What is sustainability anyway?
What comes to mind when you hear the word “sustainability”? You’ve probably heard this word used casually by many charitable organizations and nonprofits. In reality, it’s often a complex term to understand. The dictionary defines sustainability as, “avoidance of the depletion of resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.”
In other words, sustainability is about longevity and balance.
There is no doubt that sustainability is a desirable goal for non-profit programs. At the same time, it can often be used as simply a buzzword. We’ve had to think long and hard about what that term means for us at MOF.
In all honesty, if you’ve ever cared for a child, you know that young children are by nature dependent and resource depleting (as opposed to independent and “sustainable”). Our question has been how to both prioritize sustainable interventions while also recognizing that some charitable work that is worthy of doing may never be “sustainable” in the traditional sense. Especially work with children.
The Cambine Agricultural Project
The Cambine Agricultural Program (located near the Carolyn Belshe Orphanage at the Cambine Mission Station) is one answer to this conundrum. It’s our attempt at balance. MOF regularly supports this program, and sees this project as critical to our mission. The program has three main objectives:
- Produce and supply reliable food for the communities of the Cambine Mission Station, specifically the orphans who live at the Carolyn Belshe Orphanage.
- Provide agricultural training to members of the Cambine Mission Station and the surrounding community.
- Grow produce to sell at the open market for income.
Specifically, we help to support the work of a GBHEM missionary named John N’day, who coordinates the cultivation of vegetables and rice, and raises chickens and cattle for the orphans at CBO and to sell on the open market.
Click here to read John’s full report with updates about the agricultural program. As you will see from this report, there are ups and downs, successes and failures, sustainable outcomes and resource depleting outcomes. What’s important to note is that caring for orphans and vulnerable children in Mozambique involves hard work, long-term commitment, and ultimately, balance that is maintained with levity, generosity, and faith.