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EDITORS Let’s Talk! by Leslie de Freitas and John Kielty


ELF-CRITICAL, SINCERE, ENGAGED, COURAGEOUS AND COMPASSIONATE - THESE ARE THE VOICES THAT RESONATE IN THIS EDITION OF iAM. We asked contributors to speak to some of the main issues confronting those working for positive global change

today: how theory and action intersect, how to put reflection into practice, and how to bring marginalized voices to the fore. The result? A wide range of perspectives on some of the most fundamental and challenging questions in development theory and practice today. This edition of iAM is like a quilt, and the common thread is a heartfelt commitment to actions that promote global justice, human dignity and participation for all.

Is there a down-side to the success stories involving

the growing role of new social media in fundraising and social engagement? Angela Wallace ponders what ‘clicktivism’ may be putting at risk. Do development projects really listen to local voices? Rebecca Sutton speaks of her experience in the Darfur region of Sudan, using a project evaluation tool designed to increase the chances that a project will be successful - as judged by the people who ultimately matter most. And then there is the size question. Are small NGOs always better? Eugene Amoako and Gary Pluim take this thorny question on, considering the pitfalls as well as the possibilities inherent in being small. Are actions by the powerful automatically an abuse of that power? Jen Steele speaks of the contradictions she has struggled with in international human rights and education work. Is it possible to link the high ideals and long-term objectives of peace-building to the day-

to-day lives of real people? Gabrielle Zilkha in Ghana tells us about the moment when she saw the potential for bridging the gap. Marem Yusuf and Aminat Yimar in Ethiopia make a powerful case for gender-focused poverty reduction projects. And Tina Langdon in Uganda shares the story of an inspiring individual who is using his voice and his actions to fight stigma and prejudice against those with HIV and AIDS. Exposure to a variety of perspectives forces us

to think more critically about our engagement with development in terms of what we do as well as how and with whom we do it; it is only through dialogue that we can become more than the sum of our parts. While the issues are global, ultimately all development work is grounded in individuals and the choices they make. We hope you’ll find the voices of these individuals informative, as well as thought-provoking.

iAM March 2011 3

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