When all else fails, you can walk away. (Part 2)

This series on corruption has focused a lot on issues that arise within or around the target area served. But I’d like to share an example about a problem that arose, causing us to walk away from a lucrative contract with a large donor. In the 1990s, we were working in the Philippines, with a […]

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When all else fails, you can walk away. (Part 1)

Sometimes, you can cross every “t” and dot every “i.” You follow best practices, work with communities to solve a problem, and still run into corruption with no plausible solution. When all is said and done, if the situation can’t be resolved, you can and, at times, should walk away. That may sound a bit […]

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Dealing with Corruption: Locals Know Best

Time and experience have taught me that most instances of corruption at the local or regional government level are most effectively countered by the people living in that region. That scenario played out in South Asia following a major earthquake. We had initially been on the ground meeting lifeline needs such as food, water, medical/health […]

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Corruption and Community: Dealing with Local Issues

One of the most powerful things we have observed in the community development process is that when the community gets involved, they acquire a sense of ownership and begin to identify and address other issues. One of those is corruption. Throwing it Back When local issues of perceived or obvious corruption arise, it’s tempting to […]

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Corruption: Prevent It, Identify It, and Deal With It

Corruption. It’s an uncomfortable word and is loaded with connotations of all kind. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon when it comes to relief and development work. From mismanagement to theft, bullying and hidden agendas, to government issues at the local, regional or national level, corruption impedes community projects and progress. So…is corruption inevitable? How do you […]

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Common Mistakes: Having No Needs

The Need to Reveal our Needs This blog series has looked at various barriers to effective community development and has, hopefully, challenged you to reevaluate your tactics and approach. The final barrier we’ll discuss, however, will likely go beyond challenging you. It just might convict you, as it has done to me time and time […]

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Common Mistakes: Right Strategy, Wrong Situation

We generally classify the needs of people into two categories: acute and chronic. While there is a lot of gray area between the two, these two categories help us think in a way that leads us to apply appropriate solutions/strategies to appropriate situations. Acute needs are centered around saving lives (e.g. search and recovery) right […]

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Common Mistakes: Impatience

The past week, we’ve discussed two common mistakes in community development: misidentifying a community, and imposing predetermined solutions or projects without first learning the community in which you are working. Now that you are aware of the importance of developing an authentic relationship with community members, you’re ready to dive in to the five-step process […]

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Common Mistakes: Predetermined Projects

Please hear me clearly. Doing projects with people–such as water wells, health clinics, tutoring–is not bad. However, just because we run into a village or urban slum and implement a project, doesn’t mean that we have done community development. In most of those scenarios, there are some definite benefits to the local people and they […]

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Common Mistakes: Misidentifying Community

For all the virtues that surround community development, there are also common barriers that can create setbacks and pose challenges. This next blog series will identify some of these issues and how they impact process and strategy in the field. I hope that you will find some similarities with your own struggles and maybe some […]

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