This was a sink in my house in West Africa.
This is part of the continuing series about Strategic Planning and outlines the process I am using with a particular organization. I wanted to briefly explain something that I think is a viable pattern for learning from others, namely, looking at their work and seeing how you need to shape your own work in order to be considered a participating member of the industry.
The organization I am working for is trying to draft a strategic plan that also accounts for decision-making policies in how they invest in different causes. Many of those causes include development work in places that have the shared features of extreme poverty, drastically different cultural values, and non-Western perspectives (i.e., post-colonial environments). After listening to the organization talk about their vision and mission and seeing the history of their work and recognizing their place of respect in the development community I felt that it was important to make sure that they were at least in line with the ethical standards of similar industries (especially anthropology). After looking through different industry codes of ethics I decided that the American Anthropological Association had a superb code of ethics and that without violating copyrights I would use it as a research tool to identify the major domains of concern for ethical conduct. This is an ongoing process and it will be a few weeks before I am completely content with the results. My approach will include working with my organization to help them see how the AAA code of ethics can inform their own tactics and methods that emerge to meet the strategic goals. Basically, I hope that the organization can use this code of ethics to continue to drive their own policy and decision-making.
This is following my personal learning strategy: Collect, Analyze, Present. And I am teaching the organization to collect the views of others, to analyze how they might apply to their own work, and present them in a format that suits the strategic goals of the organization.
Stay tuned for updates.
Post Script: WordPress has a feature that suggests related articles and before I published this article it suggested this interesting link: http://godspace.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/organic-strategic-planning-a-wave-of-the-future/
When I was living in West Africa I would wake up around 5 every morning, step outside my door and put my kettle on to boil on this fantastic little green kerosene stove:
I would sit and listen in the morning silence as the water heated in the aluminum kettle. As the water started to rumble it would get to the point of pre-nucleation as bubbles would start to form around the wall of the kettle and a ring of bubbles mimicking the flame below would begin to emerge upwards from the bottom of the pot and release into steam on the surface of the water. It was at this point that I would take the kettle off the stove, the point just before boiling when the tiny bubbles were just about to percolate and pour the water into my mug of granulated Nescafe. Continue reading
I wanted to let you know about an online ejournal about Post-Colonial Literature and Culture, here it is:
Having formerly worked in two former colonies (one in Africa and the other in the South Pacific), and having lived in Hawai’i which was also colonized, I am interested pragmatically in the ideas of Post-Colonialism.
While I am on the topic, I want to address post-colonial thought not only in literature, but also in project design for development and similar enterprises.
Furthermore, I am interested in how this model informs the ethics of project design and local ownership in situations of development.
I think it is great that development has gained currency with non-development workers, but I don’t want to see industries like micro-finance become another tool of Colonialism for the lay-person. Avoiding a ‘savior complex’ is part of ensuring the stability of a project in a post-colonial context.
More to come….
In line with this post (My Jungle Medical Kit) I wanted to pass this link regarding establishing expedient medical clinics in remote locations.
These resources come from the Hesperian Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to publishing healthcare related books and documents.
Go to their webpage and check out some of these titles:
There is even a section on resources for Cholera in Haiti. Beyond Haitian Creole, many of these resources are available in Urdu, Sindhi and Spanish.
And they are all FREE. 100%. You can buy paper copies of the books, but these can all be downloaded with ease.
Every document is high quality. In fact, I have used these with development workers I have helped equip. These are real world, real genuine content resources. Some of these are 500 page books on how to establish a medical clinics (et cetera) and train indigenous leadership with the skills necessary to replicate the model.
One of the features of these documents that impressed me (from the vantage point of a professional student of cultures) is that they are not books that ignore the differences in cultural practices around medicine and social attitudes toward the illness and healing process.
Considering that in Western medicine we view disease as a pathological category, illness as an individual category, and sickness as a social category, these books skillfully navigate the ways in which different societies interpret these cultural experiences.
Check it out, especially if you work/live somewhere that medical resources are limited.
I haven’t been working overseas for a while, but I still have my medical kit for the tropics. Remarkably when I open up the box it still smells like the underdeveloped world.
Medical Kit Contents: