All Blog Posts Tagged 'workers' (82)

Nothing to Offer

The storm that has devastated Japan is hardly past. But as charities appeal and the public offers up their support, I cannot help but think of the three friends in southern Africa,…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 18, 2011 at 8:55am — No Comments

Did I fund Organization X?

Posting this report from Organization X in Zimbabwe and asking my readers, “Would YOU fund this organization?” was about one thing for me:



Assumptions.



We all have them. Yet I find as aid workers and do-gooders, we don’t get nearly enough opportunities to surface them.



The fact that I would have to examine my own assumptions and explain how they’ve transformed over the… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 11, 2011 at 1:23pm — 1 Comment

Would YOU fund this organization?

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…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 25, 2011 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Titillating TED Talks for Development & Peacebuilding Folks

Three separate TED Talks caught my eye over the last week. All encouraged me to reflect on development as a practice and how I personally and professionally stay connected to “what is living” at a local level that is authentic and that has potential to unleash social change. No concrete answers yet of course, but how I love the questions! All videos can be viewed at: … Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 21, 2011 at 7:01pm — 1 Comment

Missionaries, Mercenaries & Misfits: How two aid workers came full circle in the development world

I recently had the pleasure of "virtually" connecting with Renee Martyna and Steve Munroe of Satori Worldwide. They have a compelling story with which I think many aid workers can identify. They share it below.



***



When we met back in 1998, we were young in more ways than one. Although we were not missionaries in the strictest sense, we were surely full of a non-sectarian but very potent form of ‘save the world’ zeal. The…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 11, 2011 at 11:00am — 2 Comments

Revisiting the Wheel: Insights from Online Community Managers

The task was simple; Don’t reinvent the wheel.



It’s easier said than done, but this is what I attempted to do when I began working with the Community Development Resource Association (CDRA) in Cape Town to help conceptualize an online community.



At the end of last year, The Barefoot Guide that CDRA helped to produce had been downloaded over 50,000 times and has been widely lauded by people and organizations engaged in…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 3, 2011 at 5:57pm — No Comments

Grassroots = No Brains?

A tweet caught my attention last weekend on a search that I follow:

“I am so tired w/ dealing w/ ‘Grassroots’ organizations here in #haiti Unfortunately grassroots=no brains +no money”

My unanswered response to this frustrated aid worker went something like this:

“Generalities of “no capacity” perpetuated about grassroots organizations does not do…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 28, 2011 at 7:51pm — 1 Comment

Coming out of the closet

Poetry is a medium that helps me make meaning of my experiences, my thoughts and feelings, which is something we are called to do continuously as development practitioners. It’s a tool I often privately call upon when faced with the inevitable doubts, and triumphs, and heartaches of this work.

Inspired by Dennis Whittle’s recent post on Poetry and Development, emboldened by Saundra Schimmelpfennig…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 25, 2011 at 12:42am — No Comments

Confessions of a Recovering Neocolonialist on Martin Luther King Day

Harare, 2002. The word came. Cash is in the banks. The three colleagues I was standing near at the time and I quickly jumped in the car to get downtown to Standard Chartered as soon as possible.



It was my first “real job” in the development sector after graduate school. I knew enough to know how little I knew, and little else.



The conversation in the car from the office to Nelson Mandela Avenue inevitably turned to the growing inequality between our corporate aid agency… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 17, 2011 at 8:27pm — 3 Comments

Plugging back in: Catching up with the aid blogosphere

How-matters.org has been rather quiet the last few weeks as I am currently in the process of moving back to my hometown of Bruning, Nebraska, U.S.A. population 248. It’s a major transition, which I recently wrote about on… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on December 14, 2010 at 6:16pm — No Comments

161 Indicators, and then what?

One country, seven districts, seven international NGOs, five million dollars (excluding food commodity monetization), and…



161 indicators.



How do you begin to collect, analyze and, more importantly, utilize data on 161 indicators in this scenario?



Got me. And I was the Technical Advisor on Monitoring & Evaluation for this project – ha!



What a beautiful, i.e. funded, proposal it was—concocted by the lead INGOs’ most well-respected,… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 18, 2010 at 2:00am — 4 Comments

What’s missing from the DIY aid debate? Overlooking the capacity of local NGOs

Professional or amateur? Skills and experience or passion and new ideas? These are riveting questions indeed, but I’m concerned that in the development discourse, we continue to miss a key piece.



Well-intentioned do-gooders of any sort must recognize that in the developing world, local people with that same “combustible mix of indignation and vision” that… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 9, 2010 at 12:28pm — 2 Comments

Dipping into the pile: good reading on aid effectiveness



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…
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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 31, 2010 at 11:32pm — 1 Comment

Pity, Pictures and Poverty

What do you do when your personal experience of living and working with people in Africa is so different than what is portrayed in the western media or by many charitable organizations? Confronted with this, Duncan McNicholl, an Engineers Without Borders Canada worker living in Malawi, decided in early 2010 to begin exploring these perceptions of poverty. He took pictures of friends and neighbors in his community as both poor and rich, and then… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 24, 2010 at 10:00pm — 19 Comments

Changing the system…from the ground up

"‘The system’ whereby foreign donors give handouts, and not sustainable initiatives that are drawn from the needs of the communities, is a problem.” ~R.F.M., Zimbabwe
This post is a continuation of the small series I started in August entitled “Changing the System,” which pulls together quotations from about 150 of my former colleagues, friends, and acquaintances around the world who… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 11, 2010 at 12:19am — 5 Comments

Hillary, Stoves Won’t Save the World

"Hillary Clinton set to unveil initiative on clean cooking stoves," is among this week's highlights at the Millennium Development Goals Summit. Indeed, climate change, deforestation, global health, and women’s empowerment are extremely important issues to address.



Yet, I am extremely wary of any products manufactured in the developed world that are touted,… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 22, 2010 at 11:37pm — No Comments

A New Discipline for Development Practitioners

Excerpts from: The Barefoot Collective. (2009). The Barefoot Guide to Working with Organizations and Social Change. Cape Town: Community Development Resource Association.



You never change anything by fighting existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 17, 2010 at 10:50am — 1 Comment

Spotting Community Ownership

The term “community-based” has been eroded. Just like “rights-based programming,” or “participation,” or “capacity building,” it has become over-used and thus less understood in the development sector. Unfortunately, especially within the HIV circles in which I traverse, the term “community-based” has been reduced to simply referring to the locality in which services are delivered.



Yet for me, if an organization or a project is genuinely community-based, it has much more to do with… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 13, 2010 at 11:00am — No Comments

Online Communities for International Do-Gooders

Today I discussed the importance of developing a critical consciousness (along side a compassionate consciousness) with someone in the San Francisco Bay area who is supporting a local organization in Malawi.



But how does a person actually go about this, especially someone who may be new to international assistance? As we all know, openness to learning and seeking out advice from others with more experience is vital.



As it just so happens, this week I’ve also been compiling… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 9, 2010 at 6:30pm — 11 Comments

Listening to People on the Receiving End of Aid

I am thrilled to cross-post a briefing from an important series on the work and findings of the Listening Project, which began today at the Harvard Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations’ Humanitarian & Development NGOs Domain blog.



Below is a briefing of the initial… Continue

Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 1, 2010 at 9:44pm — 3 Comments

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