Thursday, January 7, 2010


I just had the unenviable experience of being responsible for a "Stakeholder Workshop". I say unenviable not because I think the workshop was useless, badly organised or even badly carried out. It actually went fairly well as these things go. The thing is though, I know how these donor workshops are viewed from having been on the government side for a few years - in fact everyone knows. And that's the problem. We all feel a bit embarassed to be once again taking away key staff from their normal duties to satisfy our need for "stakeholder consultation" when we know full well that all these donor demands are actually partly to blame for weakening institutional strength. And then we (knowingly or unknowingly) guide the workshop so that the discussion basically turns towards our preconceived ideas, leaidng to the kind of outcomes we would have produced anyway. It's true that you always pick up some titbits, that you establish some useful contacts, and that these things are rarely a complete failure, but it's kind of embarassing to be associated with them nonetheless..... It certainly plays into the hands of bloggers such as those at Hand Relief International who make some pretty sharp observations of the real aid world...

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