Sharing Success and Failures

The world we live in is increasingly complex. We believe the issues of our times can only be addressed by promoting collaboration between various actors that are not accustomed to working with each other. We believe in the power of stories, of both success and failure. And we like to share them.

Here we offer some honest reflections on issues that we have come across in our journey. In an era of fake news, it is easy to put a gloss over any story. The portrait of “perfect” professional and personal lives is putting enormous pressure on our physical and mental health.

We believe humans are imperfect and that we have to embrace our “whole” selves with all our lights and shadows. With this in mind, our stories blog is an account of how we feel and the questions we have about the topics we consider worth sharing stories about.

Enjoy reading, watching and listening!

Creative toolbox: cards and objects

I have taken my creative cards and objects box all over the world. The trick is to ask people to pick the card/object first, and then only after they pick it, we ask the question of how that represents and describes whatever it is you want to discuss. At first, there is always a strange reaction from participants and a level of scepticism, which is normal. But then people get into it. Continue reading

Beyond participatory approaches

At the extreme end of the engagement spectrum, where the Whole Person Approach lies, all stakeholders have the same power. This means that the “client” who commissioned the work will “die” and the “expert” delivering the work also “dies”. Both will co-exist with other stakeholders as equal and peers. Continue reading

Fly-in/Fly-out development model noticeable on the plane to Sierra Leone and Liberia

I thought I had misheard a fellow passenger taking about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how SDG 16 on peace and access to justice has been the least developed. It turned out that the flight was full of international development consultants. By my right side a lady from the USA (Johns Hopkins University) working with Malaria. On my left side a German lady sharing stories of how Cameroon dealt with HIV amongst sex workers. Continue reading

BEAR: a verb intrinsically associated to women

In Sierra Leone, I kept hearing people had “bear”… I kept wondering, where has the word come from? Is it related to the animal bear? If so, does the word encapsulate the characteristics of the animal? Krio is a “fascinating mix of English, African, Portuguese, French and other influences, reflecting a unique history of imperialism, slavery and migration.” We have to bo beyond Google Translate to get the meaning of the words. Continue reading

What difference does being different make?

Everyday we are bombarded with mixed messages about our differences. On one hand, we are encouraged to “think out of the box!”, “find your unique selling point!” and “be who we want to be”. On the other hand, we are told to “fit in”, “adjust our language and message to fit the occasion (or client style)” and “integrate with the society we live in”. Continue reading

First steps in the long journey of mass virtual education

One Monday in early March 2020 I was taking my class of American students on a field trip to the Olympic Park in London. By the next Monday, COVID-19 pandemic had reached the UK. From one week to the other, all my students had gone back to the USA. The rest is history in the very long journey of mass virtual learning. Continue reading


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