Letter to a Donor Friend
By Fiorenzo Conte
An extract from a letter by a local activist to her aid worker friend.
Instead of writing reports or documenting experiences in ways that help us to learn, we spend a great deal of time trying to please you and doing what you want. Think of any NGO that you have funded during the last five years. If you were to ask them right now to give you something that provides enough depth and critical reflection to contribute to learning, would they have it? They would certainly have their annual reports and reports written for their other donors, but not much that is deeply reflective. We have little time, energy and resources to commit to such time-consuming practices. (..)Your reporting “format” – or shall we call it “template” – is all about you and what you want to know. It is not about us and what we want to learn. (..) I withhold information that might damage my organization. I spend my time trying to understand the language that you speak and how to fit my organization into the relevant templates. We have to move with the times, keep up with the latest lingo.
The letter is a sharp critique of how the donor needs are prioritized vis-à-vis the local needs when it comes to reporting procedures. A practice that can create rather than solve problems. You can read the full text here.
HT to Ravindra Ramrattan for the link.