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Electing and Encouraging Leadership


Written by Plant With Purpose on November 4, 2014 in General

As we make our voices heard this Election Day, we want to highlight the voting opportunities in Plant With Purpose partnering countries. We also want to recognize the relationships that are being built between these communities and local governments.

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Former governor of Rutana visiting partnering farmers in Burundi. In support of Plant With Purpose’s work she said, “Cassava has no color, it has no ethnicity. But as the people work together side by side in the fields, they learn to care about one another. This has done more for reconciliation than many of the official government programs.”

Haiti, Burundi, and Tanzania are republic governments. Citizens maintain the right to elect representatives who then vote on legislation. In these countries citizens vote for the head of state and government, and for representatives to vote at the legislative level. Haiti has a popularly elected president and an appointed prime minister, both whom exercise power as head of the government and state. Burundi is a multi party state that elects a president as the head of government and state. Tanzania has a president and National Assembly, both elected by direct popular vote.

The Dominican Republic maintains a democratic republic government. Citizens use their right to vote in voting for representatives and delegated authority. The Dominican Republic has three branches of government like the United States, and elects a president and vice president by vote of the public and their elected representatives.

Mexico and the United States share the same government system: a federal republic. Both elect a president by a system of voting and allow for individual states of the country to have forms of self-government. Voters hold the ultimate sovereign power in being able to choose their governmental representation.

Thailand’s governmental system looks a little different than the three listed above. As a constitutional monarchy, Thailand has an elected prime minister who is the head of government, as well as a hereditary monarch who is the head of state. The monarch is guided by a constitution and must follow the rules and customs outlined in such.

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Country Director Carlos Disla presents a certificate for completion of an adult literacy course. Plant With Purpose has joined the efforts of the president of the Dominican Republic in combatting adult illiteracy.

For the most part, the differences between each country’s government are subtle, but each country holds the same common theme: citizens hold the power to vote. Whether that is voting for their representatives or voting directly for their head of government, individuals have the freedom and power to make their voice heard within their country’s government. This means that as Plant With Purpose continues to partner with each country, it is important to build relationships with authorities at a local and national government level.

In Tanzania, our annual tree-planting competition between Village Savings and Loan Associations has garnered support from government officials. The environmental restoration that is taking place is being noticed beyond the immediate communities responsible for it. In Thailand, obtaining citizenship to have access to healthcare, education, and owning land has been a challenge for members of the hilltribe communities. Collaboration with the local government has helped to institute a better process for individuals to secure citizenship and understand their rights. In the Dominican Republic, planting trees to heal the deforested land is a priority. Recently, the Dominican government has turned to Plant With Purpose for help with their national reforestation program. These are just a few examples of the willingness to work with and serve local governments in partnering countries.

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Government officials and Plant With Purpose staff visit a national park and discuss habitat restoration in Tanzania.

When elections come, our preferred candidate doesn’t always end up in office. The Apostle Paul in Romans reminds us that God is ultimately responsible for placing individuals in their roles of leadership. As followers of Jesus we are called to respect, encourage, and pray for our leaders:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

 

So on this Election Day, remember that as we exercise our right to vote in our leadership, we are also called to encourage and pray for those who God has put in that position. The authority and leadership that we find ourselves subject to only has power because of our sovereign, mighty God. Now get out there and vote!


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