Sustainability is a key word which seems to be used constantly in each and every sector of our life. The concept in itself is not really a new one, but the buzz surrounding it has been on the increase only in the late years. Preaching is one thing, putting it into practice is a totally different aspect. This is all the more difficult in the Voluntary sector where budgets are limited.
However, let’s move one step backward and understand why us as agara, have decided to ensure that sustainability is a principle onto which all our projects are to be founded. In order to ensure sustainability, it usually entails much more work, much more re-engineering and gives rise to so many questions most of which will be left unanswered as time has proven over and over again to be the source of so many answers.
Sustainability is not just an economical factor. Through sustainability we can ensure that tomorrow the same resources and opportunities offered today will be still available or even increase. By focusing onto the sustainability factor we can ensure the longevity of the project, even if us as agara are not running the operations on the ground. And being logical, sustainability is definitely the way forward especially when bearing in mind the long hours of planning which every project involves.
But there’s another important factor: through sustainability, we ensure that each and every project is done in full respect of the culture and people of the country. By being sustainable you’d be embracing the culture rather than enforcing one’s own ideas onto their day-to-day lives. By being sustainable, we need to ensure that the work is done in collaboration with local organisations rather than just executed by a group of outsiders. By emphasising on the need to understand the aims of the local organisations, we are ensuring that all our efforts are aimed at actions which are truly helpful for the local community.
Sustainability in itself has so many different faces. We have mentioned the long-term approach and yet it is not limited to the availability of resources only. The long-term social effects are an equally important factor which needs to be taken into consideration. Starting to tackle underlying issues such as social dysfunction because of religious/social differences is also key for sustainability.
Sustainability has numerous far-reaching effects that it’s difficult to fully describe it. At the end of the day, what truly matters is the philosophy being the term which has to guide our decision and course of actions. This obligation is a decision which we have forced onto ourselves but which has definitely led to the results which we have been dreaming of….that of making the difference and the world of today and that of tomorrow.
Stephen Abela – Co-founder of agara foundation