What difference does it make? This is the burning question I’m facing at the moment – in project proposals, in fundraising conferences, in organisational discussions. The call for measurable, tangible evidence of the outcomes and impacts of transport programmes is rational and understandable. Funders and corporates are accountable to shareholders and voters. Why should anyone, or any thing, offer funds for something which cannot be measured? Especially in a South African context where the needs are so many and the resources so limited?
Into this mix…conversations about what is necessary in this country? Will “development”, either economic or social, be enough? Or do we need transformations of ourselves and our social systems. And what will that take?
It seems that we do need transformations – in how we value ourselves, each other and our planet – so that we can effectively tackle systemic issues like violence and climate change. Unfortunately these transformations, although powerful enough to cause Cold Wars to melt and Mandela to be released are, paradoxically, also intangible and, certainly, immeasurable.
I see no way out of this other than through story-telling, putting human words and faces to internal “a-ha!” wake-up moments. Such stories cannot be easily aggregated, accounted or boxed but they are evidence of profound rumblings of change.
The quote, by the way, is from Einstein! The first half…”Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count…”