Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mistakes? I haven't made a few!

Reader, I need to go on record once and for all with a clarifying statement:

Unlikely as this may sound, no-one in HRI has ever made a single mistake


Sure there was that fateful excel incident but that was the cock-up of an intern and mistakes made by interns don't count. 


This is not to say that shit doesn't happen. Shit actually happens all the time, but look closer and you will find it is always a problem of:
  • coordination; or
  • clan complexity; or
  • "absorptive capacity"; or
  • government incompetence; or
  • lack of local capacity; or
  • lack of commitment expressed in unwillingness of some stakeholders to attend the right meetings; or
  • lack of resources (of course);
Indeed, never has there been any known instance where shit happened because HRI made a mistake. 

Can't happen. 

I dare you, reader to point out to me a single mistake we ever made. Millions of children, women, refugees, poor and vulnerable people will disagree with you. People who know better because their very survival depends on our perfect execution of life-saving workshops. They have a voice too, as one of them sometimes represents them all in the occasional high-profile workshop. The rest are just content to inhabit a world of children happy to receive a "NFI" here, a better education facilitated by an education advisor there. A world of individuals displaced by unspeakable catastrophes who take solaces in an embrace of a rock star. In Emma's understanding smile. In the opportunity to be photographed by a world class artist. A few square meters of tarpaulin. 
The stuff of dreams, delivered daily by the fearless individuals who populate life-saving meetings and never rest or take a break. 
Or make mistakes. 

A world accurately reflected in so many high quality newsletters that our interns tirelessly put together with your money. 

Go out an read them if you don't believe me.
And, hey, do me a favour: spread the word, will you? We need all the back-slapping we can get.


  1. Shit actually happens all the time - correct, you forgot the other reasons:

    South - north divide (read: disagreed with field officer)
    contextual issues (read: HRI workers drunk and offended locals)
    gender sensitive ignorance (read HRI worker tried to hit on beneficiaries, uproar in the camp)
    technical assistance unfulfilled (read: stuff stolen)
    logistical delays (read: Emma on re-energising break in Zanzibar)
    Administrative delay (read: failure to pay bribes)

  2. Don't forget "technical challenges" and "logistical challenges", vague but convenient euphemisms applicable in pretty much any situation.

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