The Curious Aid Worker: Storytelling with Marc Maxson (Part I)

Marc Maxson is not your usual aid worker.

Yes, he is a returned Peace Corps volunteer, lives in Kenya, works for a Washington D.C.-based non-governmental organization, and is married to someone also employed in aid.

But Marc Maxson also has a PhD in neuroscience.

So what does that enable Marc to do as an aid worker? Marc develops new conceptual approaches to solving "impossible" problems, of which there are many in international development.

For the last three years, Marc has been working with GlobalGiving to help them understand what difference the locally-based projects that their fundraising platform supports (almost 4,500 and counting) make at the community level.

Proving impact from small-scale efforts? Nothing more impossible than that, right?

But that’s where Marc comes in. He leads the GlobalGiving Storytelling Project, which asks people in communities all across East Africa to tell a story about a time when a person or organization tried to help someone or change something in their community.

The number of stories they’ve collected, numbering over 20,000, when stacked, weigh hundreds of pounds and would completely fill Marc’s old VW Golf and then some I imagine.

Marc shares in our conversation about how he is helping GlobalGiving to make meaning from this literal vault of data…

Read the full interview at!

Views: 33

Tags: Africa, Chewy, Chunks, Cognitive, Corps, East, Edge, Facebook, GlobalGiving, Kenya, More…Leone, Marc, Maxson, NGOs, Peace, Project, SenseMaker, Sierra, Storytelling, The, Uganda, accountability, aid, and, assistance, building, capacity, community, community-based, curiosity, data, development, donors, downward, effectiveness, evaluation, foreign, funding, fundraising, game, grassroots, impact, international, knowledge, management, mechanisms, methods, monitoring, neuroscience, online, organizational, organizations, ownership, participation, partnerships, qualitative, storytelling, theory


You need to be a member of Peace and Collaborative Development Network to add comments!

Join Peace and Collaborative Development Network

Comment by Jennifer Lentfer on August 31, 2011 at 8:33am

What does Marc say is the "whole enchilanda" of development? Part 2 of my interview with Marc is up and can be viewed at:

Sponsored Link

Please Pay What You Can to Support PCDN

Please consider Paying What You Can to help PCDN grow. We encourage you to consider any amount from $1 and up. Read the SUPPORT page prior to making a payment to see PCDN's impact and how your payment will help.

Sponsored Link

Translate This Page


PCDN Guidelines and Share Pages

By using this site you're agreeing to the terms of use as outlined in the community guidelines (in particular PCDN is an open network indexed by Google and users should review the privacy options). Please note individual requests for funding or jobs are NOT permitted on the network.

Click BELOW to share site resources Bookmark and Share
or Share on LINKEDIN




Latest Activity

© 2016   Created by Craig Zelizer.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service