What we believe
1. Fair chain
The economic benefits of Fair Trade to producer organizations are negligible (The Guardian, August 4th 2017). Instead of Fair Trade we focus on Fair Chain; an equal balance of ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ within the chain from producer to consumer.
Fair divide of money
In terms of money this means that there must a relatively fair divide of money throughout the whole chain of production and trade. In terms of resources this means we should not withdraw more from the Earth than we return to the planet.
Return on Extraction
Our objective is to return more to Earth than is given by the planet. We call this Return On Extraction (ROE). We aim to provide farmers and producers a more equal share of profit than is common in international (fair) trade. We are transparent about the divide of money and about our ‘ecological footprint’.
2. Sharing Economy
Basically all trade is exchange based transactions. One gives money or something with value to receive a product or service that is perceived to be of same/similar value. There is win-lose or win-win. Sharing is not the same as exchange. Instead of a dual relationship we apply a triangular relationship of ‘you-me-we’. Our understanding of sharing implies a third win. Together we have more or can achieve more than we ever could as individuals.
Leap into Life foundation exists because of people contributing without asking anything in return; because they share. However the way we apply the principle of sharing should not be mixed up with altruism. Money is part of our reality. However we use money as a means for a shared cause and are changing how we relate to money.
WE is more important than ME
Our specific interpretation of a Sharing Economy is defined in terms of individual attitude and collaborative action. To make this principle work requires individual commitment to the collective. We work with a common purpose, and accountability for individual action. In Ghana it provides more individual wealth through communal action. On international scale it provides more impact and a more equal divide though collaborative effort.
3. Spiral Dynamics
In Spiral Dynamics the key question is: “What is healthy human behaviour?” Research by Prof. Clare Graves showed that there is not a single answer to this question. We live in one world, but perceive the world differently; we live in multiple realities. Those different realities (world views) do not seem to be able to relate, causing inequality and conflict. Spiral Dynamics enables us to see the patterns underneath. It brings clarity on the dynamics of change; not in terms of what is happening, but how things emerge and why they are happening.
Fit with the reality of people
We use Spiral Dynamics to engage with the issues the communities are holding and to ‘manage’ the projects and organisation of Leap into Life. A key principle we work with is emergence; we are trying to create life conditions that fit with the reality of people. When fit is there, growth will be a natural consequence.
The reality of the communities in the Dagomba tribe is different from the reality of the Leap into Life working community in the West. Instead of trying to convince each other of our truths we are collaborating to create congruence beyond conflict. This requires personal effort and commitment to learn from a perspective that is different from our own. It also requires time for reflection and learning.
4. Learning by doing
As leap into Life we do not work on projects or Sustainable Development Goals; we work with people and real challenges they are facing. The challenges often are more complex and intertwined than can be captured in a single SDG or model. We do apply models to understand reality, but not to fit reality into a model.
Trial and error
How we collaborate to achieve results can be defined as Prototyping. Our approach has strong elements of Action Learning; we act in real life situations and use trial and error to learn and improve. Finding new pathways and dealing with uncertainty, we are aware that there still is much to learn. The learning and time for reflection are equally important as the actions.
Open mind, will and heart
Our objective is to create prototypes that are inclusive. Social inclusiveness requires bridging of what seem to be opposites. This again requires an open mind, will and heart of those involved. We believe a lot of the learning and the key to success for a Sharing Economy or Inclusive Society is not in technology (only) but in consciousness and conscious action.