Wanted: New ways to communicate about global poverty

Take a moment and think about how you most often hear development work portrayed in the public discourse? Two divergent narratives come to my mind.

First, international aid is unashamedly tied to foreign policy objectives, money is wasted, and day-to-day aid work is challenging, if not futile. The narrative goes something like this: So-and-so country is poor or vulnerable. Rich countries try to help them. So-and-so is still poor and vulnerable.

On the other hand, according to many NGOs and international agencies, our day-to-day work in the development sector is instantly transformative, not to mention selfless. The narrative goes something like this: So-and-so person is poor or vulnerable. We [the organization] helps so-and-so. So-and-so is not poor anymore.

That’s a pretty polarizing view of anti-poverty and development work – all good or all bad. People working on the ground know that neither is an accurate picture of reality. And this reality is harder and harder for communications staff and the media to ignore.

Illustration from "The Barefoot Guide To Working With Organisations And Social Change" www.barefootguide.org
Illustration from "The Barefoot Guide To Working With Organisations And Social Change" www.barefootguide.org

Games in International Development: Fad or Innovation?

People have been playing more games these days in Washington D.C. And I don’t mean the strategies of the Obama and Romney spin teams.

Two recent events suggest games’ growing popularity in D.C. aid circles: this one I attended at the World Wildlife Fund earlier this month and this Tuesday’s upcoming event hosted by the Society for International Development.

Drumbeat Festival, ICT for Rural Economic Development, SocialCamp 2010 - Attempt To Connect Three Communities

I had the good fortune to participate in three fascinating events this month, all with overlapping themes that matter to Kabissa but taking different approaches and targeting different communities. If you were at one of these events, I'd like to invite you to check out the other ones and look for collaboration opportunities. Please also join Kabissa, add your organizations working in Africa to the Kabissa directory and introduce yourself in the groups.

It's important to arm Nigerian girls, especially when the other guys won't.

It’s been obvious to me for a long time that the way to fuel sustainable, positive change in the world is to find, nurture, and fund local, grassroots solutions, like arming Nigerian girls…with the weapon of education.

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