Thinking on your feet 1
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CTA. 2001. Thinking on your feet 1. Spore 91. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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Striking a Balance. A guide to enhancing the effectiveness of non-governmental organisations in international development A Fowler, Earthscan, London, 1997. 313 pp. ISBN 1 85383 325 8 CTA number 970. 40 credit points. The Virtuous Spiral. A guide t
Thinking on your feet Of late, after research bodies and small businesses, it has been the turn of NGOs to be provided with management guides. One, Striking a Balance, is already a classic in its own time. It is a concisely written book from a no-nonsense author. It was first published at a time when NGOs were finally recognised as a force with their own values and needs, instead of the irritant or cheap delivery system that governments and the private sector had seen them to be in the past. Sorry, make that NGDOs, as the author insists that this management manual is for people with a development mission who started out without thinking that they would need management tools to succeed. It takes the common sense methods used for decades by businesses to survive and prosper, and adapts them to the special context of NGDOs. Which the author, sort of admits, include the problems that arise from the high motivation of social profit and emotional rewards that drive many NGDOs leaders. Frank, and without the condescension of many guides for NGOs, Striking a Balance is required reading for people striving to make their organisations as solid as a rock but as full of energy as a rolling stone. What then is so special about Fowler s successor volume The Virtuous Spiral? Basically it gives you the reassurance that sustainability is a question of confidence. In yourselves, in your partners, and above all their confidence in you. The book oozes with case studies, mainly of those adult NGDOs which now form the establishment, explaining how they overcame multifarious problems and settled down into the path of success. With some excellent discussion of questions like should we commercialise? and should we have private sector as partners? , it is less of a guide than a collection of insights. For Fowler, sustainability is agility with insight , as simple as that. One wonders if his next book will be even less of a manual, and more of a set of reflections, a guide for the perplexed? Here s one, Alan: 'Civil society is not a structure, it is an attitude.' Striking a Balance. A guide to enhancing the effectiveness of non-governmental organisations in international development A Fowler, Earthscan, London, 1997. 313 pp. ISBN 1 85383 325 8 CTA number 970. 40 credit points. The Virtuous Spiral. A guide to sustainability for NGOs in international development. A Fowler, Earthscan, London, 2000. 238 pp. ISBN 1 85383 610 9 CTA number 1017. 40 credit points. Earthscan Publications, 120 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JN, UK Fax: +44 20 7278 1142; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.earthscan.co.uk
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