Unnecessary Competition

Every once in a while there is someone in the humanitarian sector who needs to puff our their feathers and claim that their organization and / or their methods are superior to everyone else’s, making them the best in their field. I experienced that behavior mostly in undergrad, but lately I have been experiencing this pissing contest indirectly and directly online and at various conferences.

My organization operates in 5 countries. Mine doesn’t require funding from corporations. Here are metrics that prove my work is more important than yours.

It’s one thing to be proud of our non-profits; I’m extremely proud of what my organization has accomplished. The trouble comes when we try to diminish other’s work as wrong or insignificant. In some countries it’s easy and an advantage to work with corporations and the government; in others, not so much. Water infrastructure does not negate education or health development or vice versa. There is no cause that trumps all of the others, and your organization isn’t better because of it.

Every organization is created, formed, and evolved from an infinite amount of historical, sociopolitical, and economical scenarios. Education programs that work in a small village in Ecuador might have no positive impact in a country-wide program in Pakistan. The way we operate in one the countries my non-profit works in is extremely unique, and I would not recommend functioning that way in other places. Do I wish that it could be different? Of course, but wishing doesn’t turn anything into an ideal situation. Yes we are taught and shown the ‘best practices’ of a specific sector, but a lot of the times those practices need to be adapted or completely thrown out the window in order to be successful.

It doesn’t make the work my non-profit any less valid, and having the ability to adhere to different tactics doesn’t make your work any more valid.

Can’t we all just get along, share our ideas, and be open to being wrong or adapting our programs?

Remember, we are all working towards making the world a better place, we can’t do that by stomping on each other.