How can we remain a spectator of the ravages of an increasingly unequal and violent globalization?
How can we not try to bring whatever we can to give the poorest a future?
What is essential, in our view, is to enable people to decide their future autonomously and freely. How can we expect people to contemplate their future when their present does not bring them the minimum dignity necessary to live serenely?
The answer is ultimately the least political of struggles: human dignity.
– DEVELOPPEMENT –
The conception of humanitarian action that we wish to promote with UPAM is based on a broad vision of “development”, rather than “direct humanitarian aid” which punctually responds to a crisis situation or a human disaster.
This last type of aid is absolutely indispensable. However, it is obvious that our available means, both human and financial, cannot allow us to go in this direction.
Our approach to human problems leads us to try taking the time to develop projects that go beyond the limits of our personal intervention: according to the old saying, we prefer to teach a man how to fish, rather than giving him one…
Through the principle of “development cooperation”, we seek not only to avoid creating dependency but, above all, to allow those we support to gain autonomy so that in the futur they can manage themselves what we would have built together.
Our action is justified only because it sets a term and foresees the moment when our partners will have to assume the follow-up of the project themselves. In this perspective, a very strong link with local partners is indispensable, both in the preparation and in the implementation and follow-up of our projects.
As to the choice of these partners – the key to our whole enterprise – the first criterion is that they have already tried to build something on their own before we arrived.
Our projects must always build on a pre-existing initiative and present themselves as a support to realize a dream around which a dynamic has already been created.
We are thus certain that we are not missing out on the real needs of those we seek to help, and on the other hand we have good reasons to believe that our partners’ motivation does not appear with our arrival.
These local partners must be able to point out at their own needs. We are there only to help them express these needs and satisfy them as far as possible. They are the main architects of the project, and our role is to frame their aspirations, to find funding and to help them manage the progress of the project.
This training dimension is important: at the end of the projects, we want to leave on site an autonomous structure, capable of self-standing functioning in its own context and likely to create local dynamics, and to encourage the emergence of other similar initiatives. The success of our help is also evaluated around this notion of promoting new initiatives.
Through such a collaboration, we also want to contribute to the revitalization of a social fabric, as well as a local capacity for engagement. Often, in places where we intervene, a pre-existing associative group encounters difficulties to develop sufficiently to be heard.
Our vision of humanitarianism also enables different groups with whom we work to assert themselves in a certain social reality.
Furthermore, the fact that we are always working with contacts who find themselves in the very place of our action, allows us to be better accepted and to always be aware of all the details of the actions (which is naturally also important for our donors).
Finally, this permanent contact allows us to train ourselves, and to develop a better knowledge of the specificities of a particular region. It also helps us to better understand administrative structures as well as regional mentalities. We seek, beyond development, to discover and exchange with others.
In our view, it is only through reciprocity that humanitarian action can be truly fruitful. We do not wish to contribute to a limited and unilateral input of ready-made solutions.