The Smaller the Better
When working in poverty alleviation, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. The dilemma of human suffering is so great, that we often seek to build big, powerful development organizations to address it… monolithic change-making machines that we hope can manufacture health, security and happiness abroad.
But DigDeep’s experience last week proves that this inclination may prove less than helpful in practice.
When faced with evidence of genocide and war crimes in Sudan’s Nuba mountains, DigDeep jumped on a plane and headed to the Hill.
We worried that Congress would be tired of the Sudanese issue after Southern independence. We worried that without months of consistent lobbying, no one would hear our message. We worried that the debt ceiling vote scheduled for that same night might drown out our calls for human dignity.
But we were more worried for the lives of the men, women and children in Southern Kardofan.
Convinced that some action was necessary (however small it might be), we went door-to-door with pictures, maps and video, visiting good friends and perfect strangers.
Late Monday evening, we found ourselves in the Rayburn Room, just feet from the floor of the House of Representatives. As Gabi Giffords cast her first vote since January’s shooting, we poured over maps with Congressmen Chris Smith, Donald Payne and Mike Wolf. Together they agreed to schedule an emergency hearing of the House Global Health, Africa and Human Rights Subcommittee for Thursday morning.
Thursday’s hearing was a tremendous success. As witnesses testified to the ongoing violence, cheering crowds of Nubans gathered around their Sudanese TVs to watch the live broadcast on CSPAN. The hearing put significant pressure on the State Department, USAid, the United Nations and Bashir’s government to respond to evidence of human rights atrocities. It will be followed up this week by an official letter from Donald Payne (D-NJ) and other members addressed to the President.
Focused initiatives (like DigDeep) are different because we understand that it’s not just about awareness and development projects – it’s about activism and the creative defense of human dignity. We are different because we’re small, active and vigilant.
We’re convinced that after 6 months of expensive professional lobbying on the Hill, we would not have been able to achieve what we did in just hours last Monday.
Sometimes smaller really is better.
«Check the press below for coverage. DONATE to DigDeep’s work to protect human rights at digdeepwater.org»
Coverage directly following the hearing on BigPeace:
The Sudanese (Northern) media reported on the event here
And Human Rights First reported it here: