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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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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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Post tsunami village

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 Fourth Principle of Community-Based International Development


If we are the source of all the ideas and plans, if we fear that nothing will get done or improve without us, if we are the motor of initiative, if we are stressed-out that we might fail in our efforts, if we have trouble recognizing the names and faces and stories of those whom we serve, then it’s likely our filter needs replacing.

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competent engagement?

A Moderate Elitist


There are some very active ongoing conversations around aid elitism at Tales From the Hood here and here, and at viewfromthecave here and here.  It’s had some spillover with the conversation about poverty tourism here and here. The posts themselves have been fairly moderate, but the comments seem to be driving a troubling polarity into the […]

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The Third Principle of Community-Based International Development


Instead of mapping problems through needs to external solutions, you help the community identify its values and then map these through local resources to develop a vision and action plan. This is the third 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 […]

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The Second Principle of Community-Based International Development


“The world is littered with community development projects gone wrong. More often than not the source of failure was an overemphasis on output and underemphasis on process.” This is the second post of a 6-part series republishing the original Staying for Tea (Five Principles for Community Development) article from The Global Citizen journal (2005). You can […]

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