In the past, our ancestors exchanged goods for other goods; most of the time, services were exchanged for goods. And while times have changed, it is increasingly common for services to be exchanged for goods or monetary value.
Take this example: Mr. Dabo makes stools for homes, making them creatively, taking his time to give each piece a unique touch. Mama Zafar is an expert in cooking and is the city’s go-to person for meals at large events, as her skills are unmatched and her meals always leave an impression.
Mr. Dabo is a single man who spends his time in the workshop tinkering with new pieces. Since he devotes all his time to his trade, he barely has time to prepare meals or cook and stock up for the days ahead.
Mama Zafar would like to expand her business from a one-time on-demand service to a restaurant offering healthy meals on a daily basis. In this case, she needs furniture to make her space unique and suitable for use as a restaurant.
The two parties come together and decide to trade individual services for their needs, furniture for a month’s worth of meals.
This is also the system adopted by rural residents, who exchange agricultural products and livestock for the services they need.
One way to give people in underdeveloped areas an advantage is to equip them with skills that are relevant to our times. These skills, such as technological skills, will place them in a constantly changing and growing global world. Skills that are in industries that are always needed are the ones to build on: garment making for the fashion industry and food production/processing are examples of niche skills needed.
NGOs around the world have adopted systems that help them undertake the task of skills acquisition. They first raise awareness and teach the importance of these skills in a global world to people in rural areas, and then organize free training courses for those who are willing to learn. Among the participants, the best students are equipped with the tools to use their new skills, after which they become the tutors and in turn train others in their environment.
Through the many skills training programs run by NGOs, rural residents and poverty-stricken families have gained a competitive edge in a fierce market and therefore have the opportunity to improve their standard of living.
A mother who knows how to sew can provide for her family better than a mother who has no means of support. This is why skills training is mainly focused on women, because they are the future of families and if they are given more opportunities, they can change their lives.
Skills training is very relevant in this changing world and is a much easier way to reduce poverty, as it equips each individual with values that they can exchange for money to meet their basic needs. As humanitarians, we have a duty to play our part by sponsoring or imparting the necessary knowledge to skill-building forums, according to our capabilities.