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Water Everlasting? A Film Screening & Panel Discussion Invitation


For decades, aid groups have traveled to Haiti to donate wells, tanks, and water purification machines. But these efforts often fail because of poor management and maintenance. Today, nearly 70 percent of Haitians still lack access to clean water. This story is different. It’s about Haitians and foreigners working together to design a lasting solution, […]

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Follow the Frog


Yeah, I know; this video came out last year. But, I just saw it for first time last week. It’s very funny in a way that requires someone like me to be able to laugh at himself. My life as a professional international development practitioner has actually been lived somewhere between “this is what you’re […]

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Wag the dog – the perils of fundraising


Originally posted on KM on a dollar a day:
I’ve been reflecting a couple of interesting discussions lately on aid communication and fundraising.  In the first, Kurante organized a Google Hangout on “Poverty Porn” i.e. the use of negative, shocking images in aid campaigns (the recording and the twitter storify of the discussion can be…

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A widow in a local microfinance group I facilitated in Bolivia. We shared the pain of bereavement and the joy of living forward.

Fear is the Opposite of Generosity


What now? May 20, 1998. Fifteen years ago today my world rebooted. It shut down catastrophically when a bus lurched off the roadway and crashed into a 1,000-foot-deep ravine in rural Bolivia. I was a 25-year old missionary on that bus. My young wife was with me.  Out of the blackness, the world began to […]

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El primer Principio de Desarrollo Internacional Basado en la Comunidad


A pedido voy a publicar de nuevo el articulo Staying for Tea (Quedándose para el Té) como una serie de entradas de blog en seis partes. El artículo fue publicado originalmente en una revista llamada The Global Citizen (El Ciudadano Global). Mientras publico cada sección, las siguientes ligas se activarán: [1:Quedarse para el Té] [2:Importa el […]

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A Staying for Tea Story: India 2006


As the depth of my hypocrisy sunk in, I struggled to contain my emotions. “Tell her ‘yes, and I’ll be right back,’” I instructed my translator, as shame deepened the red of my sun-baked ears. Turning to my small entourage of colleagues, I asked them to follow me off the woman’s property back toward the […]

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Not Guatemala, but you know the scene.

Staying for Tea – Conclusion


We should not be paralyzed by the fear of committing errors, but we should be self-conscious and think critically about how we go about serving others.  This is the final post of a 6-part series republishing the original Staying for Tea article from The Global Citizen journal (2005). You can link to the other posts in this series here: [1: Stay for Tea] [2: […]

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Keep it real. People are people. Don't ever look down on the people you serve.

The Fifth Principle of Community-Based International Development


Since you don’t have the power to steer a community, don’t pretend you’re at the helm. Since people with self-respect resist arrogant generosity, make sure to operate at eye-level. Since, unlike us, God does have the power to transform a community, we should be interceding passionately on its behalf. This is the fifth post of […]

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The Myth of the Plan


My wife doesn’t like science fiction or fantasy movies – she finds the effort of suspending her disbelief too much to enjoy herself. I’m a little bit like this when it comes to writing project designs or annual plans – it’s just too much myth making for me to feel like it’s time well spent. […]

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Participation Ladders 101


In my last post ‘Fa•ci•pu•la•tion‘, I shared a table from Robert Chambers, which is essentially a participation ladder with multiple dimensions. The good thing about ladders is that they are simple and easy to get. But, the reason I choose to share the table rather than a ladder is that the latter (pun intended) can […]

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