Roots Growing Deep
As I mentioned in class, seeking for a problem’s root cause is like opening a can of worms. I believe this is especially pertinent to poverty eradication because every root cause seems to overlap with multiple others. It’s as though one problem can’t be solved without delving into others related to it.
Another thought, a plant can’t die unless its roots die. Thinking about a social problem, it can’t be resolved unless its root causes are addressed. The question is then raised, to what extent do various root causes need to be solved for the overall problem to be fixed? I believe it depends on each situation and also how much each cause contributes.
For example, if a rural community lacks clean water, the quick solution is to dig a well. That may however not fix the problem indefinitely because of the root causes– there may be a drought season, geography can determine how much water is available, or groundwater may be polluted because of a lack of sewage infrastructure—to name a few. In order to then effectively solve the problem, the root-causes must not only be identified but also evaluated in terms of their importance.
Say then the entrepreneur behind the project decides that the lack of sewage infrastructure is the most pressing root cause. He/she must then tackle that problem first. This new problem then opens issues related to funding, hauling in material, building permits, etc. The list goes on and on as roots go deeper and deeper into the various problems.
My point with this post is not to reiterate the idea that root causes are thick, confusing webs. Rather, I’d like to go back to the point I made on identifying and solving the more important root causes. In most cases, not every root cause can be addressed by an entrepreneur because it is simply too much. I believe then, the greatest progress can be made by seeking to resolve the most pressing root causes.