How do you decide where 'the need is greatest'?
We live in a broken world. Every day our news stories are filled with violence, hunger, extreme poverty, a changing climate, racial injustice, pandemics and more.
In a world full of sin, pain and heartache, how do we decide ‘where the need is greatest’?
Choosing where we work
The church is the most effective vehicle for bringing opportunity and hope in the community. As much as possible, our work on the ground is implemented by local church partners. Tearfund chooses to partner this way so that local churches have ownership of the projects that take place in their communities. After all, the church has been their for years, they have understanding of the community, they know the people best, and they are the ones who will be there after we leave. The church is also the only “organization” that can truly provide a holistic response to poverty – fulfilling both the physical and spiritual needs of the community.
But we just don’t partner with any church or church agency. In many of the countries we work we already have decades of relationships that we trust and we first look to these relationships to partner with or help us find new partners. When looking for new partners, we do our research. This involves a general search through recommendations or word of mouth followed-up by several evaluations to determine capacity, skills, reach, and spiritual alignment.
Choosing the best way to help
As mentioned, we rely heavily on our local partners to identify areas ‘where the need is greatest’. They often have the best idea of where poverty is the most rampant. Once a local partner submits a need identifying extreme poverty in a particular community or village, we work with them to develop the project to begin lifting people out of poverty. Our Program Officers provide technical assistance and best practices to our partners on the ground. Projects are constantly monitored to make sure people are being lifted from poverty in the most efficient and effective ways possible.
Meeting material and spiritual needs
At Tearfund, our goal is not only to meet material needs but spiritual needs as well. Our programs are designed with our local church partners to disciple and encourage holistic transformation in communities. We don’t believe that poverty is only physical, but spiritual, emotional, and social too.
We love the work we do and telling people about the incredible work that God is doing in the lives of the poor. But inevitably we get asked: Why Tearfund? What sets us apart from other Christian organizations?