All Blog Posts Tagged 'assistance' (74)

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

Letting the snark flow

Does snark among aid bloggers go too far? Do aid workers just need and deserve to let off steam? Or does the language we use matter, because it either closes down or opens up dialogue, especially with our partners?

I’m not sure, frankly. (See some others illustrate the points here and…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 27, 2011 at 6:00pm — 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

Friday’s Poetic Pause: “Ungrateful”

The annual expressions of gratitude from the U.S.’ Thanksgiving holiday now subsided, I share a poem I wrote yesterday about how hard it is at times to be genuinely grateful.

Over the past year, I have been fortunate enough to live rent-free, staying with friends and family. But that has also meant that I have been someone’s houseguest.

After I wrote this reflection, I wondered: Is there a parallel to be drawn with those at the…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 25, 2011 at 10:00am — No Comments

Hillary, Stoves Won’t Save the World

"Hillary Clinton unveils initiative on clean cooking stoves," was among last year’s highlights at the Millennium Development Goals Summit. On this World Pneumonia Day, what has become of The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves? Has yet another “silver bullet” failed to make a difference for those in the…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 12, 2011 at 8:00pm — 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

Local Realities, Local Adaptation

Tanya Cothran writes about how an idea, some information sharing, and a little bit of money can go a long way at the local level when people are behind an initiative. In addition to providing small community-focused grants to build economic security in Africa, Spirit in Action (SIA) also focuses on knowledge sharing. Tanya, who is the Executive Administrator of SIA, shares her reflections following…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 3, 2011 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Real Impact with Saeed Wame

I always walk away from a conversation with Saeed Wame, founder and director of Namwera AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC) of Malawi, with a new…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 25, 2011 at 7:30am — No Comments

How would you measure the strength of a partnership?

Building on how-matters.org’s earlier posts, “How to build strong relationships with grassroots organizations” (part 1, part 2, part…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 20, 2011 at 8:47am — 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

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

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

Effective aid: A matter of faith?

The “beast” had eaten all of the chickens.

That is why the income-generating activity undertaken by this small group in Malawi had not yet seen any profit, they explained. This is also why the group wanted to abandon chicken-rearing in favor of installing a paraffin pump, something that would require much less upkeep, inputs, and security.

What would it take for you to fund this youthful, energetic, but inexperienced group again?

A little faith? Or a lot for that…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 28, 2011 at 8:52am — No Comments

The Joy of Aid Work

My friend recently shared this status update on Facebook. Her description of the joy of aid work resonated with me as I thought it would with readers of how-matters.org.

Kirsten Weeks [in Zambia] “realizes that I am happiest on days like today that start with a 6am departure to the airport, visits to a cotton gin, talks with small holder farmers, focus groups at ART clinics with potential problem solving to address…
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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 20, 2011 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Stuff: What is it good for?

I do not normally jump on the SWEDOW bandwagon. It seems the most salient arguments are made again and again, and frankly, it’s often too easy of a criticism.

But whenever the latest blogosphere or Twitter uproar occurs (see Nick Kristof’s latest appeal for old prom or bridesmaid dresses or this…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 17, 2011 at 3:30pm — 3 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

Are you reading this?

Then you should take this survey.

In other words, it’s for people who read aid blogs.

Why should you bother? For one reason, it's short. It's also anonymous. And most notably, your interests and habits are important to us, the bloggers.

See what the @SmartAid folks and other bloggers have to say about the survey via…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 7, 2011 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Already “of” the community

We’ve all seen many participation typologies over the years. But with the one below, which I created when examining local partners’ final reports in 2009, I was trying to describe some simple categories of approaches to working with communities that local non-governmental organizations utilize. It was also meant to capture that fine line that can exist between a community-based organization (CBO) and a community,…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 6, 2011 at 4:30pm — 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

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