One Rong View

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Willie Smits and the Masarang Foundation

People, Planet, Profit
It goes together.

This rigorously holistic approach to formulating solutions for the challenges we face is the type of thinking that needs to become integral to our cultural psyche.

It's like, instead of approaching the problem with preconceived notions of limitations by saying, "what's the best I can do to solve the problem," Smits said, "What's the best solution to the problem and how can I achieve that?" Rather than say how can we save 10, 20, 100 Orang Utans, the question became what's the best solution to save Orang Utans, period.

After that it's all about going the distance. And being smart about it.

In this case, it means taking steps to put into place mechanisms that will ensure sustained health of the species, and consequently, a thriving ecosystem. Not to mention, the development of a sustainable, income generating economy for the local people.

Making the locals a pivotal part of the solution is a master stroke that makes the whole thing work. It's a prime example of how this approach is infinitely superior to aid that is administered by, often times, well intentioned but ill conceived, heavy-handed top-down prescriptions.

Empower those closest to the problem and amazing things happen. After all, who has a more sophisticated understanding of their surroundings than people who walk the land? Who has the most vested interest in the immediate environment that they live in?

Costly and ill-informed stop gap/cosmetic solutions need to be a thing of the past. Willie Smits's courage, resolve and sheer ingenuity is testament to what CAN be done and is being done.

The best part of this? Everyone stands to gain.

Willie Smits's organization
The Masarang Foundation


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home