Written June 1998. Updated April 2014.
This paper discusses a crucial gap to be filled in the financing of the development of sustainable global futures. A case is made that people who are at the very fringe of the global people system, those among the most poor, the most marginalized and the most oppressed, are the carriers of wisdom and ways of living that enable sustainable nurturing of planet earth. These are the indigenous people and the oppressed small minority people living tribal ways close to nature and profoundly respecting nature.
These Grassroots Folk hold the answers to many of the world’s most pressing issues.
o Intercultural mediating and interfacing
o Evolving profound spiritual respect for all life on earth
o How to live sustainable life ways
o Increase awareness of natural living systems
o Using bio-mimicry
o Natural Nurturer Networks
o Social Cohesion Processes
o Ways of Knowing different to those typically used in the West
A practical example is that during 2003-2005 Psychnet was formed through the East Asia Oceania Region with non-compromising support out of the UK. This is a Grassroots Folk based psychosocial emergency response network that was able to provide crucial interfacing support following the tsunami that hit the region.
Given the enormity of the problematics facing humanity, with environmental degradation and societal conflict and collapse, Grassroots Folk need strategic non-compromising support.
Currently, funding arrangements exclude or compromise their wisdom.
Many unilateral and multilateral financial processes exist to finance the global economic juggernaut. Unilateral and multilateral financial processes also exist to finance global governance bodies like the UNDP, World Bank, and regional arrangements such as Asian Development Bank and European Investment Bank. National Aid bodies around the world like USA’s US Aid and Australia’s AusAid also fund development. As well, private sector with-profit and non-profit funding of private sector profit and non-profit action is available. NGO’s cooperate with the above funding sources.
Typically, all of the above entities operate within a system based upon the following premises:
o Experts from outside the focal context are relied upon on at every step – for conducting needs assessment, feasibility and impact studies, program design, program implementation, outcomes assessment and control. Experts diagnose problems and prescribe their own solutions.
o Typically, experienced people and companies from outside the recipient country (and typically from the donor country) carry out the work, with figures quoted of between 40% to 90% of the funding returning to the donor country as wages and profits.
o Similar points were made at the’ Aid Business is Good Business’ conference in Melbourne Australia in the Nineties put on by AusAid and AusTrade where it was acknowledged that around 75% of aid projects fail because the Aid Program fails to involve local people. This failure was seen as acceptable because of an anticipated 7-fold value in follow-on business activity in the recipient country. Refer:
Refer PDF file on the above link titled ‘REPORT: Boomerang Aid – not good enough Minister!’
The Issues of Boomerang Aid page 66. https://eview.anu.edu.au/cross-sections/vol5/pdf/06.pdf
o Action is typically divided into departments, categories and sectors (refer Government and Facilitating Grassroots Action )
o Top Down organization structures are used
o Projects entail detailed pre-planning
o Project funding selection/approval criteria and Project evaluation criteria are based upon compliance with the above assumptions
o Global Governance and National Foreign Aid typically operate through the national governments of the recipient counties
These assumptions are pervasively used in and by the dominant world. They are the taken-for-granted ‘how things are done’.
These ways are pervasively not used by the grassroots folk mentioned above.
o Rather than experts from outside the focal context being relied upon, the grassroots folk way is to tap into the local community wisdom and knowings about the local contexts.
o If outside experts are used they have cultural interfacing support and have the experts ways complement and support local way
o Local people use local ways to take local action. They know what’s missing in their wellbeing.
o Action is typically holistic with everything inter-connected, inter-dependent and inter-related
o Rather than top down organization with the decision-making prerogatives at the top, grassroots folk way is local and lateral using mutual help processes in local networks.
o Rather than nature being something that is imposed upon, grassroots folk way is to respect nature ‘as mother’ and work with and copy nature (bio-mimicry) and enhance nature at every step guided by a profound intimate knowledge of local natural phenomena.
o Rather than detailed preplanning, the current context guides the unfolding action. Rather than a fixed agenda there are open themes-based agendas that are guided by the people’s energy in context.
o Rather than policy being determined at a distance, that which works locally is repeated or adapted – and becomes policy, hence grassroots folk policy is ‘that which works’.
o While Global governance bodies and other entities go through a country’s national government, for may indigenous and other oppressed people the government under which they live may be a primary source of their alienation and oppression.
The dominant world way with the best will in the world can by-pass local resources and capacities, and in the by-passing undermine, weaken and eliminate local wisdoms.
A Model Program drawing upon over 50 years of doctoral-level action research among Grassroots Folk has been developed to tap into this wisdom. The Program envisages starting five substantial business enterprises owned by a humanitarian foundation whereby enterprise dividends provide a sustained non-compromising fund source for the foundation’s humanitarian action where the Rollout uses Grassroots Folk Wisdom and Way (refer Government and Facilitating Grassroots Action ).
The Program adheres to a framework ensuring every aspect of the Program rollout respects local way and is carried out by local people supported by outside experienced people who respect the framework (refer Interfacing Alternative and Complementary Wellbeing Ways For Local Wellness).
Evolving Funding for Grassroots Folk Action
Perhaps there are people of discernment from deep within in the dominant world’s private sector financial world who want to contribute to global futures.
This paper has raised the possibility of vital action for global wellbeing emerging from grassroots folk. Well-placed financial people are encouraged to contact the author towards Financing Global Futures. Non-compromising funding platforms are urgently needed. The Model Program is a crucial demonstration model Program enacting the wisdom discussed in this paper.