Grievances

I’m attending my first Evidence-Based Planning Retreat this week – it’s a few days of meetings to determine the district’s activities on HIV/AIDS for the whole year. The idea is to use data and statistics to plan for the future. It’s smart in theory, but in practice is something of a mess. The amount of evidence we have for planning is miniscule, and its role in shaping our activities is more as a loose guideline than anything else. We have spent this week brainstorming events and campaigns out of thin air – there is no indication that they will have any success despite the probability that they have been replicated every year for as long as this coordinating body has existed. Much of the data we use is outdated, mostly from a 2008 nation-wide survey, yet it is analyzed like new and matched to the current year’s findings.

I can’t sit quietly in meetings like this – I object to the process at nearly every turn, incessantly asking the inevitable “why?” But many of my colleagues aren’t convinced that there are any flaws in this process. Despite convincing a few people, most others are content to go through the motions. I asked if there was ever any evaluation of the past year’s activities, but that process is non-existent. This is not a wise way to plan spending; the basic tools are missing.

My initial goal for this week was to lobby for funding for the non-profit sector in which my work resides, but the group is insistent on allocating funds for these activities rather than strengthening the existing weak systems; a budget is being calculated around frivolous additives like snacks and drinks. It appears that I was vainly optimistic and that I’ll be seeking outside aid for my NGO, while being asked to participate in these poorly planned diversions.

I usually try to avert my attitude from critique, but it’s overwhelming this week. I’m mostly left to my own devices in Rakops, not having to deal with the overgrown bureaucracy. I give a lot of credit to the volunteers who can make strides here – they are improving organizations rather than building them from the ground up. I’m not sure which is more challenging. I’ll keep you posted.

Cheers

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2 thoughts on “Grievances

  1. Jamie says:

    jeremy,

    I feel this is a big stuggle, just keep at it, you’ve got that persistent persuasive personality to turn them around just keep positive!! also have you thought of creating a donation thing for your specific project on facebook? If ppl were to mail things home or to my address i’d love to help you organize something if funding is your desire? Maybe even an end goal like when the familly is coming out? Just a thought… also will be skyping you this weekend so we can finally start nailing down an agenda for my trip out!!!

    love you tons!

  2. Sherry says:

    Good Morning
    Sorry to here about the challenges you are facing. Hard at times to be positive when at times you feel you are not being heard.

    One thing I am certain of, you are very persistent and you have focus. Those two combos are difficult to beat. I really like what Jamie is proposing and I wouldn’t mind assisting her in any way she sees fit.

    Know that we are cheering your efforts and looking for ways to assist!
    Love you gobs and oodles
    Aunt Sherry

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