All Blog Posts Tagged 'workers' (56)

Letting the snark flow

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…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 27, 2011 at 6:00pm — No Comments

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

Friday’s Poetic Pause: “Ungrateful”

The annual expressions of gratitude from the U.S.’ Thanksgiving holiday now subsided, I share a poem I wrote yesterday about how hard it is at times to be genuinely grateful.

Over the past year, I have been fortunate enough to live rent-free, staying with friends and family. But that has also meant that I have been someone’s houseguest.

After I wrote this reflection, I wondered: Is there a parallel to be drawn with those at the…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 25, 2011 at 10:00am — No Comments

Hillary, Stoves Won’t Save the World

"Hillary Clinton unveils initiative on clean cooking stoves," was among last year’s highlights at the Millennium Development Goals Summit. On this World Pneumonia Day, what has become of The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves? Has yet another “silver bullet” failed to make a difference for those in the…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 12, 2011 at 8:00pm — 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

Effective aid: A matter of faith?

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…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 28, 2011 at 8:52am — No Comments

The Joy of Aid Work

My friend recently shared this status update on Facebook. Her description of the joy of aid work resonated with me as I thought it would with readers of how-matters.org.

Kirsten Weeks [in Zambia] “realizes that I am happiest on days like today that start with a 6am departure to the airport, visits to a cotton gin, talks with small holder farmers, focus groups at ART clinics with potential problem solving to address…
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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 20, 2011 at 4:00pm — 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

Another Must Listen

On the treadmill this morning (a time I usually reserve for non-development thinking), a story from Malawi popped up via This American Life on my ipod. They continue covering stories on aid issues in ways that are, for the most part, respectful and engaging, this one specifically related to HIV prevention programs.

This American Life 444: Gossip, Originally aired 8/26/11 Summary from the…
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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 1, 2011 at 10:30pm — No Comments

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.



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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

Behind the Barricades, There Is Happiness

Richard Moore describes himself as “just a guy who wanted to help.”

This is somehow funny coming from a man whom the Dalai Lama refers to as “my hero.”

Well known to the residents of Derry, Ireland, where we met last month, Richard Moore was shot at the age of 10 by a British solider on his way home from school. Taking a rubber bullet on the bridge of his nose, Richard lost…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 5, 2011 at 10:00am — 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

Delights of the Green Isle

Hello readers! I returned from Ireland in the beginning of July and have been bursting with stories to tell. Here are a few highlights of the wonderful people I was able to connect with in Ireland, all due to this amazing tool we call the internet.



Alessandra Pigni, Founder of Mindfulness for NGOs…



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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on July 26, 2011 at 11:48am — 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

RCTs: A band-aid on a deeper issue?

I finished the book weeks ago. When I closed Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel’s “More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics Is Helping to Solve Global Poverty,” I had many notes and reactions jotted down but they hadn’t yet gelled. Something just didn’t sit quite right with me and I was having trouble articulating it.



Of course that’s related to… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 24, 2011 at 10:16pm — No Comments

Barefoot in Church

In the midst of media blitzes such as the current one, I long for something real and human more than ever. The following story from the “Readers Write” section of The Sun Magazine, fit the bill for me yesterday. And I was delighted to come across this poignant personal story from its pages on the experience of being at the receiving end of help. It offers… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 4, 2011 at 7:30am — 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

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

Trying to Quit

An analogy occurred to me recently:



Imagine that your best friend is quitting smoking. This is something you’ve really wanted her to do for a long time, as you’ve seen the teeth darken and heard the hacking cough for too long now.



So after much soul searching and commitment on your best friend’s part, she takes the first step on their journey. She reduces the number of cigarettes she smokes per day by three! She has been smoking a pack a day.



It has required…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 27, 2011 at 10:00pm — No Comments

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