If you’ve spent more than a couple minutes on our website or follow us on social media, you know Heart of Mercy is an aid organization. And in our line of work, we've found that the seemingly subtle difference in how aid is defined as a noun or verb is pretty important.
So let’s talk about it. And really lay out our approach to aid work…
Here are some basic definitions to use as a starting point:
Aid as a noun: help, typically of a practical nature
Aid as a verb: help, assist, or support in the achievement of something
Similar…but also different. As both a noun and verb, aid is about helping people - and this is so important. But we don't just give aid or help. We ARE an aid organization. This means the help we give must serve a purpose. It is in support of a specific goal.
One of our main goals is always to work ourselves out of a job. We don't exist just to be a funnel of stuff from those who have to those who have not. We believe aid can be healthy, sustainable, and a verb.
But what does healthy, sustainable aid look like?
“Sustainable” and “healthy” are terms thrown around a lot when we talk about helping people. But what do they mean? Is there even a way to quantify a work that is qualitative in nature?
Western thinking would say yes. If you can’t quantify it, can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist. There is certainly truth in this and merit to that approach. We do our best to find a balance between this Western way of thinking and the Eastern relational approach that is predominant in the region where we work.
Numbers, data, results. These are important.
But in our 20+ years of working in the Middle East, we’ve found that good quantifiable measures don’t grow well without certain qualitative markers – like hope, joy, relational development, and the courage to dream and reach for more.
“Sustainable” and “healthy” aid has to walk the line between these two approaches. There is a tension in this that must be appreciated and seen as a learning opportunity. We do our best every day to apply the lessons we’ve learned, and continue to learn, from this tension of making aid a verb.
Thank you for believing in the work we do and partnering with us on the journey. Your support is turning aid into a verb every day.