In Christian community development circles, there is a story about a ministry working in an underserved community. Suburban churches were interested doing weekend service projects with this ministry. Unfortunately, with limited experience and training, there was little that these well-intentioned congregations could actually contribute. Ministry staff decided to tell the visitors they had a wall that needed painting. The visitors would spend an afternoon cheerfully painting the wall, and go away pleased with the notion that they had done something to benefit the neighborhood. The following week, another church group would come inâ€”and repaint the same wall. [Read more…] about Repaint! For the Kingdom of God is at Hand: Balancing Hope and Critical Analysis in Community Service
There are perhaps as many models for helping as there are universities in Africa. I hope through this forum to learn more from other readers of the variety of options and discuss what may or may not be effective.
Much of the pioneer work in post-secondary education in Africa was done by starting bible colleges. Faculty were most often not traditional US academics with advanced degrees (apart from seminary degrees). Many of these schools have become universities, but in doing so struggle to attract sufficient masterâ€™s and doctoral staff to meet true university accreditation requirements.
At the other extreme, I think that history shows that support of US based graduate training for African academics often ends in brain drain.
Christian (and secular) volunteerism has proved helpful, but some options for Americans with private African universities can waste and abuse short-term and long-term donations of money, talent and time. Short-term and mid-term experiences of inadequately prepared individuals, often facing language barriers and finding students at a level below what they expected does not use resources wisely. Frustration leads to broken relationships, inadequately educated students and damage to the careers of volunteer faculty.Â [Read more…] about A missionary calling to Africa for Christian academics: Part 2