Values and Principles of Global Interdependence
As JustHope works to move beyond the colonial and paternalistic “missionary” paradigm and practice in global relationships toward a more mutual practice and paradigm of “partnership,” we are committed to what we believe are fundamental values and principles of global interdependence:
Solidarity is a mutual commitment to one another’s well being as dreamed and defined by the other. Solidarity is about more than investing a week in one another’s lives; more than knowing one another’s names and caring about one another’s lives. Solidarity is about knowing what the real struggles and joys are in a partner’s life, and making those struggles and joys your own in a way that has real, concrete effects on the priorities you set, the options you explore, and the decisions you make in your own day to day living. Solidarity means not only asking how something will affect me and my neighborhood, but how it will affect Maria and her neighborhood. It means considering not only how the way you budget your money or your time will affect your family, but how it will affect Juan’s family as well. Unlike charity, which is dependent only on the giver’s will at any particular moment, solidarity requires an intentional, long-term commitment.
JustHope Partners are asked to think about their partnerships as longer-term (five years or more) every day commitments, rather than one or more annual visits.
JustHope PartnerTrips are focused more on growing relationships than on accomplishing projects. Projects are understood and incorporated into PartnerTrips as a means of engaging with partners in their context, but the trips are structured to facilitate encounter, dialogue, and cultural immersion as the primary objectives.
JustHope negotiates the terms and parameters of partnership projects, in dialogue with partners, and monitors their development. JustHope also requests that Partners channel all requests for and all donations of partnership funds through JustHope. This is an intentional effort to reduce the temptation toward old patron/client ways of thinking and relating as the partnership is birthed and grows.
The ability for partnerships between communities to be viable over time, is an essential element of JustHope Partnerships, and is integrally related to the capacity of the communities involved to nurture and maintain their own community life. Sustainability, both of the partner communities and of the partnerships is strengthened when there is an intentional commitment to capacity building and infrastructure support from both partners. The term "infrastructure" is used here to designate those structures and practices within a community that undergird and support vital, generative community life, such as leadership development, community organizing, and community administration; structures and practices that facilitate broad communal participation and empower communal self-determination. Infrastructure, then, may look different from one partner context to another depending on what each particular community's goals are, what its resources are, and where it is in its growth and development. The development of adequate infrastructure to support a strong and vibrant community life requires resources that poor communities often do not have. For instance, leadership training requires supplies and resources; community organizing often incurs transportation and supply costs; project management may include communication and record keeping costs. Simply having a meeting in a poor rural community often means leaders must travel long distances to attend, so meals need to be provided, and a place for the meeting has to be maintained. Financial support for infrastructure development and improvement affirms the critical importance of community development in the journey toward self-reliance and sustainability.
JustHope Partnerships include a commitment to financial support of the infrastructure of the Nicaraguan Partner. Whereas partners often respond generously to working on and funding specific projects, the developing-country partner often doesn’t have resources for the basic infrastructure support that is critical to a community’s ability to engage in self-determination. The covenant contribution to infrastructure is separate from and prior to any project support in which the partners engage.
JustHope Partners are encouraged to offer regular, internal communication within their own group/community about the partnership in order to nurture whole community involvement in the partnership and avoid it being compartmentalized to a committee or small group.
Mutuality is a critical commitment as JustHope’s network of partners work together to inspire hope, increase justice, and nurture the common well-being of the world. James Nelson has written: “Justice becomes real when partners have mutuality… when each partner has the power, the self-confidence, and the encouragement to decide freely about their participation or non-participation in every aspect of the relationship.” Mutuality in a relationship means there is no coercion, no manipulation, no attempt to bind the other or control the other’s decisions, but a genuine and passionate willing for the full integrity and well-being of the other. In a mutual relationship, “each partner is liberated and empowered by the shared energies of mutual respect, mutual care, and mutual delight.” Mutuality between global partners can’t be imposed. It must grow as the partners practice listening fully to one another’s stories, ideas, and concerns; and resist temptations to translate one another’s contexts. Engaging with one another in this type of critical thinking requires clarity, flexibility, humility, transparency, mutual respect, trust, patience, steadfastness, self-examination, vigilance, good communication, and grace—above all grace.
Therefore:JustHope Partners are encouraged to engage in regular reflection on their Partnerships, including an intentional examination of motives and evaluationof decisions and actions, as well as consideration of ways to deepen and strengthen the partnership.
JustHope Partners are asked to practice mutuality and empowerment of self-determination by working with and through leadership structures to identify community needs and priorities for projects, and avoid privileging individual or personal requests for assistance.
Collaboration can be an effective tool of resistance to a history and climate of colonization, when it is used to empower and give agency to those who, like the poor in Nicaragua, have been disempowered by that history and climate. JustHope encourages collaboration between partners to every extent possible -- between US and Nicaraguan partners; between US partner communities; between Nicaraguan partner communities; between partner communities and other agencies; on projects, PartnerTrips, grant requests, research and resourcing, fundraising, education, or any aspect of partnership development and nurture. We can accomplish far more together than any of us can accomplish alone.
JustHope Partners are encouraged to work collaboratively, not only with their particular Global Partner, but also with the whole network of JustHope Partners.
- a commitment by Covenant Partners to engage in face to face visits in the global partners’ context at least annually
- a commitment to intentionally learn about their partner’s context
- a commitment to work collaboratively with JustHope to facilitate visits to the US from members of Nicaraguan partner communities
- a commitment to share information and work collaboratively with other JustHope Partners, where possible and appropriate, on Projects and PartnerTrips