Small Changes, Big Impacts

Written by admin on March 16, 2018 in General

by Ryan Binder

Our culture tends to place a large emphasis on big changes in order to receive big results. But when this ideology is placed in the context of international development, not only does it not play out how one would expect, but it can also cause damage to rural communities.

When groups come in with a plan to make significant changes without truly appreciating the culture of the local area or acknowledging what is already going well, their work ends up being counterproductive. That is why Plant With Purpose walks alongside farming families and rejects paternalism. We realize that small changes have much larger impacts.

A great example of how small changes can result in big impacts is demonstrated by a partnering farmer in BaBarasa, Haiti, Raymond Jules. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Raymond on one of our Vision Trips, and we were so excited to hear how his life had changed since partnering with Plant With Purpose. One of the subtle changes that occurred in his life was his ability to purchase an efficient, wood-burning stove through the savings he gained in his savings group.

This stove may not seem like a huge change, but according to the World Health Organization, “three billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires.” Open fires inside households that do not get air ventilation have led to more than “Four million people [annually] dying prematurely from illness attributable to the household air.” (WHO) Through this small change, Raymond is not only preventing himself and his family from getting respiratory illnesses, but he is also combating deforestation due to the efficiency of the stove.

Raymond has been an inspiration to those in his community. For instance, Raymond participated in a savings group competition at which he won a goat. When his goat had babies, he gave them to other members in his savings group, and when the goat had a second round of babies, he gave them away again! This makes us so excited because these small changes result in impacts bigger than we can imagine. When Raymond graciously gave away his goats, he increased trust and cooperation within the village, which is pivotal to community revitalization and development.     

Raymond Jules is one of the many partners we work alongside who are seeing small changes result in big impacts. Not only are these results important to the growth and development of rural communities, but they encourage us to focus on the importance of small changes in our daily lives. In the midst of the mundane, when small changes are occurring and it does not seem like big impacts are coming, we hold on to hope. When this hope is embraced it can encourage us not only in our work but also our spiritual journey.

Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT) This “completion” is a promise we have been given, and one that we should earnestly hold on to. We will continually work toward implementing small changes in partnering communities, as well as our own lives, because we have faith in the One who brings about big impacts, and ultimately, completion.

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