Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Myths About Online Volunteering (Virtual Volunteering)

This article was copied in its entirety with permission from the author.

Online volunteering means unpaid service that is given via the Internet. It's a method of volunteering I have been using, studying, documenting or promoting since 1995, first independently, then with the Virtual Volunteering Project, and then with the UN's Online Volunteering service. It's also known as virtual volunteering, online mentoring, ementoring, evolunteering, cyber volunteering, cyber service, telementoring, and on and on.
Now, 10 years on, I'm stunned at how many myths are still out there about the concept. Here is a list of 12 of the most common myths, and my attempt to counter them:

1. Online volunteering is great for people who don't have time to volunteer!
False. This is probably the biggest and most annoying myth out there about the practice. Online volunteering requires REAL time, not "virtual" time. If you don't have time to volunteer offline, you probably do NOT have time to volunteer online. Online volunteering should never be promoted as a way an alternative volunteering method for people who don't have time to volunteer face-to-face. Rather, the appeal of online volunteering for individuals is that:

* it's another way for a person to help an organization they are already helping in face-to-face settings

* it's a way for someone who cannot volunteer onsite because, while they have time to volunteer, they cannot leave their home or work place to do so

* it allows a way for people with disabilities who have problems with mobility, or people no way of traveling easy, to volunteer

* it can allow a person to help an organization that serves a cause or issue of great importance to the person but for which there are no onsite opportunities in his or her area

* it can allow a person to help a geographic area that he or she cannot travel to

2. People who volunteer online don't volunteer face-to-face
False. According to research by the Virtual Volunteering Project in the late 1990s, as well as anecdotal evidence since then from various organizations, the overwhelming majority of online volunteers also volunteer in face-to-face settings, often for an organization in their same city or region, and often for the same organization they are helping online.

3. People who volunteer online do so for organizations that are geographically far from them
False. Most online volunteers are people who also volunteer onsite for the same organization; for instance, a volunteer designing an annual report may go onsite to meet with staff but perform most of the donated service via his or her home or work computer. Also, most people who volunteer online look for opportunities that are in their same geographic area -- just as do people who want to volunteer onsite. Indeed, there are thousands of online volunteers who look for remote online volunteering opportunities, and the UN's Online Volunteering service is an excellent avenue for them to find such.

4. People who volunteer online are mostly young, affluent and living in the USA
False. Online volunteers come from all age groups who can use the Internet independently (usually starting when a person is over 13), from various educational and work backgrounds, and from various geographies and ethnicities. The breakdown of online volunteers from the UN's Online Volunteering service is telling: more than 40% are from developing countries. Ofcourse, each organization that involves online volunteers will have a different breakdown as far as online volunteering demographics; in short, one cannot make sweeping generalizations about who online volunteers are.

5. People who volunteer online are very shy and have trouble interacting with others
False. As noted earlier, according to research by the Virtual Volunteering Project in the late 1990s, as well as anecdotal evidence since then from various organizations, the overwhelming majority of online volunteers also volunteer in face-to-face settings. In fact, online volunteers tend to be excellent at interacting with others -- it's that hunger for interaction that often drives their volunteering, on or offline.

6. Online volunteers engage primarily in technology-related tasks
False. Online volunteers engage in a variety of non-technology-related tasks, such as advising on business plans, human resources development, fund-raising and press relations, researching topics, and facilitating online discussions. A survey of online volunteering assignments posted to, say, the UN's Online Volunteering service, usually shows 50% of more assignments that are non-tech-specific.

7. Online volunteering is impersonal
False. Online interactions are quite personal. In many circumstances, people are often more willing to share information and feelings online than they are in face-to-face. Also, volunteers can more easily share photos of their families, and narratives about their interests, via the Internet than, say, at an onsite volunteer luncheon. Online volunteers with whom I have worked are real people to me, not virtual people. When they have gotten married or graduated from high school or college or had a baby or gotten a job, I have celebrated, and when they have died or lost a loved one, I have cried.

8. Interviewing potential volunteers face-to-face is much more reliable than interviewing people online
False. Both methods of interviewing potential volunteers have strengths and weaknesses, and one may be more appropriate than another for a particular situation, but each is effective. I have talked to plenty of people face-to-face who expressed great enthusiasm and interest in becoming online volunteers, and have wanted information on how to get started -- and who never follow-through, while people online must show not only their interest but their commitment and skills almost immediately, by responding to emails promptly and by writing clearly.

9. The Internet Is Dangerous and, therefore, online volunteering opens an organization and its clients up to many risks.
False. The Internet is no more, nor no less, dangerous than the offline world. When people, including children, have been harmed as a result of online activities, it has been because they or their parents did not take appropriate safety measures -- it's amazing to me that parents who would never allow their children to go to, say, a bus station to play for the day, allow their children to go into unsupervised chat rooms. There is extensive information on how to ensure safety in online volunteering (and online mentoring) programs at the Virtual Volunteering Project.

10. The biggest obstacle to online volunteering is lack of Internet access
False. For organizations, the biggest obstacle to involving online volunteers successfully, or at all, is lack of experience in basic volunteer management practices. If an organization doesn't know how to involve onsite volunteers effectively, they won't be able to do it online.

11. Much more needs to be done to get people to volunteer online
False. There are plenty of people who want to volunteer online, far, far more than there are opportunities for them. Instead, much more needs to be done to help build the capacity of organizations regarding volunteer management, and to incorporate information about online volunteering into this capacity-building.

12. Online volunteering is a very new concept
False. Online volunteering has been going on probably has long as there has been an Internet (which itself is more than 30 years old). Tim Berners Lee, in an online appearance at the United Nations Volunteers' event at Un Open Day in Geneva in 2001, noted the role volunteers had played in his development of the World Wide Web -- people donating their time and experience to a cause they believed in, working together via the Internet.

The UN's Online Volunteering service features a page devoted to tracking research about online volunteering by various organizations.

Disclaimer: No guarantee of accuracy or suitability is made by the poster/distributor. This material is provided as is, with no expressed or implied warranty.

Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this tip sheet without charge if the information is kept intact and without alteration, and is credited to:

Jayne Cravens and Coyote Communications

This article may be read in its original at:
Myths About Online Volunteering (Virtual Volunteering)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


This information was taken from the Echoing Green website.

Echoing Green's Fellowship Program

Echoing Green awards two-year fellowships to emerging social innovators. Annually, we award fellowships to individuals with innovative ideas for creating new models for tackling seemingly unsolvable social challenges. These fellowships offer them the opportunity to develop and test their ideas.

This is not a scholarship program. Our fellows do not develop their ideas in an academic setting. Our fellows work in the community. They launch, manage and grow organizations that implement and continually expand their ideas for creating lasting social change.

During the two-year fellowship, Echoing Green provides both financial and technical support.

Application Process:

Each year, Echoing Green holds an open application process through which anyone who meets our eligiblity criteria and has a compelling new idea for social change is welcome to apply.

Our 2007 application has closed. If you would like to apply for next year's fellowship, we recommend that you complete our Pre-Application Questionnaire ahead of time, as it's the single best resource for learning about our selection criteria.

Financial Support:

Echoing Green offers fellowships to individuals and to partnerships of no more than two individuals.

Individual Fellowships: $30,000 per year for two years for a total of $60,000 paid in four equal installments of $15,000

Partnership Fellowships: $45,000 per year (per project, not per individual) for two years for a total of $90,000 paid in four equal installments of $22,500

Fellowship stipends are paid twice a year. The initial stipend payment for 2007 fellows will be paid in early September 2007. The remaining payments are paid every six months (in March and September). The stipend can be used for any purpose related to the start up of the organization or project.

In addition to the two-year stipend, Echoing Green also offers a monthly stipend for health insurance.

Technical Assistance:

Echoing Green provides our fellows a range of support through a variety of media including the Internet, conferences, site visits and phone contact. We offer guidance in strategic and financial planning, staff and board development, fundraising, legal and accounting practices and many other aspects of starting and building a non-profit organization.

During the two-year fellowship period, Echoing Green will host three fellowship conferences. The New Fellows Conference will be held in mid-July 2007. This conference allows our new fellows to meet and network amongst themselves. At the conference we also offer educational workshops and access to Echoing Green Fellows, program alumni and other experts in the field. In November of each year of the fellowship period, Echoing Green will also host Current Fellows Conferences for all of our currently funded fellows. These conferences are excellent opportunities for networking, peer to peer learning and renewal.

Our conferences are an essential element of our fellowship program and Echoing Green expects all our fellows to attend all conferences during their fellowship period.

Accountability to Outcomes:

Echoing Green works with our fellows from the outset in developing their programs, determining projected outcomes and implementing measurement tools. Assessing impact is an ongoing process throughout the fellowship period. Social impact is a long term investment and is not easy to measure. Echoing Green is committed to tackling the difficult question "how are we making a difference" and insuring accountability at all levels, including accountability to the communities that our fellows serve.

Our fellows develop ambitious and measurable first year objectives. Throughout their fellowship, they provide regular reports to the foundation and track their progress against their objectives, refining their objectives as appropriate.

Echoing Green's Fellowship Program

Echoing Green

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mapendo International: Great Love

Below are excerpts from the website of Mapendo International and the Echoing Green website.

"Mapendo International's mission is to identify, rescue, and protect people fleeing conflict and violence in Africa whose lives are in imminent danger and who fall outside existing relief efforts. Focusing on refugees who are targets of genocide, torture survivors, rape victims, widows, orphans, and those with urgent medical needs (HIV positive refugees foremost among these), Mapendo International devises and implements short and long-term solutions for those whose struggle to survive would otherwise go unattended. The organization is responding to the plight of such people through its medical clinic in Nairobi and through its rescue initiatives program in East and Central Africa.

"Mapendo International works to fill the critical and unmet needs of people affected by war and conflict who have fallen through the net of humanitarian assistance. This commitment is expressed through targeting individuals, families and groups of people overlooked by existing aid programs. Mapendo strives to alleviate human suffering, to protect life and health, and to raise awareness for these vulnerable people.

"While working in refugee relief and rescue operations with the International Organization for Migration and the U.N.H.C.R. (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) throughout Africa, Mapendo International's co-founder, Sasha Chanoff, traveled into the Democratic Republic of Congo. There he undertook a U.S.-funded emergency mission to rescue Tutsi victims of countrywide massacres, part of the ethnic violence that stemmed from the Rwandan genocide. In the Congo he met Rose Mapendo, a Tutsi who had been jailed with her family. Rose listened as soldiers executed her husband, gave birth to twins in prison, and managed to keep her nine children alive under appalling conditions.

"The rescue team's success in getting Rose and her family out, despite the fact that they were not on the refugee evacuation list, became the inspiration behind the organization's name. Mapendo means "great love" in Swahili. The advocacy organizations, Human Rights Watch and Refugees International have documented the many thousands of refugees in similarly untenable situations who have no access to aid. For Sasha, working regularly with individuals and families in such dire circumstances created an imperative to act. With advice and guidance from senior officials in the U.N., the State Department and NGOs, Sasha launched this new initiative with Dr. John Wagacha Burton, Mapendo's co-founder, to address the critical and unmet needs of those refugees whose lives are in peril.


" Mapendo is action oriented. We identify needs and implement solutions. Through our rescue operations in east and central Africa and in our Nairobi medical clinic serving HIV/AIDS victims and others with critical medical needs, we are reaching out to thousands of people whose struggle to survive would otherwise go unnoticed and unattended.

"Our programs include:

"Rescue Operations

Mapendo International identifies and assists individuals, families and groups of people fleeing war and conflict who need urgent and lifesaving assistance. We compile reports and identify durable solutions for people in danger and provide this information to governments, the United Nations and other aid agencies. We are actively assisting refugees across east and central Africa through this initiative.

"Medical Care
Mapendo International serves some of the most vulnerable survivors of Africa's wars and conflicts through our medical clinic in Nairobi, which works to keep alive and provide health care to HIV positive people, torture survivors, widows with children, and others at risk who have urgent medical needs and no access to health care.

"Awareness Programs
Mapendo International undertakes photography and video projects to raise awareness and understanding for marginalized refugee communities. This information is then exhibited and distributed in the United States through collaborations with refugee resettlement agencies and community-based organizations."

You can find
Mapendo International here.

Echoing Green can be found here.

Monday, December 04, 2006


On December 3rd 2006 HBO aired what was billed as a documentary and entitled “ ITHUTENG.” Unfortunately this documentary aired after allegations of fraud have arisen directed towards a significant individual in the documentary: Jackie Maarohanye (often referred to as “Mama Jackie”).

I do not have direct knowledge of any of the facts surrounding the controversy swirling around Mama Jackie and her Ithuteng School in Klipspruit, Soweto, South Africa. I have not spoken directly to any of the participants involved. I have not spoken to any of the donors, school officials or students. Because I have no direct knowledge about this matter, I can only point to the various accounts that have been published about this matter in the general media without claiming to know whether the allegations are true or not. I will point to just one of these articles, this one written and published by the online publication of the UK Guardian (“Guardian Unlimited”) entitled: “'Angel of Soweto' a fraud, TV show claims”.,,1960107,00.html

It is my understanding that HBO was aware of the controversy surrounding Jackie Maarohanye and her school prior to the documentary being aired. It is also my understanding that HBO did not give any notice to the viewing public of that controversy prior to its being aired.

The problem that I find with HBO’s airing this documentary without giving prior notification of the controversy is that it could be very necessary for viewers to be aware of this controversy in order to judge the content of the film.

According to a December 3rd, 2006 Los Angles Times news article (“Soweto school scripted lies, students say”),0,2458607,full.story?coll=la-home-world
“HBO plans to run a card at the end acknowledging the allegations.” But a visit to the HBO website promoting the film, and to the website providing a synopsis of the film I found no mention of the allegations.

A quick look at the schedule that HBO has posted for the film reveals that HBO currently intends to air the film eighteen more times between December 5th 2006 and January 29th 2007.

This makes me wonder how many viewers will be motivated to contribute to Mama Jackie and her Ithuteng School before the allegations of fraud are resolved. There are many worthwhile charities in Africa and elsewhere in the world, and by appearing to promote an organization that is currently under a cloud within its country HBO could be doing a great disservice to sincere potential donors to worthwhile charities and to those worthwhile charities as well.

The film was directed by 16 year-old Willie Ebersol in his first filmmaking attempt; and it was produced by Willie’s brother Charlie Ebersol and friend Kip Kroeger. This was an extraordinary accomplishment by Willie Ebersol, but foremost on my mind coming away from this experience is to ask myself the question: Is It That HBO Just Doesn’t Care?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

ECHOING GREEN : And The Theory Of Change

(I have quoted liberally from Echoing Green 's web site.)

Echoing Green provides first-stage funding and support to visionary leaders with bold ideas for social change. As an angel investor in the social sector, Echoing Green identifies, funds and supports the world's most exceptional emerging leaders and the organizations they launch. Through a two-year fellowship program, we help passionate social entrepreneurs develop new solutions to some of society's most difficult problems. These social entrepreneurs and their organizations work to close deeply-rooted social, economic and political inequities to ensure equal access and help all individuals reach their potential.

o Social entrepreneurs play a vital role in driving social change
o Social change is created by developing new approaches to social problems that address root causes
o The next big idea will come from a robust pipeline of new leaders with innovative solutions
o New organizations, unconstrained by tradition, are best able to challenge the status quo

o Identify Visionaries
o Invest in Innovation
o Provide Hands-on Support
o Connect People

Echoing Green also believes that the entrepreneurial spirit that has driven the U.S. economy throughout its history can foster new solutions in the social sector. They take risks on undiscovered leaders when other organizations won't. They state that "Less than two percent of all foundation support is available for seed funding, making Echoing Green a leading global social venture fund that invests in new organizations at their earliest stages."

Echoing Green has invested nearly $25 million to help more than 400 visionary leaders spark positive change in 30 countries. They have done this by helping to launch "model organizations working in education, youth development, health care, housing, environmental justice, human and civil rights, economic and social justice, the arts and immigration." Echoing Green's website states that: "According to a recent study (conducted in 2004) Echoing Green fellows' organizations have raised more than $930 million in additional funding beyond Echoing Green's initial investment. Seventy-seven percent of organizations launched by Echoing Green Fellows are still in existence, and 85 percent of Echoing Green Fellows stay in leadership positions in the social sector."

Echoing Green

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

ONE ACRE FUND : Pioneers in Development Aid

Excerpted from the organization's web site with emphasis added by the editor:

"One Acre Fund is a non-profit organization started in January 2006, with the goal of completely re-thinking how to solve the chronic hunger problem in Africa. We don't give food away - handing out food will never solve hunger for more than one meal. Rather, we are pioneering a tiny investment package that will enable farm families to grow their own way out of hunger, permanently.

"We attack the number one health problem in Africa, which is lack of food. Hunger is the number one reason that one in six of our children dies before age five, and the number one reason that nearly half of the remaining children are physically stunted. We take a holistic approach to health, providing food security together with basic medicines.

"We seize an opportunity to make a permanent difference. The amazing opportunity is that the majority of the world's hungry are farmers, whose sole profession is to grow food. One Acre Fund provides a small amount of seed and fertilizer on credit, weekly farm training in the farmers' own fields, and market access. We empower farmers to grow four times more food within six months, and ten times more food value within three years. By linking our farmers with existing market-based solutions, our contributions stay with the family forever.

"We work with the poorest of the poor, people that other organizations will not touch. We deliberately target those who have been left behind. And we are not content to simply touch their lives. We will make a total change in their living conditions - health, food, income - in a few short years.

"Our investment package costs $240 per family of five, for the first year of involvement, and we are working hard to bring this cost down dramatically. This lays the foundation for a permanent solution to hunger for an entire family. I hope you will read more about our work, and consider joining our founding Investment Council. For $20 per month, you can make Africa and hunger elimination a part of your life through rich monthly portraits of our African farm families. Help us found a movement that will change how the world attacks hunger!"


At their page entitled: " How It Works ", One Acre Fund states:

"We use markets to eradicate hunger permanently. We make it possible for even the tiniest of farmers to participate in highly profitable agribusiness. We create a "market bundle" that contains all the pieces our farmers need to plant, grow, and sell new crops that multiply the value of their harvest. By linking our farmers with markets, we help them to create a permanent solution to the hunger problem."

One Acre Fund

One Acre Fund was founded by Andrew Youn who was also the recipient of the:
Echoing Green Visionary Leader Award for 2006.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

AED's : Ambassadors' Girls' Scholarship Program

The Washington Diplomat Newspaper published an article about The Ambassadors' Girls' Scholarship Program in its November 2006 edition, and I would like to spread the word that this program is in existence.

The article is titled Aid for African Girls and it discusses how this "U.S. Scholarship Program Helps Thousands in Sub-Saharan Africa."

The program is conducted by the
Academy for Educational Development (AED) in Washington, D.C.. AED is a nonprofit that is (among other things) distributing 87,000 scholarships to academically motivated school-age girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

May Rihani is the senior vice president of AED and heads up their Ambassadors' Girls' Scholarship Program. Rihani is also the director of the AED Center for Gender Equity. The scholarships are funded by a presidential initiative that is funded by theU.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) . This is part of a larger USAID effort to provide 550,000 scholarships to African girls in primary and secondary schools by 2010. AED won the USAID contract through a competitive bidding process.

Rihani says that AED works with local NGOs to provide not only the scholarships but to provide additional resources as well.

According to the article appearing in The Washington Diplomat, written by Carolyn Cosmos:

"The AED program has given 57,000 scholarships to school-age girls in 15 countries over the last two years, with a goal of reaching the 87,000 total by 2008. In addition to providing school fees, books and uniforms, Ambassadors' scholarships are grounded in community support and include mentoring. Periodic meetings, sometimes weekly, take place with a woman selected for the job by a local committee. A mentor is "neither a mother nor a teacher but a little bit of both," Rihani explained. Mentors offer academic and general assistance, monitor the girls' progress, and serve as role models.
AED, which is headed by Stephen F. Moseley (see June 2006 issue of The Washington Diplomat), is currently partnering with local support providers in Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia and Sudan."

The age range of the girls is chosen by an AED selection committee is between 8 and 16. The committee gives priority to orphans living with extended families or in an orphanage and to those affected by HIV/AIDS.

According to Rihani, the primary goal of each program is to "eliminate schooling's economic burden on parents." But AED likes to call the programs "Scholarship Plus" because there are additional benefits that are derived from the program - such as encouraging the girls to help educate their families about health issues.

The AED web site states:

"The Ambassadors' Girls Scholarship Program (AGSP) is a key component of the U.S. President's Africa Education Initiative (AEI). It aims to address the constraints to girls' participation, retention and achievement at school. These include financial and opportunity costs, socio-cultural factors such as early marriage, as well as the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on girls and their families. AGSP provides comprehensive support for girls' education in the form of: scholarships at the primary level, and sometimes at the secondary level; mentoring; parent and community awareness programs to promote and support girls' education; and HIV/AIDS awareness activities to prevent and mitigate the spread of HIV/AIDS. Scholarships are intended to ensure access to educational opportunities, and are geared to needs within each country"

Visit both the Washington Diplomat article on The Ambassadors' Girls Scholarship Program , as well as the AED web site itself.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A BOND APPROACH: Putting Beneficiaries First

British Overseas NGOs for Development (BOND) is an organization founded in June 1993, on the initiative of 61 NGOs to improve the UK's contribution to international development by promoting the exchange of experience, ideas and information amongst its member organizations and other NGOs in the UK and internationally that have an interest in international development.

Today, BOND has over 300 members and is officially recognized by the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID). It is also the United Kingdom's broadest network of NGOs working in international development.

In furtherance of its work, BOND manages training, advocacy and information services for NGOs. One specific accomplishment of BOND is the production of a report in September of 2006 entitled: "A BOND Approach to Quality in Non-Governmental Organisations: Putting Beneficiaries First"

Because of the growing debate about quality systems and standards needed to enhance the performance of NGOs, BOND commissioned Keystone and AccountAbility to research this issue in order for BOND to help better understand the direction and approach that can be taken to further support its members.

The Report is quite lengthy but very interesting. I believe it will be an extremely helpful document for NGOs in evaluating their own operations. And because BOND is looking for feedback on its report, I strongly recommend it as important reading for individuals seriously involved in international NGO work.

I have excerpted portions of the Executive Summary of the Report to give the reader an idea about what is discussed.

"The quality of an NGO's work is primarily determined by the quality of its relationships with its intended beneficiaries.

"If an NGO maintains a respectful dialogue with its intended beneficiaries, recognising their priorities from their points of view, and beneficiaries shape operational decisions, then this creates a framework within which an NGO's analysis, response and evaluation are likely to be high quality.

"These relationships may be mediated by specific individuals who represent beneficiary groups to NGO staff. They will also be influenced by many other stakeholders, including government, donors, and political interests. It depends on an NGO's ability to adapt its work flexibly to changing local conditions and priorities. Members were explicit in arguing that, for NGOs, quality depends on the relationships with beneficiaries taking priority over the achievement of pre-determined project goals and other 'professional' management practices. They also noted that it takes priority over quality assurance mechanisms for specific activities, such as (for instance) the build quality of new classrooms; the primary risk being that an NGO's activities, no matter how well implemented, do not respond to beneficiaries' realities and priorities."

The Report further states:

"Crucially, NGOs will need to make sure that they have the right people in place to develop relationships on the ground, with appropriate values and skills, committed to learning and staying in the same place for a reasonable length of time. BOND members drew a distinction between investments made in hard skills, such as accounting, and the soft skills of listening, responsiveness and interpersonal accountability that are ultimately more determinative of quality."

Some of the problems encountered while trying to carry out this function is also discussed:

"A number of members pointed to the tension between balancing organisational interests and beneficiaries' interests. They commented that staff need flexibility and autonomy to nurture local relationships with beneficiaries and local implementing partners. When organisations' systems are unduly corporately bureaucratic or internally focused, they limit flexibility on the ground, and can constrain relationships between NGO staff and beneficiaries, as well as diverting staff's energy to focus inside the organisation."

Finally, BOND states:

"Recognising the diversity and independence of NGOs and their donors, we offer this exploration as a challenge to everyone working in our sector. We hope that this report provides an initial step in crystallising a common view of quality that may become the basis for common action to strengthen our performance and do more to help poor, vulnerable and marginalised people around the world to improve their own lives."

Links to the Executive Summary of the Report, the full Report and Individual Chapters (in both PDF and ".doc" format can be found at the following site:


The Home Site for British Overseas NGOs for Development can be found at BOND

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

GrassrootSoccer "Using the Power of Soccer to Fight AIDS"

Founded by Tommy Clark,MD, Grassroot Soccer became a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization in 2002. Dr. Clark conceived of the idea after having played soccer professionally in Zimbabwe. During that time he witnessed first hand both the power of soccer and the tragedy of HIV. He enlisted a group of friends who had similar experiences, and with the help of co-founders Methembe Ndlovu, Ethan Zohn and Kirk Friedrich created Grassroot Soccer.

Their web site states:
"Grassroot Soccer works primarily in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia and Botswana. In addition, through select partnerships, we work in other African countries, including Ethiopia, Liberia, Lesotho, and Namibia. Click here to learn more about our global efforts to address the HIV epidemic."

The Strategy

To develop the best youth targeted HIV prevention curriculum possible.

To share our curriculum and approach with local organizations - this allows us to achieve scale in a sustainable way while making use of local knowledge and skills.

To use the power of soccer in a variety of ways to increase our impact.

The Mission

Grassroot Soccer's mission is to mobilize the global soccer community in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We have developed an internationally recognized HIV prevention curriculum that uses soccer players and the game itself to teach awareness about the disease, critical life skills, and prevention strategies to young people.

They say that "using the power of soccer in the fight against AIDS, Grassroot Soccer provides African youth with the skills and support to live HIV free.

"The GRS approach uses the power and popularity of soccer to break down cultural barriers, educate young people, and bring communities together around this important issue. GRS uses a unique activities-based curriculum to prepare trainers and peer educators to reach out to their communities and educate the population at large about how to avoid of HIV infection.

"It is a tremendous challenge to make the leap from HIV/AIDS awareness to HIV/AIDS prevention. It involves a much longer and more targeted intervention. The GRS curriculum is a very deliberate in its attempts to do that -- however it is not a stand-alone document. The training of trainers is an extremely important part of the strategy."

Because of this GRS sees the curriculum as a process, and recommends against simply using one or more games from the curriuculum as part of a separate program of youth HIV/AIDS education. They encourage interested individuals and organizations to contact them in order to discuss what strategies might work to enable a particular program to include the GRS curriculum in their activities, including GRS's options for Trainer-of-Trainer sessions.

The GRS website states:

"We help students feel they are supported by their communities - a key to successful behavior change: The percentage of students who could list three people they could talk to about HIV increased from 33% to 72%

"We help students know what resources are available in their communities: The percentage of students who knew where to go for help for HIV related problems increased from 47 to 76%

"We help students battle HIV-related stigma: The percentage of students who said they would feelcomfortable providing emotional support for an HIV positive classmate increased from 52% to 73%

"We help dispel life-threatening misconceptions: The percentage of students who believed condoms were effectively increased from 49% to 71%

GRS has several Outreach Programs

"GRS has its four "flagship" projects in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa, but it runs "outreach projects with NGO partners that are interested in and have the capacity and funding to run effective sport for development projects. Grassroot Soccer helps organizations to start successful programs by providing technical assistance through training, curriculum and project design, and systems for monitoring and evaluation. Outreach projects are an important part of Grassroot Soccer because they allow us to share our educational resources and expertise in using soccer as an HIV/AIDS prevention tool without being stretched too thin in terms of our own human resources."

"Grassroot Soccer says that it began these collaborative projects in 2004 with the Sports For Life (SFL) program in Zambia and Ethiopia. Sports For Life is a project run by Health Communication Partnerships (HCP), a USAID funded initiative that involves such organizations as The Academy for Educational Development (AED) and Johns Hopkins University Center For Communication Partnerships (JHUCCP). Grassroot Soccer worked with Sports For Life to design a joint curriculum and help them launch a major project in Ethiopia that is now being delivered in more than 1,000 schools and has reached more than 1.4 million people. GRS has since then provided training and technical assistance for several successful SFL projects including recent initiatives in Lesotho and Namibia.

"The success of SFL and interest in sport for development in the NGO community has also led to several additional collaborative projects for GRS in the past few years. We have worked with Mercy Corps to help start projects in Liberia and Sudan. We have worked with Lesotho Planned Parenthood to pilot a project in several districts in Lesotho. We have also worked with our NGO partners to design and develop new educational materials such as the Extra Time magazine. By sharing ideas and resources GRS has been able to reach out to tremendous numbers of people. We are always looking for like-minded partners that seek to integrate sports related HIV/AIDS prevention into their programs.

Grassroot Soccer in Namibia

"Sports for Life (SFL) uses the excitement of soccer to involve youth and young adults in HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities, capturing the attention of young people in an environment where they feel comfortable exploring serious and sensitive issues. SFL is a peer-driven, life skills program that has been tested, launched, and replicated in rural and urban environments. Through its innovative behavior change curriculum, SFL participants and trainers promote healthy behaviors to youth in their communities through a competitive teams approach.

"HCP/Namibia is piloting a sport-based HIV-prevention program called NAWA Sport which is based on the SFL curriculum, approach, and model. Ian Oliver, HCP/SFL Program Coordinator, and Jeff DeCelles, Grassroot Soccer Program Manager, were brought to Namibia to assist in the initial planning and training for this pilot phase of the program. Grassroot Soccer is a partner organization to SFL that provides assistance with training and program launches in other countries.

"HCP/Namibia has developed a network of Community Action Forums (CAFs) in 10 sites across Namibia. It is through this infrastructure that HCP plans to roll out NAWA Sport.

Grassroot Soccer in South Africa
"In South Africa, we have been working to prepare to launch programs by the end of 2005. We are working closely with the renowned international communications firm Fleishman Hillard to conduct needs assessments and identify communities and organizations to work with.

"The 2010 World Cup will be held in South Africa, and provides the ideal opportunity to highlight the power of soccer as an educational tool and raise the world's awareness about the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

"Grassroot Soccer plans to capitalize on this opportunity by having South Africa as the focal point of its programs leading up to 2010.

Grassroot Soccer in Ethiopia
"Collaboration with international NGO and domestic and foreign allows for the rapid launch of a large-scale program.

"Grassroot Soccer helped to launch Sports For Life (SFL) in 2004 with the US Agency for International Development (USAID)- funded Health Communication Partnership (HCP).

"GRS hired and trained 15 local staff that conducted trainings of PE teachers from more than 250 schools, ran health festivals and youth soccer tournaments with more than 50,000 people in attendance, and is in the process of training hundreds of sports coaches to deliver the GRS curriculum to their teams.

Grassroot Soccer in Zambia
"Partnership with the domestic government, and local and international and corporations, yields rapid and effective scale up.

"In just two months operating in Zambia, GRS has had tremendous success and shown the true potential of our program. GRS, in collaboration with various local community-based organizations (CBOs), has trained more than 1,000 young people and infused its curriculum into several existing community-based projects.

"We are working with the International Organization of Migration and several CBOs to run reproductive health education soccer camps in multiple refugee settlements. We have trained staff from more than 10 local organizations to adopt our curriculum into their existing sport for development projects. We have worked with our local partner, Youth Activist Organization (YAO), to train peer educator soccer teams throughout Lusaka.

"As a result of our efforts, we are in negotiations to launch a private-public partnership project that will train physical education teachers to deliver the GRS curriculum in schools throughout Zambia. GRS will work with local organizations and large NGOs to ensure that this project is successful and that thorough evaluation takes place.

Grassroot Soccer in Zimbabwe
"Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second-largest city after the capital, Harare, and is home to nearly 700,000 people. It is also home to the Bulawayo Highlanders, the professional soccer club for which Tommy, Kirk, Ethan and other founding members of Grassroot Soccer played while living in Zimbabwe, and as such was the natural location for our first programs.

"Kirk launched Grassroot Soccer's flagship program in January of 2003, our initial program. Today in Bulawayo, GRS trains professional players from the Zimbabwean Men's and Women's National Soccer Teams to deliver 5-day behavior change educational programs to youth. Thanks to our strong ties to the soccer community and key local organizations, our strong and capable local staff continue to graduate more than 200 students per month from this effective program at a time when many other organizations have had to abandon their efforts due to an unstable political climate.

"The Children's Health Council, a Stanford University affiliate research group, conducted an evaluation of Grassroot Soccer's Zimbabwe program and found it to be remarkably successful at communicating Grassroot Soccer's curriculum. Please click here for more details of the study.

"The Bulawayo program was developed in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Ministry of Education, the Bulawayo City Council, Rotary International, and various professional soccer teams.

I have quoted liberally from the Grassroot Soccer website, but to get the full story you really need to go to their web site.

Grassroot Soccer

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

MANGO: And Its Guide Of Financial Management For NGOs

M ango is a UK-registered charity that exists to help NGOs strengthen their financial management. They make available publications, training and staff recruitment. In furtherance of its objectives, Mango has posted its "Guide of Financial Management for NGOs" . The major sponsors for Mango's Mango's Guide of Financial Management for NGOs are the European Commission Humanitarian Office, Oxfam GB, the British Red Cross Society, Christian Aid, CAFOD, QuickBooks and PwC - Links to all of these sponsors can be found at Mango's site.

Mangos' web site states:
"Mango's Guide provides practical advice to everyone working with NGOs, to help them use their funds effectively to meet beneficiaries' real needs. It is based on a real understanding of what NGOs do, from Mango's experience of working with NGOs around the world, in the field and in head office."

There are five sections on Mango's Guide and they are described as follows:

" Introduction - key responsibilities for trustees, senior managers, finance staff and donors. Principles of financial management for NGOs.

Getting the Basics Right - the building blocks: keeping accounts, financial planning, financial monitoring and maintaining control. Also: working with beneficiaries, managing audits and legal requirements.

Advanced Issues - financial sustainability, working with donors, giving and receiving grants, accountability (including cost-effectiveness) and overseeing controls.

What NGOs Do - a short introduction to what NGOs do and what this means for managing their work. The important implications for managing NGOs are summed up as two golden rules.

Resources - practical resources available to download and use, including Mango's highly-rated training manual, a complete financial system and Mango's Health Check, available in five different languages."

For example, under the "Trustee responsibility" section in the introduction, Mango gives a very clear and concise explanation of what those responsibilities are.

"Trustees have overall responsibility for using an NGO's resources to achieve its objectives. They have to pay careful attention to financial affairs. They also have to make sure that senior managers take financial management seriously. Good financial management starts with the board. "

It also provides "a checklist of trustees' main financial management responsibilities". They focus on overseeing the organisation, rather than hands-on management, and include:

"Making sure that funds are used to help beneficiaries effectively;
Making sure that the organisation has enough funding;
Making sure that the organisation has effective senior management;
Making sure that the organisation operates within the law;
Making sure that the board can handle its responsibilities effectively.

A brief description of the Senior Managers' responsibilities as set out by the Mango site also gives a good picture of the type of useful information that can be found there. Time and space does not allow me to set that information out in detail, so I shall merely list the topic headings below:

1. Making sure that funds are used to help beneficiaries effectively

2. Making sure that the organisation has enough funding

3. Making sure that the organisation has effective senior management

4. Making sure that the organisation operates within the law

5. Making sure that the board can handle its responsibilities effectively

The causes of most failures by those NGOs that due fail are related to poor governance and management. Spending some time going through the web pages of Mango's Guide of Financial Management for NGOs is definitely well worth the effort.

Mango's Guide of Financial Management for NGOs


Thursday, October 12, 2006

THE eGRANARY DIGITAL LIBRARY : “Storing The Seeds Of Knowledge”

The eGranary Digital Library provides millions of digital educational resources to institutions lacking adequate Internet access. Through a process of garnering permissions, copying Web sites, and delivering them to intranet Web servers INSIDE our partner institutions in developing countries, we deliver millions of multimedia documents that can be instantly accessed by patrons over their local area networks at no cost.”

Their “partners are looking for training and consulting in low-cost methods to digitize their materials to share with colleagues at other African universities. We are looking for volunteers and funding to help build the human capacity to work with the digitized materials in the eGranary Digital Library and help make them more relevant and useful on subscriber campuses.”


The eGranary Digital Library’s web site states:

“Most schools in developing countries do not have an Internet connection; and where an Internet connection does exist, it is slow, unreliable and very expensive. The WiderNet Project’s eGranary Digital Library delivers digital information directly to Web servers inside institutions, bypassing the Internet. More than 3-million educational documents are currently delivered to more than 100 institutions in Africa and other undeveloped areas in the world giving at least 300,000 students and professors access to information over their local area networks (LAN) quickly and at no cost. The eGranary Digital Library regularly adds new content that is provided by authors and publishers all over the world who want to enhance the educational opportunities for developing countries.”

Here's how they do it...

1. They identify Web sites with rich educational content

2. They secure the author's or publisher's permission to copy their materials

3. They copy the permitted materials to a hard drive at the University of Iowa's WiderNet Project

4. They make copies of the collection and distribute to subscriber universities

5. And they update and redistribute hard drives as time and travel schedules permit

Of course there is more to it than this, but if you visit their web site, you can get more specific details.

SOME NUMBERS - The eGranary Digital Library has

93 Subscribers

330 Authors

328 Publishers

214 Whole or Partial Web Sites

764 Articles, Books, Pages, and Reports

Over 2.7 million Total Items

The eGranary Digital Library acknowledges the following sponsors:
HyperTox, World Book, RedHat. Microsoft, Supercourse, University of Iowa Foundation, USAID, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and TheJohn D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The eGranary Digital Library

Sunday, October 01, 2006


In her critical opinion piece in the online magazine: Art'ishake Canadian activist Danielle Goldfinger examines "Development Pornography" - the use by NGOs of shocking, graphic images of people (usually in the global South) in conditions of dire poverty in order to prompt donations from the general public.

While Goldfinger argues that these efforts are "well intentioned" they have "disastrous consequences." In her opinion piece, Ms. Goldfinger sets out to "illustrate the consequences of development pornography," identify "new trends in ethical marketing" and illustrate "what more can be done to ensure that NGOS use responsible communication plans to access funding."

She goes on to discuss how development pornography, among other things, creates and solidifies stereotypes, dehumanizes those individuals depicted in the images as well as those whom the images are meant to represent and how it masks the root causes of poverty.

In her writing, Ms. Goldfinger brings to the fore the debate within the development community over the ethics of using development pornography in marketing and the reforms that have been suggested as a result of that debate. She recommends that NGOs should get involved in advocating for justice rather than just sending funds to poverty stricken countries. Ms. Goldfinger points out that NGO should make the public aware of the connection between poverty and unfair trade laws and overburdensom debt arrangements.

Ms. Goldfinger also advocates for a "Code of Ethics" among NGOs that will bring a greater degree of transparency to NGO fundraising and inform the public of the source and use of funds collected.

Ms Goldfinger's editorial "Development Pornography: Images of the Global South" can be found in PDF format at the following link:

It is on page 4 of the Spring 2006 issue of Art'ishake .

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

PRAXIS AND INTRAC : Help For The NGO Developers

I found this on the web today:

"NGO leaders often face extraordinary challenges - both at a personal and organisational level. These challenges are demanding, and distinct from those faced by governments or the for-profit sector.

"NGO leaders are often isolated and unsupported. There is talk of a leadership deficit, because of the shortage of talented leaders and the growth of the non-profit sector generally. As a result there is some urgency in attempts to develop a new generation of leaders, and to provide relevant support to existing and future leaders. Leadership development programmes designed for NGO leaders must as a consequence incorporate best practice and current experience rather than rehashing tired, traditional approaches to leadership training.

"This Praxis Paper examines the role of leaders and leadership in NGOs. It draws on the analysis of recent research into the characteristics of NGO leaders, and explores the challenges of designing leadership development programmes appropriate to the needs of NGOs. This paper identifies the elements of successful leadership development, and assesses the skills or competencies that need be developed."

So, what, I wondered is Praxis? After a little searching I learned that

The Praxis Programme links with practitioners around the world to identify and share innovative approaches to organisational capacity building for NGOs. Praxis is a project of the International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC) .

INTRAC is a non-profit organisation working in the international development and relief sector. We support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) around the world by helping to explore policy issues, and by strengthening management and organisational effectiveness.

But back to Praxis:

INTRAC states that the "Praxis Programme is about enabling civil society organisations to become more effective by linking theory and practice - researchers and practitioners - in the field of organisational capacity building."

In particular, Praxis, which receives funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is about giving development practitioners with hands-on experience in different cultures and contexts an opportunity to share the solutions they develop in the course of their work.

The Praxis and INTRAC web sites are loaded with useful information for NGOs and the people involved with them.

Praxis has information on key topics on which they focus. They also have a dynamic, interactive hub for sharing experiences and learning, and you can download free Praxis Publications or search the Praxis Directory of Support Providers for organisations that are involved in capacity building in a your region. Finally, you can add your own organization to the list.

The Praxis web site can be found at:

I can't wrap up this posting without mentioning that I found Praxis in the first place through the Development Gateway

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Aid Workers Network is a hub for aid workers where questions can be answered, perspectives can be communicated, and where Aid Workers can make connections with people who share similar interests and concerns. Aid Workers Network boasts over 10,000 members, and the state that new members join every week. Because so many Aid Workers come to this web site it provides a wealth of experience that one can access. Because so many Aid Workers face situations and problems that have been encountered and solved by other, Aid Workers Network provides a place where information and experiences can be shared to facilitate the efficacy of aid and relief work.

Aid Workers Network is a FREE service and is supported in part by Oxfam and the British Red Cross and they have over 2500 conversations that can be found in their forum on a large variety of topics of interest to Aid Workers.

The web site also contains Advice Pages that now cover over 50 core topics. The Advice Pages are accessible, no-nonsense guides to the day-to-day field reality relief and development workers face. They also invite participants to share a particular expertise that they may possess. Advice Pages

There is also an Exchange Email Bulletin that delivers what they describe as "punchy articles" from aid workers, that share good practice from the field. The Aid Workers Network encourages contributions to this Bulletin from its readers. Exchange Email Bulletin

Finally, the Aid Workers Network has collected the newest entries from what they believe to be the best aid Blogs worldwide and put them in one place. As with the Bulletins and Advice Pages, Aid Workers Network encourages its readers to identify their own Blogs or identify those that they find interesting. Blogs

Aid Workers Network

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Community Education and Development (CEDS) Services works with grassroots communities in Northwest Province and South Province of Cameroon, which have little or no access to the vast majority of NGO services available in the country. In addition to leadership training for grassroots women's groups, village councils, and national and regional organizations, CEDS carries out HIV/AIDS sensitization in prisons, post-primary institutions and rural communities. CEDS also conducts information communication technology (ICT) training for women at the WLP-CEDS Information Technology (IT) Center in Bamenda, Cameroon.

Leadership Workshops:
In cooperation with the Women's Leadership Project(WLP), CEDS ensures that leadership training is accessible to grassroots women in areas often neglected by large NGOs. CEDS has empowered women to mobilize collectively and cooperate on a diverse range of projects. In the equatorial forest, workshop participants in one community challenged a harmful cultural practice where girls were committed into marriage before they were born. In Nkambe, workshop participants launched the Nkambe Women's Credit Union to increase women's access to credit. Women who participated in leadership training in Ndop formed the Ngoketunjia Food Cooperative and started a rice hulling and packaging project. A year later, they had a positive balance in their account at the Bamunka Ndop Credit Union.

Learning Institutes for Women's Leadership and Training of Trainers:
Two representatives from CEDS participated in the Africa Learning Institute for Women's Leadership and Training of Trainers in Calabar, Nigeria in February 2005, along with 22 women NGO leaders from seven additional African countries - Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The goal was to strengthen participants' leadership capacity, equipping them with the tools to empower women to become effective decisionmakers in their families, communities, and societies. CEDS plans to conduct a National Institute for Women's Leadership and Training of Trainers in 2007, bringing together English and French speaking women NGO leaders from across the country.

ICT Capacity Building:
The WLP-CEDS IT Center in Bamenda, Cameroon has increased CEDS' organizational capacity by enabling better documentation of CEDS' activities and improving the ICT skills of CEDS' staff. ICT workshop participants are given individually tailored courses using a flexible training timetable to accommodate their work schedules. Participants are trained in the use of word processing, spreadsheet, database, and accounting tools, as well as the use of ICTs for research and advocacy. ICT workshop participants include NGO staff and local journalists. A senior journalist with the Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) said, "CEDS' contribution to the education of women is critical because most women in the Northwest Province have not had access to computers." The IT Center will be expanded and upgraded during 2006.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

International Education Systems (IES) & UPHOLD: Forging Ahead In Education

The International Education Systems (IES) is a Division of Washington based Education Development Center (EDC) and provides services to education sector partners in developing countries.

IES currently serves 25 developing countries working on the development of education systems at the national level as well as on initiatives with limited scope and very specific purposes, such as small community-based learning systems.

IES' primary focus is on improving teaching and learning. The emphasis is usually basic literacy and numeracy for children and adults. In addition, they place importance on building life skills for orphans and other vulnerable children, on education about HIV/AIDS and systems that address its consequences, on early childhood development, and on ways to address the broader learning needs of communities.

IES staff members consider themselves to be leaders in the appropriate use of technology to address issues of access and quality. They use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as online learning portals and digital video to improve the exchange of skills and information. They also employ more traditional technologies such as radio to deliver interactive instruction where school systems have broken down or never existed, or to reach refugees, nomads and children who cannot afford to go to school. IES consists of four regional centers:

The organization has an Anglophone Africa Regional Center that is based in Nairobi and manages projects in Ghana, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. However IES also has projects in Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Somali.

One of IES's projects in Uganda is The Uganda Program for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD) . UPHOLD is "designed to assist Ugandans to offer and use quality social services in three sectors: education, health, and HIV/AIDS. As one of seven implementing partners, EDC is acting to improve student learning through the increased effectiveness of Ugandan primary schools. UPHOLD is training approximately three thousand Ugandan head teachers (principals) in active, student-centered teaching methods."

Below is a description of one of the activities of UPHOLD as presented on the IES web site. (This can be found at:

Bringing Us Closer: Primary School Teachers Receive Training in Teaching about HIV/AIDS Prevention

The Presidential Initiative on AIDS Strategy for Communication to Youth (PIASCY) worked with UPHOLD to orient over 45,000 teachers to HIV/AIDS education

An AIDS Strategy for Youth

USAID, through the UPHOLD Project, was privileged to support the Government of Uganda to scale-up PIASCY to primary school teachers. Between June and December 2004, UPHOLD oriented 45,721 teachers from 15,890 primary schools in 56 districts on PIASCY and how to implement it in their schools.

Since the mid 1980s, Uganda has demonstrated impressive reductions in HIV/AIDS transmission, often attributed to national leadership in acknowledging the disease, open communication about it and swift action at all levels. In recognition that the majority of Ugandans are youth and the younger generations continue to require good information about HIV/AIDS and skills to respond, PIASCY is the Presidential Initiative to promote positive behaviors to young people.

The first component of PIASCY revolves around school assemblies and complementary classroom lessons on a set of 26 messages. To achieve these activities, teachers must be knowledgeable about the topics and comfortable discussing them with pupils.

The vast majority of HIV infections in Uganda are spread through sexual transmissions. However, the subject of sex, central to information about HIV/AIDS prevention and transmission, is still a cultural taboo to discuss. Teachers often find it difficult to talk about with anyone, much less with their pupils, for a variety of reasons:

most teachers lack detailed information about the disease and, therefore, the confidence to raise the issue without being able to answer questions;
others fear that parents will hold them responsible for bringing up inappropriate subjects in the classroom;
some teachers know or fear that they are infected; and
still others feel ashamed to advise pupils to do the very behaviors that they themselves practice.

Teacher Orientation and Training
Orientations - The Ministry of Education & Sports developed training materials and trained national facilitators to orient teachers. USAID contributed through UPHOLD to roll-out the strategy to the school level. Alice Ibale, Programme Manager, and Madina Nakibirige, Programme Assistant, worked through the Teacher Development and Management System (TDMS), which coordinates all primary schools through core Primary Teachers' Colleges (PTC), to develop the orientations with principals from 23 core PTCs and District Education Offices.

Three teachers from each primary school participated for two days. They received the manuals and became familiar with the contents. During the process, discussions about current practices in the school setting began. Teachers and district officials were pleased with achievements. More than 45,000 teachers from 15,890 primary schools in all 56 districts participated. Both public and private school sent teachers so that the over seven million children in primary schools will benefit from teacher orientations. Most teachers responded enthusiastically; many reflected upon the current situation in schools and planned what they would do to protect children. In addition, teachers shared that the orientations renewed their commitment to advise pupils and act as positive role models.

The roll-out was completed within six months, compared to the anticipated 11 months for implementation, and at a considerably lower cost than expected. Use of the existing TDMS system increased coverage, effectiveness and speed of delivery. Collaboration between education and district officials ensured that all partners felt ownership over the activity; which made it acceptable to teachers to use the information. This set a foundation for sustainability in the future.

Next Steps
Formalize how children will be protected at school. Teachers shared current contexts in schools related to defilement, which is common throughout the country. Violators are rarely prosecuted, despite the Teacher Code of Conduct and awareness of their fellow teachers and parents. One case in Kamuli District involved a Head Teacher who was harassed by community members for reporting a teacher who defiled a pupil to the police. They also generated ideas about what could be done to protect pupils.
Involve parents and other community members to help form attitudes and values, and protect children at home. Parents influence what can successfully happen at school and are the most influential people in children's lives in forming values, attitudes and practices. What parents believe and do can protect children or put them at risk.
Promote female teacher or adult participation. There are far fewer female teachers than male teachers, especially in rural areas. In some rural schools there are no female teachers. This may affect implementation of PIASCY at school, especially related to information for girls.
Update data on schools and teachers. The activity founds that Ministry of Education & Sports databases on services available and district records were not up-to-date, which resulted in fewer training materials and a shortage in budget plans for each district.

For more information about this UPHOLD project, please contact:

Kent Noel, Senior Project Director,

Michael Cacich, Project Director,

Abdenour Boukamhi, Project Coordinator,

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Ikonzo Musanda Self Help Group is a Youth Led Global Reach Affiliate that concentrates on issues dealing with Children & Youth and is a member of the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS

Below are there staements on their Mission/Vision, Activities and Opportunities for youth.

To mobilise the rural poor by initiating community projects that address poverty and HIV/AIDS to meet basic needs.These needs are water,education,health, energy, employment,food and security. We aim at collaborating with other organizations both at local and international level in implementing these initiative as a strategy to achieve UN Millennium Development goals(MDG)

What does the organization do?
Implements community projects covering major sectors of our econmomy such health,HIV/AIDS, Education,environmental conservation,water and sanitation,ovc and ICT. We believe in establishing collaborative and partnership initiative with other organizations in achieving our objectives. we collaboratewith KAIPPG International,African regional Youth Initiative,Commonwealth of learning, KEenya organization of Environmental education(KOEE)

Opportunities for Youth
Implements computer for schools in western province to reach the youth as an altimight goal. In collaboration with world computer Exchange(WCE), jOMO Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Commonwealth of learning (COL) we are donating computers to all schools in Busia District as a strategy to reach the youth in rural areas.

Busia, Western, Kenya

Phone: 2540721405502

Fax: N/A


Web Presence:

Friday, August 25, 2006

NGOs in post-apartheid South Africa face new challenges.

An article in the June 26, 2006 Mail&Guardian Online discusses the problems facing NGO in South Africa today. The article may be found at the following site:

This article by Marina Penderis discusses the changing role of NGOs that no longer have to fight apartheid, but still seek to remain vocal as civil society activist.

Penderis quotes one activitst as saying: "Government doesn't want NGOs which advise, only NGOs which do things like feeding Aids orphans."

The pressures experienced by these organizations are also discussed. For example U.S. dollars for NGOs in Africa often come with strings attached that require to take positions against birth control or to pledge to fight terrorism.

Concerns over the loss of independence of these organizations is of real concern for their leaders.

The elimination of apartheid has also led to a reduction of funds available for NGOs in South Africa. According to one NGO staffer: “a lot of funding [that would have been directed to them in the past] is now directed to the new, democratic government".

The article in its entirety may be read at:

Friday, June 02, 2006

VILLAGE BIKE PROJECT: A Great Example To Follow

I received an email yesterday from someone spreading the word about a bicycle donation drive that was scheduled to take place in New York on June 4th program that Bikes Not Bombs was promoting. A quick Google search led me first to Bikes Not Bombs and then to the Village Bike Project (VBP) in Ghana. Bikes Not Bombs says that since September 2002 it has shipped nearly 2,000 bicycles and tons of parts to the Village Bicycle Project.

Not only does Bikes Not Bombs send bikes to Ghana through the Village Bike Project but it is one of five organizations that have combined to send THIRTY TWO CONTAINERS of bicycles to Ghana totaling over 8000 bikes as of June 2006.

The organizations that have collected the bikes are:

Bike Works from Seattle, Washington, 7 containers
Bikes Not Bombs from Boston, Massachusetts, 6 containers
Re~Cycle from Mersea, England, 4 containers
Recycle a Bicycle from New York, New York, 1 containers
Working Bikes Co-operative from Chicago, 2 containers
Bikes for the World from Washington,D.C., 3 containers
Village Bicycle Project from Moscow,Idaho, 1 containers

Moscow, Idaho?!? I had never heard of the place. But then I learned that that is the home of The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI), the mastermind behind the VBP.

The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute is committed to increasing citizen involvement in decisions that affect our region's environment through community organizing and education. It would take another article, (and a long one at that) to explain all of the great things that PCEI is doing, so I will have to save that for another day and stick to the subject of the Village Bike Project.

PCEI says that "Village Bicycle Project has three program areas to improve access to bikes in Africa, working specifically in Ghana:

1- sending donated bikes
2- teaching bike maintenance
3- providing improved tools for bike repairers

They continue to say -

These three components work together to nurture sustainability for the bicycle as serious transport in the region.

The centerpiece is of the program are their One-day maintenance and repair workshops. At the end of these workshops, the participants are eligible to buy a bicycle for half the normal price. PCEI says that as of August 30, 2005, the Village Bike Project has held 66 of these workshops, and more than 1,222 people have received bikes.

The improved mobility provided by the bikes means reduced poverty, as the owners have better access to their farms, jobs, markets, schools, and health care.

The VBP gives credit to the Peace Corps volunteers who have provided connections to the recipient communities and acted as collaborators. The Peace Corps volunteers often host VBP's programs. As of the posting of PCEI's web page on the Village Bike Project, the Peace Corps volunteers had hosted 45 workshops in 20 different communities throughout Ghana.

In addition to making bicycles available to the various communities in Ghana, VBP leaves a set of tools in each village. Tools are extremely scarce in the rural areas of Ghana so they "give a set of tools to be kept in the care of someone who will make them available to all who participated in the workshop."

Since I have promised to keep these articles short, I will end here, but if you are a bike enthusiast, and environmentalist, or someone interested in improving the quality of life in African communities, you owe it to yourself to visit the web sites of the participants in the Village Bike Project. Each of these fascinating organizations has an interesting and inspirational story, and they provide a Great Example To Follow.

Bike Works
Bikes Not Bombs
Recycle a Bicycle
Village Bicycle Project
The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

WORLD CHALLENGE 2006: Pass It On - Quickly

I wished that I had seen the announcement for World Challenge 2006 earlier. But I didn't. I wish I had seen it earlier because the deadline for nominations for their U.S.$20,000.00 grant award is June 4, 2006 at 5:00 (GMT)

So, what is World Challenge 2006?

In their own words:

"World Challenge 2006, brought to you by BBC World and Newsweek, in association with Shell (Oil Company), aims to find individuals or groups from around the world who have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level…

I*"World Challenge 2006 is all about global involvement, casting a net for ideas from individuals or groups deserving recognition."*I

The program aims to find projects that make a real difference to local communities.

The competition is geared towards "finding individuals or groups from around the world who have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level. We want to hear from our viewers and readers about the entrepreneurs who are making a difference without costing the earth. It could be you or someone you know."

They have been building up to this competition since March by airing of a series of 12 vignettes featuring the previous twelve finalists, and those vignettes were repeated during subsequent three months period on BBC World. The featured case studies also appeared in Newsweek Magazine in a special advertising series sponsored by Shell. I'm sorry that I missed all of these promotions, but hey, since the nominations are to be emailed, there is still time - particularly since the nomination entails a statement of no more than 250 words describing why the project deserves to win the US$20,000 prize.

World Challenge 2006 is looking for nominations for innovative projects or ideas that demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit working for the benefit of the community whilst adopting a responsible approach to the environment.

Particularly, the are looking for

"o A project that shows initiative, the innovative use of technology or an invention.

o Small business projects that increase investment into the local community.

o Projects that take a responsible approach to the environment in which they are operating.

You should take note that in addition to the requirement that the statement should not be more than 250 words, there are other requirements as well.

o The nominations
must be filled out in English and all the sections of the nomination form completed.
must be e-mailed via the facility on
must be received no later than 5pm (GMT) 04 June 2006.

Also, no supplementary information will be considered after receipt of the nomination so don't send in pictures of your pet goldfish or your girlfriend.

For information on the voting process and the selection process and other useful information, you can go to the Entry Rules .

At the World Challenge 2006 web site, you can also find links to a
Nomination Form

Discussion Board

Competition Timeline

Judges Panel and a list of the

2005 Winners .

So, spread the word, about World Challenge 2006 and maybe it is not a bad idea to tell folks to be on the lookout for World Challenge 2007 for next year.

Friday, May 26, 2006

UCONNECT: Using A Strategy For Leapfrogging

Uconnect is a project of Mission Mobile Education and its objective is:

"the advancement of public education in Uganda, using Information and Computer Technology (ICT) for education, to improve the quality and efficiency of communications through the provision of necessary hardware (as computers, fax/modems and printers) and software (as word processing, communications-Internet, electronic mail and web browsers), and the training of teachers and managers in the use of communications software, especially electronic mail (e-mail), and the World Wide Web, for education, health, agriculture and other sectors."

I know that that is a mouthful, so I will shorten it for you. Uconnect (which is short for "Uganda Connect" seeks to improve the quality of life in Uganda by using computers to enhance education. (my apologies to Uconnect if I left out some critical element.)

In addition to education, the organization plans to work towards "the relief of poverty, sickness and distress by the provision of such funds and equipment."

What started out as a computer literacy project has now grown into the Uganda Connectivity Project through the use of the Internet and the use of recycled PCs for connectivity.

Some years before the project began, Daniel Stern had discussed with the Minister of Education the idea of "leapfrogging" Uganda's educational processes through the, use of computer technology. Later while listening to a forum speaker at the ITU's Internet Days in Geneva, Spring 1995, Stern developed the conviction that the Internet was the missing piece to the puzzle of using computers for Uganda's education.

There is a much fuller account of Uconnect's early days and the inspiration of Daniel Stern, but I will leave it to the reader to look into that further at History

Uconnect is doing some important work and it is worth a visit to their web site just to see what is going on. But also, there are two very interesting and worthwhile papers at their web site.

The first paper is: "Guide to Improving Internet Access in Africa with Wireless Technologies" by Mike Jensen.

And the other is: "Upcountry HF E-mail Network As an Early Component of a Developing Country's Information Infrastructure" by Daniel Stern.

Uconnect has a score of sponsors including Nokia, Microsoft, Epson and Logitech, just to name a very few of them. Here is a link to the full list of sponsors .

While you are visiting Uconnect, take a look at the Internet Society link . There you will find a feast of links to sites relative to assisting organizations in coming into the Internet age.

You can pass up Uconnect 's site if you want to, but it will be your loss.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

PHYSICIANS FOR PEACE: Close To Home - All Over The World

Today I am going to write about an organization that is close to home, literally and figuratively. Physicians for Peace is an international, humanitarian, non-profit, medical education organization dedicated to building peace and international friendships in developing nations with unmet medical needs and scarce resources through:

Its chief goals are:
- Medical education and training,
- Clinical care, and
- Donating medical supplies.

Physicians for Peace is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, private organization of volunteers from diverse cultures that encourages financial and in-kind contributions to underwrite its mission-based work. The reason it is close to home is because they are located near where I live, as well as making an effort to do good works.

Physicians for Peace calls itself an international, humanitarian, non-profit, medical education organization dedicated to building peace and international friendships in developing nations with unmet medical needs and scarce resources and it does this by carrying out its three chief goals.

The organization was established by Dr. Charles E. Horton, Sr., an internationally acclaimed humanitarian and renowned plastic surgeon from Norfolk, Virginia in the US. In the early 1980s he wanted to create a private, volunteer, non-political, non-sectarian organization with respect and compassion for members of all nations. The organization was established as a legal entity in 1989.

More than 90% of the world's disease burden is found in developing nations and yet they have only 10% of the medical resources. This organization exerts great effort to try to reverse this inequity. Focusing exclusively on long term, sustainable, replicable medical education and training, Physicians for Peace sends teams of medical volunteers including physicians, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals to places where their teaching and healing skills are needed most, including the Middle East, Central America, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and beyond.

Their web site says: "Operating in areas of profound need and scarce resources, Physicians for Peace works diligently to provide unwavering commitment to recruit top-notch volunteers to build the strongest possible relationships with in-country colleagues and execute programs with measurable outcomes. Through the hard work of staff, selfless volunteerism of health professionals, invaluable gifts-in-kind provided by corporations and charitable contributions of individuals, Physicians for Peace goes where medical training assistance is needed, affecting health concerns in those areas and, ultimately, improving the health and lives of the population. …"

"Since the early 1980's, Physicians for Peace has sent teams of medical volunteers, including physicians, dentists, nurses and other health professionals, on medical missions to places where their healing skills are needed - Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and beyond. Our teams have united doctors from Iran and Iraq, Turkey and Greece, Palestine and Israel, the Philippines and Japan.

"Staying anywhere from one to six weeks, Physicians for Peace teams have trained local medical professionals in host countries while also treating injuries, reshaping eye sockets, correcting urinary and genital defects and fitting prosthetics, among others. Physicians for Peace has repaired burn scars, clubfeet and cleft palates. We have done open-heart surgery, screened and treated diabetes and performed a range of cancer therapies. We have brought modern aspects of pediatric and family health care to people in villages where such care had never before been available.

Physicians for Peace have a

- Burn Care Program
- Dental Program
- Eye Bank & Eyeglass Distribution
- ODU Student Exchange Program
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
- Pediatric Ophthalmology Program
- Philippines Project
- Walking Free Program (designed to help amputees) and the
- Women & Children's Health Initiative

I am not going to try to describe all of these programs, but if you visit their web site and look first under "Missions" and then under "Programs" there is plenty of information to be found.

Also, if you want to know what African nations you can find Physicians for Peace's good works, how about: Angola - Benin - Botswana - Burkina Faso - Burundi - Cameroon - Cape Verde - Central African Republic - Chad - Comoros - Congo, Democratic Republic of the - Congo, Republic of - Cote d'Ivoire - Djibouti - Equatorial Guinea - Eritrea - Ethiopia - Gabon - Gambia, The - Ghana - Guinea - Guinea-Bissau - Kenya - Lesotho - Liberia - Madagascar - Malawi - Mali - Mauritania - Mauritius - Mozambique - Namibia - Niger - Nigeria - Rwanda - Sao Tome and Principe - Senegal - Seychelles - Sierra Leone - Somalia - South Africa - Sudan - Swaziland - Tanzania - Togo - Uganda - Zambia - Zimbabwe

Well, I could write a lot more about Physicians for Peace (as you long time readers know) but I have been given strong hints that my articles run too long, and one reader even said that the articles were "tedious." So, I am going to end it here and ask you to visit the web site of this great organization - Physicians for Peace .