A crash course in changing the world.
I want to comment on the suggestion that we should not fight against the culture.
Every external intervention re-shaping behaviors, artifacts, norms or roles will influence a culture in some way. Therefore we should be extremely sensitive to the complexity of this issue.
I was working for a year in southern Kenya, in a village where everyone (including us) was living in the mud-houses. Traditional mud houses have a fireplace in the middle which is used for cooking and heating the house. The houses lack any ventilation in a form of window, semi-chimney etc. Therefore, many children die as a result of respiratory diseases, adults have problems with eyes and breathing. Polish volunteers together with the traditional Massai Chief and local women were trying to find a solution and came up with a system of locally made semi-chimneys. They were not introduced as the rainy season came and what we realized is that we (volunteers) needed to abandon our beautiful modern huts (without the fireplaces), because of the invasion of the termites. Massai did not have this problem, as the smoke was keeping termites away.
Therefore, I strongly believe that we should be aware that
1. Every action will have some impact of the local culture
2. We may (and probably will not) be able to embrace wisdom rooted in the current behaviors
3. Local people may not understand it either!