Jennifer Lentfer's Blog Posts Tagged 'NGOs' (37)

“Create” nothing: A new social good mantra

Aid workers and development practitioners, how many times have you seen a paragraph like this in a proposal?

“Community Mobilization: To ensure communities are… community management committees (CMCs) will be formed. Based on accepted cultural practice, CMCs will be chosen by the community members themselves with strong encouragement on establishing a gender-balanced CMC. The CMC will represent the community and be responsible for ensuring effective community…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 25, 2013 at 9:30am — No Comments

From one Cornhusker to another: Peter Buffett, philanthropy, and how we can frame the dialogue

Dear Mr. Buffett,

The charitable industrial-complex, philanthropic colonialism, conscience laundering and inequality – these are topics a fellow Nebraskan like me wants to have more conversations about. So that’s why I was glad to read your New York Times op-ed this weekend, the …

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 1, 2013 at 9:05am — No Comments

Time to listen? Time to address our personal barriers

When Time to Listen: Hearing people on the receiving end of international aid came out earlier this year, I was excited to see how many organizations, including my own, were interacting with the multi-year study and its authors. (See previous how-matters.org…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on July 26, 2013 at 10:42am — No Comments

7 things you need to speak truth to power

Financial mismanagement. Lay-offs of local and international staff. Inappropriate conduct by leadership. Finally, a visit planned from headquarters to see what’s going on. What do you do?

A superior continues to make passes at you. You find out you’re paid less than someone doing your exact same job. Someone takes undue credit for work you did.

The rules don’t…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 16, 2013 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

Don't you talk about my...that way...

“Excuse me. What’s that you’re reading?” the woman wedged next to me in the busy restaurant asked.

Sitting on the table in front me yesterday was Tori Hogan’s new book, Beyond Good Intentions: A Journey Into the Realities of International Aid. (Now available …

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 23, 2012 at 6:30am — No Comments

Sustainability--some clarity please!

"But will this be sustainable?"

This is a question I find it harder and harder to tolerate it in discussions about international development. (Luckily, due to my nature and to this blog, I rarely have to bite my tongue.)

I share this though because we as aid workers and funders need to challenge this notion of the necessity of the "sustainability" of activities within aid projects. Basic services to people must be sustainable. Training…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 18, 2012 at 6:48am — No Comments

Bad guys, good guys, and the people in between

I won’t share the video that many of my fellow bloggers reacted to today. Because of its slick production value, Invisible Children’s Kony2012 campaign will get plenty of attention without a link from me.

I did attempt to watch the whole video, but I have to confess that I stopped when Invisible Children’s founder asks his 3-year-old to explain who the “bad guys” are and what daddy does, i.e. he goes after them. The simplistic narrative of heroes and villains – this, among other…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 7, 2012 at 11:30pm — No Comments

Don’t change the message. Change the messenger.

Weh Yeoh of whydev.org argues that everything that we do in international development is about selling a message. But how do we convince people when a message goes against the grain of what they already believe?

Read on at: http://www.how-matters.org/2012/02/07/change-the-messenger/…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 7, 2012 at 6:00pm — No Comments

The Year Ends. The Pendulum Swings.

It’s been a great year at how-matters.org! I am invoking a “shut down” for the holidays as of today and will return on January 15th. Why the big break?

Because there are ideas to be flushed out, plans to be finalized, proposals to be finished, reflections and connections to be had.

2011 has been a “shake-up” year. With the Arab awakening in North Africa and the Middle East and the emergence of the Occupy…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on December 15, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments

Mentoring Among Local Organizations—Here’s How!

Following on the interest in my posts on exchange visits between local organizations and oral reporting, here’s another set of guidelines on mentoring relationships for your use and adaptation.

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Stronger, more sustainable community-based organizations can contribute to a more effective and participatory civil society…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 8, 2011 at 8:42am — No Comments

The Value of Feasting

When Carol arrived to the village in rural Indonesia to begin her anthropological dissertation research, she was shocked at the frequency of “feasts” that took place in the village. This was not a phenomenon she had come to study, and frankly, she became a bit annoyed at how she perceived it “disrupted” village life, and presumably her work. They would involve everyone and much effort and time went into these all-day events.



Carol shared, in the qualitative research methods class…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 18, 2011 at 11:30pm — No Comments

Exchange Visits Among Local Organizations—Here’s How!

Stronger, more sustainable community-based organizations can contribute to a more effective and participatory civil society response to the needs of vulnerable people in the developing world.

Donors can support organizations even at the beginning stages of organizational development with an intent to leave groups stronger than when they first entered into partnership. Different types of capacity building activities such as exchange visits and mentoring relationships between…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 3, 2011 at 4:22pm — No Comments

A Second Dip into the Reading Pile

If you’re like me, you have a pile of all the reports, articles, and publications that you’re aiming to get to. And from time to time, I take pleasure in dipping in to explore the new thinking or sound practices in international development and aid effectiveness.

So I’m sharing twelve papers from my virtual pile, featuring excerpts from the 7th page of text of each, first 3-4 sentences of the second paragraph. Hopefully the exercise will be a fun way to highlight these…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 14, 2011 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Another Must Listen

On the treadmill this morning (a time I usually reserve for non-development thinking), a story from Malawi popped up via This American Life on my ipod. They continue covering stories on aid issues in ways that are, for the most part, respectful and engaging, this one specifically related to HIV prevention programs.

This American Life 444: Gossip, Originally aired 8/26/11 Summary from the…
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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 1, 2011 at 10:30pm — No Comments

The Curious Aid Worker: Storytelling with Marc Maxson (Part I)

Marc Maxson is not your usual aid worker.

Yes, he is a returned Peace Corps volunteer, lives in Kenya, works for a Washington D.C.-based non-governmental organization, and is married to someone also employed in aid.

But Marc Maxson also has a PhD in neuroscience.

So what does that enable Marc to do as an aid worker? Marc develops new conceptual approaches to solving "impossible" problems, of which there are many in international development.…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 29, 2011 at 9:00pm — 1 Comment

Participation: Reality or the Promised Land? A View from South Sudan

In response to an earlier post on how-matters.org, “Sorry but it’s not YOUR project,” a reader offered the following guest post. Andebo Pax Pascal shares his experience as an aid worker in Africa’s newest country.



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My friend Tom is working for “Aid Agency X”, which has prided itself in working ‘with’ and not ‘for’ the people, a sign that it is ready to involve the community in its development…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 12, 2011 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Behind the Barricades, There Is Happiness

Richard Moore describes himself as “just a guy who wanted to help.”

This is somehow funny coming from a man whom the Dalai Lama refers to as “my hero.”

Well known to the residents of Derry, Ireland, where we met last month, Richard Moore was shot at the age of 10 by a British solider on his way home from school. Taking a rubber bullet on the bridge of his nose, Richard lost…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 5, 2011 at 10:00am — No Comments

Do community-based organizations have an image problem?

I give lots of thought to what makes community-based organizations the lowest common denominator in development aid. Readers of how-matters.org may already be familiar with previous arguments I’ve offered for the increased inclusion of and investment in community-based organizations (CBOs). As an ardent proponent of CBOs’ comparative advantages, I believe they have a better chance of being driven by “the…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on July 31, 2011 at 11:45am — No Comments

Delights of the Green Isle

Hello readers! I returned from Ireland in the beginning of July and have been bursting with stories to tell. Here are a few highlights of the wonderful people I was able to connect with in Ireland, all due to this amazing tool we call the internet.



Alessandra Pigni, Founder of Mindfulness for NGOs…



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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on July 26, 2011 at 11:48am — No Comments

The Marginalization of CBOs by Development Actors: A Perspective from Zimbabwe

Samuel Maruta of the Southern Institute of Peace-building and Development (SIPD) from Ruwa, Zimbabwe has conducted research about the role of community-based organizations (CBOs) in community development and the nature of their operating environment. He points to the need for a paradigm shift among development actors in favor of CBOs, and for CBOs to build their capacities in critical areas of…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on June 6, 2011 at 4:52pm — No Comments

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