NGO Forum meeting

I joined the Nov 6 meeting as an interpreter for the staff from Oxfam UK. It was very interesting. There are so many things I forgot the importance of – Japanese “group setting”, the intro period taking more time with a group of people who do not know each other … everyone has to understand where we all stand in the pecking order before we can define what we say and how to say it.

Having to explain this however is not easy if you do not understand Japanese social structure and communication style.

We did a group exercise that could have easily taken 1 hour but we only had 10 or 15 min. our groups was to talk about whether or not it was Japanese NGOs should have an organized campaign for the G8. A problem quickly came up – some people were talking about slogans and messaging without even considering the Q at hand and/or what the goals and objectives of a campaign would be.

Part of this might be simple- understanding what a campaign is and the basics of project campaign and strategic plan development. I.e. assessing the situation, stakeholders’ analysis, defining possible solutions and then defining overall goals and concrete objectives or outcomes. Only then do you come up with the activities part.

I was interpreting so I did not think anything sunk in until later on. My poor classes on project mgt. and NGO mgt. => I was affected more than I thought by the meeting. I was ramming down everyone’s throat the idea that you can not plan activities or websites with out a clearly defined plan that is based on rational analysis - sorry ya’ll!

Great chance to see things at work and not actually be involved – just try to explain what is going on.

I did this also for an NGO and a major foundation recently. I tried to sell the group not just translate their vague unclear message. But they did not really appreciate it.


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