C. Important attitudes in PMU InterLife’s activitiesPMU InterLife’s view of mankind and knowledge is based upon our value foundation and must be reflected in our attitudes and approaches to dealing with people.
Outlook on peopleOur value foundation and our belief in the idea that each individual is created and loved by God allows us to see each and every person as being a creative individual with the capacity to learn and develop.
An all-inclusive outlook on people makes it possible for us to lift up, strengthen and restore people, and offer fellowship. This is our image of Jesus Christ himself, who always treated people with love, forgave them, believed in them and hoped for change. On the other hand, an outlook on people that excludes others expresses itself in stigmatization, marginalization and isolation. Examples of this are communities, families and even churches that exclude people who suffer from HIV and AIDS.
Jesus invited people to be a part of the community with him and never excluded anyone. He treated everyone the same and clearly illustrated that people are of equal value, regardless of their situation in life and how others value them. And this is why we should also see and confirm each and every individual as a unique and valuable person.
We are not involved in development co-operation primarily because we feel sorry for people, or because they are in such great need. Our actions are based on our belief that everyone has the same right to a dignified life. This is also in line with the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights established in 1948 which clearly states that ”All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.
Our ideas and actions are founded on the belief that every person has an innate ability to change their lives. Our aim to give them the power and possibility to do this by inviting them to participate in our co-operation projects. This is what is meant by the word empowerment which is a key word in development co-operation.
It is also important to remember that our view of people is influenced by the concepts we have and the words we use when we describe people. For example, if we call people who live in poverty “the poor”, we risk diminishing the inherent value of these people and allowing their state of poverty to become a part of their identity. Our choice of words can influence us into believing that poverty is a permanent condition that no one can ever escape. Since PMU InterLife states in its value foundation that poverty can be spiritual, cultural, social or material, there is every reason to reflect upon who in reality is actually “rich” and who is actually “poor”.
View of knowledgeOne of PMU’s roles is to create conditions for individuals and organisations to learn. We hope to accomplish this through encouragement, and the use of methods in which participants can improve their life situations through dialogue. When people meet and exchange experiences, knowledge is created that profoundly changes the individual and the whole community. With this view of knowledge, people and their experiences become the focus of attention.
Traditionally, learning has been seen as a burden, while knowledge is seen as something that could be simply transferred from one person to another. In line with this way of thinking, knowledge is reduced to information that only needs to be memorized. Such information is not to be re-created anew or interpreted. Learning only requires a good memory. The traditional view of knowledge tells us that no new or additional questions or reflections are needed.
On the other hand, learning through dialogue and reflection requires recognizing that you do not know everything, or how to do everything and are open to change. Curiosity, the ability to listen and collectively arrive at conclusions are important characteristics of anyone who works with development and learning. New knowledge is formed in a creative process among people in which both emotions and the intellect are involved. Creative ideas on how people working together can improve their own living conditions as well as those of others are born in interaction among people. Development then, is a natural, continuous process that never ceases, and occurs internally within each person and also among people.
Learning and developmentEducation of all types is one of the basic human rights. Education contributes to democracy and gives people the power to take charge of their own lives and improve their living conditions. When the Swedish Pentecostal movement began, the tradition of interactive learning was an important element. The pedagogy and approach of interactive learning traditions, in which everyone’s contribution is important, and everyone learns from each other, also lies close to PMU InterLife’s value foundation which places the experiences of people and their own capacity in focus.
True learning requires humility, and if a person leads or participates in a group, it is of primary importance to ask relevant questions, since it is questions that guide the discussion. The goal of our work is to create conditions for people to learn and develop. However, PMU believes that open and creative discussions can only arise if the participants are allowed to have different perspectives and views, and are respected by all. This is why all of our co-operation should be characterised by dialogue, and by tolerant gatherings of people in which everyone can learn from each other.
The pedagogy and approach of interactive learning is especially relevant in non-formal education and training (e.g. literacy, sewing courses etc) and informal learning (where people learn from each other in daily life). But even in formal education (compulsory and secondary schools etc) all modern teaching techniques are characterized by an openness to dialogue and a respect for the student’s views and right to guide their own learning.
PMU believes that every person is responsible for their own learning process. Our mission is to ensure that this learning process becomes possible. Our organisation is also responsible for finding work methods that make individuals and groups aware of the need to learn together, and to make it possible for them to actually meet to do this.
In line with our own goals, PMU also strives to be a learning organisation that values the perception and experiences of people and organisations, and makes use of resources and the abilities of people, organisations and societies in a manner that benefits everyone. This is why we are open to broad co-operation with other organisations. It is with great humility that we approach the common task of fighting poverty. There are no simple, ready-made solutions.