Jennifer Lentfer's Blog (70)

How would you measure the strength of a partnership?

Building on how-matters.org’s earlier posts, “How to build strong relationships with grassroots organizations” (part 1, part 2, part…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 20, 2011 at 7:37pm — No Comments

Reaching Girls at the Grassroots--A Sound Investment

How-matters.org is featuring two posts today as part of the Girl Effect Blogging Campaign. 

Part 1 discusses how grassroots organizations, as powerful actors that find and reach marginalized girls, are key to unlocking girls’ potential.

Because they are embedded in the communities they…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 4, 2011 at 8:36pm — No Comments

Exchange Visits Among Local Organizations—Here’s How!

Stronger, more sustainable community-based organizations can contribute to a more effective and participatory civil society response to the needs of vulnerable people in the developing world.

Donors can support organizations even at the beginning stages of organizational development with an intent to leave groups stronger than when they first entered into partnership. Different types of capacity building activities such as exchange visits and mentoring relationships between…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on October 4, 2011 at 2:06am — No Comments

Effective aid: A matter of faith?

The “beast” had eaten all of the chickens.

That is why the income-generating activity undertaken by this small group in Malawi had not yet seen any profit, they explained. This is also why the group wanted to abandon chicken-rearing in favor of installing a paraffin pump, something that would require much less upkeep, inputs, and security.

What would it take for you to fund this youthful, energetic, but inexperienced group again?

A little faith? Or a lot for that…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 28, 2011 at 6:36pm — No Comments

PBS Documentary on Aid Shines a Light (and wins an Emmy!)

Congratulations to all folks associated with the PBS film, Good Fortune, who last night won a News & Documentary Emmy Award! A well-deserved recognition, this is a must-see film for anyone concerned with aid effectiveness.

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Good Fortune is (as of last night) an Emmy-winning PBS documentary that is a provocative exploration of how massive international efforts to alleviate…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 27, 2011 at 7:17pm — No Comments

Waiting for Pennies from Heaven

In honor of this week's Clinton Global Initiative's Annual Meeting, I'm reposting this from early October last year. The issues remain the same; the fundraising resources for local organizations still needed.

“Is a trickle of that money ever going to reach us?”

Sharing a…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 21, 2011 at 2:55am — No Comments

The Joy of Aid Work

My friend recently shared this status update on Facebook. Her description of the joy of aid work resonated with me as I thought it would with readers of how-matters.org.

Kirsten Weeks [in Zambia] “realizes that I am happiest on days like today that start with a 6am departure to the airport, visits to a cotton gin, talks with small holder farmers, focus groups at ART clinics with potential problem solving to address nutrition issues, long car rides through rural villages and…
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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 21, 2011 at 1:47am — No Comments

A Second Dip into the Reading Pile

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 papers from my virtual pile, featuring excerpts from the 7th page of text of each, first 3-4 sentences of the second paragraph. Hopefully the exercise will be a fun way to highlight these…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 15, 2011 at 1:30am — 2 Comments

Are you reading this?

Then you should take this survey.

In other words, it’s for people who read aid blogs.

Why should you bother? For one reason, it's short. It's also anonymous. And most notably, your interests and habits are important to us, the bloggers.

See what the @SmartAid folks and other bloggers have to say about the survey via…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 8, 2011 at 2:21am — No Comments

Already “of” the community

We’ve all seen many participation typologies over the years. But with the one below, which I created when examining local partners’ final reports in 2009, I was trying to describe some simple categories of approaches to working with communities that local non-governmental organizations utilize. It was also meant to capture that fine line that can exist between a community-based organization (CBO) and a community,…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 7, 2011 at 2:23am — No Comments

Another Must Listen

On the treadmill this morning (a time I usually reserve for non-development thinking), a story from Malawi popped up via This American Life on my ipod. They continue covering stories on aid issues in ways that are, for the most part, respectful and engaging, this one specifically related to HIV prevention programs.

This American Life 444: Gossip, Originally aired 8/26/11 Summary from the…
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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on September 2, 2011 at 8:32am — 2 Comments

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.…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 30, 2011 at 6:59am — 2 Comments

BrandOutLoud: Own Branding Makes Local NGOs Less Dependent

Last week I had the pleasure of talking with Judith Madigan, Co-founder and Director of BrandOutLoud, who reached out following my recent post, “Do CBOs have an image problem?



BrandOutLoud works with aid organizations, local and international, to transform the pity-laden us/them paradigm used in many communications strategies to one that portrays the strengths and…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 24, 2011 at 2:43am — No Comments

Friday’s Poetic Pause: “Query” by Akwasi Aidoo

This is a new feature I’m introducing on Fridays on how-matters.org, the sharing of poetry related to aid and development work. First off, a treasured poem by Akwasi Aidoo, Executive Director of Trust Africa. 

 

Query

 

We are a developing…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 20, 2011 at 5:00am — 1 Comment

A "what if...?" moment

A very important question was posed in response to how-matters.org's recent guest post, "Participation: Reality or the Promised Land? A View from South Sudan, which is "What can development professionals who believe in and practice participatory processes do to promote it?"

 

It’s a tough question to answer, especially for people on the “inside” of the system, because this often means…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 17, 2011 at 6:18am — 2 Comments

The Arts of Survival

I’m currently in Santa Fe, New Mexico and last weekend I stopped in at a favorite place of mine here, the Museum of International Folk Art. A current exhibit, “The Arts of Survival: Folk Expression in the Face of Disaster,” had caught my eye and I wanted to check it out.…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 15, 2011 at 10:42pm — No Comments

Participation: Reality or the Promised Land? A View from South Sudan

In response to an earlier post on how-matters.org, “Sorry but it’s not YOUR project,” a reader offered the following guest post. Andebo Pax Pascal shares his experience as an aid worker in Africa’s newest country.



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My friend Tom is working for “Aid Agency X”, which has prided itself in working ‘with’ and not ‘for’ the people, a sign that it is ready to involve the community in its development…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 13, 2011 at 3:00am — No Comments

Behind the Barricades, There Is Happiness

Richard Moore describes himself as “just a guy who wanted to help.”

This is somehow funny coming from a man whom the Dalai Lama refers to as “my hero.”

Well known to the residents of Derry, Ireland, where we met last month, Richard Moore was shot at the age of 10 by a British solider on his way home from school. Taking a rubber bullet on the bridge of his nose, Richard lost…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 5, 2011 at 7:57pm — No Comments

Do CBOs have an image problem?

I give lots of thought to what makes community-based organizations the lowest common denominator in development aid. Readers of how-matters.org may already be familiar with previous arguments I’ve offered for the increased inclusion of and investment in community-based organizations (CBOs). As an ardent proponent of CBOs’ comparative advantages, I believe they have a better chance of being driven by “the…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on July 31, 2011 at 9:27pm — No Comments

An aid worker's poetic journey

It’s going to be a surreal moment.

From what I understand, there’s a composer, a bridge, 600 singing schoolchildren, a Nobel Laureate, and one righteous celebration. The new Peace…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on June 8, 2011 at 7:00pm — 1 Comment

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