By Viola Gienger
A deluge of heavy summer rains in Sudan that washed away homes, turned streets into ravines, and affected about 340,000 people throughout the country, including…Continue
Added by Viola Gienger on September 10, 2013 at 11:24am — No Comments
Once in a while someone will say something to you that perfectly encapsulates what you’ve been trying to convey, only in a more concise, elegant or articulate way. @Semhar Araia, founder of the Diaspora African Women’s Network did that for me in a conversation recently, and her brilliant summary has stayed with me over the last few weeks, resulting in this poem last night.
I dedicate it to her and the…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 11, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments
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 10, 2012 at 10:54pm — 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 8:21pm — 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
Understanding the organizational dynamics of local, indigenous, community-based groups directly serving vulnerable families is vastly different from the project-based, accountability-by-paper world of the aid industry. While those in the aid system may acknowledge local groups’ resourcefulness in mobilizing local resources, their language and cultural competencies, and responsiveness to communities’ needs, there are challenges in working with local groups that many organizations are not up…Continue
Andebo Pax Pascal shares his experience as an aid worker in Africa’s newest country in his second guest post. By examining beneficiaries’ place (or lack thereof) in two projects, he explores whether the development discourse has drifted into the abstract, beyond those he serves.
The idea of different categories of people--donors, government representatives,…Continue
When I was a girl, I wanted a horse, sooooo bad. Every Christmas, every birthday, I had but one request.
“Please, Dad, I just want a horse.”
“There are no horses on pig farms,” my father would flatly respond.
But maybe my cowgirl dreams have finally come true. Because now…this farmer’s daughter is working for the cowboys.…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 21, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 12, 2012 at 8:11pm — No Comments
Reposting this in honor of International Women's Day and to welcome new readers wanting the think deeper about Invisible Children's #StopKony Campaign...Check out the great graphic from See Africa Differently at the end!
When girls are educated, healthy, and safe, their own life prospects are transformed. And importantly, they transfer those benefits to their future families and their communities. When girls have access to…
Do you have a colleague that just won’t shut up about the fight he’s having with his sibling over their family's vacation home? Or one who dressed way too provocatively when you were on that field visit last week? What about the person who constantly blames everything that doesn’t go their way on the incapacity or corruption of “the locals”?
We have all worked with these people. Perhaps we have even been these people at times. We didn’t know any better…until we did.…Continue
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 10:26pm — 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…
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
I remember first reading this poem as I was waiting for an appointment with my advisor in graduate school. It was taped to his door. The second time, it was read to a group of us at our fellowship orientation as we officially entered the corporate aid world.
I also remember both instances to be extremely disappointing.
As I discussed how-matters.org's "Poetry Pause" with someone recently, they reminded me of the…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 10, 2012 at 11:54am — No Comments
Weh Yeoh of whydev.org argues that everything that we do in international development is about selling a message. But how do we convince people when a message goes against the grain of what they already believe?Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 7, 2012 at 7:00pm — No Comments
I often find that aid blogs tend to criticize much, offer solutions too little. Orietta L’Abbate, CEO of AAE Australia Inc., shares her proposal for the future of aid.
What do you think? Could it work?
And if the answer is no, you’d better be ready to offer your own new idea. Let’s hear it.
Large scale aid intervention in large scale disaster has shown its slowness and its inability to cooperate and effectively intervene in the Haiti 2010…Continue
I wrote this in a moment of frustration, when it was clear to me that the capacity that needed to be built was not with local partners, but with upper management.
Are you building your capacity to prepare for what Dennis Whittle, co-founder of GlobalGiving.org, terms the pending “democratization of aid"? It's time for the ability and penchant to work with organizations of any size or type…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 27, 2012 at 10:30am — No Comments
Too many TED talks. Too little time. Here’s seven interesting ones I’ve come across over the last few months worth sharing with how-matters.org readers. Watch them at: http://www.how-matters.org/2012/01/24/titillating-ted-talks-two/…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 24, 2012 at 9:00pm — 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