As a rule, since leaving the UK, I’ve tried to keep my role within organisations purely consultatory. That is, I knew when I decided to do this that I didn’t want to work directly with the people the organisations supported – the “beneficiaries,” or more appropriately, the community partners. That is a role I felt – and still feel – should be occupied by the people who work directly for the organisation. The people who know those they support best because they are from the same community and cultural context, and know best what those folks will need going forward in part because they will be there with them.
Wanting to work in communities from which we do not come and in which we will not stay is a difficult path to tread. And of course it doesn’t always pan out the way we plan, in spite of our best intentions.