Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Maybe all this time spent in hardship postings is getting to me, or maybe 'tis the season, but I am in a very philosophical mood today and as I was dignifyingly walking past fishermen, oblivious to their attempts to sell me their day’s catch, I couldn’t help wondering: What will be the future of our business? What will be the next big thing? The next gravy train? Are we doomed to forever follow the conflict money, the famine money, the refugee money or can we branch out some more, into areas where no charity has ever been before? HRI & affiliates are well funded at the moment what with the famine, the draught, the boat people, etc. But what do we need to do to stay ahead of the game and to ensure the cash keeps flowing?
Not so long ago, “terrorism” was the formula. As a first mover, over night HRI become an expert in “Public health and terrorism”, “Migration and terrorism” and “Terrorism prevention: income generating opportunities for high risk groups” - field in which we conducted countless groundbreaking workshops, seminars and capacity building excercise. We even put together a few expert teams formed by retired law enforcement types and one distinguished academic from the University of Utah (all showing a common interest in conducting workshops in South East Asia, preferably Pattaya) and rode the gravy train all the way. As a celebration of Public-Private Partnership we even obtained funding from this or the other security company, eager to implement high-tech biometric technology in village hospitals in Indonesia, primary schools in rural Bangladesh or, incidentally at the outside border of countries that people may rather not live in.
Throughout the mid-naughties HRI has also refined another beautiful business model in close cooperation with several CDAAS (Countries of Destination for Alleged Asylum Seekers): for a reasonable fee, HRI manages an “Alleged Asylum Seekers Assessment Centre” on behalf of the CDAAS Government, which is a convenient way to legitimize-by-humanitarian-charity what would really be a detention center of questionable legal status. Then, an HRI affiliate is commissioning a reasonably priced research into the impact of detention on the AAS (Alleged Asylum Seekers) and finds that detention is bad for their health. HRI’s public health wing subsequently applies for funding to mitigate negative effects on the health of AAS. Indeed, it is another HRI win-win: CDAAS governments are happy because the illusion of legitimacy means a lot to them and HRI is happy because the overhead is pretty good and we can report massive growth in revenue to our donors. The "alleged asylum seekers" may or may not be happy but hey, they should know better, it's a tough world out there and everyone is gotta make a living.
I really think this global warming thing may be the next gravy train. If so we better put the thinking caps on - there must be a way to link global warming with our work. Maybe my humble residence in Moroni could be run on Californian crafted and fairly procured solar power? Or I could trade my V12 Land Crusier for a white Prius with the HRI logo on the side and a HF antenna that could double as a wind turbine? Or maybe I should stop importing south african steak and wines using the HRI operated humanitarian flight?
Hold on, hold on, bugger that - the little Cessna can’t possibly add more CO2 to the atmosphere than those goats there just outside my compound. And those goats make one tough steak i tell you, no wonder those fishermen think i may be interested in their catch.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Forever working to change behavior wherever it makes business sense and genuinely inspired by our donors’ high values, HRI & affiliates have naturally positioned ourselves as the outfit to contract by anybody with money to invest in ineffective communication campaigns that make them good look on paper. With thousands of successful t-shirt and caps campaigns under our belt, we have a well staffed communication department manned by reasonably paid experts that have cut their teeth in many a complex communication campaign.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
My host country, the Comoros, is practically around the corner from the Horn of Africa and it is inhabited by people who own boats. It is a matter of time before they start heading north, joining the “Eritrean route” towards Europe. Therefore HRI is proposing a comprehensive set of activities that involve workshops and capacity building of the Comoros Government, complete with funding of EU standard biometric passports and border technology (we'll hire a consultant for this job, i happen to know just the man, a retired immigration officer from Belgium). The funding would come from the deliciously named Directorate General for Freedom, Security and Justice. Of course, additional funding will be required to “sensitize” the Comoros Diaspora with workshops and communication campaigns. Since none of this makes any sense, HRI will blame any failure on “lack of local capacity” and request more money for “capacity building of local partners”.
We’ll obviously need more staff to manage the extra workload, which means we’ll need more vehicles and while I’m at it I may enlarge the beach in front of my villa – I grew up in Miami you see and tend to get home-sick, I thought maybe I start a beachpolo club
Friday, November 20, 2009
A few people complained that they were using this beach for fishing, which i consider a cruel and primitive pastime. I therefore invited them to apply for the currently vacant positions of drivers and cleaners. That's called sustainability - we identify useful skills available locally and provide a platform to make use of them while further building capacity.