February 2011 Archives

Yo tengo un mango.

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks
CISV Norway and Colombia seem to being applying some rare talent regarding project development, fundraising, marketing and the use of social media. Beyond all the NGO-speak I'm a little lost what the project is really about, but that doesn't really matter: If CISV NAs want to attract external funds and do things outside our 7-programme-box, this is a fine example of how to do it.

You speak NGOish?

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks
A recent article on South-Sudan in the Econmist made me smile:

All the favourite words of NGO-speak are now aired in the makeshift corridors and canteens of Juba, the fledgling capital. Top of the list are "empowerment", "capacity-building" and "stakeholder" (not someone actually carrying a stake). "Governance", "civil society", "facilitators" and "disadvantaged" follow fast behind. British NGOs have a fondness for "focal groups". Americans like anything that leads to "inclusion", especially of the "excluded". Such terms' joy is that they are nice and woolly, hard to define and harder still to contradict: who could possibly turn down the chance to enhance development practitioners' facilitation skills for the capacity-building of gender-disadvantaged women?  NGO-speak is particularly cherished and fostered in the grant applications that smaller NGOs have to file to the bigger ones. Using the right word is all. "If you don't know the buzz words," says an NGO director, "you hardly have a chance to apply for funds."

Once, I had to look up, what "gender-mainstreaming" meant, while filing in a grant application form. And I hope you didn't miss the I-word in the article...?


| 4 Comments | No TrackBacks
I've been thinking about this entry for a while now, being a little uneasy regarding what to write, but I think the recent events in Kairo definetly seem to require some attention. This is not a political blog and I have way to little background to comment on the situation there, but I'll try and give a CISVers perspective.

If you've followed some social media websites like Twitter or Facebook recently, you must have noticed how much CISVers  feel for our friends in Egypt. CISV Egypt has been a strong presence in CISV, and growing recently. They've hosted three great IPPs in the last 5 years and Basma was elected to the IEC last year. The - let's call it uprising - feels so much closer if you know somebody in that country, and I guess this is explicitley what CISV tries to achieve. The events in Tunesia, besides the fact that it is a much smaller country, seem quite distant - no real CISV chapter there!

Since CISV is not an activist organisation, I think it is fair to say, that no CISV NA should officially voice an opinion on what should happen next. We had this kind of conflict in regarding the Iraq war, and personally, even though I think that mission was  a terrible decision, some in CISV may see it differently: USA tried to bring peace, freedom and democracy (all values we cherish in CISV) to a country living under a dictarorship - so I guess some CISVers may think it was ok. I don't want to open that can of worms again, but let's look at Egypt: Of course Mubarak had to go after 30 years, of course the Egyptians deserve democracy - but why were so many Western countries reluctant to support the uprising? Because also Mubarak - love him or hate him - stood for stability. I truly wonder if one or the other Israeli or Palesteninan may be worried about the overall situation in the Middle East now? What if the Muslim Brotherhood wins the eventually upcoming elections? CISV works for peace, but sometimes it's far more difficult what kind of peace we are talking about, and how to achieve it.

So if we shouldn't be taking sides or marching on the streets, what can CISV do? This question is pretty easy to answer: Do, what we do best, and that is educate, educate, educate: Run a Mosaic project or the next Minicamp on Egypt. Explain the country's history, and why people are upset to the kids. Try and find reliable sources and come up with great activities to motivate kids and adults to look deeper into the story. People may be bored finding the newspapers and TV news full of stories from Egypt, but CISV can do better: Emotional, non-formal activities is what will get people involved.

Finally, I personally hope the best for my dear friends in Kairo, who's fantastic hospitality I enjoyed 3 years ago. I hope the country finds a truly peaceful way to move towards a better situation. Others did it before.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2011 is the previous archive.

March 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.