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"It doesn't need white people to show the way!"

Debate on European aid workers in Africa

I would like to draw your attention to this Spiegel article by Heiner Hoffmann, Nairobi, which addresses an issue that directly affects 'Njoki' and which, in my opinion, has not yet received enough publicity.

Click here for the Spiegel-Article!

Even though the "White Saviorism" debate is complex and certainly not easily thought of in terms of black and white, it speaks to exactly what I have been privileged to learn over many years of experience: No, they don't need us here, the white people who know how things should be done, who come as saving 'helpers'.

Helping - in what? Helping to overlook one's own potentials and to accept concepts of life made in the West? Helping to carry out development completely in the sense of the development to an industrial nation like Germany? At what price? Germany is, that is my perspective today, no model, after which countries like e.g. Kenya should direct themselves. We, the industrial nations, have given away culture, tradition and the close, careful treatment of the environment for our material wealth.

"I too believed 9 years ago that I was coming here to 'help.' There is no greater and more dangerous error, and no better path of personal growth, in setting aside that resolution."

It is not my intention to demonize one and sanctify the other. But my experiences in Kenya have freed me from a great error: I am not here to teach. First, I am here to learn. To understand what other forms of wealth, of development, of growth there are than those that shape the environment that educated me. To understand what sacrifices a country, a culture gives when it blindly follows Western models. To understand that there is no "further" or "retarded" when we start to see and support each culture, each country in its and its very individual potential.

For me, this is the basis on which we can work together as equals, learn from each other, and pursue visions that understand intercultural networking as an opportunity for both sides and not as a one-sided Samaritan act.

Njoki's project work is built on these principles and I am happy to keep learning and changing my perspective in this field.

Translated from German: Njoki.


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