Vignettes | observations

Good questions

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For anyone looking to make a difference in the world, some good questions for introspection:

  1. What is a good life?
  2. How do I teach people to fish?
  3. How can I explain difficult concepts to “uneducated” people?
  4. How can I serve as a “voice for the voiceless”?
  5. How do I build rapport with people who are vastly different from me?
  6. Is throwing back “just one starfish” enough?
  7. How can I sell the difference between “charity” and “empowerment”?
  8. How long does it take to “make a difference”?
  9. Isn’t it good enough as long as I’m doing something to “make a difference”?
  10. What’s the difference between doing “for” or doing “with” the people I want to help?
  11. How do I know if there are people already working on the issues/areas in which I’m interested?
  12. How do I learn how people approach their own problems?
  13. How can I focus on what resources people do have, rather than what they don’t have?
  14. How do I help unleash community action and get behind people’s existing efforts to help themselves?
  15. What do I do when things aren’t going my way? (which they sometimes won’t)
  16. How do I get feedback from the people I want to help?
  17. What does it mean to “walk boldly” and “fail proudly”?
  18. With so much information at our fingertips, how do I stay open to what I don’t or can’t know?
  19. Do I romanticize poverty?
  20. How do I identify and challenge my own assumptions about people in need?
  21. How can I best portray Africa when people have so many pre-conceived notions? (HINT: It’s not a country.)
  22. How do I tell a compelling story about people in need that doesn’t simplify or stereotype?
  23. What constitutes “expertise”? Who has it?
  24. What knowledge or skills do I need to be successful in international assistance work?
  25. How do I know if I should start my own organization?
  26. How do I find a mentor?
  27. How can I determine if I should become an expat “aid worker”? [edit: or start-up founder, social entrepreneur, etc…]

from How Matters

Eileen GuoGood questions

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