Jennifer Lentfer's Blog – May 2012 Archive (10)

The too-often forgotten, yet critical first half of M&E

I’ve been enjoying inProgress’ new manual, “Integrated Monitoring: A Practical Manual for Organizations That Want to Achieve Results," on the metro over the last couple of days. (Thanks to the recommendation from @txtpablo.) The blog, Development That Works, recently discussed the same issue in its…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 30, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments

Sex, Slactivism, and How Not to Change the World

Brianna Plaza at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction reached out to let me know they entered GOOD Maker’s TEDxUChicago Speaker Challenge to present their “Learning Our Way Out” project in Ethiopia.…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 27, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments

Site Visits: The Feedback You’ve Never Heard

Four leaders from African organizations sat down to give us their frank feedback about site visits from funders a few years ago. I recently ran across my notes from the discussion, and because they offered such good reminders, I am sharing them here. Organization founders from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Lesotho offer the following important, though too-often-unheard insights from a local group’s perspective.

(Pssst, pay attention, donors and aid workers. This is what your…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 22, 2012 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Write a book in 4 hours with 20 grassroots organizations?—How!?!

Lucia Hass knows how! She shares her recent experience in Myanmar, which she has graciously agreed to cross-post from her site, beads—passion for facilitation.


With development loosing political interest in developed nations, It has become even more important that stories of grassroots organizations get told and heard. Local…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 20, 2012 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

Accountability to whom? Keep asking.

It still shocks me a little when a colleague will look at me and ask, “Now, what do you mean by ‘downward accountability’?”, as if I’ve just uttered an oxymoron.

It shouldn’t surprise me. I’ve written about how accountability is often looked for in all the wrong places. But it’s not as if I’m saying something that should be so foreign or new, right?

Here’s a definition from Keystone’s 2006(!)…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 15, 2012 at 7:51am — 3 Comments

How to Make People Glad That You Are There: Some Motherly Advice

After working in global health for over 30 years, Ruth Stark wrote a book to guide her daughter, Taryn, also an aid professional. To celebrate Mother’s Day, I’m sharing a chapter from it, which Ruth graciously agreed to have appear on (You can see my March review of How to Work in Someone Else's Country …


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 13, 2012 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

Friday’s Poetic Pause: “Paper Over People”

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…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 11, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments

Why I support isolated aid workers across the globe and so should you!

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…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 10, 2012 at 10:54pm — No Comments

The Case of the Missing Tomato Cages

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:…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 7, 2012 at 8:21pm — No Comments

Does international aid need a 12-step program?

“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…


Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 5, 2012 at 7:07am — 1 Comment

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