DIY aid

Basics
1 The heroic humanitarian narrative: A force for good or bad?

The heroic narrative is almost irresistable as a storytelling strategy. But many in the aid and development community think it frequently does more harm than good: By implying individual, private efforts (i.e., DIY or “Do-It-Yourself” aid) are somehow superior to large-scale organizational or government-run programs when the evidence (one rebuttal…

Basics
4 Three Cups of Tea update

The uproar over Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, continues. The most complete collection of articles and posts written in response to the allegations of wrongdoing raised first by CBS’ 60 Minutes and, in greater detail, by former supporter and author Jon Krakauer’s Three Cups of Deceit can…

Basics
6 Three Cups of Tea: A teachable moment?

The debate about Greg “Three Cups of Tea” Mortenson is raging, and will rage for awhile. There’s plenty to read out there (here’s a list of more than 80 articles compiled by Good Intentions are Not Enough) — from diatribes that condemn Mortenson as a self-promoting fraud to those who…

Basics
3 Greg Mortenson: Three cups to the wind?

Greg Mortenson, the celebrated author of Three Cups of Tea who has been perhaps the world’s leading advocate for girl’s education in Pakistan and Afghanistan, is facing some serious allegations of both literary and financial wrongdoings. On Sunday’s CBS News 60 Minutes, Mortenson is accused of fabricating key parts of…

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6 Call for a Day Without Shoes & Without Dignity

Next week, on April 5, is a day when the humanitarian cobblers at TOMS Shoes call upon folks around the country to participate in a Day Without Shoes. Here’s what TOMS Shoes’ founder Blake Mycoskie’s says in the Huffington Post: I think sometimes we forget what we have, and occasionally…

Basics
7 Latest in DIY foreign aid: Plumbers Without Borders?

I figured this must be some kind of joke when I first heard about it. But no. It’s not a joke. It’s also not yet a legally recognized charitable organization, which gives me pause, and may just be another example of a humanitarian solution in search of a problem. We’ll…