Engineers Without Borders Canada is  seeking exceptional leaders to join their African Programs Staff (APS) in the following positions:

With the Agriculture Team (in Ghana and Zambia):

Agricultural Value Chains Team Market Development Field Officer

Agricultural Value Chains Team Market Development Project Manager

African Business Development Team

With the Malawi Water and Sanitation Team:

District Capacity Development and Decentralization Policy Analyst

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Leader

To apply, go to http://my.ewb.ca/volunteering/applications/. Applications are due on February 11th, 2011.

They are recruiting for the Agricultural Value Chains Team  (Ghana, Zambia) for departures starting in March 2011. In this project aimed at removing rural farmers’ barriers to agricultural input access, EWB will be partnering with donors. By becoming a part of the donor chain, The Agricultural Value Chains Team will be able to share field realities and will have the respect and understanding needed to drive change for farmers.

They are searching for African Business Development Team members for departures beginning in March 2001. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that have long been neglected by development initiatives are finally getting recognition from Social Investment Funds (SIFs) that have emerged to provide capital investment to these businesses. EWB’s African Business Development Team will continue to provide technical assistance to rural African businesses, as EWB has for years, while partnering with SIFs to provide services at scale.

They are seeking a leader for Malawi’s leading sanitation initiative, Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) to start in March 2011.  CLTS is an innovative approach, holding open community discussions to confront taboo sanitation behaviors. The change is owned and led by the community itself, with the CLTS team acting as facilitators and encouraging follow-through on community-set goals.

We are recruiting a District Capacity Development and Decentralization Policy Analyst to join the Malawi Water and Sanitation team as early as March 2011. Since 1998, Malawi has been undergoing a process of decentralization. This process, meant to increase the districts’ power to provide sustainable and effective services to their constituents, particularly in the water and sanitation sector, has been slow and requires acceleration to improve service delivery. This role is aimed at using understanding of field realities to increase capacity development at the district level and to advise decentralization partners (namely the Malawi-Germany Program for Democratic Decentralization) on policy.

For questions or more detailed information please contact projects@ewb.ca.

Microsoft Corporation has announced the launch of the Elevate America community initiative, a new grant program to support nonprofit organizations offering employment services, including technology skills training and job placement, in local communities across the United States. The initiative is the latest extension of Elevate America, which was launched in 2009 to provide people across the country with no-and low-cost access to the technology skills they need to find employment.

To support the initiative, Microsoft is committing a total of $4 million in cash and $6 million in software and technology skills training curriculum over the next two years.

Grants will be allocated through a Request for Proposal process which invites nonprofits to share their plans for partnering with Microsoft on creating successful, scalable programs that respond to the twenty-first century skills training and employment needs of people across the U.S. For this initiative, the company has a particular but not exclusive interest in working with partners focused on the needs of women and young workers (ages 18-25).

Successful grant recipients will be funded to provide individuals with the support they need to find employment. The services provided by grant recipients to ensure a fully supportive experience for participants must include technology skills training, job placement, and strong employer connections and may also include career counseling and other support services such as childcare, transportation, and housing.

Grant applicants must be U.S.-based tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and their partner organizations, which may include workforce agencies, community colleges, labor organizations, and other nonprofit organizations.

Complete grant program guidelines and an eligibility survey for nonprofit organizations are available at the Microsoft Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/en-us/community-tools/job-skills/Community-Initiative/

At least once a week, people write me asking how they can get into international development work, or extend their development work after a tour of duty with Peace Corps or VSO and such.  Here is an excellent opportunity for entry level development workers to get some more in-the-field international development experience:

Deshpande Foundation 2009 Sandbox Fellows Program

Deadline to apply: January 4th, 2009.

Deshpande Foundation is accepting applications for our Sandbox Fellowship program. This is a year-long program for dynamic professionals or post-graduate school candidates who have experience working in on- the-ground development and/or social entrepreneurship and are seeking an extended experience working on these issues. Fellows are matched according to the skills and project needs defined by each specific NGO in order to ensure a mutually beneficial experience for both parties. More information about the Fellowship program can be found here: http://www.deshpandefoundation.org/GEP.html.
The Deshpande Foundation welcomes motivated individuals to apply to our 2009 Fellows Program. The Deshpande Foundation is the family foundation of Gururaj (“Desh”) and Jaishree Deshpande. Founded in 1996, it is a leading philanthropic foundation in Massachusetts and India in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship and international development. We develop partnerships with innovative leaders with a new idea, product or service that can potentially benefit millions of people and change entire industries.

The Global Exchange Program was launched in January 2008 to put into practice The Deshpande Foundation’s vision for global exchange specific to development and innovation. The concept allows for exchange – in both directions- improving and addressing the solutions that solve the developing world’s most intractable challenges. The Global Exchange Program was designed to help fuel the change of innovation and improve the outcomes of development. The Fellows work to address challenges at NGOs working the in the fields of Agriculture, Livelihood, Education and Health. Ideal candidates have experience in these areas but also add value by bringing skills from the IT sector, business (marketing and management), finance (accounting) and other globally applicable skills. Current fellows are dynamic and interested in making a long term impact through innovation in the sector. In June 2008, The Deshpande Foundations welcomed the first team of 10 Fellows to the Sandbox, with Fellows from both the US and the UK.

The next Sandbox Fellowship class runs from June 2009-June 2010 and Innovator applications are accepted quarterly.  The deadline for all applications is January 4th, 2009. Please send your most resent resume and completed application to info@deshpandefoundation.org.

“So what do you do?”

November 19, 2008

 

I have a joke for you that I picked up in Africa:

 

Q:  How do greet an American?

 

A:  You say: “So what do you do?” (Then shake hands.)

 

(The Africans find this hilarious!)

 

It may surprise most Americans, but a lot of foreigners regard this fully loaded question, “What do you do?” as highly amusing (a cultural fax paus, so to speak, from a young nation), or in some cases, just plain rude.  I find it odd, when I ask someone, “What do you do?” (as is custom in this country) and they respond, “I am a (lawyer, accountant, lobbyist, insert something here) but do not hold that against me!”

 

But yes, America—you ARE what you do and I will show you why!  Let’s assume you get 8 hours of sleep a night (which nowadays is rare!  It is more like 5 to 6 hours sleep.) And then hopefully you only spend about 8 hours a day at work (which, again, nowadays is rare—people are working more like 10 hours a day! And that is does not include the commute to and from work!)  So in a 24-hour period, you only have 8 hours left to go grocery shopping, do your laundry, commute to and from work, take your daughter to soccer practice, have sex, go on that cruise, write your magnum opus, shave a body-part, download music from the internet, learn Chinese, play Wii, and let’s not forget “American Idol”, etc.  So, yes, America, when you choose to spend a third of your life doing one thing—well, then yes, you ARE what you do!  It concerns me how many people appear to be ashamed of what they do.  Why?

 

But I have a better question, “If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?”  I find it shocking how many of my adult peers (ages 30 to 45) I ask this question and they have to THINK about it (and sometimes for days!)  It is rare someone screams with glee: “I am doing EXACTLY what I always wanted to do!”  Believe it or not, I have met people who were in love with quality assurance and bookkeeping (I equate these things with water-boarding torture techniques.)  And then at the same time, a real estate agent says “teacher”, a teacher says “Sailboat Captain”, a computer programmer says “documentary filmmaker”, and such.  How did this happen? 

 

We know the answer lies in “Life happens.”  Meaning significant other turns into spouse, babies appear, babies mean mortgage, mortgage means Suburbs, Suburbs means monster SUV which gets 2 miles to the gallon, and of course, we all need a little IKEA and Bed, Bath and Beyond to get by in this life, and our debts get bigger as our houses get bigger, and thus we get “stuck” in jobs/occupations that have no meaning for us (aside from a paycheck) and this makes us unhappy.  This unhappiness causes us to buy more crap, thinking a better car or larger entertainment system will make us more happy.  The proof that this gross consumerism is not making us any more happy, can be directly reflected in the escalating pharmaceutical industry sales of ante-depressants and the consistent sales of self-help books, as well as visits to the therapist. 

 

 

Margaret Mead, please correct me if I am wrong, but I cannot think of any culture in the history of mankind with so many therapists!  Can you imagine a Roman soldier speaking with his therapist: “You see, I feel different when I wear this plaited-skirt during battle…”  Or some therapist telling Da Vinci that he suffers from ADD?  Would Van Gogh have been such an impressive painter if he were on Prozac? 

 

I agree with Samuel Johnson, “The result of all ambition is to be happy at home.”  My hypothesis is that if more people did work that had special meaning (or interest) to them, or work they actually enjoyed doing, in combination with not buying so much crap, this contentment would spread into all aspects of their lives.  Just my humble opinion and by the way, I have always wanted to be a writer.