In Congo, That's a Good Thing for You
We are a "backseat driver" to our international partner said the program manager for a local Indianapolis non-profit. The agency is a recognized leader and innovator in treating HIV/AIDS in Africa. When they speak, you should listen.
Mostly, the phrase "backseat driver" has a negative connotation. From Wikipedia, a backseat driver is a passenger in a vehicle who is not in control of the vehicle and does not appear to be comfortable with the skills of the current driver and/or feels the need to tutor said driver. That definition describes our humanitarian mission in Congo. The passenger is Congo Helping Hands and the driver is the international partner in Congo. The vehicle describes the program that you have chosen to support. So, our role as the backseat driver is to help ensure that your resources are used in the best way. That's a positive thing.
Congo is a difficult place to do work. It is even more difficult if you are working in a rural Congo village. The lack of general business experience and knowledge with a high illiteracy rate often spells trouble. Also, our Congolese partners have few sources of good businesses to copy. Good businesses or organizations could serve as role model. There are very few organizations work toward an integrated village approach. Improving the quality of life in a village requires integrated efforts in education, health, and micro-economic development. So, it takes extra efforts and steps to achieve good results.
We provide another set of eyes, ears, and mind. We critically review and evaluate results, and then we ask for adjustments. This is our internal control system. We are not in control but we rely on our international partners to implement the projects. As a backseat driver, we help them steer clear of pitfalls and hazards which waste your resources. Thank you for your support of our Congolese partners.