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‘Learning for All’ – by the World Bank

16 Apr

There are many things in this video that are worth critiquing. Perhaps for many viewers that are not viewing the video in a critical lens, it may be easy to miss. The video in general seems like a good intentioned video that will tug at the heart strings of sponsors. However, let`s break a few things down, shall we?

1. Many students learn very little, this means they will be less healthy, less innovative and have a lower chance of finding a job, make less money and contribute less to the community. Is this TRUE?

  •  what if the community doesn’t require so much emphasis on finances (money).
  • if a community is mainly sustained through agriculture, does learning math increase their contribution to their community?
  • if all the generations of students are taught a westernized curriculum and taught that they should aim to be doctors and engineers…. can their economy sustain that? Does this actually help them achieve more jobs?
  • useful knowledge that can be passed onto the next generation doesn’t have to be learned in school. Can external teachers teach how to harvest local resources the way elders do?

Here are just a few questions to ask yourself when viewing videos like this. The message, I believe, is a good one. We should invest in education. After all…knowledge IS power! However, with this in mind, education cannot be the same for everyone. Partnerships can be a very great tool to accommodate curriculum to the community. What else can partnerships do?


How to write an NGO action plan

10 Apr

This is a guideline from the Montessori Model UN for how to prepare an action plan. It comes with a few examples as well. It breaks it down quite nicely so that a student can be well informed of a certain issue before going through with taking action. Perhaps educators can modify this guideline and emphasize the importance of partnerships so that the young people that want to take action and help with development can start off their proposal with partnerships in mind. We are confident that individuals who develop programs that are to be implemented in developing nations would consider working with local communities FIRST, if they knew how big of a difference it makes in terms of minimizing intrusiveness and maximizing sustainability.

How to write an NGO action plan

Spotlight on: Room to Read

4 Apr

Room To Read is an organization that focuses on the issues of literacy and equal access to education in the third world, primarily in countries of South East Asia and Africa. The organization has a massive scope. As of 2012, they have established 1,627 schools, 15,082 libraries and distributed 12.8 million books in ten countries. The organization operates on the principle that “literacy skills are the foundation for all future learning and educating girls is the most powerful and effective way to transform communities and end the cycle of illiteracy” (Room to Read Annual Report 2011).

What we think is admirable about this organization is their emphasis on partnership to ensure sustainability and cultural relevance. They work with existing schools, community leaders, and government officials to update teaching methods and curriculums, to promote literacy, and to incorporate materials that will increase gender equality in the classroom. According to their annual report, they “publish books by local authors and illustrators [as a way to] keep content culturally relevant for young readers”, and to help “pass along folklore and traditions from one generation to the next” (2011). Books are published in the main languages spoken in the local communities.

Their annual report asserts that “community ownership of our projects is paramount to long-term impact”, ensuring that, even after direct funding ends, their schools and libraries continue their work.

The organization also values partnerships with citizens of the Global North for support. The organization prides itself on its four-star award for sound fiscal management, bestowed by Charity Navigator, and makes a point of being transparent and accountable to its supporters.

Additionally, Room to Read encourages active participation over passive donating. The organization further encourages interested parties to be involved in a local chapter, promoting fundraising activities and spreading awareness. In this way, people are encouraged to do their own research, engaging with and thinking about global issues.

Alice’s Imaginative Fundraising

3 Apr

Partnerships with sponsors is just as important as making connections with the community you want to work with. Camfed is an organizations that encourages their sponsors to be actively involved. Here’s Alice’s story!

A Guide to NGO’s

15 Mar

The magazine New Internationalist published this article back in 2005, highlighting various aspects of an NGO that should be carefully considered before you donate. There are so many organizations out there, especially as the internet and social media makes it easy to promote and share causes with others. It can be difficult, even overwhelming, to wade through the marketing rhetoric in order to figure out an NGO’s true purpose, what they are working to achieve, and their impact (good or bad). However, as the article states, “Donors or potential donors have real power, which is part of the problem. But that power, and responsibility, can also be used in favour of positive change”.

Before giving your time, fundraising efforts, and money to an organization, it is important to do your research to ensure they are truly making a positive change. The article provides a series of questions to consider before you donate. For example, does the NGO in question have limits to the amount of donations they accept from governments and corporations? Strong monetary partnerships with these institutions might affect the ideals, practices, and decisions of the organization, who may fear losing significant amounts of funding if they don’t align their beliefs with these powerful groups. As one author puts it, “Empowering poor people means challenging the disempowering status quo, which brings social movements and their organizations into conflict with the powers that be. Those who profit from the current forms of development have no interest in a shift” (Barry-Shaw & Oja Jay, Paved with Good Intentions, 2012).

Other points to consider, raised in this article, surround responsible budgeting practices, the level of transparency with the public and their donors, and if donors are encouraged to move past passive giving to be actively engaged with the issue at hand, increasing their knowledge about global problems and implementable, equitable solutions.

Many organizations are passionate about social justice and are doing excellent work, in both the global north and the global south. If you are involved with an NGO, or if you are thinking about how to get involved with one, this article is definitely worth a read.