Seek first to understand, then be understood. People learn by listening, not talking. Whether attending a history lecture, or reading a book, we take in much more information with our mouths shut, our ears perked, and our hearts open.
Not Needs But Strengths
Much of US development work is focused on addressing “needs.” Organizations promoting “sustainable” development look for needs and attempt to fix them. This mentality creates a relationship between client and provider. Many times this labeling causes a community to view themselves as a helpless client and they become dependent upon foreign organizations to provide them with what they “need.”
Rather than looking for needs, why not understand what is unique about a community? Allow others to discover and develop their own strengths in order to advance the community forward. When a community takes pride in their talents, they can take ownership in the process of development.