Need your Help
January 12, 2009 1:42 PM   Subscribe

I am working towards starting a non profit/NGO in Kenya to address issues of education, poverty,disease ie HIV AIDS, and leadership with a view of using a totally different theoretical framework in going about the issues. I am currently studying sustainable development in New Zealand and have a small pilot project going on there. I am looking for any partnership from individuals,organisations or companies or any interested parties who could be having similar passion from all over the world. Please provide me with any links, resources or even ideas and am sure this will make a landmark in a country thats really burdened..will be glad to get any kind of advice from you..cheers
posted by avenue71 to Education (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Try mefimailing allkindsoftime (the link suggests a willingness to discuss issues like this), and looking at this previous question for info or possibly folks who can help.
posted by cashman at 3:53 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have some training in this field from a couple of the big NGO's and I was a delegate at the 2002 UN World Summit on Sustainable Development. Really I think your best approach here is going to be to keep the scope of your project *really tight* and forget about trying to change the world (except maybe one small project at a time) - try to figure out a small niche area where you can make a difference and focus strictly on that, and be happy if you can hit modest benchmarks because affecting big change is really hard. Don't think you are the first try... This isn't easy. Forty hours a week in the corporate world - and I've done consulting for some of the most demandings corps in the world; - is a breeze compared to what you are trying to do.

People fail in these projects for a lot of reasons. There will be guys with engineering degrees who fail because they spent thousands of dollars reinventing the tent, or people who get fired up about solar cooking and find that locals who were the intended recipients of the solar cookers had a taboo against cooking outside and didn't want their neighbours to know how much food they had. I also knew some wide-eyed idealists who were robbed , stripped of their clothes and left on the side of the road and decide none of it is worth it. Things, especially in Africa sometimes go bad for what seems like no reason. Don't expect donors, especially in North America and Europe to understand, and expect those donors to hold you accountable for every notebook (and I mean the paper kind) and floppy disk you use.

To succeed, manage expectations with your local partners, and underpromise everything. You'll probably attract quite a bit of celebrity ******* ignore all of it*******. It's hard to fail, its even harder when you are the guy speaking in public constantly and dating the local beauty queens and models. Do your homework. Know everything about your community, and do one hell of a lot of due diligence with your local partners make sure you can trust them -- Realize you are going to enounter scams and ripoffs. If you have never been to Africa before, keep in mind that things work much slower than anything you are used to. Be diligent with your health and security. Don't trust missionaries (Jesuits here would be the exepction, I say this as a non-Christian - these are good men, talk to them), any corporation or the government. You'll see things like tribal medicine and plural marriages at work, things you never thought you'd encounter in the 20th century.

It will seem like you know all the right people. Generally missionaries only care about their flock, corporations only care about profits, and governments only care about their national relationship; treat their words carefully. Talk to real people. See things with your own eyes.
posted by Deep Dish at 6:04 PM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]

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