Dear Sombath…from Anne-Sophie Gindroz (3)


Dear Sombath,

“Right now, people have been trained to be so narrow in their specialty, so specialized, so compartmentalized […] we are all trained to be narrow-minded, and that narrow-mindedness makes us not able to connect to other issues.” 

Dear Sombath, your words resonate so deeply in the face of what development proponents are and do. Listen to communities, interacting humanely (outside of formal time-bound and agenda-based meetings) and take the time for critical reflection are not activities that are really valued and rewarded in development cooperation. Because we need to be productive, we need to deliver, we need to perform.

We are deaf to voices of civil society actors not fitting our criteria, we are blind to the non-monetized economy (which is not only highly relevant for the majority of ‘disadvantaged’ people, but also constitutes the basis of the formal economy), and we are mute to environmental, cultural and spiritual values which do not generate any income.

I can only agree with you when you say: “We become very self-centered […] unable to listen to others. We are what the development model trains us to do and behave and work”.

May your thoughtful words be heard by all.


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