SMDP Blog

Making the Road - A Blog by the Carsey Institute's Bill Maddocks

About this Blog

Welcome to Making the Road. The name of this blog is inspired by a favorite book, We Make the Road by Walking - Conversations on Education and Social Change written by Myles Horton and Paulo Freire. The life work of these two leaders of adult education and community empowerment exemplify the values that we aim to instill through all of the SMDP learning opportunities. Through honesty, courage and persistent inquiry we learn the way forward as development practitioners and human beings. I hope this blog will provide inspiration, insight, education and some good humor through the stories of the people, organizations and places you will meet in this blog. Forward!

04/01/2014

Like most young international volunteers working in the developing world, Andrew Becker ’13 is learning how to navigate the challenging language and cultural differences of the highlands of Guatemala. Andrew is working with the Carsey Institute and Community Enterprise Solutions—a global NGO that uses an innovative model called microconsignment—to create sustainable livelihoods for poor women in Guatemala.

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Blog Entry
08/07/2013

SMDP Coordinator Bill Maddocks recently interviewed SMDP Tanzania Facilitator Paul Rippey about the latest development in the savings groups field and the exciting new workshops he will be presenting at the SMDP Tanzania in Arusha in November.

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Blog Entry
04/01/2013

After ten years of working in Africa, I finally made it to Nigeria. I spent five days in Abuja, the capital city, and Zaria in the northwest of the country. I was accompanied by Dr. Fanta Wolde Michael who runs the Microfinance Africa Institutions Network, one of Carsey’s two African partners. We were invited to Zaria by staff from the Business Administration Department of Adhamu Bello University (ABU), one the oldest and largest universities in Nigeria with 70,000 enrolled students. ABU won a large grant to develop a Centre of Excellence on Rural Finance and Entrepreneurship studies and requested help from the Carsey Institute to design and implement this ambitious capacity building program.

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Blog Entry
01/14/2013

Changes to the global climate are affecting Africa as dramatically as anywhere on the planet. We had a terrific opportunity to hear the latest climate change scientific data from one of our SMDP Tanzania faculty, Paul Rippey, who happens to also be a trainer for Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. Paul has come to four previous SMDP workshops in Africa to make the siren call about how climate change is affecting agriculture, communities, and livelihoods from Kenya and Sudan to West Africa and the Maghreb.

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Blog Entry
10/18/2012

Organizing a gathering of several dozen people from all over the world always comes with a few surprises and coincidences (some say there aren’t really coincidences, but that’s another story). The SMDP Tanzania was no exception. The first coincidence was between two of my facilitators. Martin O’Reilly is a development trainer based in Dar es Salaam who has been a good friend and facilitator in the SMDP and its predecessor, the MDI, for several years. Martin has been involved in development in Africa since the late seventies when he worked in Sierra Leone and Liberia as a Catholic lay worker. And it was in Sierra Leone twenty-five years ago that he and another of my Tanzania facilitators crossed paths without knowing it. At the time, Ann Gordon was a young agricultural development volunteer from Canada working in Sierra Leone. Martin and Ann lived in Freetown and knew the same people and probably crossed paths but didn’t actually meet until they were riding together from the airport to Arusha to teach at the SMDP last week.

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Blog Entry
10/12/2012

I took a different, shorter route to Ghana than my usual. Normally I fly from Boston to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Accra, but I found I can cut a big chunk out of the journey flying New York City to Ghana direct. While trips to Ghana are always filled with well-dressed Ghanaians—I think because it was a New York-based flight—the African passengers, particularly the ladies, were decked out in amazing hairdos, stylish shoes, flowing dresses, and many, many colorful bags from Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other famous New York City shops. There was quite a commotion trying to get all the bags into the overhead compartments with much pushing and shoving. Ultimately, a parade of folks, bulky parcels in tow, moved back up the aisles to turn over their treasures to the flight crew for stowage with the rest of the baggage down below. It was a bumpy ride from Boston to JFK, and my second flight stayed rough until we were 600 miles downrange past Bermuda into the mid-Atlantic.

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About the Author

William (Bill) Maddocks is the director of the Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

 

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