Local Solutions to Local Problems

At a time when globalism is rapidly institutionalizing itself and the line between local and global blurring into a myriad of fluid conveniences, it is alluring to assume homogeneity. This assumption however contradicts natural law and is detrimental to indigenous people, culture and way of life. It suggests absence of multiplicity and erroneously projects a world of monoculture, requiring a set of standard uniform responses to life’s varied problems.   

Today’s age and time is burdened with publicity. While it is valuable to increase public awareness and concern, the danger of abusive publicity is gross oversimplification of issues and problems. The question of oversimplification has become acute because modern culture is too busy and has insufficient time to analyze the issues beyond the sound-buzz headlines. The predicament of oversimplification is an interplay of State and corporate behavior, or at the least, bound under its influence. What many are not aware is the extent to which one’s complicity as an individual or as a people has strengthened this interplay.  

The problem of oversimplification is furthered compounded when experts fly in and out from one end to another end of the globe offering the same set of response as a possible solution; irrespective of the culture, situation or issues involved. This is not to question well-spirited intentions. Neither is one implying that positive ideas are amiss. There are definitely ideas that can and should be taken as learning opportunities which can be contextualized to meet the needs of the local situation. 

Nonetheless, it is crucial to point out as a matter of empirical fact that general uniform models of responses are being propagated to address varying sets of problems for different levels of human organization, which are at different degrees of human development. The inherent faultline existing in such a generalizing approach lies in its assumption. The assumption that a particular praxis which has been successful in one situation will hence prove successful in another, reveals lack of insight and insensitivity. It is here that the questions of relevancy and intention become problematic and that otherwise unquestionable, becomes questionable.

Critical conscience therefore demands that such approaches and attitude are protested against. The paramount need is to have the freedom to define and determine ones own minds and to generate ideas and solutions to ones own set of problems. In accordance to the compelling necessities, one is being asked to rise out from being the objects of history to becoming conscious creators of one’s own history.

No doubt, it is essentially important to discern, glean and learn from the experiences of other people, it is but inevitable to see that the core values and ethics of the local context remains at the heart of such endeavor. The culture of having external experts find solutions to local problems may provide immediate relief, but in the long run, they will prove counter-productive and will be detrimental to the vibrancy of democratic participation. 

Without ownership of solutions, the people will have no power and the land no voice. The challenge therefore is to rise above complicity and to seek constructive ways to indigenize solutions which is decisive for the survival and dignified existence of any people. Hence, it is time to find local solutions to local problems.