“trade not aid” we hear this all the time from so many development experts but what does it mean?
For us at people and places it’s pretty straight forward – we have worked hard to ensure that our business support programmes give the communities we work with the skills they want and need to earn money – and we all know in our own lives that thats what we need to do – it’s all about the money.
No we are not talking about fundraising – nor are we talking about grandiose business plans – we need volunteers that can share skills such as
simple cash accounting
researching opportunity and risk
building a blog
holding a meeting
making sure my product has a place in the market ( we grandly call this marketing – but sometimes it’s as simple as is the soap my village cooperative sells the right colour for the tourist hotel we hope to supply – can we produce enough lettuce for the big restaurant or should we be building a relationship with smaller organisations
Often when we talk to potential business volunteers they are sceptical about how they can help – we need to explain that it is all about transferable skills
Here`s an example …volunteer Marvin contacted us – he is a insolvency accountant – he wanted to volunteer – he wanted to do it responsibly – he wanted to share his skills but he felt his “field” was just too narrow and inappropriate….we ( well Kate) suggested a project in The Gambia which would “turn your experience in insolvency on its head. And although it is a cliché I really liked the fact that she was able to think outside the box.”
Kate discussed with Marvin that he knew all about businesses going bust – so he knew a lot about why they went bust – so Kate said let’s take those skills and use them to help people avoid going bust…..that’s exactly what he did in The Gambia
So please -if you have business skills we can and will use those skills….
here are a few programmes we work with that need your skills – there are lots more