Q&A: Water committees, Poverty reduction, Old folks home ...

Submitted by Aid Workers Network on March 3, 2004 - 6:25pm.

Topics included:

  • Sustainable water-user groups
  • Measuring poverty-reduction rate
  • Constructing, managing an old folks home
  • Pay to volunteer--is this usual?
  • Monitoring and evaluation in peace building
  • Documenting NGO experience
  • 3 steps to computer virus protection

Can you offer any insights or pointers to useful information/contacts on these topics? Thank you.

Responses to the previous questions are summarised below. Please continue the discussions online at Aid Workers Forum or e-mail exchange@aidworkers.net.

New Questions

SUSTAINABLE WATER-USER GROUPS

Robert Mergenthaler is looking for information on supporting sustainable water-user groups. What experience or insight can we give him? Join the discussion online at Aid Workers Forum.

MEASURING POVERTY-REDUCTION RATE

Ruth A. Chinte would like to hear our real-life experiences on measuring poverty-reduction rates in developing countries. What are the fundamental procedures to start with? Join the discussion online at Aid Workers Forum.

CONSTRUCTING, MANAGING AN OLD FOLKS HOME

Ram asks for engineering designs and advice on building and managing a senior citizens home of more than 90,000 square feet near Bangalore, India. Join the discussion online at Aid Workers Forum.

SPHERE CONSULTATION:

Please join us to reflect on a series of questions about quality and accountability: online at Aid Workers Forum or email sphere-consultation@aidworkers.net for more information.

Responses

PAY TO VOLUNTEER--IS THIS USUAL?

Although all urged caution before paying to volunteer, some viewed the prospect favorably and others condemned it out of hand. Jamie has noticed that many organizations, such as Global Children's Fund, offer working vacations that participants pay for. Robyn mentions that SPW volunteers raise funds toward 4-9 months overseas. Cindy is skeptical unless the organization has a certified or documented program. Molly advises doing research; contact previous volunteers. Is it a charity, Philip asks, not a commercial enterprise? Get a cost breakdown. Ram believes it's inappropriate to not offer incentives, let alone ask volunteers to pay. Jayne says, "The goal in development is not to find places for willing volunteers to go; it is, instead, to identify the needs of people and the best way to address those needs." All organizations she knows of place only married couples together. "How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas," by Collins, DeZerega and Heckscher, answers most questions. Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.

MONITORING AND EVALUATION IN PEACEBUILDING: WHAT TOOL?

Wafa' sees peacebuilding evaluation as qualitative and human rights advocacy as quantitative. You can count the number of laws passed, regulations amended, organizations involved, and meetings with policy makers. Measure policy implementation by reports on abuses, complaints, and the responsiveness of the system. Culture is difficult to measure, but use case studies or feedback to find shifts in attitude. Marion remarks that peacebuilding still must rely on data gathering. Evaluation tools determine project effect on peacebuilding. A monitoring tool outlines follow-up actions, ensures objectives are met, and includes site visits and reporting of all relevant items, some that may not always seem significant. John recommends a report by the UN University's International Conflict Research Centre, Policy & Evaluation Unit. Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.

DOCUMENTING NGO EXPERIENCE

Jayne strongly believes that prewritten wording of project accomplishments is always worthwhile and demonstrates a well-managed organization. Reports show what's working and what needs adjustments. They help define the next step, Kiran tells us. Keep frequent notes to avoid last-minute write-ups. Kae adds that an end-of-project evaluation can be used to interest donors in a continuation program. From another perspective, involving journalists disseminates project news and provides tapes or articles of success stories, says Felix. Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.

3 STEPS TO COMPUTER VIRUS PROTECTION

Martin wants to expand on a few points: Viruses cannot destroy computers. "Worms" can spread without user intervention. Current antivirus updates and firewalls block worms. In Matthew's experience, the virus problem for people in the field is more lack of updates than lack of software, because updates are not possible for some. Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.

Aid Workers Exchange 03-MAR-04 ISSN 1478-5137

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