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#46 Corporate Experience

April 15, 2011

Expat Aid Workers may be hopeless idealists while sipping red wine and nibbling the “assortment of aged cheeses” at that trendy outdoor café in Berlin. But they are full-on pragmatists when it comes to solving the problems of the Third World.

And in this day and age it is clear that the solutions to world poverty lie in making the not-for-profit humanitarian sector look and behave a whole lot more like the for-profit sector.

Yes, the ship has sailed. The world now understands that while more traditional Expat Aid Workers certainly meant well (good intentions do matter… they’re just not enough), let’s face it: they lacked a certain cunning acumen when it came to things like – ooh – actually achieving results in the field.

And nobody gets the whole “achieving results thing” like for-profit execs who have forsaken a life of luxury in order to walk with the poor (robust 401.k. plan still completely intact, naturally). They speak the language of the for-profit sector. They, more than anyone else, see the possibility for “innovative mutually beneficial partnerships” (Reaganomics works, and in about 50 more years we’ll be able to prove it…).

If you can dream up Windows "Vista", you sure as hell can fix Nigeria...

The corporate, for-profit sector is the great unstudied, misunderstood void of today that The Third World was twenty years ago. And so the EAW with corporate experience on his or her CV is a lot like the key-informant-who-became-associate-director of yesteryear. The EAW with corporate experience is the cultural interpreter who will introduce the magik bullets that make it all fall neatly into place. This EAW is the one who will explain to those bleeding-heart liberal do-gooders how the real world works, and what they’ve been getting wrong all these years. Though some may resist, it’s increasingly clear to the wider world that it is this EAW who will take the whole International Aid thing to the next level.

In the evolving Aid world of today, having been on the inside of the corporate sector before coming over to the world of charity is currency. It’s power.

Expat Aid Workers love having corporate sector experience!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2011 9:28 am

    introduce the magik bullets? introduce the magik 17-bullet-point powerpoint slide is more like it…

  2. April 15, 2011 9:29 am

    (mind you, we love those too)

  3. makurokurosuke permalink
    April 15, 2011 1:40 pm

    Goin’ for the private sector kick? Recruit a chinese, they know all about win-win corporate deals in the third world… ;-)

  4. Torsten permalink
    April 15, 2011 6:45 pm

    Oups. I almost felt caught red-handed. But thanksfully, I do not consider to be an aid worker. Though, I come from the private (banking-) sector and now having been in the development business for ca. eight years, I still appreciate a lot of private/corporate sector principles for the sake of achieving sustainable economic development goals; that I can talk “their” language, understand their decision making processes and use them for “my” purposes. Shall I feel ashamed?

    I doubt, however, that there is something like a magic bullet.

  5. Greg permalink
    April 16, 2011 10:38 pm

    It has become apparent that there is alot potential money in the the EAW world, look at all of the money the Red Cross gets and how little they actually spend on the needy! Non-profit management and funding is now a MBA specialty at many of the top schools, that’s how Sally Struthers keeps so…healthy, while surrounded by people who haven’t seen a real meal in most of their lives.

    • April 18, 2011 3:43 am

      I’d agree to say “…a lot of potential money to be saved…” indeed!

      In addition, I’m not sure the Red Crosses (depending which one you consider), are even the worse in that game… Here’s an interesting link;

      http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-DFID/Who-we-work-with/Multilateral-agencies/Assessment-by-institution-index/

  6. Irene permalink
    April 17, 2011 8:16 pm

    Oh this is a good one! NGOs and other aid agencies are totally falling for it! Seems like being a former McKinsey consultant can get you in anywhere in the aid world these days.

  7. Greg permalink
    April 18, 2011 11:34 am

    Bad, bad Red Cross:

    http://shanghaiist.com/2011/04/18/shanghai_red_cross_caught_blowing_1.php#comments

  8. Wendy permalink
    April 21, 2011 10:04 pm

    The caption for the photo is bloody brilliant.

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