In a world that is increasingly interconnected, it’s important to think about the big picture, especially if you’re dealing with a problem as significant as ISIL. But big pictures have lots of detail in them, and it can be easy to get caught up in the major shapes of the big picture, while losing sight of the individual brush strokes.
The go-to strategy for dealing with ISIL has been through military force, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. But in order to truly combat a group like ISIL, or any extremist group for that matter, you have to address the issues that they use to recruit.
This is precisely what the nonprofit Heraion Foundation (HERA) is trying to do. Based in New York and Ebril, Iraq, they work to help people escape from ISIL, deliver humanitarian aid to people in ISIL-affected areas, and help educate women and children.
They want to address the brush strokes: they don’t want to lose sight of the details, because all the bombs in the world won’t stop ISIL if they keep using poverty and mistrust as tools to fuel their growing ranks. Most people turn to extremism because they see no other way out of their current situation.
What HERA is doing takes a lot of effort and a lot of courage. But you don’t have to work on the ground in Iraq in order to take these lessons to heart. Any nonprofit can benefit from keeping the details as well as the big picture in mind.
Helping cancer patients is great, but preventing people from getting cancer in the first place is just as important. Rehabilitating ex-convicts is important, but helping people find jobs and assistance to keep them from resorting to the kinds of actions that land them in prison in the first place is just as useful.
What does your nonprofit do to make sure you keep both the big picture and the details in mind when you’re working on your programs? Please share your thoughts in the comments.