More Recent Posts

Do INGOs pay a globalization penalty?


Organizations seem better at calculating the savings of standardization and the centralization of key functions than at calculating its costs. Some of the hard-to-monetize costs may be decreased innovation and creativity, decreased agility and responsiveness, decreased relevance and fit across multiple sites, and increased administrative load and complexity.

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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.

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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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fa⋅ci⋅pu⋅la⋅tion


Facipulation is the act of obscuring the gaps between the rhetoric and reality of participation. We facilitate meetings and processes in such a way as to get our preconceived ideas articulated, our preferred agenda adopted, our desired activities moved forward…and this is at the expense of the communities’ ideas, preferred agendas, desired activities, and needs. Facipulation is not good practice.

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Volunteering: The For-Profit vs. Non-Profit Debate Poll


As a background to this poll, please view the comments that followed the Poverty Tourism Taxonomy 2.0 post, in particular those by mikeonpurpose, Randy LeGrant (from GeoVisions) and the Sept. 4 comment by David Week. (And of course, my responses)

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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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Poverty Tourism Taxonomy 2.0


“Poverty tourism” may not mean what you think it means…at all.

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A Moderate Elitist


Aid Elitism isn’t helpful. We need both competence and humility to do no harm while inviting and coaching new entrants to the field.

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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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