Expats, the ‘scaffolds’ of locally led organizations
Friday, June 5, 2015
It was a late Sunday afternoon on another beautiful day in western Kenya in early 2012. The seasonal rains hadn’t been coming so the sun shone brightly without any hint of a cloud in sight. Jake Harriman, CEO and founder of Nuru International, wanted to chat but we hadn’t yet found time between visiting farmer households, writing reports for donors, cooking dinner, washing socks and boxers, and catching up on emails. Finally with downtime, we settled in a hammock and chair on the porch in front of the house where we and our other expat colleagues lived.
“So, Thomas … we have been working here as expats in Migori County for over three years now. We’ve built a strong Kenyan team that is helping farmers in the community overcome extreme poverty. We’re clearly making a difference, but you know we’re planning to exit the project in a couple of years so that the Kenyans can run the programs on their own. Why do you think we expats should exit?” Jake asked.
“Sustainability,” I responded.