All Blog Posts Tagged 'accountability' (23)

Leading From Love: The attentiveness that brought accountability

A guest post on how-matters.org by Rajasvini Bhansali

It had been six months since I started my new role as a management advisor for a network of youth polytechnics[1] in rural Kenya. The Wakamba village elders in Maseki village where I lived had named me Mutanu meaning “one who smiles a lot.” My career, coursework, and …

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 28, 2013 at 7:00am — 1 Comment

Accountability to whom? Keep asking.

It still shocks me a little when a colleague will look at me and ask, “Now, what do you mean by ‘downward accountability’?”, as if I’ve just uttered an oxymoron.

It shouldn’t surprise me. I’ve written about how accountability is often looked for in all the wrong places. But it’s not as if I’m saying something that should be so foreign or new, right?

Here’s a definition from Keystone’s 2006(!)…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 15, 2012 at 7:30am — No Comments

The Case of the Missing Tomato Cages

I've often said that it was easier for me to move to rural Zimbabwe than to Detroit. When people ask me why this farm-girl-turned-aid-worker devoted myself to placing community-driven development initiatives at the forefront of aid, here’s why:…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 7, 2012 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Does international aid need a 12-step program?

“Let go and let God.” It’s a mantra of Alcoholics Anonymous. And after the last week or so, I’m wondering if it’s time for international aid to adopt the same approach to recovery (with more politically correct secular references of course).

Last week I attended the “Summit for Aid Effectiveness in Global…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 5, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments

Whom do I actually serve?

Andebo Pax Pascal shares his experience as an aid worker in Africa’s newest country in his second guest post By examining beneficiaries’ place (or lack thereof) in two projects, he explores whether the development discourse has drifted into the abstract, beyond those he serves.

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The idea of different categories of people--donors, government representatives,…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 1, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments

Has aid lost its humanity?

When Mette Müller, founder of Best Self Experience, shared the following comment on my blog, I knew I wanted to invite her to share her story:

“The grassroots [organizations] that I have worked with have been excellent in seeing development as a process rather than a large checkbox... but many aid workers (sorry sorry sorry for the generalisation) seem to misunderstand this, and project their own ambitions and understanding of…
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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 23, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments

A tale of two realities

I attended two entirely different Washington D.C. aid industry events yesterday.

The first was a Society for International Development panel entitled, “M&E in the For-Profit and Non-Profit Sectors: Differences and Shared Advantages” and the second was “…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on December 14, 2011 at 8:30am — No Comments

Accountability in all the wrong places

“But how will we hold them accountable?” the senior technical advisor said of the proposal from the high-profile NGO. “There’s not even a logframe in there.”

Silently in my cubicle, I thought, “Oh, if only that would only make people and organizations accountable…”

Obviously, the need and the desire to be accountable in our industry are not going away. With foreign aid budgets under fire in many donor countries, accountability perhaps becomes even more…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on December 8, 2011 at 5:30am — No Comments

Hallowed Halls or Ghost Towns?

This week I re-entered an aid “institution” after five years of working with small foundations and local groups.

After just two short days, I can’t help but be reminded of why I left.

I am once again surrounded by smart, driven, committed people. But unfortunately they are largely a group of people who are also exhausted, overwhelmed, and discouraged by fighting while propagating the very organizations in which they serve. From my still outsider’s perspective, it’s as if the…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 26, 2011 at 8:30am — No Comments

Reaching Girls at the Grassroots--A Sound Investment

How-matters.org is featuring two posts today as part of the Girl Effect Blogging Campaign. 

Part 1 discusses how grassroots organizations, as powerful actors that find and reach marginalized girls, are key to unlocking girls’ potential.

Because they are embedded in the communities they…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 4, 2011 at 10:30am — 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

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

Sorry but it’s not YOUR project

(Whispering.) “Psst, excuse me, but actually it’s not ‘your’ program. And if you think that it is, we may have a problem on our hands.”

Many would argue that who owns what in development is a key aspect, if not the aspect, to a project’s or program’s success.



And so a person’s choice word choice when describing their work or do-gooder endeavor can actually reveal quite a lot.



Some may think I’m just being…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 27, 2011 at 8:29pm — No Comments

Aid, Africa, Corruption, and Colonialism: An Honest Conversation

I’m sharing an interesting discussion that’s been going on via the LinkedIn Africa NGO Network group, "Why is development aid having corruption problems in Africa generally?". Some of the key contributions on root issues follow below.…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 22, 2011 at 10:17am — No Comments

World Bank and IMF, Don’t Just Develop Capacity – Unleash It

The World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings start this week. My colleague, Tom Grubisich and I have put together a panel during the Civil Society Policy Forum entitled, "Winds of Change: Will it bring a new development paradigm?" It will take place on Friday, April 15th at 2pm EST (6pm GMT). The session overview, webcast links, and bios of participants (an exciting group if I do say so!) are featured below.



A livestream… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 10, 2011 at 11:53pm — No Comments

Grassroots = No Brains?

A tweet caught my attention last weekend on a search that I follow:

“I am so tired w/ dealing w/ ‘Grassroots’ organizations here in #haiti Unfortunately grassroots=no brains +no money”

My unanswered response to this frustrated aid worker went something like this:

“Generalities of “no capacity” perpetuated about grassroots organizations does not do…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 28, 2011 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Small is Beautiful…Grants, That Is (Part 2)





Thanks to probing, concrete questions from Maryline Penedo, moderator of a virtual…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 13, 2011 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Small is Beautiful…Grants, That Is (Part 1)

Larger-scale support of local initiatives, grassroots leadership and small, often “informal”movements is a key reform needed in the international development aid sector. I shared this view in a post entitled, “…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 10, 2011 at 3:30pm — No Comments

What’s missing from the DIY aid debate? Overlooking the capacity of local NGOs

Professional or amateur? Skills and experience or passion and new ideas? These are riveting questions indeed, but I’m concerned that in the development discourse, we continue to miss a key piece.



Well-intentioned do-gooders of any sort must recognize is that in the developing world, local people with that same “combustible mix of indignation and vision” that Nicholas Kristof describes, are often already… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 9, 2010 at 10:55am — No Comments

Dipping into the pile: good reading on aid effectiveness



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 pile, featuring excerpts from the 7th page of each, first three sentences… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 31, 2010 at 10:49pm — No Comments

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