Capacity Building in Laos (2014)
Back in 2008 I was working my way through my doctorate, researching capacity building in the development aid sector and the transferability of cross-sector skills, expertise and practices. I met a professor at a university function and as we were introduced he said, ‘Oh, you’re the person who is trying to save the world’.
Maybe he thought he was being clever, or funny, and he saw me as somebody who was naïve and idealistic. But he misjudged me. I am a realist with high expectations and with the belief that social change is possible, and that it can deliver positive outcomes.
In 2009 I completed my doctorate and over the subsequent years, I have worked on various jobs, projects and assignments across a whole range of sectors. Somehow I always seem to end up in the social sector in Asia. I take on these roles for the simple reason that I am motivated and driven when I see an opportunity to help address social injustice.
Like many people, I am perplexed and saddened by the daily manifestations of extreme poverty, prejudice, descrimination, and lack of accessibility to healthcare. An old lady sits every day, begging beside one of the most expensive shopping malls in Asia, blinded by facial tumours. There is a severely disabled girl who sits in her wheelchair in another part of the same city, in the sun and rain, depending on the charity of strangers. In Asia there are nine million people suffering in slavery today. Throughout the world there are children you never see who have been trafficked into the sex trade, many of whom have been sold by their own families. There are whole communities, and whole groups of communities, who live in the wrong place at the wrong time, or have the wrong beliefs in the wrong place, and who live under constant threat of displacement, harm or death.
I know that as an individual it is possible to improve the lives of one or two people. However, working alone makes it impossible to address the social injustices and create social change. For this reason I work with organisations who exist to raise our collective awareness and to right the injustices.
At The Impact Effect we strive to enable the machinery of development-aid work to operate more effectively and to optimise impact. We enable and support organisations who are committed to doing the right thing – to identifying and tackling social injustices. We don’t set out to ‘do-good’ – we set out to do-right.
Dr Jacqueline Parisi