Is this not what we’ve been trained to think development is by the rest of society? (electricity, etc.)
HAPPY! Yes, what are we striving for?… betterment of the community. Non-Bahá’í examples? SED pakistani families.They form unities for a minimum of 10 YEARs. Green revolution mention.
Principles and History
Overview SED is Baha’i Guiding Principles History – Where we’ve been History – What we’ve learned Our ever-advancing Civilization
Our Source of PowerIs it within human power, O Hakim, to effect in theconstituent elements of any of the minute and indivisibleparticles of matter so complete a transformation as totransmute it into purest gold? Perplexing and difficult asthis may appear, the still greater task of converting satanicstrength into heavenly power is one that We have beenempowered to accomplish. …The Word of God, alone, canclaim the distinction of being endowed with the capacityrequired for so great and far-reaching a change. Baháulláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháulláh, p. 200
The Concept of SED is Enshrined in the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh All human beings are created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. The creation of a peaceful global society that fosters both individual and collective well-being is at the heart of the Baháí vision of the future. Within the framework of a growing community concerned with moral and spiritual transformation, social and economic development is one expression of the Baháí commitment to realizing this vision.
The Concept of SED is Enshrined in the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh “This readjustment of the social economic is of the greatest importance inasmuch as it insures the stability of the world of humanity; and until it is effected, happiness and prosperity are impossible.” ‘Abdul-Bahá, Baháí World Faith, ‘Abdul-Bahá Section, p. 240
PrinciplesThe fundamentals of the whole economic condition are divine innature and are associated with the world of the heart and spirit …without knowledge of [Bahá’í] principles, no improvement in theeconomic state can be realized. The Bahá’ís will bring about thisimprovement and betterment but not through sedition and appealto physical force—not through warfare, but welfare. Hearts mustbe so cemented together, love must become so dominant that therich shall most willingly extend assistance to the poor and takesteps to establish these economic adjustments permanently. If it isaccomplished in this way, it will be most praiseworthy becausethen it will be for the sake of God and in the pathway of Hisservice. ‘Abdul-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 238
Guiding Principles: Service Now they (the members) must, in perfect spirit and fragrance, in sincerity of heart, in attraction by the fragrances of God and by the confirmations of the Holy Spirit, engage in service; in the promotion of the Word of God; the diffusion of the fragrances of God; the training of souls; the promulgation of the Most Great Peace. They must raise the Banner of Guidance and become the host of the Supreme Concourse. ‘Abdul-Bahá, Baháí World Faith, p. 403 Service to the community should be the prime objective for selecting projects and this should be made clear to the local inhabitants. Universal House of Justice, Office of Social and Economic Development, 12 Dec. 1983, p. 3
Guiding Principles: Consultation Consultation bestoweth greater awareness and transmuteth conjecture into certitude. It is a shining light which, in a dark world, leadeth the way and guideth. For everything there is and will continue to be a station of perfection and maturity. The maturity of the gift of understanding is made manifest through consultation. Bahá’u’lláh, Consultation, Compilation of Compilations, p. 93
Guiding Principles: Consultation From the beginning, Baháí activities in the development area have emphasized collective decision-making and collective action at the grassroots level. Consultation among all the members of a community is central to the success of every Baháí development project. The use of consultative methods often who have been historically excluded from promotes novel solutions to decision-making. community problems and greater Experience has shown that consultation fairness in the distribution of is an indispensable tool that enables community resources, and serves to communities to sustain and modify uplift those members of a development initiatives and thereby community, such as women and contributes to self-sufficiency and a higher minorities, quality of life.
Guiding Principles: Unity The first duty of the members is to effect their own unity and harmony, in order to obtain good results. If there be no unity, or the Committee becomes the cause of in- harmony, undoubtedly, it is better that it does not exist… Therefore, when the unity of the members of the Committee is established, their second duty is to read the verses and communes, to be in a state of commemoration and mindfulness, that they may see each other as if in the presence of God. ‘Abdul-Bahá, Star of the West, vol. VII. 9, p.114
Guiding Principles: Example Our task is to build the Order of Baháulláh. Undeflected by the desperate expedients of those who seek to subdue the storm convulsing human life by political, economic, social or educational programs, let us, with single-minded devotion and concentrating all our efforts on our objective, raise His Divine System and sheltered within its impregnable stronghold, safe from the darts of doubtfulness, demonstrate the Baháí way of life. Wherever a Baháí community exists, whether large or small, let it be distinguished for its abiding sense of security and faith, its high standard of rectitude, its complete freedom from all forms of prejudice, the spirit of love among its members and for the closely knit fabric of its social life. Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 137
Guiding Principles: Transformation It is not enough to proclaim the Baháí message, essential as that is. It is not enough to expand the rolls of Baháí membership, vital as that is. Souls must be transformed, communities thereby consolidated, new models of life thus attained. Transformation is the essential purpose of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, but it lies in the will and effort of the individual to achieve it in obedience to the Covenant. Universal House of Justice, 1989 Ridvan Message
Guiding Principles: Balance We must seek a balance between the spiritual and practical requirements of life: The oneness of mankind, which is at once the operating principal and ultimate goal of Baháulláh’s Revelation, implies the achievement of a dynamic coherence between the spiritual and practical requirements of life on earth. Universal House of Justice, 16 Sept. 1993 The eagerness of the friends to serve, often carries them away, and they forget that a sound sense of business management is also much needed, if we are to harbor our resources and accomplish all our goals. Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Divine Guidance: vol. 1, p. 216
Guiding Principles: Self-Sufficiency …the long-term conduct of the project should aim at self-sufficiency and not be dependent upon continuing financial support from outside Universal House of Justice, Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 552 The goal is to cultivate self-sufficiency through community awareness in order to reduce dependency on outside aid and advice. Bahá‘í International Community, 1994 Aug 17, Human Rights Extreme Poverty
Guiding Principles: Dignity and Happiness Projects should be seen as means of rendering assistance and help. Through them, the participants should be able to gain in experience and confidence; in self-respect and dignity. National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the USA Developing Distinctive Bahai Communities No matter how far the material world advances, it cannot establish the happiness of mankind. Only when material and spiritual civilization are linked and coordinated will happiness be assured. ‘Abdul-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 109
History The earliest documented Baháí development projects were schools established by the Baháís of Iran at the turn of the century. These were established in response to a stream of letters from `Abdul-Bahá extolling the importance of education, especially for women. More than ten schools in urban areas and approximately forty rural schools were operated by the Baháís between 1888 when the first kindergarten opened in Ishqabad, Russia and 1934 when all Baháí schools were forced to close because they would suspend classes on Baháí Holy Days. Holly Hansen, Overview of Baháí Social and Economic Development
The Reality of Illiteracy There are no reliable numbers for the early part of the last century, as it wasn’t kept track of, but certainly less than 40% of Iranians could write. Literary statistics are different for men and women as well, with women’s overall literacy rate consistently being much lower than men’s. And there was an overall poor level of literacy around the world 100+ years ago.
From the early 1920s to 1963, theBaháí community outside of Iran,although few in numbers and withextremely limited resources, a numberof Baháí schools and student hostelswere established around the world.The first of these was the New EraBaháí School in Panchgani, India,which began as a student hostel in1945.It was followed by others in the Pacific,Latin America, and Africa. During thissame period, the Baháís of Iran,constrained by religious intoleranceand persecution from carrying out anypublicly visible projects at that time,virtually eliminated illiteracy within the A Baháí kindergarten class in Uganda.Baháí community and implemented an The two year kindergarten program wasextensive program of moral education established in 1957 and now has 140for children and adults. students. Processes of Development: The Baháí Approach, One Country Magazine
Springboard to the Future The innovative but diffuse efforts of Baháís, up to this point, were transformed by the 20 October 1983 letter of the Universal House of Justice which called on individuals and Baháí communities to apply the teachings of Baháulláh systematically to the problems of their societies. This seminal statement pointed to: the teachings of Baháulláh as a source of order in the world, asserted the coherence of the spiritual and material dimensions of human life, praised the social and economic progress achieved by the Baháí community of Iran, announced the formation of an Office of Social and Economic Development at the Baháí World Centre, and defined the role of various Baháí agencies in fostering development. Holly Hansen, Overview of Baháí Social and Economic Development
The response to this letter of the Universal House of Justice resulted inexponential growth in the number of development activities reportedto the Baháí World Centre--a rise from 127 in 1979 to 1,344 in 1986.More than 1000% growth in activities in just seven years.Most of these were small-scale, community-initiated activities, but thenumber of more ambitious projects, with physical infrastructure andfull-time staff, also increased dramatically during this period. 1400 1200 1000 800 1979 600 1986 400 200 0 Number of Documented Activities
What is real Development? The New Era Development Institute (NEDI) in Maharashtra, India has used a simple but revealing exercise to help individuals define what their community needs. All participants are asked to draw a picture of what their villages are like. According to an article in One Country magazine, “The drawings are often done with childish simplicity, showing stick figures and little regard for perspective, and the subjects are usually quite similar: they mostly depict a series of huts along a dirt road, surrounded by garbage and undernourished children.” The individuals are then asked to draw a picture of what they would like their villages to become. The first time they do this, most of the students will draw straight roads, electric utility poles, and big buildings such as schools or hospitals. Their drawings are also full of vehicles and nice houses with television sets inside. Interestingly enough, the drawings of the “developed villages” often lack people.
The NEDI instructors then ask if the big buildings, electricity and television are what make people happy. After some discussion, the students realize that they have simply drawn what they’ve seen on television and further that these virtually unattainable material gains aren’t necessary for the actual betterment of their community or its happiness. The students are asked if the people on television in the developed areas are happy and the answers soon surface: “No, they areA developed village, city- not happy.” There is crime, pollution, corruption, and people are afraid to go style, big buildings. out at night in these cities.
Thus, it becomes clear that the changesthey’ve drawn for their villages are onlychanges in the physical environment, andnot in the people themselves. It is finallyclear that people would almost certainlybe happier if these material things werenot in the village. At the end of thediscussion, the individuals are asked todraw another picture of what a“spiritually developed” village would belike. They then draw a new kind ofvillage with lots of people in it who areall working together and cooperating.The village is also cleaner and moreorderly as a significant change to thephysical environment. A developed village where Baháí International Community, “What is Real Development?”, One Country, 9, 3 people are the focus. (October-December 1997)
Balancing Act: Spirit and Mind From the Baháí perspective, then, the set of capacities necessary for building up the social, economic, and moral fabric of collective life must draw upon the resources of both the mind and the heart. By fully integrating spiritual principles into community development activities, ideas, values, and practical measures will emerge that promote self- reliance and safeguard human dignity. These, in turn, encourage and in fact establish a strong foundation for sustainability. In this way, patterns of dependency are avoided and conditions of inequality are progressively eliminated. Thus, in steps this idea of the upraising of the standard of living—which is not defined or measured by the contents of one’s pocket book or whether or not one has electricity, but by the condition and the content of their hearts and minds. This is primary.
Ever-advancing Civilization Baháulláh refers to the human being "as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value," and states that the purpose of life and society is to generate creative processes which serve to release those "gems" of human potential. As individuals begin to cultivate their innate capacities, so the community around them is transformed, and impetus is given to "an ever-advancing civilization." It is therefore the hope of the Baháí community that its current modest efforts in the development field will serve to promote a model of capacity building that results in widespread moral and material advancement.
Overview SED is Baha’i Guiding Principles History – Where we’ve been History – What we’ve learned Our ever-advancing Civilization
The Future Is Clear Even or odd, thou shalt win the wager. The friends of God shall win and profit under all conditions, and shall attain true wealth. In fire they remain cold, and from water they emerge dry. Their affairs are at variance with the affairs of men. Gain is their lot, whatever the deal. To this testifieth every wise one with a discerning eye, and every fair-minded one with a hearing ear. Baha’u’llah Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 154