Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, both privately and
publicly. There is a place for each sphere, and everything that has been
voiced is important to discuss among us publicly and/or to consider in our
own personal "space" and time.
"Accountability", the role of foreigners and/or of "white" people in a
predominantly Black culture or country, issues regarding money (donors,
those receiving funds, what is given and any "attachments" presented with
those donations): all of these concerns are imperative to consider and
acknowledge in one form or another (publicly and/or privately), in part so
that we can keep working together, and in part so that we do not damage and
wound one another, when we in fact mean to be supportive and encouraging.
I do not recall mentioning accountability myself in recent mails, though
Peter Burgess and I have discussed this some years ago in the context of
nonprofit management. There was a situation at that time which made the
discussion so pertinent: the Kenyan govt had just delisted 300+ supposed
"nonprofits" which had not met guidelines for their incorporation. Some were
undoubtedly defrauding donors and the government; others were probably
facing impossible odds in terms of their efficient operations.
There is an important place for accountability, transparency, and financial
responsibility. It is crucial for any org or individual wanting to establish
themselves for a sustainable future in humanitarian work.
There is also an important place for the kind of empowering model which
Andrius and Minciu Sodas represent: funds donated when available, for work
done which is meaningful and beneficial for individuals, groups,
communities, and larger entities (countries and "the world"). A situation
in which all benefit: the whole and each part.
Collectively, we also need to be aware of issues arising from these types of
discussions and activities: the implications of a focus on "accountability"
(which could be interpreted as mistrust of the honesty and veracity of those
receiving funds); the uncomfortable situations people are placed in
regarding money (both those asking for same and those of whom the funds are
asked); the racism and inequalities in the world which still make
"black/white" issues so potent, especially in combination with subjects such
as money (poverty et al).
It is perhaps unfortunate--in this regard--that so much of our work is
centered in Africa, because it might seem--when we discuss
accountability--that we are especially concerned abt the honesty and
veracity of Africans, which may be where Peter Ongele is coming from with
the questions he has voiced to a fellow African, Kofi Thompson.
Nothing is further from the truth, as these are subjects which can and
should be of concern to all of us worldwide. It is to the benefit of all
nonprofits and those of us who are humanitarians (working on behalf of human
betterment) to ensure that our work is transparent and accessible.
Accountability is a positive thing in that light, though I also need to add
that sometimes there are different views, assumptions, and meanings assigned
to that term, which can create differences of opinion about exactly what is
accountable and responsible behavior. What might be a standard practice and
important measure of accountability in one culture--such as not employing
one's relatives (at least w/out a formal vetting process)--may not be
possible to attain in a resource-constrained setting.
KAIPPG Kenya--whose international branch I run in the USA--had a difference
of opinion abt this very matter with the VSO (based in the UK) a few years
ago. I sided with KAIPPG, because I know it to be a nonprofit of impeccable
credentials, even if it might employ relatives of the current KAIPPG admin,
due to severe resource constraints.
The VSO, coming from a very different set of circumstances and cultural
setting, thought a different employment process should be implemented.
Both, in my view, had a valid perspective, which was very culture-dependant.
However, because the VSO is a donor, nonprofits like KAIPPG do need to be
careful abt maintaining enough accountability and transparency to show "the
world" (let alone the "powers that be") that they are indeed doing what all
nonprofits should do: be responsible to their own public and
constituencies, which is of ultimate importance.
It would be great for all of us to get behind the ideas Peter Burgess and
Andrius have been discussing, while at the same time debating the specifics
and meanings assigned to these concepts and activities.
Graham and Peter Ongele, I am very happy you have linked up, and these
issues are important in the context of the DIY Solar activities too.
Graham, one of the exciting things about having you among us--and hopefully
working with you on projects--is that these forums are not "just" about
"talk"--however important discussion is on these vital issues--but also
You may discover some insights, Graham, which might be helpful in carrying
out solar projects in a longer-term and sustainable way (this a reference to
your question to me last year abt why there is initial enthusiasm but little
follow-up re sustainable use of solar power). And DIY Solar has so much of
value to give, let alone get: a huge "win-win" for people and the planet
Kofi, I hope you will stay among us, as I have very much enjoyed your
insights, support and encouragement, and way of approaching issues and
people alike. I believe and hope that the private and public interchanges on
these subjects have taught all of us about the complexity of human beliefs,
responses, and interactions, and that we cannot judge a "book" by its
"cover". This helps us to realize the "individual" in us all, even as we
acknowledge other affiliations such as color, geography, socioeconomic
situation, and the like.
Thanks so much and blessings to all! Janet
ps David Mutua (hello!!) has mentioned Kibera Community Youth Programme
(KCYP) in Kenya, which has been successfully doing a solar-panel fabrication
project for some time, in linkage with DIY Solar. This is how Graham and I
first linked up, as I am on the Advisory Board of KCYP. I have spoken with
Fred Ouko, Director of KCYP, abt MS and POP, and he also knows David, so we
have some ready-made links to bring him/them into HH and other forums here.
It would be great to make those links soon (which I can do), the better to
connect with a sustainable solar success story (try saying that ten times
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2008 10:49 AM
Subject: [mendenyo] Peter, Graham, next steps with solar panels?
>I called Peter Ongele today and we agreed that he would continue to work
> for me and share his work at the Mendenyo working group led by Samwel
> Kongere. I share Peter's letters. Kofi, I also take the liberty to share
> your reply. We are all trying to learn to work together and I think we
> will succeed. Peter, I am very happy for your work with Graham Knight,
> and I add his letter, too, which is relevant as well. There will always
> be some friction, that is normal. Let's keep making progress. Graham,
> Peter, what are next steps in our working together? Andrius Kulikauskas,
> ms@..., http://www.ms.lt
> Dear Andrius,
> I don't suppose I really need to tell you that money causes more problems
> than almost any other factor in our lives!
> I still remember the day in a job where, unlike my usual self, I was
> I was like nearly everyone else, I felt that I was not being paid my due.
> It was so ridiculous that I swore I would never again let money so take me
> So long as the finances of the organisation are open there should not be
> too many who will object to you having more than others.
> P.S. Are you aware of the anti-white rant from Peter Ongele? Does he think
> you are bribing him?
> Quite mystifying!
> Hellow Andrius,
> Its with sad regret that I've dicided to call off my participation in
> all whatever you do in Mincius Sodas Lab. and to stop getting any group
> email until further notice due to the facts below. It seems my thoughts
> are parallel and I would not wish to interfere with anybodies way of
> life. I've not trained myself in this kind of life.
> I would actually take this opportunity to thank you all for inspiring
> events, assistance in my education, God bless you for your generosity
> togather with all your family. May you prospare and remain pyramid of
> love and peace to people your hand may reach. I'm really convinced of
> your good heart, may God bless you. I'll not dissappear with your
> money but I promise come middle next year I'll arrange for it. I'll
> not forget, its in my diary.
> PETER ONGELE.
> --- On Sun, 7/13/08, kofi thompson <peakofithompson@...> wrote:
>> > From: kofi thompson <peakofithompson@...>
>> > Subject: Fw: Greetings.
>> > To: "Pamela McLean" <pam54321@...>
>> > Cc: "peter ongele" <peterongele@...>, "Graham"
>> > Date: Sunday, July 13, 2008, 4:49 AM
>> > Dear Pamela,
>> > I am sending you this because I want to ensure that no one
>> > can point fingers at my in future. I received this a short
>> > while ago. I have not wish to be dragged by anyone into
>> > unhelpful disputes of any sort.
>> > Peter, please respect this wish. I withdrew quietly from
>> > your group, because it became a slightly uncomfortable
>> > place for me to be in
>> > I am a simple man completely without an ego - so I
>> > don't engage in any Lemming-like rush up the greasy
>> > pole of life. I wish to be left alone, Peter.
>> > Please do not communicate with me any further.Thank you
>> > - and God bless.
>> > Best wishes,
>> > Kofi Thompson
>> > --- On Sun, 13/7/08, peter ongele
>> > <peterongele@...> wrote:
>> > From:"Pamela McLean"
>> > <pam54321@...>,
>> > Subject: Greetings.
>> > To: peakofithompson@...
>> > Date: Sunday, 13 July, 2008, 10:11 AM
>> > Hi Kofi,
>> > I hope you are doing well in Ghana. I'm fine in
>> > Kenya. Sorry for writing
>> > to you a private letter, bear it with me for some good
>> > reasons to advice and
>> > assist me on a rising matters in the forum of
>> > mendenyoyahoogroups.
>> > Of late I hope you have seen a number of comments from
>> > Andrius, Janet,
>> > Samwel Kongere and many others in the forum concerning this
>> > online
>> > communications on claims of gost informations on projects
>> > being undertaken by
>> > different groups in different countries.Common with
>> > NGOs,Small groups and
>> > Governments. This is uncalled for behaviour in most
>> > countries in Africa.
>> > You have seen most of the communications in the forum
>> > are just like
>> > logistic summeries of whatever happening in the forum but
>> > with no touchable,
>> > accountable and transparency of project commands. No
>> > achievements, no
>> > universal bio_diversity objectives to the targeted
>> > communities. I get deeply
>> > affected for these kind of behavoiur. You have joined the
>> > team recently just
>> > like me, please can you help me to analyse the general
>> > goals, objectives, which
>> > group of people targeted and to understand whether this is
>> > the right way of
>> > changing the world life in science, communication and
>> > poverty eradication. Or
>> > what may be the intention behind all these forum activities
>> > for us in Africa as
>> > a continent.
>> > My friend I hate misuse of ideas, knowledge and time
>> > for things which does
>> > not exist in life. I have commented a times in the forum
>> > about this issue but
>> > I get little noticed. I hoped to see ideas exchanged,
>> > shared in wiki pages,
>> > new ideas, achievements, failures, accountabilities and
>> > transparencies in the
>> > forum but instead you hear, ooh_ so and so is con man, waa_
>> > so and so has
>> > disappeared with money, some people are interested in
>> > online gost projects for
>> > income, what are all these? I feel uncomfortable, guilty
>> > and betryal to my
>> > community and Africa as a whole. I don't care about
>> > these moneys dished out
>> > to us. But I would like to see informing informations,
>> > awareness , comperatives
>> > of these informations, share ideas of how you do things and
>> > develop in your
>> > place there. Sponsered projects to be of interest to
>> > everbody in forum and this
>> > would call for real work, accountability and transparency.
>> > I don't think
>> > that we are interested get money for
>> > group projects only from these white people, we can still
>> > organise from
>> > ourselves to bring our resources togather and we can still
>> > reach our
>> > objectives.
>> > Please think over these issues, and share it with me.
>> > I would first
>> > suggest we digest this before its brought to the forum in
>> > the polite way and in
>> > an independent way of thinking.
>> > Thank you in advance for taking your time to look
>> > for this message. God
>> > bless you.
>> > PETER ONGELE.
> A Focus is being made on having a wireless internet connection for the
> community to help them have a place for information handling and
> transfer. There is motive of taking risks to help the community Develop.
> Yahoo! Groups Links