How to Effectively Support Economic Development

Rory Wehrlie January 8, 2012
How to Effectively Support Economic Development

This is a Guest Author Post by Chris Hutton at Liter8 Ideas.  Learn more about Guest Author Posts and how to submit your own article here.

A recent pattern in American culture is supporting companies that are “Socially responsible”. Their work is supporting people who have needs. They are assisting in the building of stronger economies, and helping people to change the world. However, what kinds of companies exist and are a help. However, there are so many of these, how can you find the best company who is having the highest amount impact?

Recently, two economists wrote a book called When Helping Hurts. This book was written to help the church with alleviating poverty effectively. Many of our endeavors are not always having a long-term impact. Instead, they are just relieving the troubles of others instead of helping them to sustain and build themselves up.

The authors described the poverty alleviation process in three phases

  • Relief: Taking care of immediate needs so that the person can live another day
  • Rehabilitation: Helping individuals return to a certain level of living, where they are able to sustain themselves.
  • Development: Helping people move out of their economic poverty, and grow their own wealth, as well as developing their local economy.

These three phases are each a step in an essential process. Non-profits should work to help people in all three of these stages. However, most groups have a tendency for providing only one of these needs.

For example, one organization might only provide relief efforts instead of relieving basic needs, and helping people to move forward. Another organization might focus on long-term economic growth, but without relieving the current needs that are making their personal growth extremely difficult.

There are a few companies that do this very well. Sababu Clothing is a company based in Mali that provides excellent rehabilitation and Development. They print T-shirts locally in their area, and pay their locals with the funds. The people are taught realistic skills along with a actual income. And the shirts are actually well-designed and enjoyable to wear.

As you can see, Poverty alleviation is within our grasp. Here’s a few tips on how you can find companies and groups that support this kind of poverty alleviation.

  • Visit their Purpose statement: Most organizations will explain how and why they give. If you understand that, then you can determine which of the three groups they focus on. Also look at the charities that they donate to.
  • Support companies that provide actual work: Relief is a good service to offer. However, it isn’t the only offer. However, companies that actually hire and work local residents are one of the best ways to support economic development.
  • Consider Micro-financial support: If there are any organizations out there that focus on using Micro-finance to fund small businesses in third world countries, consider supporting them and their endeavors. Micro-finance is one of the best ways to encourage rehabilitation and development.


Christopher Hutton is a student and blogger at Liter8 Ideas. Liter8 Ideas is a “curiousity” blog that is dedicated to “Useful ideas that make you think”. At Liter8 Ideas, you’ll find any number of posts on ways to improve your life, and the lives of those around you.  You can also find him on Twitter at @Liter8media.  Learn more about Guest Author Posts and how to submit your own article here.

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