I find this rule important and have deemed it my favorite among those in the first mission. People are always our most potent and flexible resource. Other resources, and frequently a lack of them, merely provide opportunity for people to become more than they are. Investing in the empowerment of people within the community causes ripples in their future. Ripples that turn into waves.
There's a saying that goes along with this, something to the tune of 'Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and feed him for life.' This saying goes far beyond feeding that man. That man in turn could pass his knowledge to his descendants, or perhaps builds upon what he already knows. Human beings have a knack for creating abstractions that change their world; A fishing pole turns into a fishing net. A fishing net turns into a fish market.
In the end, whether you're teaching the hungry to fish or teaching the fed to educate others, knowledge is infinitely renewable and people are an exceptional resource.
Provide skills, not just finished technologies.The current revolution in design for developing countries is the notion of co-creation, of teaching the skills necessary to create the solution,
rather than simply providing the solution. By involving the community
throughout the design process, you can help equip people to innovate and
contribute to the evolution of the product. Furthermore, they acquire
the skills needed to create solutions to a much wider variety of
problems. They are empowered.