“[Y]ou become a servant of the local passion, the servant of local people who have a dream to become a better person. So what you do — you shut up. You never arrive in a community with any ideas, and you sit with the local people  And what we do, we become friends, and we find out what that person wants to do.”

A member of our cohort, Kristina, shared this very pertinent and important TED Talk by Ernesto Sirolli, Founder of the Sirolli Institute, that gives rise to many of the questions of agency and the role developers should play. It’s something we’ve begun discussing a lot in our classes so far (hello, searchers vs. planners?) and it’ll be a question continuing to inform our time here and after IEDP. It’s crucial for us as developers to think about this idea when we approach program design and implementation, because at the very basic level, it’s not us who receive aid. It’s something to be mindful of before and throughout our careers.