Recommended reading:

Posts by Samjhana

  • People prioritise community infrastructure

    May 11th, 2015

    Together with the Rapid Assessment Team of Practical Action, I recently visited Salyantar VDC of Dhading District, which is one among the most affected districts from the recent earthquake. As I transected into the villages, I recalled my memories back from 2008, during which I was directly involved in supporting biogas plants, constructing a high-school building and development of drinking water system through a project funded by the German Government. There were many known faces that had lost their loved ones and their property. I wanted to go closer to them, talk and ask the kind of support they expect from organisations like us in this difficult situation. Somehow, I felt that many of them wanted to smile back and thank as we were with our team to distribute relief items for them.


    Food items supported by Practical Action in Salyantar VDC

    A gentleman in his early 50s, named Babu Krishna Shrestha, came closer to me and said “What really hurts of all are the schools and health facilities that have been destroyed. It will take years to construct our schools, and unless this happens, our children will not forget the earthquake and this devastation”. Further discussing with him, I found that he lost his wife in this disaster who was also the Principal of Salyantar Higher Secondary School. I was greatly shocked – he was the husband of the woman I worked with eight years back to construct this school. I still remember her hard work and dedication during the entire period of construction. She greatly believed that the drop-out rates could be reduced provided an attractive school environment including infrastructures. She was strong with her arguments that poor infrastructures lead to poor student behaviour and conduct in the classroom, affects teaching learning environment, and weakens the health of children. She is no more, but I strongly feel that her arguments are highly valid. Our assessment team observed this together with many other schools in Salyantar VDC that have either been completely destroyed or require immediate renovation.


    Inner view of Salyantar Higher Secondary School

    Assessing further, we found that the only Primary Health Care Centre (PHC) of Salyantar VDC is also damaged. The buildings have bigger cracks making the patients vulnerable. Emergency patients are being treated in tents while other regular patients are attended through an emergency desk just outside the PHC. As mentioned by the Health Assistant Mr. Shambhu Poudel, there were 6 delivery cases in 15 days after the earthquake. The pregnant women were kept outside until the final labor, taken inside the building for delivery and shifted outside again after the delivery. Just imagine, how risky is it for both the mother and her baby inside such building? Equal is the risk of infection to both of them after delivery.

    Having the situation of community infrastructures observed, I no longer felt it necessary to ask people about their expectations. It is clear that people have more sentiments towards the community structures like schools, health posts and drinking water services. Of course, they want their children to have quality education and health care when in need. Practical Action is committed towards promoting small, light and economically feasible infrastructures/technologies in post-disaster situation and help people rise from this disaster.


    Beds for patients in Salyantar Primary Health Care Centre


    Please join us and be part of this support. Visit us at

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • Help women and children recover from disaster

    May 2nd, 2015

    It was 3.34 in the morning on 27 January 2010, when the earth starting shaking with the magnitude of 8.8 Richter Scale while I was sleeping safe and sound in the Valdivian City of Southern Chile. Together with my colleagues from the Philippines and Bangladesh, we suddenly moved out of the house. There were several aftershocks, no internet, no telephone, no water, no shopping malls open for food, etc. at least for four days.  It has been five years and I have not yet forgotten a single moment I underwent during this disaster in Chile; and this repeated a week ago on 25th April 2015 in Nepal.

    I was busy preparing for the celebration of my daughter’s birthday, which is actually on 20th April; for some cultural reason, we postponed it to 25th April. I started feeling the movement of my house – which became stronger just in few seconds. From the third floor, I saw a collapsing five-storey house just a few blocks from mine burying 16 people inside. More than ten thousand have died and many more are seriously injured across the country, our cultural properties are gone and the nature has pulled us back so many years of development. What makes me cry over anything else are the children who have lost their parents and loved ones. Nearly a million children are already affected from the earthquake. Many more will be affected due to waterborne and infectious diseases and respiratory infections as they are forced to live under the cold open sky.

    House destroyed from earthquake in Bhaktapur

    House destroyed from earthquake in Bhaktapur

    Hundreds of women have suffered miscarriages due to earthquake, thousands of new moms are suffering with their infants with a hope that things will change, and many have died while trying to protect their kids during the earthquake. While women and children are closely associated, they are most vulnerable. The latest figures from Nepal show that 53% of the affected population from the earthquake are female. This ratio is expected to increase in the coming days due to increased death of women and children if proper water and sanitation services are not provided in time. There are risks that women will suffer from urinary tract infections due to lack of proper sanitation and the taboo attached to menstruation in remote parts of Nepal.

    Focus on water and sanitation

    One of the major focuses of Practical Action during this relief period is water and sanitation. Our belief and actions on promoting appropriate technologies will be realised through the provision of potable water supplies, toilets, awareness on sanitation and hygiene, and management of waste in the temporary camps in Gorkha and Dhading Districts of Nepal. Destruction from disaster can not be undone, but we are confident in reducing the post-disaster deaths mainly of women and children through improved sanitation and hygiene.

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • Understanding Innovation through Practical Answers Services!!

    January 14th, 2015

    As a fundraiser, I often come across the challenge of either being or providing support to become “Innovative”; innovative in the sense of “different”, “out of the box” and “walking an extra mile”. My bucket of proposals and concepts is mostly full and sometimes it overflows – looking for the supporters and partners who would be interested in funding my little piece of project; which will ultimately bring happiness in many poorest of the poors! While investigating upon potential supporters, I am asked – Is my proposal Innovative; what is my offer; why should my concept be supported; and what is the added value I can bring along. This has been the case in recent opportunities we tried to approach including USAID/Development Innovation Venture, Guangzhou Award for Urban Innovation, Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), Securing Water for Food Programme, Powering Agriculture, and Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge.

    For quite a sometime, I have been trying to find the most sophisticated answer to the simple question “Innovation”. For this, I surfed, read, made queries and became part of the discussions; more convincing of all was the book I read from Jim Collins “Good to Great” where he defines innovation as being great. He conveys the message that good is not good enough to win and stand out; one needs to walk beyond good to become innovative.

    In my recent visit to the sites of Practical Answers, I actually saw how innovative we have been in reaching the neediest pocket of the society. Transferring demand-based knowledge/information and promoting locally sustainable practices for awareness creation is something very effective and unique compared to the traditional and most practiced approaches to knowledge delivery. Considering that agriculture is the source of food, income and employment to majority of Nepalese Population, it is obvious for the farming communities to have their mind full of agriculture related queries. Under Practical Answers Services, we help respond/answer their enquiries/queries that support them in having better produces and effective agricultural practices. Upon realisation of the need, the service also collaborates with the relevant government and non-government agencies to capacitate farmers in the identified sectors.


    Ms. Kamala Suvedi from Lumbini Tinau Practical Answers Services group in her vegetable farm. (c) Practical Action/Upendra Shrestha

    From among farmers, women are the major players in Nepal’s food system. Amid this, they have limited access to resources including knowledge/information. By responding/ answering their simple enqueries/queries on agriculture, the service has demonstrated that giving women the right support and training, and empowering them with knowledge/ information can have remarkable results. Ms. Kamala Suvedi – 26 years of age – is one of such examples. She received a three-month long vegetable farming training and is enthusiastically putting her efforts in turning herself to an established vegetable entrepreneur. Earning knowledge on “How to do things correctly” is the most important aspect she likes about the service. She learnt appropriate methods to sow seeds, prepare organic pesticides, prepare field for various types of spices and high-value crops, and knows who to contact when she has questions. Like Kamala, many farmers are now habituated in making queries; they open up and come forward with their hunger for knowledge/information – they actually ASK!


    Local farmers accessing whether information placed in Agyauli Community Library. (c) Practical Action/Upendra Shrestha


    As the name says, the service answers the practical questions. To help farmers suitably plan their agriculture operations including sowing operations, irrigation, application of fertilizers, completing/withholding harvests, taking measures to fight frost, managing plugging harrowing hoeing, etc; a local level weather forecast boards are installed in the strategic locations. The farmers save their energy and money by sensibly planning their daily chores. By doing this, the Practical Answers service is helping farmers cope/adapt with the changing climate.

    The Service collaborates with READ Nepal (US-based INGO) that seeks to build literacy and empower rural communities through Community Libraries and Resource Centres (CLRCs). Within the community libraries, the service runs its technical knowledge service where technical knowledge products (in print and digital) are placed. In order to increase the coverage, the mobile knowledge dissemination centres are also conducted. Within this, knowledge products are placed in different rural locations where the farmers are encouraged to earn technical information at their ease. Through this model of partnership, knowledge dissemination and integration with other development sectors, for instance -climate change- Practical Answers proves to be a great example of delivering maximum benefits through the mobilisation of limited inputs. There exists a Knowledge Management Committee (KMC) in each of the districts that include representatives from relevant government agencies. The idea behind this establishment is to mainstream all of the technical knowledge related interventions through this committee even after the Practical Answers Service ends its interventions.

    Practical Answers Service helped me shape my understanding on Innovation, which does not necessarily be an “Invention”. Most of the times, it is simply gaining more with less effort; and bringing forth the simplest solution to the pre-existing problems!

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • Moments with Bima and her Happy Child Club!!

    December 1st, 2014

    Having received an opportunity to contribute towards the upliftment of informal sector is something that I always felt proud about. As I was planning my visit to Odisha, the first thing that came to my mind was our intervention for informal waste workers (IWWs) in Bhubaneshwar Municipality. I wanted to relate the beneficiaries, their work and the issues IWWs are facing in India with those in Nepal. I fully trust that the three-year long PRISM project in Nepal (funded by the European Union) has greatly changed the perception of local people towards waste pickers, and has hugely changed the way waste pickers see themselves. As we are trying to replicate many approaches from PRISM project, I was eager to see the early signs.

    One of the IWWs from Reddi Shahi

    One of the IWWs from Reddi Shahi

    The first remark made by one of the beneficiaries, even before we introduced ourselves was -“We are here since three generations and this is the first time somebody has shown interest in us and our work”. Just behind the Bhubaneshwor Railway Station, lies this settlement: Reddi Shahi – home for around 150 IWWs. These people are warned by the Municipality to vacate the place at their earliest for the extension of current railway station. They are not sure where their next home will be. I could easily read the pain and nervousness reflected on their face while they were describing the situation.

    A girl of around 8 years of age, came closer and sat beside me. I was trying to interact with the members of the child club through several questions I had for them. The girl was slowly touching my hands. At first she was hesitant, and did not speak a word for some time. She continued holding my hands and kept smiling at me. I asked the name of the child club – then she spoke with a smile “My name is Bima Reddi and the name of our club is HAPPY CHILD CLUB”. I got excited with the name of the club itself and asked what she does as the member of the club? “We dance, we sing, make jokes, hold meetings and discuss about the funny things we have at our school” – she replied with great innocence. I was expecting a different answer – for example, we clean our society, we talk about hand washing, contribute towards school enrollment, etc. To clarify myself, I asked if they do such things too. They nodded; but they highlighted the fun activities they involve in while being associated with the group. To be sincere with myself, I never thought in that line. I always focused on the number of children getting education, type of activities child clubs do, and the difference they bring about in the community they live in. No doubt, the Happy Child Club conducts campaigns in the community for school enrollment of all school going aged children; they take the responsibility of accompanying those children to and back from the school. They also work in close cooperation with the self-help groups of women to conduct awareness campaigns in the community. The important thing for them was the regular meetings which they start and end with an entertainment activity.

    Bima (sitting next to me) and other members of happy child club

    Bima (sitting next to me) and other members of happy child club

    Tirupati Reddi (12), a child IWW

    Tirupati Reddi (12), a child IWW

    After I had said good bye, Bima whispered -” Tirupati does not go to school. He has to earn for his family of two sisters and a mother, his father died some times ago”. She was talking about her fellow members of their child club. I walked to the corner, where Tirupati was sitting and asked him the reason for not going to school. “I get so much involved in the work that I hardly get chance to smile. In this club, I come to sing, dance and become happy. I am 12 years old and left school while I was at Grade 5. At this moment, I can’t afford school. I hope to go back to school soon”- he replied. I hope the same; I hope that Tirupati goes back to school. Before that, I want to see him smiling and  happy as he is doing now.  After all, children deserve to be happy, and their smile is precious.

    It is great to see that we have gone beyond our target. We have been able to win the hearts of our beneficiaries before we start implementing the targeted interventions. I truly believe that this project has brought about attitudinal change among the beneficiaries and has made them feel that “their existence matters”.

    Through its two-years project “Appropriate technology for safe and healthy environments” funded by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation”, Practical Action is working with the IWWs in five slum areas of Bhubaneshwor Municipality. Reddi Shahi is one of the five slums.

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • SMALL is BEAUTIFUL- A Wind Energy System in Odisha Witnesses!!

    November 26th, 2014

    A Small Wind Energy System electrifying a pocket of few tribal households, who had not even dreamt of having their houses lighted, is justifiably answering “Why Small is Beautiful”?  I have returned completely overwhelmed from my recent visit to an energy project site in Odisha, which is first of its kind in the state.

    Ms. Chanchala Majhi (7), with her younger brother

    Ms. Chanchala Majhi (7), with her younger brother


    “I feel happier now as my parents can finish their work in the evening or even early morning and I can study late night and help my family in the house chores and look after my younger brother…..says Chanchala Majhi, 7 years from Kamlagauda Village in Kalahandi District of Odisha State, India.  I met Chanchala and many others in this small village after travelling 14 hours in a train and 3 hours in a four-wheel drive, approximately 500 KM from Bhubaneshwor. I could easily measure the happiness in people’s faces and the enthusiasm they have towards receiving continuous electricity from an energy system recently installed in their village. This is a specially designed wind-solar hybrid system of 1 KW capacity installed in her village with 35 households. This intervention is a part of the project “Small Wind Energy System for Rural Energy Access in Odisha, India” through the funding support from Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (WISIONS Programme-


    Small wind-solar hybrid energy system installed in Kamlagauda village, Odisha

    Small wind-solar hybrid energy system installed in Kamlagauda village, Odisha




    As part of the project, another tribal pocket with 25 households will receive a similar wind energy system, for which the fabrication work is in process. It was so pleasing to see that people in Chanchala’s village were extremely excited about the other village receiving electricity, and were looking forward for providing necessary support to them. Mr. Ghanashyam B.C (35) explains, “Because we exactly know how it feels to have light in our homes. We had to walk 2 hours just to charge our mobiles, and had to wait until the morning to finish our works. We have now saved 10-12 days of work in a month; meaning an increased earning of INR 1200 per month. We want that our fellow neighbors enjoy the same. We will support in forming the management committee, collecting the monthly tariffs and training local technicians”. In close coordination with the project team, the villagers formed a management committee of 14 people, in which 6 are female.  Although the members had a major role during construction, the female members are now responsible to collect monthly user’s fee amounting to INR 60 from each household. Until date, they have collected INR 20,540.

    Mr. Ghanashyam B.C (35), Kalagauda Village

    Mr. Ghanashyam B.C (35), Kalagauda Village


    Tikmai Majhi (58) is one of the members of this committee. She had never had chance to represent one of such committee and gain so much respect from the villagers. She says -” If the monthly fee is not paid in time, we charge them a fine. Therefore, everyone is so conscious that keep on asking the deadline of payment and pay just in time. I am strict with the fine too, and no one opposes for this. After all, this amount will be used for the benefit of all”.Apart from the management committee, 5 male members of the village are also trained on managing various technical aspects of the system including tower erection, connecting turbine to the system, balancing with tightening and loosening if the guy wire, breaking turbine during repair and maintenance, and maintaining supply/distribution of electricity as indicated by the load controller. Moreover, a technical representative from Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme (OTELP) has been trained on the layout, fabrication and installation of the system. This will definitely support the government of Orissa to replicate similar projects in other parts of Orissa. The villagers are also hopeful in receiving the technical support from the government in future, should they have any technical problems after the project phases out.




    2 Comments » | Add your comment
  • Access to information reduces inequality

    October 16th, 2014

    It is very common to hear the word “inequality” as development professionals start discussions – be it a two-person dialogue or a conference with dozens. I have witnessed many of them ever since I started my professional career. People talk about poor services to a certain group of population, weak linkages with other better-off populations, inappropriate policies, negligence of the government bodies, etc. when we get into the world of Inequality. Each time, I question myself – what actually is the root cause? What makes community “A” better-off than community “B”?

    If somebody asks me -“When do you feel that you are empowered, equal to others, and fairly treated?”. Without thinking twice – I would reply “when I have access to all of the information I require”.  It is definite – information on the existence of resources opens way out for you to enjoy the resources. This might not be true in all of the situations – but to most of them – “Access to Information” is something significant that resolves issues related to inequality.

    Social map prepared by local people in Chitwan, Nepal.

    Social map prepared by local people in Chitwan, Nepal.

    Development sector, by now, has well understood that the trickle-down model of service delivery is no more functioning. It is the people who actually need to identify and prioritise their needs. Wouldn’t it be an ideal context when people in need are informed that resource allocation is made for them, they have right to enjoy these resources, are able to develop their own practical plans? What if they are trained well enough to push relevant authorities in materialising their plans?

    Well, here is an example of a proactive and informed society which no longer wants to be disadvantaged compared to the others. At Practical Action, this is exactly what we are doing through our project “Delivering Decentralisation: Slum dwellers’ access to decision making for pro-poor infrastructure services” since 2006. We aim to build the capacity of 70,000 slum dwellers and associated local authorities in decision making to plan, deliver and sustain community-led services in selected urban and peri-urban areas of Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri-Lanka by 2016. By the end of the project, we expect that the slum dwellers in 6 towns and 78 slums in three countries are able to work closely with the local authorities and other stakeholders, and participate in decision making process; their services are prioritised, their income is boosted and the environment in which they live in is enhanced. We envision this situation to be possible as we strongly bring forward our approach of enhanced Access to Information.

    The networks and linkages we create are the major sources of information. Sincerely, I feel more confident when I know, when I am aware and when I am informed. I wouldn’t claim unless I know that I have the right to claim; and unless I claim, I don’t get – others will. As it is said – money attracts money, information attracts information too! It is the principle source of empowerment and should be strictly considered if we want to lessen inequality and create a JUST society!!

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • Youth Employment Matters!

    October 13th, 2014

    “Employment opportunity to above 5000 rural youths in just three years is definitely an amazing figure!! More encouraging is that 50 per cent of these youths have turned themselves to an entrepreneur – having started their own business”

    This is an outcome of a recently completed project ROJGARI – Raising Opportunities for Jobs in Gramin Areas for Rural Incomes, funded by the European Union. Practical Action implemented this project in three rural districts (Doti, Achham and Kailali) of Far-Western Nepal targeting youths aged 16 to 40 years. The project capacitated six Technical and Vocational Training Centres (TVTCs) to offer market-driven courses to rural youths. Parallel to several capacity building activities, the project also promoted fee based trainings that was equally popular among the youths. We launched a rural job information web portal in close collaboration with the private sector where one can search and post job offerings. To make the job related information more accessible, the project also promoted a SMS service; which is being extensively used to generate enough revenue to make the system viable.

    A rural youth becomes an entrepreneur

    A rural youth becomes an entrepreneur

    No doubt, access to information is key towards entry to job market. In order to help unemployed rural youths with the self-confidence, networking and accessing the potential employers, the project has established 11 job resource centres. During the project period alone, a total of 107 youths were employed through these JRCs. The project has established and strengthened several local level networks and groups so that the youths come together, discuss and be informed about the job market.

    These are some of the examples of what the project did and what it resulted into. Many rural youths would otherwise migrate to the closer urban centres, and abroad to earn their livings; they are now spending quality time with their families and making money in their own place using the local resources. Having realised that youth energy is vital for the overall development of the nation, the project also analysed and made appropriate recommendations on the existing employment policies and provisions for enhancing rural employment in Nepal.

    Practical Action’s work in this project is surely remarkable and has contributed in enhancing the quality of rural life. The innovative approaches and practices promoted by Practical Action through this project is worth-replicating in other parts of Nepal and word-wide with similar socio-economic settings!

    1 Comment » | Add your comment
  • Hiking in the Shivapuri

    September 15th, 2014

    Hiking in the Shivapuri – memorable moments with the office colleagues!!


    Rain didn’t stop the whole night. I couldn’t sleep well with a fear whether the hiking scheduled for the next day would get cancelled. Of course, I didn’t want to miss reaching the second highest hill around Kathmandu Valley with its peak 2,730 meters above the sea level.  Not only for this, I always loved the company of nature and Shivapuri is special, being the youngest national park of Nepal.

    Woke up with full excitement – I could still hear the rain outside. Am I really doing this? Yes, I am. I geared up myself and rushed; the vehicle was supposed to pick us up from the office. I saw very few people, less than the plan but each one with full enthusiasm and excitement!!

    Around 9 AM, our group of 11 started the journey hoping that the rain won’t accompany us during the day. We chose the wilder route, could easily see leeches on the wet vegetation and damp paths – my blood being sucked by them was the biggest fear. And indeed, I was the first one to have leeches gnawing into my lower ankle. I shouted as if I was attacked by a dangerous wild animal – finally brushed it off. Thereafter, others started checking and found them inside their shocks too!! Despite this, we continued climbing up – the higher we went, the lower was our energy level and speed.

    Dinanath shouted every 15 minutes – “Are we together”?  As long as the answer was “Yes” – we continued, otherwise we would have stopped to be in the group. The lunch pack arranged by Rubina was sort of a surprise pack; it had so many things in it and was enough for several bites that kept us fueled throughout the day.

    The sounds of insects and distant birds were just perfect for that jungle environment and our team to keep moving. At times, we kept quiet and suddenly somebody makes a joke – “Sankuchy, did you tweet that we have crossed 2.5 miles?”

    We sort of bonded ourselves with the nature, the vegetation and the landscape with a feel of a walking meditation. It was a group of office colleagues, but we didn’t talk about work, pressures, tensions, deadlines and so on. We enjoyed fogs at places, the frequent showers, the insect noisescape, and views of forest as if it just came from the dark.

    At around 3 PM, we celebrated reaching the peak. We missed the view from Shivapuri peak due to gloomy weather, but we had the adventure! “How long will it take us to get back?” I asked our trip guide, Saurav. “Around three hours,” he replied. We looked at each other’s tired faces, they seemed as if they were seeking sympathy from each other.

    We had no option; we started our journey back from the peak. Our joke topic then was “TODKE BABA”, a religious person from India staying in this forest since long. Some of us were even thinking of staying with him for sometime and meditating. We took pictures at his place of meditation and moved on.

    Among our group, we talked about things which we never did at our office that not only brought us closer but helped us understand our real personalities. Our hero of the trip, Gehendra, who didn’t look tired at all throughout the journey, provided us energy to move on. As Shivapuri is the major watershed for water supply in the Kathmandu Valley, we dropped by the source of Bagmati River, the famous religious river of Nepal. We regretted – we have made it polluted as it crosses the urban centres.

    Our speed was higher on our way back – with the excitement of celebrating the victory. And surprisingly, we completed our journey just in 2.5 hours. I looked up to the peak I reached and congratulated myself, “Yes you did it – a complete journey of around 25 KM!” The journey was just the means, I made many friends out of my colleagues with whom I can now easily work, argue, and deliver!

    4 Comments » | Add your comment
  • The only boss that I have – “The DONOR”

    July 30th, 2014

    Is your boss not satisfied with our work? What do you expect then? A pink slip? – It makes sense and is perfectly logical!  After all, you are hired to meet the expectations of the organisation.  However, as a fundraising professional, I have realised that– at the end of the day, there is the only one boss – “The DONOR”!.

    I recently participated in a week-long certificate course in fundraising and communications in New Delhi, India. I have always been keen on tapping funds from institutions, trusts, foundations and corporate houses. I was quite determined that my efforts/interactions/discussions during the training will mainly be in this line.

    Donor representatives visiting a project in Bangladesh

    Donor representatives visiting a project in Bangladesh

    On the very first day, the resource person somehow tried to give us an impression – “fundraising is all about individuals”. I had a reservation, and I was rather convinced that funding has to do a lot more than an individual. As the days passed, we discussed differently on direct mails, cold calls, donor acquisition and retention, and so on.  At times, I felt that it was a complete waste of time; the whole discussion each day ended with a conclusion – “It is actually about an individual”.

    During a practical session on telefacing, a pretty lady was on the phone talking to a stranger. She talked for about four minutes including her introduction, the cause for the call and the conclusion. I had an impression that the person on the other side gave her an appointment for the meeting. She put down the phone with a cheerful smile on her face. At the end, it is the impression you leave on a stranger. I thought about it over the night and was convinced that fundraising is not possible in isolation. First, it was a cold call that ended up with an appointment, which could turn into a request for a concept note and subsequently a full proposal. No matter how big or small the amount we are proposing, this is exactly the way it works. So, is it all about an individual?

    I wrote a case for support, a capacity statement, appeals and many more. I featured Practical Action’s energy and DRR works, because then I could showcase my project to be the most urgent of all. The question was again, why the projects should be considered urgent to receive funding? I remember many projects I have been involved in which were not as urgent as the others, but they were funded. The answer is – the case I proposed was actually URGENT for somebody at the donor organisation. I again took my stand, it is not about “Somebody” who decides; It is about the whole organisation! But remember, evaluation committee in each donor organisation is comprised of a group of individuals. We need to win their heart, soul and mind! It is them who make decision on whether or not to support our project – be it a 2000 worth activity or a multi-million multifaceted project. So, am I convinced that it is all about an individual?  Somehow, yes!

    Each evening, I analysed what I am doing, and what is my job. I assure quality of donor reports, communicate with them, accompany them to the project sites and make sure they are HAPPY! I swallow all the guidelines on donor call for proposals, and make sure that our proposals meet their needs and criteria. I follow my donors on Twitter, regularly check their sites and update myself on recent happenings. I greet them on their special days, I participate in events/functions mainly because I could talk to them. Every second, I am trying to be nice with them, become conscious on what I communicate, and gently/visibly/widely acknowledge them in every possible activity. What for? Because, I want them to be happy with my organisation and its works. And always, a donor is an individual – to impress whom, we put all our efforts. Having realised all these, what do you think? I strongly believe – “Fundraising is all about an individual”, and a donor in whatever form, ultimately is an individual!

    I don’t want to get fired and become unwanted;  each moment I have this strong desire to please  my boss;  Yes, the only boss that I have – “The DONOR”!

    4 Comments » | Add your comment