Thick Versus Thin

Post a Comment » Written on March 4th, 2010     
Filed under: Community Development
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“Westerners like to see quick results and big numbers.”  This was a comment made at our meeting in October by one of the CWR Commission members who is from India. It made us all more aware of the tendency in many community development projects to try and achieve big results with a lot of people in a short period of time.  Unfortunately these kinds of projects usually end up with minimal long term impact.

Ronna and I recently visited a Covenant World Relief project in a remote area in northern Thailand just a few kilometers from the Laos border.  It was refreshing to be up in the beautiful mountains enjoying the cooler weather.  However it was even more enjoyable to see how the work had expanded since I visited two years ago as Asia regional coordinator for Covenant World Mission.

Jim Gustafson and Bob Shim are Covenant missionaries working with a Covenant related Thai organization called The Sustainable Development Research Foundation. When it comes to transformational community development, Jim, Bob and the rest of SDRF staff understand the importance of depth over breadth – of thick versus thin – of a comprehensive versus a single issue approach.  After three years working with the Lua people group in the Baw Klua District, the SDRF has become deeply involved in education, community health, agriculture, leadership development, church development, and environmental issues.

In many ways SDRF is still just getting started in the Baw Klua District.  But because of their thick, comprehensive approach to community development, I am confident that genuine transformation of individuals, families, villages, and the SDRF itself will be evident for years to come.

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