Posts categorized under Development

12 May 2011 ~ 6 Comments

Don’t forget the boys…

Everyone wants to “support girls”. Being a girl myself, I think that is great and all…. but let’s not forget the boys! In Cambodia, there are many sectors which only provide jobs to women: many garment factories only employ women for their line jobs, there are many silk weaving programs and NGO interventions targeting women’s [...]

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22 April 2011 ~ 2 Comments

The Mortenson Situation: Reminding us not to hero-worship in the social sector

When I first read Greg Mortenson’s book, Three Cups of Tea, I loved it. It was 2007 or 2008, I had just spent a few years beginning our work at PEPY, an organization which had started with our own school construction story in 2005. The story resonated with me. I loved that he was talking [...]

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03 April 2011 ~ 4 Comments

To Hell with Good Intentions (my imaginary conversation with Ivan Illich)

Oh how I wish that I had heard Ivan Illich give this speech in 1968. I imagine myself as one of the students about to be sent off to Mexico to “volunteer”, eager to “help the poor people”, smiling proudly as I shine in my own self-worth. And then I imagine hearing him start out [...]

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28 March 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Earning the right to leave your money in a country

Whenever a group of people visit me in Cambodia and want to learn about responsible development, we usually go visit RDIC, an organization working with a variety of rural applicable technologies in the areas of water, health, agriculture, and more. Whenever we’re there, I’m always struck when one of the managers, John, says one of [...]

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23 March 2011 ~ 8 Comments

Giving away one bednet doesn’t “save one life”…. sorry!

Ahh, bednets. NGOs sell the idea of giving things away by equating each thing we give away to “the poor”, like a bednet, as equal to “saving a life”. If only it were that easy…. This week a fascinating group of visiting students told us about a campaign that had happened in their school to [...]

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03 January 2011 ~ 8 Comments

Guidelines for Writing About “Development Issues”

Over the course of the last five years we have jotted down many rules and given presentations internally at PEPY about our writing guidelines.  I spent the better part of the day today locating them and compiling them, and they have a lot of the same themes. Here are a selection of the Do’s and [...]

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27 October 2010 ~ 7 Comments

Investing in People

We want to know that our money went to “the right place”. We have been taught to be fearful that our donations might aid corruption or not be used in the way we had intended. As such, it’s easier for us to build buildings than invest time in people through things like trainings & education [...]

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