Jennifer Lentfer's Blog (70)

The westernized nature of the #socent industry, by Akhila Kolisetty

I am a U.S. Citizen. I am relatively wealthy and educated; in the vast spectrum of this planet, I am the 1%. I am literate and fluent in English. I have connections to hundreds of middle and upper class individuals who I can gain support and funding from. I have a supportive family. I have the ability to write grants in persuasive English. I have unlimited access to the Internet and social media sites; I know how to manipulate these platforms to market my own initiatives and endeavors, if so…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on June 2, 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.

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

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 20, 2012 at 6:18pm — 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:…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 8, 2012 at 5:59am — 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…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 5, 2012 at 4:55pm — No Comments

What's Needed to Put Local Champions at the Forefront?

My video contribution to A Day Without Dignity 2012 can be viewed on how-matters.org's YouTube Channel

Below are some other posts featuring local champions on…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 16, 2012 at 6:30am — No Comments

Searching for Closure: A Kony2012 Postscript

Solome Lemma (@InnovateAfrica) and I hosted a live discussion today to reflect together on the issues that came up from our posts on #StopKony. Sharing an excerpt below. Photo below by Joop…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 13, 2012 at 5:52am — No Comments

How to Work in Someone Else’s Country (A Book Review)

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.…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on March 4, 2012 at 10:02pm — No Comments

How to build strong relationships with grassroots organizations

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

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In order to build authentic relationships with grassroots organizations, these qualities,…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 24, 2012 at 9:15am — No Comments

On Love & Justice: A Valentine's Day Reflection

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,…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 14, 2012 at 8:18pm — No Comments

Has aid lost its humanity?

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…
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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 23, 2012 at 6:06pm — 2 Comments

The elephant hasn’t left the room: Racism, power & international aid

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…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 18, 2012 at 8:07pm — No Comments

12 to watch in 2012!

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...

  1. @InnovateAfrica – About to unleash the philanthropic and intellectual capital of the African Diaspora for collective social investment on the continent!
  2. Re-Action – A private-sector…
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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 3, 2012 at 10:12pm — No Comments

The Year Ends. The Pendulum Swings.

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…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on December 15, 2011 at 5:43pm — No Comments

Accountability in all the wrong places

“But how will we hold them accountable?” the senior technical advisor said of the proposal from the high-profile NGO. “There’s not even a logframe in there.”

Silently in my cubicle, I thought, “Oh, if only that would only make people and organizations accountable…”

Obviously, the need and the desire to be accountable in our industry are not going away. With foreign aid budgets under fire in many donor countries, accountability perhaps becomes even more…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on December 8, 2011 at 4:41pm — 2 Comments

Letting the Snark Flow

Does snark among aid bloggers go too far? Do aid workers just need and deserve to let off steam? Or does the language we use matter, because it either closes down or opens up dialogue, especially with our partners?

I’m not sure, frankly. (See some others illustrate the points here and…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 28, 2011 at 5:43am — No Comments

Hallowed Halls or Ghost Towns?

This week I re-entered an aid “institution” after five years of working with small foundations and local groups.

After just two short days, I can’t help but be reminded of why I left.

I am once again surrounded by smart, driven, committed people. But unfortunately they are largely a group of people who are also exhausted, overwhelmed, and discouraged by fighting while propagating the very organizations in which they serve. From my still outsider’s perspective, it’s as if the…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 26, 2011 at 7:51pm — No Comments

Friday’s Poetic Pause: “Ungrateful”

The annual expressions of gratitude from the U.S.’ Thanksgiving holiday now subsided, I share a poem I wrote yesterday about how hard it is at times to be genuinely grateful.

Over the past year, I have been fortunate enough to live rent-free, staying with friends and family. But that has also meant that I have been someone’s houseguest.

After I wrote this reflection, I wondered: Is there a parallel to be drawn with those at the…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 25, 2011 at 9:05pm — No Comments

Hillary, Stoves Won’t Save the World

This post first appeared on HUMNews for World Pneumonia Day. 

"Hillary Clinton unveils initiative on clean cooking stoves," was among last year’s highlights at the Millennium Development Goals Summit. But what has become of The Global Alliance…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 13, 2011 at 7:00am — No Comments

Mentoring Among Local Organizations—Here’s How!

Following on the interest in my posts on exchange visits between local organizations and oral reporting, here’s another set of guidelines on mentoring relationships for your use and adaptation.

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Stronger, more sustainable community-based organizations can contribute to a more effective and participatory civil society…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 8, 2011 at 7:28pm — No Comments

Real Impact with Saeed Wame

I always walk away from a conversation with Saeed Wame, founder and director of Namwera AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC) of Malawi, with a new understanding. Whether he be blowing my concept of “capacity” wide open, or offering a completely new definition of volunteer, Saeed is the sort of community leader whose wisdom and humility always leaves you with much to be mulled…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 25, 2011 at 5:30pm — No Comments

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