Interviewed by Julie Nickel
As a part of the 5N2 Network, John oversees a team of development practitioners who are working to shift the mentality of the poor from needs to assets. Through his organization, CRAID (Centre de Réflexion et d’Appui aux Initiatives de Développment), he works at the community level to provide training and coaching that is grounded in Asset-Based Community-Driven Development (ABCD) values.
Fumana’s passion comes from what he has witnessed over the years of living in the DRC. “People struggle to survive and often hold in their mindset, because of their suffering, they will not be able to overcome. They believe they have nothing, and know they need help and people to support them.
“However, keeping people under the grasp of aid or assistance does not help the individual to improve and keeps them in an unhealthy dependency cycle.” Fumana has observed many activities, projects and programs implemented in the DRC and has come to realize these large outside initiatives have not stopped the problem of starvation or refugees in the DRC, amongst many other issues.
Despite the difficult living conditions and the complexity of aid dynamics, Fumana has found people in the DRC who live in very difficult conditions but have the motivation to excel on their own. Inspired by these individuals who are good stewards of what they have, Fumana sees a way around the dependency cycle and strongly believes in the necessity of encouraging people to build on what they have and their innate abilities to change their own living conditions.
Fumana’s primary values are positive thinking and positive action. He believes nobody has nothing. Everyone is created by God and God has invested all individuals with capacities they can use to live well on this Earth. Focusing on deficiencies works to individual detriment. Communities have survived, not because of their deficiencies, but because of their success in the small things and learning and building upon these things.
“My vision for the future is to see more and more people getting out of unhealthy dependency, which means developing a better life based on skills, assets, and resources available, and seeing people change their lives because they trust themselves and trust the people around them. They trust that together they will be able to do things rather than thinking bread will come from heaven as their core mindset.
With our organization, we want to see people trained not to receive a certificate, but to put into practice what they have learned. The goal of ABCD is to practice this approach in daily life and see people change and be able to say: Yesterday I was one, but I used what I have and what I am, and today I am three.