All Blog Posts Tagged 'participation' (49)

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

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

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

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

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

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.



***



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

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

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

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

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