Posted by & filed under Connections.

Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! is a wonderful, humorous reality-check about top-down International Development  “interventions” for “beneficiaries”.

What he says in an entertaining way is what I often have on my heart, but can’t share the same way.

I had a hunch where his first story was going, because a Kenyan friend of mine has similar land.

Another Kenyan friend told me of her grandmother (a locally recognised farming expert) accepting instruction from a visiting “advisor” because the training included payment. Her grandmother’s approach was prosaic. As she explained years later to the grand-daughter, she wanted the money and there was no point trying to show the visitor how it really should be done because “You can’t tell these white people anything.”

For a Kenyan perspective see – It’s not just me! – Hear Binyavanga Wainaina on “development”

For a discussion on paying people to participate  see How To Stop Paying Per Diems for ICT4D Project Participation?

The above frames the reality behind my post It’s time to end this development disconnect

This is why the mission statement at is to listen to changemakers in Africa and enable the effective use of resources. It’s why we work to find ways to tell the stories of people who are doing good work on for the ground for and with their local communities – see short video of our Nov 2015 event  (I have a personal interest as I’m a long-time volunteer and co-founder of the charity featured)

If you want to get involved in the UK-Africa story telling work, or any other aspect of UK-Africa collaborations described at (or earlier at please contact me or if you would rather help to cover the costs please donate here.