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
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
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
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 16, 2012 at 12:12pm — No Comments
I know, I know. I’m supposedly on a self-declared shut-down, but I couldn’t resist sharing my top 12 people, trends, sites, and organizations to watch in 2012!!
In no particular order...
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 27, 2011 at 6:00pm — No Comments
Stronger, more sustainable community-based organizations can contribute to a more effective and participatory civil society…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 8, 2011 at 8:42am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 3, 2011 at 12:00pm — No Comments
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 25, 2011 at 7:30am — No Comments
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 20, 2011 at 8:47am — No Comments
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…
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 18, 2011 at 11:30pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 3, 2011 at 4:22pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 28, 2011 at 8:52am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 14, 2011 at 3:30pm — No Comments
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,…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 6, 2011 at 4:30pm — No Comments
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.…Continue