If you only read one thing this week…

Measuring our Mission – Mission (Im)possible? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
June 18, 2008, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Environment, measuring results, Uncategorized, Web sites

This 6-page report by McKinsey has some excellent examples of how some large non-profits have got round the challenges of how to measure progress towards fulfilling their mission. You do have to sign up to read the full article, but it only takes a couple of seconds and is well worth it. The article takes the Nature Conservancy as an example of an agency that had two macro-level indicators (revenue generated and increased number of protected habitats) until they realised that neither of these indicators were telling them whether they were making progress towards the real heart of their mission which was increasing biodiversity. The authors claim there are three critical performance metrics needed by an organization:- success in raising resources, staff effectiveness and progress toward its mission fulfillment, with the last being the hardest to measure. They outline three ways of mission measurement: 1) through narrow definitions of success, through research, or through proxy indicators. They draw examples from several organizations which is useful and thought provoking.


Technology for the Poor by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
June 17, 2008, 5:36 pm
Filed under: Development theory, If you only have 15 mins, Web sites

As a techno-phobe who still doesn’t own her own cell phone (in part because of a traumatic experience in post-tsunami Sri Lanka where I had two mobiles which rang simultaneously every half hour, literally through the night!), I am fascinated by examples of how technology is improving (or hindering) development in poorer nations. This link to a BBC news article gives some really good concrete examples of how Reuters news, through a service called Market Light is being disseminated via text messages to farmers in India and enabling them to make real time decisions on how to improve their crops and get better services for them.

Death Sentences and Executions in 2007 – Worldwide by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
June 11, 2008, 4:01 pm
Filed under: human rights, If you only have 15 mins, Web sites

Amnesty International has just published a succinct report that lists death sentences and executions globally in 2007. Of all the executions that took place, 88% occurred in just 5 countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA. The two tables on pages 6 and 7 reveal some surprises in which countries have the highest figures. The report draws attention to various UN resolutions that call for transparency publishing numbers relating to these types of death sentences and notes how hard it is in many countries to get reliable data. The report is also available in Spanish, Arabic and French.

The 2008 report by Amnesty on the State of the World’s Human Rights is also out and searchable by country. This year marks 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The report shows that, “sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations, people are still tortured or ill-treated in at least 81 countries, face unfair trials in at least 54 countries and are not allowed to speak freely in at least 77 countries.”