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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 26, 2011 at 8:30am — 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
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 4, 2011 at 10:30am — 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
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…
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 12, 2011 at 5:00pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on July 31, 2011 at 11:45am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on June 6, 2011 at 4:52pm — No Comments
(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…
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 27, 2011 at 8:29pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 25, 2011 at 5:30pm — No Comments
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.…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 22, 2011 at 10:17am — No Comments
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…
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 17, 2011 at 9:30pm — No Comments
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 18, 2011 at 8:46am — No Comments
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 11, 2011 at 12:28pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 24, 2011 at 8:30pm — No Comments
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 21, 2011 at 5:30pm — No Comments