(The Humanitarian Social Network)
I don't have my own blog so I get extra extra credit for doing this JUST on aid source :) Also, this is quick and dirty. I just opened up a window and am going to start typing--for half an hour since that's how much time I have just now. So here goes! (oh and views mine, not employers etc etc).
Here's what we are looking at:
Let’s imagine that you could make three changes to the state of things in the aid industry. Forget practicality and reality, press ‘pause’ on good participatory process for just a moment, and just imagine that you could make three decisions or call for three changes and those changes would be followed through, applied across the industry. “Enforced”, if you will.
1. Take HR seriously
I guess this goes along the lines of professionalizing the aid sector. It consistently pisses me off that we have people who should not be working in aid, working in aid. It's a job...a real job. If you don't meet qualifications or do a bad job, you should be fired. We fret so much about firing people. But seriously, if you suck at your job, why should you be hired again? In line with this is of course, that organizations should be training their people better. Train people seriously. Look at what their real gaps are and put them in situations where they CAN succeed. Too often we just stick people in positions since the position is empty and it needs a body in there. That is SO irresponsible. I could go on about this forever and people are looking at certification in aid work now but I still think there are some real gaps there.
The biggest gap for me and the question I feel like no one wants to touch is: Not everyone is suitable to do this work. Spare that person and let them know that. Accountants make a lot of money but I'm not suitable to be one so therefore, I am not one. And if someone is doing aid work, support them as much as possible to succeed. We tend to be the least humanitarian to ourselves when doing this work.
2. Humanitarian and development actors need to work together.
Not very sexy even though everybody is talking about it. But I don't see it being done. Our approach is all messed up around this. One example is the recurring drought like situations in the horn. All we do is make it worse. There needs to be serious work done on diversification of livelihoods for young people in the horn and I think humanitarian and dev actors need to work together on this one. It seems pretty obvious but I have no idea why this is not happening. We like to phase everything and categorize it into response, recover and development but these classifications are so arbitrary...that's not how I live my life. Is it so difficult to just put ourselves in the shoes of the people we are trying to assist and think outside of made up classifications/sectors/clusters? Look at the problem and the causes and realize that it needs a holistic solution that is outside of how we think about aid.
3. Stop reinventing the wheel.
We waste far too much time starting from scratch over and over again. Look at the materials and guidance and experience that is around you, read it, understand it and apply it. For real. It's ridiculous that people will reinvent materials and the amount of time and money that goes into this. There is absolutely no way that yet another assessment manual/guidance/check list is needed. If you organization thinks there is, they need to use google and get over themselves. There is SO MUCH that is out there and it's wasteful of us and our time, energy and resources to come up with something that is just a rehash of what others have. I can understand tweaking things and making them org specific but that does not need a working group, a consultant, a year and 80K to do. Just cuz it doesn't have your logo on it doesn't mean that you suck as an org. What it can mean is that you aren't wasting money on producing things already produced. Use something with another logo on it. It should not reflect badly on you or mean that your org isn't smart enough to come up with one---what it can mean is that you guys were smart enough to realize that this was not a gap and something to throw money at. Maybe we should just abolish logos and branding.
That's my super quick three cents on this.