What does it feel like to be a citizen on the receiving end of international aid? Here’s an analogy to try to help do-gooders understand:
Let’s say you’re moving across town. You have to be out of your old apartment by 5pm that day. You’ve got the boxes already packed and the moving van rented. All you need is some muscle to help you move the heavy stuff. You ask your friend to come over early. The plan is to…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 23, 2013 at 7:49am — 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
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
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
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
After Sasha Rabsey, Founder and President of The HOW Fund (yes, obviously I love the synergy with how-matters.org!), came back from an international conference on poverty reduction at the end of last year, she called me and wanted to talk and learn more about racism, privilege and development. Unfortunately in terms of ready resources, I didn’t have much to share with her other than this 1981 essay, “…Continue
150 million people in the United States are perennially poor, newly poor, or near poor. That’s right, the latest Census figures show that half of America is officially poor. In this so-called economic powerhouse of a…Continue
I know, I know. I’m supposedly on a self-declared shut-down, but I couldn’t resist sharing my top 12 people, trends, sites, and organizations to watch in 2012!!
In no particular order...
It’s been a great year at how-matters.org! I am invoking a “shut down” for the holidays as of today and will return on January 15th. Why the big break?
Because there are ideas to be flushed out, plans to be finalized, proposals to be finished, reflections and connections to be had.
2011 has been a “shake-up” year. With the Arab awakening in North Africa and the Middle East and the emergence of the Occupy…Continue