The Practical Radical

Nairobi Notebook 2: The Sustainability of Good Works

June 14, 2010
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Nairobi Notebook

NOTE: I had a wonderful lunch when i was in Nairobi with some of the people from the Map Kibera project (you can read my previous blog on this here, or go to their website mapkibera.org). What fascinated me was the stage they were at in regards to the growth of their project and their concern about assuring that the project was sustainable. This  got me thinking about sustainability and NGOs. Here are my musings on the subject …

Just as the coin for business is, well, coins, the coin for NGOs is change. Positive change. It is what every NGO assumes it will be able to achieve when they start, and what many fail to do. The challenge often for NGOs as with for-profit companies is achieving and sustaining their success.

To achieve success an agency agency needs to plan, to plan they must have a  “business model” – guidelines to better understand where they stand in relation to their own development.

One traditional for-profit model is that of the “business cycle” or “S curve”.

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This model  is used to understand the growth  of industries and organizations. However, the S curve does not recognize key components of a healthy system – specifically the phases of destruction and renewal. A healthy forest is one that has trees grow older, die, and then become the fertilizer for the new growth. The S curve is silent on these phases of destruction and renewal. Ironically, it is the paradox of having things dies that assures the longterm sustainability of a healthy system.

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Lost in Translation b/w Canada and USA

April 29, 2010
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April 29, 2010 – 11:10 AM

In compliance with the “Timely Notice” provisions of the Federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998, the Auraria Higher Education Center located in Downtown Denver is issuing notice of a violent crime that occurred on the Auraria Campus.

REPORTED OFFENSE: At approximately 10:13 a.m. today (Thursday, April 29, 2010), a handgun was discharged in one of the South Classroom Building’s women’s restrooms. The discharge is believed to have been accidental and no one was injured from the handgun. Auraria Police advise that there is no ongoing threat to the campus community.  The handgun was discharged from a stall in the women’s restroom, approximately four inches above the floor and the bullet lodged itself into the drywall.

I do admit that I often find myself culturally confused, both between Canadian and the US culture, but as well trying to get a handle on Coloradan culture.

Case in point re Canada/US – accidental firearm discharges are not something I have found or heard about commonly on Canadian campuses (not to say there is no violence – Ecole Polytechnique is one example), nor does it happen often in women’s bathroom stalls.

As for Colorado — between the liberal “laws” on marijuana (read my previous post on this) and the conservative gun laws … well, one gets whiplash just trying to keep up. Even for one such as myself who revels in “paradox”.

Signing off … a confused Canadian.


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    Practical things that make me radical

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