in responding to a recent article about the Kony2012 debacle, Bill Easterly pointed out that “NGOs should screen advocacy material with beneficiaries.”
though i tend to be more on the research than the service delivery or advocacy end of work, i fully agree. of course, intended beneficiaries – and other stakeholders – should be consulted about the content of the programs, goods, & services offered (before they are offered) as well as the advocacy materials. given how research and programs are currently planned, such efforts will almost always involve more time and more money. it will also likely complicate the narrative and, unfortunately, the Kony2012 movement seems to show that people respond to a simple narrative (and/or a simple solution — it’d be great to see more efforts in parsing out whether we can tell a complex story, coupled with relatively simple action steps (such as they exist), and still see positive public response)
we need a paradigm shift so that consultations at all phases of research/program design, implementation, & evaluation become the norm, not the sometimes-icing-on-the-cake.
if something along these lines is not in an NGO code of conduct, it really needs to be.
a quick quote from the article:
a group screening a popular video about fugitive African rebel leader Joseph Kony suspended showings in northern Uganda after angry viewers pelted members with stones and callers to radio stations objected to the portrayal of victims in the conflict…