"Giving a Hand up, not a Hand out" - what has changed?

Jerry Dugdale | May 30, 2020

"Sticking plaster AID".......is it any use?

Giving a "hand up, not a hand out"..... we often describe the focus of ServeDirect in those terms. What does this mean and why have things changed for the time being? 



'Giving a hand up' refers to sustainable, more lasting support, a sharing of skills and providing more long-term benefit to a larger group. For example the Wobulenzi Town Academy community, the Connect Education Centre communities, The Rock health centre and those who live in the other communities where ServeDirect is working.

'Hand outs' giving short-term relief are sometimes rudely referred to as 'sticking-plaster aid' - just a temporary fix, to keep people happy, with no real lasting effect. They may even cause long-term damage creating a dependency culture, withdrawing independence and identity from the recipient. We try to avoid just giving a random 'hand out' to someone without any context or real understanding of the situation - it's likely to be both naive and harmful in the long run.

So why have we suddenly shifted in focus? If you've been following recent posts, articles or news from ServeDirect, you will have undoubtedly noticed a change. Almost overnight, we have switched from our main Education and Health support focus to being part of food distributions (via our partners 'on the ground') to the most needy and desperate families in Lukomera, Wobulenzi and Gulu. This is, of course due to the current crisis caused by the Covid-19 virus. Without government help, any social security/ benefits system, without any furlough scheme or means of working - after 10 weeks of lock down, many many families are now stranded and have nothing to eat.

Food hand outs in the form of food packages are proving to be essential to the most marginalised. They are simply a temporary arrangement to literally keep the poorest families from starving. Those families are often widows, single parents and child-led households. Many are taking care of extra children. It is a privilege to be able to help in this way and at such a time as this.

Distributions are being carried out in the Lukomera, Wobulenzi and Gulu communities, thanks to the clear leading, wise direction and organisation of our partners there: Charles Opio, Pastor Moses and Paul Zziwa in Lukomera & Dan Unterrheiner with Kent Nolley in Gulu. More details are in the 2 news articles, 'Lock down - perspectives from Uganda part 1 & part 2'. 

This is not a long-term strategy change of direction for ServeDirect. Indeed we fervently hope and pray this will soon change. It is a temporary solution for those in need to what should be a temporary problem.  Hopefully as lock down is eased in the near future, these families will soon be 'back on their feet'. And we will be back on track with WTA, The Rock and the Connect Education Centres.