(The Humanitarian Social Network)
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Much of the talk about poverty reduction and international development rests firmly within the cerebral aspects of our work – complex issues or interdependent sectors such as jobs or health, target groups such as girls, policy changes, or the paradigm of foreign aid itself.
Yet as people working for change, we rarely have an opportunity to reflect on how our own personal approach affects the relationships and processes of which we are a part. People need more structured, honest, and in-depth conversations to explore how to work within power asymmetries and challenge the “infusion of outside expertise” mentality, getting community leaders the resources they need to address their own priorities.
This is why I have been busy working on a “How Matters Hub” concept, a way for people to include and initiate dialogue on these important, though often overlooked, issues.
“For all of us who are in the ‘change the world’ business, we seldom reflect on our own attitudes and behaviours as donors, facilitators, managers, experts, technocrats. Yet we want to see change in the attitudes and behaviours of those we serve?! We do not want to change the power status quo within organisations and amongst ourselves, yet we are telling ‘communities’ to do so?!” ~from a how-matters.org reader