What is International Development?

When we read about humanitarian crises such as famine in Somalia, or floods in New Orleans, a few words often sum them up:

“We could have prevented this.”

That’s what international development is about. It’s a peacetime effort to build peace and prosperity by promoting dignity, justice, and self-sufficiency. This is what Helene and I hope to contribute to when we work with rural communities in India through Gram Vikas.

International development is a positive ‘Butterfly Effect’.

So many factors contribute to tragedy on a massive scale. With international development, we throw some positive influences in the mix, with the hope it will cancel out some of the negative forces at play in the world.

Marie-Pier, Helene’s cousin, summed it perfectly:

International development is prevention.

People often confuse international development with humanitarian aid, but they work in very different ways. Humanitarian aid is what people do when a natural or man-made catastrophe takes place: they go help people in an emergency situation, and try to save lives. International development hopes that by working hard before disaster strikes, then perhaps the disasters can be minimized or avoided altogether.

International development is about building peace and prosperity, one person at a time.

Picture: A Helping Hand by Mukul Soni —   CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

About Daniel Roy

Daniel is a writer, backpack foodie, slow traveler, and endurance runner. He is the author of the upcoming book, "The Way of Slow Travel: A Hands-On Guide to the Best Travel of Your Life."

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