“Scale, impact and partnerships” – seeing through the buzz factor

conference
Cartoon credit – http://www.stillwaterhistorians.com

I’m back on the regional conference circuit at the moment, and it’s awash with talk about “scale” and “impact”.

Sound-bite central, indeed, with events I’ve attended recently also still obsessing with how to achieve scale and impact by working in “partnerships”. As suggested in my last post we need to look beyond semantics in the sustainability arena, and instead get real about what some of these terms actually mean as, all too often, our preoccupation with the vernacular distracts us from action.

The UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have included “global partnerships” as their 17th Goal. The proof of authenticity around what the UN thinks can be achieved with this Goal will be revealed over time. However, right now, it seems to me that if you are not talking about “scaling your programmes”, or “measuring the impact” of your efforts (in terms of playing a positive role in society) then you are not “on message” – and that, for many, is a public relations cardinal sin.      Continue reading ““Scale, impact and partnerships” – seeing through the buzz factor”

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Brave new world (of uncertainty)

"Only by embracing uncertainty, will the way forward manifest itself" (Jo Confino)
“Only by embracing uncertainty, will the way forward manifest itself” (Jo Confino)

When I was last in Bangladesh, in November, a factory fire broke out in Ashulia, near the capital Dhaka, killing over 135 factory workers.

Like others at the time, this event prompted me to write – http://saigonsays.wordpress.com/category/travels/bangladesh/ – to raise awareness, to express sadness, and to describe CARE’s work in this particular arena.

It’s selfish writing in many ways.  Such an unnecessary event, needlessly taking lives, and a sense that you can respond in some capacity by simply writing a narrative.  Although, at the time, I don’t remember it making me feel any better about what had taken place in Ashulia.

And now it has happened all over again, once more in Bangladesh, this time just north of the capital, in Savar, after the total collapse of the Rana Plaza building, last Wednesday.  Rana Plaza was eight-storeys high, housed four garment factories, 6,000 workers, and should never have been open last week, after factory inspectors had ordered the building be evacuated having declared it unsafe. Continue reading “Brave new world (of uncertainty)”