Sustainability is a buzz word in the work of non-profits. But I as the facilitator wondered what does that mean and is the meaning the same for all who use it? The Definition in Webster’s is: the ability to last or continue for a long time. The next question would be does this apply to the non-profit organization or the project they are working with? Another definition was the state of not requiring any aid, support or interaction for survival– autonomy.
Having a pediatric health background I could relate to autonomy. Immediately a picture of a toddler pops into my brain. Erickson’s teaching of Autonomy versus Doubt, toddlers have a strong sense of “I do it” with a lot of guidance from the adults surrounding them. It takes a lot of patience to be the adult watching as the toddler is struggling with a task. But as practice continues, skills are mastered and autonomy grows. Not many adults need someone to still tie their shoes!
With the development of autonomy comes the growth of confidence, self worth, success, and achievement. All are spring boards to further growth. So is sustainability done with the same motives. To provide a spring board into self worth, achievement, knowledge and autonomy.
It is the vision of LOVE Takes Root to have projects that are self sustaining to build independence not dependence. To identify an exit strategy as we begin a project. To work toward the exit and along the way have the patience, love and kindness used as our guide when we encourage the “I do it.”