They thought the teacher would be the best treasurer
by Phil Bartle, PhD
Short stories to illustrate the principles
The little village of New Hope was big enough to have a school. The teacher, Mr. Atrophy, was from another region in the nation. He was the most educated and informed person in New Hope. When the District Development Officer (DDO) came around and helped them to organize to build a clean water supply, the villagers quickly chose Mr. Atrophy as the treasurer because he was the most educated, and perhaps the only literate person available.
The DDO was uncomfortable about that decision, knowing that Mr. Atrophy did not have the roots which would contribute to village loyalty. But the DDO kept his thoughts to himself. Things started off well. Local contributions were small. Some villagers who had moved to the city sent home more money. The DDO got a grant from the Ministry in charge of rural water. An international NGO put in some more money. Organising and planning all fell into place.
When the time came for the first payment, they sent for Mr. Atrophy, but he was nowhere to be found. The villagers had lost all their water money. The police could not help because they had no money for transport. It took them several years to find alternative sources of money, and the second time they listened to the DDO and chose Mama Sita, an elderly illiterate lady who was known and trusted by all. She got help from her school going grandchildren. They did all the necessary arithmetic in the accounts, and not a penny went astray. Finally, New Hope had its clean water supply.
Note: These stories are based on actual events. The names of people and places have been changed for the sake of anonymity.
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