The NGO Monitor

This blog is a platform for critique and conversation about grassroots humanitarian efforts for education, particularly in East Africa and South Asia.  It seeks to: advocate for the local voices being affected by large-scale and grassroots development strategies, profile non-governmental organizations and individual work, and to act as a research journal.

The New Oil

The one thing that slipped my mind as I planned my research in Nepal: power cuts. In comparison to my last visit, there is a schedule for the daily power cuts. They of course are not the same everyday but at least they do not cut out whenever the Nepal Electric Authority feels like it.

I'm going to Kathmandu

As I write, I must say that my butt is unbelievably numb. I had no idea how ambitious this trip was until I am 8 hours into my 15 hour layover in Doha, Qatar.309 Qatar

I have traveled along the foggy, almost spooky, eight hour train ride across the rusty, jerky train tracks of New York State. I have lost $30 to a subway attendant because I made the mistake of picking up my receipt instead of the train ticket. 

Full Circle

In four days, I am embarking on my second journey to Nepal. Since I traveled there in 2009, I have been planning my trip back, or rather scheming my next trip back. In order to pay for the research, travel expenses and most importantly, research assistant, I applied for a CIIS Grant and Kahr's Award.

African Cats and Conservation Refugees

Finals week. Procrastination. Immense amounts of facebook use. I am a huge supporter of facebook eventually (eventually being the key word) leading to my inspiration for that final paper. Well, luckily as I hit that 1 AM mark the night before my final blogging paper is due (Sorry Dr. Collins), I found an article on my British friend's facebook titled: 

What does it really mean?: Buzz Words and Jargon

So as I sit here endlessly reading about development, the goals of development, reviewing websites, facebooks, twitters, NGO reports, I begin to realize there is a serious "lingo" that goes along with "NGO Speak." This conversation began when I discussed my research with my peers, teachers, family and friends. You quickly realize that the general population does not really know what a NGO is. Then I asked myself if I really knew what a NGO was?

"First as Tragedy, Then as Farce"

In my last 'Blogging the Globe' class, we watched a 'Democracy Now' video featuring Slavoj Zizek. 241 Zizek hails from Slovenia and is one of the most popular (and most opinionated) critics of global capitalism. He is often referred to as "the Elvis of Philosophy" or the "hippest" philosopher. I think in this long, but highly entertaining, clip you could see why.

Who's giving the goods?

As I stated in my last blog, "Less is more," I wanted to begin to talk about NGOs', especially international organizations, ability to take over the government's abilty and desire to provide public goods like education for their citizens. In my research and field experience, I understand mostly how this affects East Africa. I would argue that this is most evident in Africa due to its long colonial history, consistent dependency on the "developed world" after countless development projects.

Less is more

As someone who is trying to co-found a NGO, I often ask myself (more like twice a day), "Does this community really need this NGO? Does this country need more foreign financial assistance?" A mainstream Nepali news source, My Republica, just released that there are now 50,000 NGOs seeking affiliation with the Social Welfare Council.

What does it mean to be well-off?

"Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day." So what?

Have you ever lived in a community that lives off a $1 a day that is not experiencing famine and that truly seems happy? Because I have. In no way is that a standard of living that will work for everyone, but in some communities, that is all you need to live simply and simply live.

NGOs: Do Gooders or Agents of Empire?

My name is Jordan Pescrillo and I am currently a Global Studies major completing my final year at St. Lawrence University. My blog, "The NGO Monitor" is a research journal (so bear with me if I go a little off topic sometimes...) for my year-long honors project. I will attempt to critique grassroots humanitarian approaches of non-government organizations (NGO) particularly in East Africa and South Asia. My experiences studying abroad in Kenya, interning at Soft Power Education in Uganda, and working on establishing a NGO in Nepal will help aid the conversation as well as share my personal stories as well as others who live abroad. I hope to continuously address a SLU alumni named Katie Nelson's question: "Are we really changing anything?" Also, in the age of social media, I hope to identify the changes in local, grassroots NGO work as more people obtain access to media and global networks.