Issue 6: Autumn 2010Subscribe via RSS

Book Review: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Book by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, HarperCollins, 2009. Reviewed by Barbara Merz. This book was my companion while delayed at an airport recently. Right beside the Starbucks café at LAX airport waiting for my flight to Sydney I noticed an advert with a small Afghani girl with bright eyes and a determined face. It read ‘Role Model.’ Fellow travelers were stopping by, perhaps jarred by the message. The poster was part of a broader … Continue reading

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Autumn 2010: Engaging in Public Policy

6. Autumn 2010: Engaging in Public Policy Welcome to the sixth issue of Knowledge Connect.  This issue considers the causes of major public policy failings in both the short and long term.  With the failure of the UN Copenhagen Conference on climate change to the failings of humanitarian relief there is now a renewed call for policymakers to re-orient their response. New Yorker writer George Packer pleads for longer-term recovery rather than band-aid solutions for … Continue reading

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Strategy Tools for a Shifting Landscape

by Michael G. Jacobides, Harvard Business Review; January- February 2010. Engaging, or perhaps re-engaging, employees in strategy discussions is the focus of a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review. If you’ve ever sat through a tiresome PowerPoint loaded with graphs and spreadsheets meant to simulate strategic direction, you may identify with its main point: the way we discuss strategy needs to change. The author asserts that we live in an environment of incessant change. … Continue reading

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Strength Through Flexibility

by Kim Jonker, The Stanford Social Innovation Review; Winter 2010. This case study follows the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) as it seeks to change the culture of the classroom across a continent with several thousand distinct ethnic groups and cultural norms. It’s well known that educating girls is one of the most effective development interventions to lift whole communities out of poverty. In the early 1990s only half of Africa’s school age girls … Continue reading

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The Big Conversation

A status report by Sandy Blackburn-Wright, Emerging Leaders for Social Change; 2010. The Big Conversation – an initiative of the Emerging Leaders for Social Change – was established in response to a void in the 2009 discussions surrounding the Global Financial Crisis. Leaders were debating the efficacy of the stimulus package, regulatory reform and other measures seemingly without reference to the values that had led us to the situation in the first place. Many believe … Continue reading

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An Ounce of Advocacy

by Alyssa Battistoni, The Stanford Social Innovation Review; Winter 2010. Though it is painful to read an ‘I told you so’ article published in the face of mass suffering, Battistoni’s piece was prepared in advance of the recent earthquake. Her article, in fact, presages many harsh truths rediscovered amidst early recovery efforts in Haiti. Namely, had there been more effort put into disaster preparedness, building code enforcement, or warning systems, the extent of the devastation … Continue reading

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The Wrong Risks

by Sheela Patel, The Stanford Social Innovation Review; Winter 2010. Railing against the culture of measurement, Sheela Patel takes professional philanthropists to task for the “log-frame virus” which she describes as “an infection that drives funders to insist upon seeing the logical framework or business plan of an intervention, from inputs, to outputs, to outcomes.” Patel has worked for grassroots organisations in India for over three decades and is the founding director of the Society … Continue reading

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Gender and the Non-Profit Sector

by Nuno S. Themudo, The Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 39; 2009. Is there a relationship between women’s empowerment and the efficacy of social impact work? This trailblazing article by Nuno Themudo says yes. His research shows that the more empowered a country’s women are, the more vibrant its nonprofit sector is. Themudo compares data from forty countries to study the relationship between women’s empowerment, voluntary action, and the social impact sector. The data presents … Continue reading

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Suffering

by George Packer, The New Yorker; January 25, 2010. When news of the earthquake that killed more than 200,000 Haitians hit the wires in mid January, humanitarian experts knew the final devastation toll would be grim. The extent of the damage of a natural disaster is always compounded by the weakness of existing infrastructure – both physical and political. For years international development observers have reported that Haitians are the poorest people of the Western … Continue reading

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What Women Think

by Paula Curtis, Fundraising and Philanthropy; December 2009 / January 2010. Paula Curtis’s contribution to Fundraising and Philanthropy points out that women are increasingly important donors to the social impact sector. Curtis, who is President and CEO of Opportunity International of Canada, notes a number of important lessons from research on women and giving: 1. Women control household decisions pertaining to charitable giving and make 80% of the overall spending decisions 2. Single women are … Continue reading

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