What does it actually mean?
Put simply, sustainable transformation means change that continues after the immediate moment passes. Most people have heard the saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.” Teaching the man to fish leads to sustainable transformation; he can feed not only himself, but also his family, and he can teach others to fish. This is the kind of transformation that HopeChest helps make possible.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
A real-life example of sustainable transformation in practice is the poultry farm that was developed at one of our CarePoints in Ethiopia. The poultry farm gives orphaned and vulnerable children the opportunity to learn to grow and tend livestock, while also providing a source of food and an income stream. As the children grow, they will teach others these skills, empowering the next generation.
Signs of sustainability
We determine whether sustainable transformation has been achieved by looking at different metrics, depending on the type of project. Some of the things we consider are the number of orphaned and vulnerable children who:
- Have the life-skills to have a sustainable livelihood
- Complete basic job training
- Interview for open employment positions
- Obtain a full-time employment position
- Exhibit greater self-sufficiency
- Develop and implement their own enterprise
- Demonstrate the ability to live independently
- Put a trade or vocational skill into practice
- Attend university
- Execute agricultural, animal husbandry, or fish farm income-generating projects
- Enter professional occupations
- Reduce the at-risk behaviors seen amongst vulnerable children: criminal activity, drug/alcohol addiction, poor school attendance, unemployment, or abandonment of their own children