The Skoll World Forum. I look forward to it every single year. It is arguably the best and biggest conference on social enterprise. It takes place in Oxford. So, I have never had the privilege to attend in person. Luckily, they live stream most of the events. And the two day conference never fails to inspire.
Eve Ensler, the playwright behind The Vagina Monologues, spoke at the morning plenary session. You can watch the video here. The speech she gave about women and violence was a phenomenal speech. But a few things she said really resonated with me:
We want to own people or we want to save people with money. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be owned and I don’t want to be saved.
Enthusiasm isn’t the guide. It’s got to be listening and serving other people. The Congolese know exactly what they need. They just don’t have the resources. They don’t need people giving them directions. They don’t need people giving them advice. They don’t need people leading their way. What they need is the money and the wind at their backs…
Eve looks at money differently than most people. She views it as energy. An energy you send out into the world that gets transfered from person to person. Transferring that energy is what matters. Money shouldn’t be about control or power. It is simply a resource and a means to an end. It does not always have to have strings attached.
What she said is true. People tend to use money to own other people or to save other people. But when you do that you take away form a person’s individual agency. You disempower them. So, when you give money. Just give it. Make that transfer and then let it go.
Eve summed up what international development should be about far better than I ever could:
It’s about showing up when you’re needed and disappearing when you’re not.