The Elitist Approach

For many years on end, I have been hearing of the “fit in strategy” where if a service provider or leader is looking for maximum results, they have to find a way to fit in, if a leader wants to constructively and objectively engage with farmers, he has to dress like a farmer and speak the language that the farmers understand so as to fit in, et al. Such is the thought applied to a government or any high ranking official or any official of any calibre, people are supposed to feel like you are one of them for them to easily comply.

People are most likely to listen and practice something taught or they learnt from s person who talks, looks, and dresses like them than that one in a fancy suit and with an expensive accent.

Mankind will be enslaved until there is mental grandeur enough to allow each man to have his thought and say.-Robert G. Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses.

I think one of the reasons as to why under-development still lingers fresh in rural areas is because development practitioners and their leaders(local leaders) whom they expect to bring change are instead agents of swag and are simply a show off. If a local leader/ development practitioner engaged/went to locals with an elitist approach, an approach where someone feels like they know it all and are not open to new ideas because they see the locals as illiterate and vulnerable. The locals will naturally retaliate, either by hearing what the local leader is saying without listening to them or by not applying what was told to them because they don’t think it as morally correct or it is a contradiction to culture or many of the locals might simply storm out of the meeting/dialogue.

The culture of trying to fit in costs nothing but is one attribute that many of our leaders and development workers have failed to attain. The local people, when they feel like they are being despised will not constructively participate in development even though it is for their own benefit, I also wouldn’t.


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