A lot can be done with a phone, email and good relationships. In the case of World Concern’s Susan Talbot, she’s been able to use her skills to generate $61 million worth of humanitarian aid for the poor in the last year. That’s $61,000,000 worth of in Gift-In-Kind (GIK) donations, which is anything donated that is not money.
$61 million is tough to put into perspective. But consider that this is helping nearly 5 million people. It’s 5 million people who have received a variety of resources, including medication for intestinal worms, a wheelchair to find mobility again, or a computer to become connected to the digital age for the very first time.
“All of our GIK is field driven,” Susan told me. “I don’t start collecting items until our staff tells me they need items. We don’t just hand out stuff in the field. It all has to have a function or collaborate with what we are doing. It needs to have a purpose rather than just giving out commodities.”
Where does Susan get these GIK humanitarian donations? They come from many sources, including schools, farmers, businesses – and medical supply companies.
Bringing in commodities is a tricky business, though, because when you are trying to help a community, you could end up hurting it instead. The way Susan and the rest of the World Concern team does it, though, is carefully considered.
“We provide supplies in a crisis, like food, when the marketplace is not functioning,” Susan says. “When commodities are available locally, we try to avoid giving away those things. It works against what we are doing. It makes no sense to support women in a microfinance shoe business, and then bring in a shipment of shoes.”
Building relationships with the people we serve is important. Skill-building is important. Teaching people is important. World Concern does that, equipping people to know how to stand on their own two feet once we are finished working with their community. Susan knows though that coming alongside people in need with a tangible good, though, can help change – or even save – a life.
Learn more about our Haiti response.