You speak NGOish?

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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...?

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I almost choked on my Turkish Delight candy thingie. We're soooo on top of things! We even have "inclusion facilitators"! Can I tell people now that what they are talking about at AIMs with all the nice words is hokey-pokey (or, in the words of Allen, "criss-cross, apple sauce")? Pleeease?

Maybe it's just my personal opinion that CISV is trying too hard to be politically correct in every aspect (I always feel that we are already with the "good" ones, why do we have to be "good" with every possible topic? Hello, environment?), or maybe it's that generally non-English speakers cringe at the use of such buzzwords... I don't know. But sometimes I understand my NA, and that after many years of Strategic Plans, we still laugh at the idea someone could volunteer to be our "inclusion facilitator"....

All that talk about inclusion, yet it still took 20 minutes for someone new to sit down next to me looking forlornly at lunch during an AIM...I even showered that day!

I'm with Flo...much of this is just "fluff" that is never translated into action, particularly at larger events where it is easy to get lost in a crowd.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick published on February 16, 2011 11:27 PM.

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