Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Important Communication to All Aid Bloggers Related to the Urgent Need for Better Coordination in the Sector

Dear Stakeholders,

It has come to my attention that there really are too many aid blogs out there, aren't there? That's obviously not good for the aid-blog sector, because as you surely agree there is too much "duplication of effort" and lack of "sharing of lessons learned" and "best practices" and "leverage of knowledge" among the different stakeholders.

Obviously what we need is more coordination.

As a self-appointed leader of the sector HRI is hereby suggesting we start focusing on coordination of all aid-blogging activities across the aid-blogging sector. HRI has already helpfully received an award from The Donor to support with this coordination effort (why would it have been competed? better to "sole-source" these things to the coordination experts) and as we speak a reasonably paid consultant is on the way here and should be shortly in touch with some matrix or other.

What you all need to do now is nominate a focal point (for now - you will need more focal points shortly as we expect coordination activities to start branching out across sub-themes and sub-committees).

The plan is we'll start by having weekly meetings at the heads-of-blogging-agency level and there will be weekly focal point meetings in the coordination task force. Various sub-themes will be then identified (aid, development, M&E, snark, etc.) and Lead Blogs will be allocated to each of these themes.

Sub-committees should be in place ("scaled-up") by mid-October and leading agencies should start reporting regularly to the Task Force and Coordination Group regularly. The Coordination Matrix will be filled in by individual blogs and then reviewed by our consultant. Tool-kits shoudl be distributed in January 2012.

In the following phase, a Communication Coordination Sub-Group will be set up that will be tasked with "clearing" any new post in the aid-blogging sector, to ensure coordinated messages and to avoid conflicting communication. We are also expected to agree on geographical priorities and different countries/ continents will be allocated to different blogs to ensure uniform coverage and "bridging of gaps".

Finally, sometime next year, HRI's M&E consultant will be in touch with a strategy that will prove beyond any doubt the added value of a truly coordinated strategy.

Thanks folks for your cooperation - and I have no doubt that together we'll successfully coordinate the shit out of the aid-blogging industry!

PS: costs will be shared across the sector, please ensure you allocate sufficient resources in your 2012 work-plans for this important activity.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Dilemma that Wasn't

Straight from the hip, boys: there comes a point in this business when every single one of us has to make a simple choice:

  1. You either go for "impact" (however you choose to define that, let's not get into details); or
  2. You go for pleasing The Donor.
It is the business' oldest trick, all of us will get to this fork in the road sooner or later and do spare a thought for the poor bastards who make the mistake of crossing a donor for the sake of some weak-assed idea that no-one gives a shit about anyway. Spare a thought for them I say, because their days in this business are numbered and few as they are, they sure aren't any fun.

What's this "impact" business about anyway? No-one can define it and it's achievement remains in the realm of opinion, and you know what they say about opinions:

Opinions are like assholes
Anyway, whine the poor bastards as they may, this "impact" vs. pleasing the donor dilemma is not really a dilemma at all and any HRI employee worth their salt knows what to do: it's an easy case of yes-sir-yes-ma'am all the way to "sustainability".

And therefore, since I always wanted to mark the place where Prados are doing u-turns in the reasonably-sized yard of our office in Moroni, around the place where our visibly branded vehicles get expertly washed by our drivers, I am currently having a duly-procured contractor put up a tasteful 3D sculpture of "A Donor's Logo" as a long-lasting testimony to our right order of priorities.

Make sure you come to the "unveiling" - Emma will be there and let's be honest: it will be a great opportunity to network.