As I was sitting in a year-end retreat, I started jotting down this list of things that the development aid world could use more of in 2013. I offer it as some food for thought for the year ahead.
I use my How Matters YouTube channel to highlight portrayals of international assistance that inspire more nuanced conversations about the politics of global development and international aid. Frankly though, there’s not enough content to keep that page very active. Very few video-based products show people grappling with the realities of programming on the ground and the stories of grassroots change-makers too often remain…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 14, 2012 at 6:02am — No Comments
I’ve been called a “thought leader” lately. It’s a lot better than some other things I’ve been called in my life, but still, it’s a label I’ve been trying to understand—so much so that I facilitated a session on it at last month’s Opportunity Collaboration.
When I first heard the term, I did a bit of sleuthing to understand its origin. It seems it comes from the private sector. (Isn’t most of the “latest” aid and philanthropy jargon…Continue
Yes We Can: The campaign/proposal writing
You have to get lots of people involved. In fact, the more people who share your vision, the better. You tell the voters/donors what they want to hear. Persuasion and hyperbole can be more important than substance. The popular vote/buy-in of the people served may be irrelevant in the end. You’re happy (though thoroughly exhausted) when the campaign is over/proposal is submitted, but the hard work is yet to…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 8, 2012 at 7:33am — No Comments
“Excuse me. What’s that you’re reading?” the woman wedged next to me in the busy restaurant asked.
Sitting on the table in front me yesterday was Tori Hogan’s new book, Beyond Good Intentions: A Journey Into the Realities of International Aid. (Now available …Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 23, 2012 at 6:59am — No Comments
He has now stood up at the long table, perhaps hoping that the argument can be won by positioning himself above those with whom he is supposedly vehemently disagreeing.
About what? I’m unsure, as is the normally reserved and quiet junior staff person, who has uncharacteristically burst out laughing at the scene before her.
Her and I both know that what’s being discussed has less to do with the issue at hand, and more to do with these men’s need to be on top.
“For all of us who are in the ‘change the world’ business, we seldom reflect on our own attitudes and behaviours as donors, facilitators, managers, experts, technocrats. Yet we want to see change in the attitudes and behaviours of those we serve?! We do not want to change the power status quo within organisations and amongst ourselves, yet we are telling ‘communities’ to do so?!” ~from a …
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 24, 2012 at 6:41am — No Comments
...what good is a blog?
Three people I know and admire are getting the recognition they deserve this week and I want to take a moment to celebrate their achievements on how-matters.org.
1) Mulugeta Gebru, founder of Jerusalem Children and Community Development…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 14, 2012 at 8:00am — No Comments
A guest post on how-matters.org by Oscar AbelloContinue
We are celebrating Labor Day today in the United States, a day dedicated to the social and economic achievements of the everyday efforts of American workers. What better day to share my thoughts on a book I’ve been reading on the lives of us, the development laborers?Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 4, 2012 at 6:30am — No Comments
A guest post on how-matters.org by Mary Fifield
The power of learning is not just a slogan for many of us working in the non-profit sector. It's the value that undergirds the programs that we help deliver—programs designed to support people in discovering their own talents and skills to better their well-being, their environment, and their society. It's a value that supports our own…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 28, 2012 at 7:10am — No Comments
People have been playing more games these days in Washington D.C. And I don’t mean the strategies of the Obama and Romney spin teams.
Two recent events suggest games’ growing popularity in D.C. aid circles: this one I attended at the World Wildlife Fund earlier this month and this Tuesday’s upcoming …Continue
Aidspeak called for three changes to make aid better by August 1st. Oops – instead they’re getting one by August 3rd.
Give every aid worker (local and international, cleaner to country director) a social change investment fund of US$1,000, over which they have total personal discretion.
Task each of us to find an…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 3, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments
This week I attended the XIX International AIDS Conference on behalf of REPSSI (The Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative.) Based in Johannesburg, REPSSI trains "front-line" service providers on children's emotional and social well-being and works with governments and NGOs to develop child-friendly policy frameworks in 13 countries in southern & eastern Africa. There are at least 1,994 project sites where REPSSI approaches are being applied and…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on July 28, 2012 at 9:28am — No Comments
As we drove past the White House and the Lincoln Memorial on Constitution Avenue yesterday, Tapfuma and Lynette noticed the flags at half-mast.
“It must be because of the tragedy,” our conversation began.
Flags in Washington D.C. are honoring the 12 people killed in a shooting in Aurora, Colorado on the day REPSSI staff arrived in the U.S.
The first and most challenging exercise of the day when I took a seminar from The OpEd Project required me to fill in the following blanks and share with the group:
Hello, my name…
A so-called “lack of capacity” is used to justify many antiquated practices in the aid industry. And if left an unexplored concept, capacity building is arrogant at best.Continue
This is a guest post by Jennifer Lentfer of how-matters.org on the REPSSI (Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative) blog.
Growing up, my family life was not easy. My father drank and it weighed heavily on my mother, who did her best to maintain as much normalcy for me and my brothers as possible. Looking back, our home’s “culture of silence” was often the…Continue
At the upcoming XIX International AIDS Conference here in Washington D.C., I'll be joining REPSSI (the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative) as they celebrate their decade-long work to lessen the devastating social and emotional (psychosocial) impact of poverty, conflict, HIV and AIDS among children and youth across East and…Continue