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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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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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Lao community meeting

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Rhetoric vs. Reality When it comes to participation, the gap between rhetoric and reality yawns wide. How many of us have written project proposals peppered with phrases like ‘bottom up’, ‘self reliance’, ‘empowerment’, ‘citizen control’, and ‘local participation’ without fully grasping to what we were committing ourselves? While ‘participation’ has become fully and widely embedded […]

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Evaluating with Purpose – Part 1: The Evaluation Charade


Development organizations spend millions of dollars every year – millions! – on evaluations that don’t answer the fundamental question of whether or not their projects are good. They utilize evaluation techniques that they know (or should know) can’t produce reliable measurements of impact. As a result, what they think they learn from project evaluations may be perniciously inaccurate. Good projects get killed, bad projects get scaled-up. As a result, what accountability they think they have is eroded to a charade – a vain gesture of professionalism and responsibility.

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