By Laura Libman ‘05
What is self-development? No, really. I’ve commiserated with a number of nonprofit execs, trying to come up with a clear and succinct definition of self-development for the lay person. We have yet to come up with a satisfactory definition. Self-development is the paramount goal for my organization, the Tia Foundation, and many other worthy NPOs. I can point to a variety of instances of self-development occurring in the field.
For example, almost all of Tia’s Community Health Workers organize the people in their villages to address community issues unrelated to health, such as lobbying the government for access to education, or pooling their pesos to co-op fresh produce (which individually they could not afford), and sharing knowledge and skills. We do not prompt them to organize; they do it their own. My fellow NPO colleagues notice similar changes in their communities, too.
I noticed that there are some astute posts here, so I’d love to get some help from our virtual Global Citizenship community.
Laura Libman is president and founder of the Tia Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides sustainable health development strategies in rural Mexico. The foundation primarily focuses on training and equipping Community Health Workers, elected by fellow villagers in remote areas, hours from the nearest doctor or medical facility. Libman, a 2005 Thunderbird graduate, is a member of The Border Trade Alliance, The Arizona-Mexico Commission, The National Hispanic Honor Society and The National Society of Hispanic MBAs. She also serves on the board of directors of and is a mentor and group leader for The Washington Street Foundation (wsfkids.org), a Phoenix-based mentoring program for economically disadvantaged children.