends on so many outside factors. Even with a flawless program or plan of execution, without the proper technological and economic resources, these plans can go unused. They also could create such perfect solutions, but without being able to reach the populations in need, these solutions are no better than the problem. SHA finds itself in a unique position as it’s woven in between the fabrics of their national, and the broader global environments.
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