Friday, January 31, 2014

Another PAC Meeting

The quarterly meeting for Peace Corps Botswana's Project Advisory Committee (PAC) Meeting was held yesterday. Leaders from the Government Ministries, the National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA), Peace Corps staff, and other relevant stakeholders came together to discuss our post's program and build on previous meetings. This meeting is invaluable for sharing information and improve both relations with these parties and the quality of our service to the country. Simply being a representative is an honor. This meeting, however, my Country Director asked me to step up and present to the group.

My task was to present examples and best practices of volunteer activities across the different sectors (Local Government Capacity Building, Community Health Team, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Life Skills). This meant scanning the work done by 134 PCVs and isolating projects that would be of interest, both because of their direct relevance to the PAC members and to demonstrate alternative types of projects volunteers participate in that have a significant impact on their communities. (I have to state that this was no easy task because PCVs in Botswana are doing some very good work!) I then created a presentation to accompany my discussion and prepared for what I assumed would include an onslaught of questions by the PAC members. This was going to be a very big meeting for me - presenting and honoring the work of my fellow volunteers to such high level officials within Botswana. If I'm being honest, this means I fretted about it.

I needn't have worried, however. My presentation went smoothly, the PAC members were extremely impressed with PCV activities around the country, and Peace Corps staff were happy with how I portrayed our work. In fact, they were so pleased with it that they sent my presentation back to Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington DC to show the type and quality of activities going on at our post! It was a proud day for me. I was proud of myself for a successful presentation in the face of these bigwigs and proud of my colleagues and friends for all of the great things they are doing. It was an honor and a privilege to share their work with PAC.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dan Pallotta: The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong

Those of us working in the non-profit or development sectors will shake their heads in agreement or maybe tear up a few times at this TED Talk. My hope for it is that more people take the time to watch it and internalize what Mr. Pallotta is saying and then start a conversation that will help spread the message. We can be the generation that makes real and lasting change but it has to start with a perpective shift. Give it a shot. It will be a worthwhile nineteen minutes in your day.