Service. It’s a simple word to say, but to turn it into effective action requires a thoughtful and careful approach. The world of international aid is littered with failed projects that were intended to help people in developing countries, but which were often unsuccessful due to patronising attitudes coupled with a lack of planning, cultural awareness, and follow-up. I recently heard a story from an Australian man teaching in a remote Indonesian village. One day a convoy of white land cruisers arrived, and an aid organisation had brought crates full of laptop computers for the school in the village. The aid workers showed the eager children how to operate the computers while a photographer frantically tried to capture the moment for the sponsors back home. After an hour or so the aid convoy packed up and left, never to be seen again, and not realising that the village had no electricity. Once the batteries went flat the laptops were reduced to being used as clipboards to write on.

Service is one of our Round Square pillars, and while the focus can easily shift to the ‘doing’ part the service, the main ingredients for success lie in the preparation, planning, consultation, building of partnerships and in the follow up to ensure that what we are doing is meaningful, sustainable, valuable, wanted and effective.

Mark Hassell
Dean of Students