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Screening: Beyond Good Intentions with Tori Hogan

Critique the current system of international aid and you are bound to make some people angry. This is something that Tori Hogan has gotten use to as she’s taken her recently completed film “Beyond Good Intentions” on the road for a series of screenings that involve conversations revolving around each of the short, webisode-style videos that comprise the work. Under the banner headline “What Works In International Aid?” each vignette examines a different aspect of the do-good game in developing countries  including microfinance, disaster relief, faith-based aid and more. The Field sent Tori some interview questions after attending her recent screening in Seattle, where the conversations following each episode ranged from inspiring to downright contemptuous. Whatever your opinions are regarding the state of international giving there is one thing that’s clear: conversations like this are a vital component of improving how countless NGOs, governments, and foundations do their work. Here are some of Teri’s thoughts.
TF: In all of your travels and work in international aid, what do you think are some key elements of the system that are just plain broken?
TH: I’ve been working in the field of international aid for nearly a decade now and some of the most serious problems that I’ve continued to witness include: the challenges associated with current donor structures, the lack of accountability to the people being served, an absence of real innovation, and a shortage of truly critical assessments of what works and what doesn’t.
TF: On the flip side, what are some parts of aid that work really well?
TH: One of the greatest things that the field of international aid has going for it is that it is typically motivated by true compassion. There is no shortage of well-intentioned people around the world who are eager to help those Read More

Global Socials Series: Saludos Centroamerica

There was a big crowd representing Washington NGOs working on a range of health, environmental, and development issues across Central America. We heard from organizations with programs in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. Among the different areas of focus there was one shared value: a passion for working for social justice in Central America through giving people the tools and support to solve their unique problems.

The event was moderated by  the Executive Director of Global Washington, Bookda Gheisar. She shared that part of Global Washington’s mission is to bring together members of the local development community to share information, network, and determine ways to collaborate. She welcomed the Global Washington members attending and encouraged other attendees to consider membership. We were offered some background  by Enrique Gonzalez on our host location, the Centro de la Raza, a Latino community center that asks “What kind of world do we want to leave our children?”  Enrique suggested that “A lot of organizations run in parallel and it’s not until we have meetings like this we realize it.”  Everyone was invited to attend monthly “Café y Pan Dulce” gatherings the first Thursday of each month. More information about the Centro de la Raza and these events can be found here.

Next, Mauricio Vivero, Executive Director of the Seattle International Foundation (SIF) shared information about his organization, including its history, mission, and areas of focus.  We learned that the objectives of the foundation include promoting the Seattle & Washington non-profit environment as a model for the rest of the US through support of Global Washington, as well as a Small Grants Program that provides grants to internationally-focused NGOs based in Washington. Mauricio expressed that SIF’s support of Global Washington comes from a desire to build connections Read More