Editor's note: February's cover package, "The Best Ways to Fight Poverty—Really" (part one, part two), received remarkable numbers of pageviews, praises, and protests. It also provoked responses from many organizations devoted to fighting poverty. Today, leaders of those ministries respond, including World Vision US president Richard Stearns, Samaritan's Purse president Franklin Graham, Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford, HOPE International president and CEO Peter Greer, World Relief president and CEO Stephan Bauman, Food for the Hungry workers Greg Forney and Lucas Koach, and TEAR Australia national young adults coordinator Matt Anslow. Also today, Christianity Today senior managing editor Mark Galli, whose article "A Most Personal Touch" led off the February cover package, replies to the ministry leaders.
Food for the Hungry (FH) is privileged to participate in village-wide celebrations marking our exit after 8 to 10 years in a community. At one of these celebrations, a Ugandan community leader passionately referred to our time as 10 years of "transformation walk." If one simply evaluated the alleviation of poverty from an economic standpoint, the physical changes in this village—replete with a new medical clinic, school, and vocational center—would represent success.
But the issue of poverty is far more multi-faceted. In walking with the villagers, FH learned about the core beliefs and practices that contributed to hopelessness and extreme poverty. It was only through this relational approach that these issues were understood and addressed from a biblical perspective. The resulting development was not program-oriented, but people-focused, flowing from and implemented by motivated, ...1