All Blog Posts Tagged 'development' (239)

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…


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

And while we're talking about "innovation"?

From yesterday's “But will this be sustainable?” also comes...

“This project will be innovative.” 

The development aid sector is not lacking in ideas or methods and it's hardly appropriate to declare one's self "innovative," right?

Last year when I found the one-page piece I wrote about a local implementing…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 19, 2012 at 7:30am — 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…


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

What's Needed to Put Local Champions at the Forefront?

My video contribution to A Day Without Dignity 2012 on's YouTube Channel. Click here to watch it!

Below are some other posts featuring local champions on…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 16, 2012 at 6:00am — No Comments

New “State of the Field” in Youth Economic Opportunities Publication Now Available!

Making Cents International is pleased to announce the release of its latest “State of the Field” publication, which emerged from the 2011 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference.  This practical resource features learning from over 80 leading organizations that are working around the world to increase and improve economic opportunities for young people. Topics include youth enterprise development; workforce development; youth-inclusive financial services; working with adolescent girls…


Added by Chelsea Babcock on April 6, 2012 at 3:50pm — 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.


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


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

Searching for Closure: A Kony2012 Postscript

Solome Lemma (@InnovateAfrica) and I hosted a live discussion today to reflect together on the issues that came up from our posts on #StopKony. Sharing an excerpt below. Photo below by Joop…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 12, 2012 at 8:00pm — No Comments

How to Work in Someone Else’s Country (A Book Review)

Do you have a colleague that just won’t shut up about the fight he’s having with his sibling over their family's vacation home? Or one who dressed way too provocatively when you were on that field visit last week? What about the person who constantly blames everything that doesn’t go their way on the incapacity or corruption of “the locals”?

We have all worked with these people. Perhaps we have even been these people at times. We didn’t know any better…until we did.…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 5, 2012 at 8:00am — No Comments

Call for Session Proposals Open for Making Cents’ 2012 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference

Making Cents International invites you to submit a proposal to lead a workshop-style technical session at the 2012 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference. The conference will take place September 11-13, 2012 at the Inter-American Development Bank’s Conference Center in Washington, DC. Submit a proposal to share your lessons learned, promising practices, and innovative ideas in one or more of the following learning tracks: workforce development; adolescent girls & young…


Added by Chelsea Babcock on March 1, 2012 at 10:51am — No Comments


1. ergh: used when in a state of disgust, confusion, frustration, or convulsion. "ergh, I just threw up all over the keyboard." "ergh, that's wrong." (from Urban Dictionary)

It’s proposal purgatory time at the aid agency where I’m currently working. And one of the joys, the inescapable joys of this time, is completing the accompanying …


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 26, 2012 at 9:00pm — No Comments

How to build strong relationships with grassroots organizations

Re-posting this series from the early days of

Adapted from: The Barefoot Collective. (2009). The Barefoot Guide to Working with Organizations and Social Change. Cape Town: Community Development Resource Association.


In order to build authentic relationships with grassroots organizations, these qualities,…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 23, 2012 at 10:27pm — No Comments

On Love & Justice: A Valentine's Day Reflection

We don’t talk about our hearts nearly enough in international aid and philanthropy. But this Valentine’s Day seems like a good time to do so. Our hearts draw us to this work, and if we keep them open enough, they are what tie us to this work when the frustrations and obstacles seem insurmountable.

A community leader and member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska,…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 14, 2012 at 9:30am — No Comments

Friday’s Poetic Pause: "The Development Set" by Ross Coggins

I remember first reading this poem as I was waiting for an appointment with my advisor in graduate school. It was taped to his door. The second time, it was read to a group of us at our fellowship orientation as we officially entered the corporate aid world.

I also remember both instances to be extremely disappointing.

As I discussed's "Poetry Pause" with someone recently, they reminded me of the…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 10, 2012 at 10:30am — No Comments

Don’t change the message. Change the messenger.

Weh Yeoh of 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:…


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

Capillary Philanthropy: Businesses, local NGOs, and the future of aid

I often find that aid blogs tend to criticize much, offer solutions too little. Orietta L’Abbate, CEO of AAE Australia Inc., shares her proposal for the future of aid.

What do you think? Could it work?

And if the answer is no, you’d better be ready to offer your own new idea. Let’s hear it.


Large scale aid intervention in large scale disaster has shown its slowness and its inability to cooperate and effectively intervene in the Haiti 2010…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 30, 2012 at 7:09am — No Comments

Friday’s Poetic Pause: “Capacity Gap”

I wrote this in a moment of frustration, when it was clear to me that the capacity that needed to be built was not with local partners, but with upper management.

Are you building your capacity to prepare for what Dennis Whittle, co-founder of, terms the pending “democratization of aid"?  It's time for the ability and penchant to work with organizations of any size or type…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 27, 2012 at 9:36am — 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…

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 23, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments

The elephant hasn’t left the room: Racism, power & international aid

After Sasha Rabsey, Founder and President of The HOW Fund (yes, obviously I love the synergy with!), came back from an international conference on poverty reduction at the end of last year, she called me and wanted to talk and learn more about racism, privilege and development. Unfortunately in terms of ready resources, I didn’t have much to share with her other than this 1981…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 18, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments

Poverty here, poverty there

150 million people in the United States are perennially poor, newly poor, or near poor. That’s right, the latest Census figures show that half of America is officially poor. In this so-called economic powerhouse of a…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 16, 2012 at 12:12pm — No Comments

Are you’s first intern? needs someone to help strengthen its social media presence and to support me in charting the site’s evolution and growth.  At this time, the position is a part-time, unpaid internship, i.e. a secondvolunteer.

Responsibilities and duties will include:


  • Monitor news and opinion in the media and blogosphere on aid, philanthropy and social…

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 15, 2012 at 8:00am — No Comments

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