Monday, January 11, 2010

Faith Based Development: consolidated appeals to the spaghetti monster

After the last post on Thursday, in which I may or may not have referred to the a medieval spiritual community in passing, somebody wrote to me saying they took offence in the way I dismissed the orthodox christmas with the smug superiority of a catholic islamic presbitarian puritan of some sort. This would be then the opportunity, I thought, to shed some light on HRIs and my personal religious affiliation.

Indeed, HRI is a faith based organization, a detail that I failed to mention, but which has made us popular in the past with value buff type donors who have generously funded us for ridiculous campaigns and activities that we have managed to produce at the sweet spot where the surreal meets the bizarre. Given our flexible corporate ethics and our organizational commitment to never turn down funding I always preferred to speak only selectively of our values and have naturally developed significant skills in navigating awkward faith uncertainties as well as the odd communal prayer.

As a keen believer myself (I am a very observant pastafarian ), I am trying to instill more Flying Spaghetti Monster Values in the organization I executively direct as well as in our numerous staff world-wide, who could hence add salvation by meatballs as one of their many job benefits. I dream of a time when all our offices, missions and affiliates will be reunited in daily prayer over the spaghetti bowl and show a new found zeal to even more value-based life-saving activities.

For instance, I learned today that one of our closest affiliate is leaving some areas of Somalia, while promising they won’t “abandon” the country, in spite of the insecurity. Well that’s a bummer – as a member of the “Logistics Cluster”, HRI has generated significant revenue operating humanitarian flights all over Somalia, which is HRI speak for hiring some rusty old soviet planes and charging all other agencies massive fees to use them while agreeing that these flights are the only ones approved by our other affiliate, in charge of security). Speaking about the Logistics Cluster (LC) – is it only me, or is this a Three Letter Acronym (TLA) waiting to happen? Surely LCF sounds much better than LC, if you know what I mean.

But here’s the silver lining: everybody knows that spaghetti are Somali staple food, so that is a natural entry point for HRIs first faith based intervention inspired by the Spaghetti Monster Values. We are therefore uniquely positioned to request a few tens of millions bucks for a charitable intervention in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and have already inputted our requests in the most recent “Consolidated Appeal” CAP 2010.

Studying this very important document (put together by a comprehensive team of HRI affiliated reasonably paid and fairly procured consultants, based in Nairobi, Washington DC and New York with information provided by our affiliates on the ground), I was well impressed to see the very thorough graphics and analysis used to communicate following extremely complex phrase:

“HRI and affiliates need a shitload of arbitrary but precise-sounding amounts of cash to do loads of capacity building, coordonation and workshops”

Knowing that all donors prefer their information excel-coated, the comprehensive team of consultants offered a helpful table with pretty much the same amounts copied/ pasted in three different columns and a conspicuous 5% funding available for the country of choice for HRIs Spaghetti Monster agenda:

To help the donors further understand the comprehensive team of consultants further offer some explanatory notes in vulgar pseudo-legalese, HRIs lingua franca:

Finally, to drive the point home, they offer an extra page with a bar chart:

I can fill you in on the fact that, under the clear instructions and supervision of the comprehensive team of experts, this chart was put together by that HRI volunteer who also does all the HRI reporting when she is not busy running two of our more shitty sub-offices and pointlessly applying for a paid position with the lame argument that she has been a volunteer for like 6 years or so.

Pray to the Spaghetti Monster Almighty, my daughter, I say to her, and let your life be driven by the happiness of helping others, not greed.

Just like Angelina, really.

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