All Blog Posts Tagged 'community' (80)

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

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

Remembering George Harrison on the road to Busan

After sharing some development practitioners’ honest remarks on aid, Africa, corruption and colonialism last week, I thought I would also share key points made in a session hosted by Oxfam that I attended at the World Bank/IMF annual meetings’ Civil Society Policy Forum on April 15th. Entitled “The Road to Busan: Ensuring Citizens Drive Their Own…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 25, 2011 at 5:30pm — 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

Got ‘Em: An Evaluation Story

A wannabe hot-shot technical advisor, I had just enough knowledge to be useful and just enough naïveté to be dangerous.



I was new to the country office and eager to demonstrate my monitoring and evaluation (M&E) prowess.



The task at hand was completing a mid-term review of a “problematic” implementing partner whose work focused on HIV and food security programming. There was no baseline, but go for it.



Oh, and this particular country office needed to put…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 17, 2011 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Nothing to Offer

The storm that has devastated Japan is hardly past. But as charities appeal and the public offers up their support, I cannot help but think of the three friends in southern Africa,…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 18, 2011 at 8:46am — No Comments

The wisdom of dlalanathi: Reflections on organizational growth

A former colleague recently shared with me a report from dlalanathi (meaning “play with us” in isiZulu), an organization in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa that trains and mentors local community carers of children to use play to have meaningful conversations with children about death.



Founded in December 2000, dlalanathi has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade. dlalanathi’s annual budget went from US$3,784.00 in 2000… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 17, 2011 at 9:44am — No Comments

Did I fund Organization X?

Posting this report from Organization X in Zimbabwe and asking my readers, “Would YOU fund this organization?” was about one thing for me:



Assumptions.



We all have them. Yet I find as aid workers and do-gooders, we don’t get nearly enough opportunities to surface them.



The fact that I would have to examine my own assumptions and explain how they’ve transformed over the… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 11, 2011 at 12:28pm — No Comments

Would YOU fund this organization?

A few years ago, when I was working with a foundation that gives grants to organizations working with children and families affected by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, I received a report from a Zimbabwean grantee, which you can read for yourself on how-matters.org. In determining whether to give them a second small grant, aside from the original proposal and financial report, this was all I had to go on. They…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 24, 2011 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Titillating TED Talks for Sustainable Development Folks

Three separate TED Talks caught my eye over the last week. All encouraged me to reflect on development as a practice and how I personally and professionally stay connected to “what is living” at a local level that is authentic and that has potential to unleash social change. No concrete answers yet of course, but how I love the questions! All videos can be viewed at: … Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 21, 2011 at 5:30pm — 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

161 Indicators, and then what?

One country, seven districts, seven international NGOs, five million dollars (excluding food commodity monetization), and…



161 indicators.



How do you begin to collect, analyze and, more importantly, utilize data on 161 indicators in this scenario?



Got me. And I was the Technical Advisor on Monitoring & Evaluation for this project – ha!



What a beautiful, i.e. funded, proposal it was—concocted by the lead INGOs’ most well-respected,… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 18, 2010 at 1:00am — 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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