Rich countries delivered $3.2 trillion of aid to poor countries between 1960 and 2008 (World Bank, 2011). Yet only 36% of aid workers think projects achieve their intended impact (McKinsey & Devex, 2011).
Aid recipients agree, calling for a change in aid’s business model—from that of delivery of goods and…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 9, 2012 at 8:30pm — No Comments
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:…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 7, 2012 at 8:00pm — No Comments
“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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 5, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 19, 2012 at 7:30am — No Comments
"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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 18, 2012 at 6:48am — No Comments
Below are some other posts featuring local champions on…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 16, 2012 at 6:00am — No Comments
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,…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 1, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 12, 2012 at 8:00pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 7, 2012 at 11:30pm — No Comments
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.…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 5, 2012 at 8:00am — 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 …Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 26, 2012 at 9:00pm — No Comments
Re-posting this series from the early days of how-matters.org…
Adapted from: The Barefoot Collective. (2009). The Barefoot Guide to Working with Organizations and Social Change. Cape Town: Community Development Resource Association. www.barefootguide.org
In order to build authentic relationships with grassroots organizations, these qualities,…
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 23, 2012 at 10:27pm — No Comments
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,…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 14, 2012 at 9:30am — No Comments
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 how-matters.org's "Poetry Pause" with someone recently, they reminded me of the…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 10, 2012 at 10:30am — No Comments
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?Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 7, 2012 at 6:00pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 30, 2012 at 7:09am — No Comments
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 GlobalGiving.org, terms the pending “democratization of aid"? It's time for the ability and penchant to work with organizations of any size or type…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 27, 2012 at 9:36am — No Comments
How-matters.org readers may know that I’m a faithful reader of The Sun Magazine. A well-spun story in the December 2011 issue, “First Empty Your Cup” by Andrew Boyd, featured an account of a traveler in Japan. I thought the conversation from this selection would ring…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 25, 2012 at 7:46pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 23, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments
After Sasha Rabsey, Founder and President of The HOW Fund (yes, obviously I love the synergy with how-matters.org!), 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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 18, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments