Jacob Lief on why small-scale assistance works

    Jacob Lief, co-founder and president of the Ubuntu Education Fund.

    Sustainability and scale are two of the development world’s favorite buzz words. But it takes time to create long-term change, and depth to change a child’s life – a lesson large global aid groups should heed, writes Jacob Lief, co-founder of the Ubuntu Education Fund, in an exclusive guest opinion. Read this excerpt:

    Sustainability and scale are two of the development world’s favorite buzz words. How many computers, condoms, pills or libraries can you distribute or build, across how many regions? One question always stops me in my tracks: “How many children can you get for the least amount of money?”

    All too often, nobody asks the important question: How well do you actually serve the people you are trying to reach?

    I strongly believe that sustainability and scale must be connected to quality — it takes time to create long-term change, and depth to change a child’s life.

    Read Jacob Lief’s full op-ed, brought to you by Devex in partnership with the United Nations Foundation.

    About the author

    • Jacob lief

      Jacob Lief

      Jacob Lief is the Founder and CEO of Ubuntu Education Fund, a non-profit organization that takes vulnerable children in the townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa from cradle to career. Ubuntu's child-centred approach highlights the difference between merely touching a child's life versus fundamentally changing it. In 2009, Jacob was selected as an Aspen Institute Global Fellow and, in 2010, he was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.