Shut Up and ListenOn November 1, 2018 by Carley Grace
In the TEDx Talk “Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!”, the speaker, Ernesto Sirolli, suggests that many programs introduced to struggling communities by governments and charities ultimately will not provide the intended help. Rather than send resources to the government, Sirolli suggests sending them directly to the people. His experience has been going to bars and making conversations with members of the community. He asks them directly what problems they are facing and works with them directly to solve the issue. For example, five fishermen came to Sirolli with their problem. They were catching high-quality tuna, but they were only getting $.60 per kilogram. Sirolli was able to connect them to people in Japan who would use it for sushi and they were able to sell it for $15 a kilogram. The object of Sirolli’s system which he called “Enterprise Facilitation” is to connect entrepreneurs in developing countries to people with the skills they need. A good business needs someone to make the product, someone to sell the product, and someone to handle the financial aspects. It is nearly impossible to find a person who can do all three, which is why a team is essential for a business. Sirolli believes if we can get the people in the position to be self-sufficient, then the country as a whole will benefit from the successfulness of the businesses.
It sounds like a great plan, but I am not sure developing countries can survive on Enterprise Facilitation alone. Developing countries need funds in for natural disaster recovery, medical aid, and education. These issues would not be a good fit for the Enterprise Facilitation system. I honestly do not believe there is a single correct way to provide assistance to those in need. With proper research and motivation to become engaged in a community, anyone can make a difference. I do not think decisions on how to be engaged in communities should be singularly influenced by a single person. That approach worked for him, and a different approach will work for someone else. I do not think anyone should be made to feel bad about helping if they are making a significant effort to make the world better.