Aid workers and development practitioners, how many times have you seen a paragraph like this in a proposal?
“Community Mobilization: To ensure communities are… community management committees (CMCs) will be formed. Based on accepted cultural practice, CMCs will be chosen by the community members themselves with strong encouragement on establishing a gender-balanced CMC. The CMC will represent the community and be responsible for ensuring effective community…Continue
The Social Impact Media Awards, organized by DEEDA Productions, have announced their 2nd annual call for submissions for their juried 2014 awards. Filmmakers and do-gooders, show us your video-based products that portray people grappling with the realities of aid programs on the ground!
SIMA is looking for…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 21, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments
I’m in Johannesburg this week for the Barefoot Guide 4! Twenty-eight participants from 16 countries are here in a collaborative "Writeshop" to lay the foundations for the next Barefoot Guide. We’re writing a book (or is it?) entitled, “The Real Work of Social Change.”…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 20, 2013 at 5:30pm — No Comments
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
Dear Mr. Buffett,
The charitable industrial-complex, philanthropic colonialism, conscience laundering and inequality – these are topics a fellow Nebraskan like me wants to have more conversations about. So that’s why I was glad to read your New York Times op-ed this weekend, the …Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 1, 2013 at 9:00am — No Comments
When Time to Listen: Hearing people on the receiving end of international aid came out earlier this year, I was excited to see how many organizations, including my own, were interacting with the multi-year study and its authors. (See previous how-matters.org…Continue
When emotional intelligence is missing in a leader, everyone knows it. Ian Thorpe on KM on a dollar a day yesterday discussed the elements of this and the challenges in developing one's self-awareness in aid work, a subject near and dear to this blog as well.
He describes it as, "recognizing and understanding who you are and…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on July 19, 2013 at 8:37am — No Comments
These days I spend more of my time talking country ownership than community ownership, but they are one in the same, just at different units of analysis.
So reposting a part of "Spotting Community Ownership" to remind myself as much as anyone.
The processes of decision-making within…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on June 18, 2013 at 8:47am — No Comments
My main concern with an increasing reliance on big data is that the space for possibility and the need for control or certainty too often operate in an inverse relationship. In international aid and philanthropy, our work is often focused on unanswered questions. But are some unanswerable questions?…Continue
A blog comes in handy at times, like when Nora Schenkel's piece in the New York Times yesterday was not open for comments. "I Came to Haiti to Do Good..." is one of those pieces that elicits mixed feelings for me as I just came from Haiti just last week.…Continue
Financial mismanagement. Lay-offs of local and international staff. Inappropriate conduct by leadership. Finally, a visit planned from headquarters to see what’s going on. What do you do?
A superior continues to make passes at you. You find out you’re paid less than someone doing your exact same job. Someone takes undue credit for work you did.Continue
No matter how self-aware we are when we come into international aid, philanthropy, or social enterprise, most people, especially in the beginning, operate from a worldview in which change in poor people’s lives is possible with our help.
As I've written before, the jury is still out on this in my mind.
In my career, I have…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 5, 2013 at 4:24pm — No Comments
Imagine not being able to turn away from a problem that you see in this world. You are compelled by a sense of responsibility, passion, and the audacity to believe that you can do something about that problem. You have decided to take the leap and start an organization, an initiative, or a social enterprise.
To do so, you of course need resources. You don’t have them. You have to ask those with money to invest in you.
Imagine sitting across the table from a potential donor,…Continue
A guest post on how-matters.org by Rajasvini Bhansali
It had been six months since I started my new role as a management advisor for a network of youth polytechnics in rural Kenya. The Wakamba village elders in Maseki village where I lived had named me Mutanu meaning “one who smiles a lot.” My career, coursework, and …Continue
A guest post on how-matters.org by Mike Keller, a self-described aid agnostic.
When a friend recently pointed my attention to Time to Listen: Hearing People on the Receiving End of International Aid, a “book” by an organization that I’d never heard of, …Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 24, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments
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.
Are there alternatives to the cynicism and disillusionment that pervades in so many organizations that are working towards ‘development’? Where are the people who are interested in creating more grounded, creative, human and humble ways of doing this work?
You can find them here.
When I first picked up and started reading The Barefoot Guide to Working with Organisations and Social Change almost four years ago, it was one of…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on December 4, 2012 at 7:30am — No Comments
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