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Posted by on Mar 23, 2009 in The Latest Love | 12 comments

I had an amazing opportunity to speak last week at South by Southwest on a panel titled "Social Media for Social Good BUY ANTABUSE NO PRESCRIPTION, ".  Given the topic, the 5-minute time limit, and the diversity of the audience, I didn't focus the conversation on the mission of Epic Change, but instead shared our TweetsGiving success and created a new social media campaign to complement my talk.  This meant the audience didn't get a full introduction to what Epic Change is all about, and some may have walked away assuming that our entire business model is based on the use of social media.  My mistake?  Maybe.  In truth, though, I believe profoundly that social media empowers many to create change, and wanted to share our success in an effort to inspire others to use the tools they have to make a difference.

As a result of my participation at SxSW, Epic Change and our most recent social media campaign, TweetLuck, have been the subject of close scrutiny and debate.   In particular, folks have brought up three critiques surrounding our use of social media, ANTABUSE description, the appropriateness of our storytelling efforts, and whether nonprofit charitable organizations like ours are legitimate contributors to "social good" or "social change."



  • Social Change (vs. Charity?)


    On her blog on Friday, Beth Kanter summarized backchannel conversation that occurred during our SxSW panel, and one of the key questions that arose was a proposed distinction between "charity" and systemic "social change."  I'll be honest, Buy ANTABUSE no prescription, a semantic discussion does not interest me in the least, and I actually believe that the charity vs. change debate offers a false dichotomy.  Read more...


  • Social Media for Social Good


    If, as I've proposed, social change (or "social good") will only be created through collaboration by diverse players, social media presents a very interesting opportunity as it's a platform in which various sectors (and societal strata) can collaborate and cross-pollinate. There are few other tools that so effectively enable the many diverse segments of our society to cooperatively create "social good." Read more...


  • Storytelling


    At Epic Change, our core mission is helping people like Mama Lucy share their stories in ways that generate the income they need to create change in their own communities, BUY ANTABUSE NO PRESCRIPTION. Storytelling is central to our model which is why the charges that our stories are "poverty porn" and/or "paternalistic" are the most troubling - and saddening - of all the feedback I've yet received about Epic Change, generic ANTABUSE. Read more...


Social Change (vs. Charity?)


On her blog on Friday, Beth Kanter summarized backchannel conversation that occurred during our SxSW panel, and one of the key questions that arose was a proposed distinction between "charity" and systemic "social change."  I'll be honest, ANTABUSE pictures, a semantic discussion does not interest me in the least, and I actually believe that the charity vs. BUY ANTABUSE NO PRESCRIPTION, change debate offers a false dichotomy.

Charity alone will not create social change, but without it, social change will be impossible.  To posit these two on polar ends of some imaginary spectrum seems fallacious at best, and dangerous at worst.  To truly create social change or social good, it's going to require meaningful dialogue and collaboration between all sectors: individual citizens, ANTABUSE steet value, activists, governments, nonprofits (both traditional charities and newer models like ours), representatives from targeted communities/populations and corporations.  Creating artificial debates as to where good can/will be created seems to arbitrarily create boundaries where perhaps none should exist.  It is the same, IMHO, ANTABUSE for sale, in the developing world with the aid vs. trade discussion.  Neither is wholly sufficient to deal with both short- and long-term objectives. (I encourage you to read a couple posts in which I consider, along with direct input from Mama Lucy, our partner in Tanzania, some of the key aspects of this debate: 1 | 2 )

My own organization, Epic Change, australia, uk, us, usa, is but one of many "charities" that seeks to create "social change."  Though I've long vehemently denied that Epic Change is a charity in any traditional sense to avoid affiliation with those oft-disparaged "charities" that perpetuate dependency, our nonprofit status alone means that we're defined by the IRS and many others as a public "charity."  In addition, one of the definitions of charity is "love for humanity," and I believe that all agents of social change must, in this sense, Online buying ANTABUSE, be "charitable."  No business model, however savvy, and no expert, however educated, will be successful at creating change if it fails at "charity."  For too long, I believe we've surrendered this important word which connotates love, trust and mutual respect, order ANTABUSE online c.o.d, to describe the very worst of what our sector is.  Today, I'm reclaiming it.  Is Epic Change a charity?  Absolutely.  Proudly.  We do our work out of love for humanity rather than a desire for profit.  Find another word for those supposedly charitable endeavors that diminish humanity by inhibiting self-sufficiency; the word "charity" doesn't belong to them.

Epic Change, like many - probably most - charities, absolutely seeks to create social change and our early results portend great possibility.  Consider the progress to date on our prototype project, Purchase ANTABUSE online no prescription, an effort to expand a Tanzanian primary school founded by Mama Lucy Kampton, a local woman who established the school in 2003 using income she saved from selling chickens:


  • Capital Investment: We have loaned ~$65K in Tanzania since our founding in September 2007.  With these funds, Mama Lucy has purchased new land, built 5 new classrooms and bought a refurbished school bus.

  • Independent Progress: As a result of our investment, Mama Lucy was able to independently secure (through tuition fees and other means) the funds necessary to build the school's first flushable toilets, dig a well that now serves the entire village, build a kitchen that serves meals each day, ANTABUSE blogs, construct an additional classroom and implement solar power.

  • Increased Scale: When we got involved, the school served just 115 students; now, well over 300 attend.

  • Enhanced Quality: Most importantly, because of our investment, Mama Lucy's school was able to qualify to participate in national exams for the first time and, ANTABUSE used for, in their inaugural year of participation, the school scored 1st in the Arusha district on national exams out of 117 schools, ahead of at least one Aussie-led school with millions in funding.

  • Loan Repayment: We've partnered with Mama Lucy to transform her stories into products that have now been sold in both Tanzania and through our website that have now generated sufficient income to repay over 15% of the initial $35K loan we provided just over a year ago.

  • Improved Reach: Through our efforts, thousands of Westerners have now been exposed to the stories of Mama Lucy and children at her school, which seek to combat preconceived stereotypes we hold about hopelessness in the developing world; nearly 1000 people have personally contributed or made purchases to ensure that the stories spread further.

  • Low Overhead: Because we haven't yet secured institutional funding, and no one is yet salaried (I've worked as a full-time volunteer since establishing Epic Change as a nonprofit in 9/07), we did this all on a few thousand dollars of overhead spending, ANTABUSE australia, uk, us, usa, primarily in the form of PayPal fees and other online tools.


Once we complete this project, and the loans are repaid, we believe we'll be able to scale and replicate the model with other changemakers around the globe.  We believe the Epic Change model certainly has the capacity to create meaningful social change, but we've only just begun.

I've heard some say that only for-profit social innovators or social entrepreneurs create real social change.  Others say activists.  Others say government.  Others say only well-moneyed business interests.  For a long time, we've heard only the wealthy can create it.  My thinking?  Social change, and social good, will only occur as the result of our collaborative efforts, BUY ANTABUSE NO PRESCRIPTION. This is why I think the charity vs. Where can i find ANTABUSE online, change debate is even a bit dangerous.  If we're constantly posturing for who's creating "real" change, jockeying for the sake of funders, donors, media coverage and attention, our ability to collaborate meaningfully is compromised.

I'm not suggesting, by any means, ANTABUSE without prescription, that efforts by all sectors should not be thoughtfully evaluated for their effectiveness.  There are certainly charities that create sub-par or even self-defeating results, as there are ineffective activism programs, corporate greenwashing initiatives, and misguided individuals.   Let's target those for reform, but realize that it is outcomes - not business models - that are the determinants of whether an initiative creates social change. ANTABUSE dangers,

Social Media for Social Good


If, as I've proposed, social change (or "social good") will only be created through collaboration by diverse players, social media presents a very interesting opportunity as it's a platform in which various sectors (and societal strata) can collaborate and cross-pollinate.  There are few other tools that so effectively enable the many diverse segments of our society to cooperatively create "social good." Imagine this dialogue, for example, occurring so openly, and with such broad participation, buy no prescription ANTABUSE online, without the use of Twitter or blogs.  As for the panel at SxSW, I think Social Media for Social Good was an apt title for the conversation, as it included panelists across the spectrum - people that operated individually, as nonprofits, as corporations, Online ANTABUSE without a prescription, and those with familiarity on protests and political campaigns organized online. BUY ANTABUSE NO PRESCRIPTION, Secondly, social media presents a unique opportunity for change agents of all types to rapidly organize support in the form of both talent & treasure.  On this point, though, perhaps I should even more explicitly fess up: we're actually not a social media organization at all (and, despite what one commenter wrote in response to Beth's post, I am certainly not a social media consultant; you may find my real bio here). These are just tools we use.  In fact, I never used "social media" until I founded Epic Change and realized it might be a way to build a little community around this idea.  We've used the tools to share our model and to raise seed capital to support it.  Social media doesn't create social good.  People and resources do.  With Twitter, Facebook, our blog, email campaigns, social change competitions and more, ANTABUSE mg, we've been able to find both, which is what has allowed our little organization to grow and enjoy some interesting attention...like our invitation to SxSW.  As an upstart, we could use all the coverage we can get so we've been receptive to every opportunity, though maybe too willing to focus the attention on our social media success.  Perhaps we could do a better job at turning this attention toward our core mission rather than our social media savvy - the way Obama made every question he answered about "hope" throughout his campaign.  I'm learning about staying "on message" - bear with me.

(1 quick note: None of our raised funds have been used to create social media campaigns. Fast shipping ANTABUSE, Developers, designers, writers, buzz marketers, etc., have all volunteered their time for their creation. We have paid personally for other supplies to ensure that donor funds are directed to loan provision.)

Finally, ANTABUSE over the counter, social media gives individuals impacted by social change initiatives (and those who may be in need) the opportunity to share their stories in their own voices.  For too long, the traditional media (and, I'd propose, many nonprofits) have created stereotypes and generalizations about populations that are targeted/impacted by dogooder initiatives.  With social media, over time, ANTABUSE long term, these individuals may be able to share their stories in their own voices.  Indeed, Mama Lucy has posted to our blog several times and has recently created her own Facebook presence in part to do just that.  Eventually (and perhaps this is too optimistic), this voice may give individuals like Mama Lucy the opportunity to extend the marketplace for their stories, wisdom, intellectual property, ideas and, eventually, order ANTABUSE online overnight delivery no prescription, perhaps even goods and services, beyond the boundaries of villages and even countries.

Storytelling


At Epic Change, our core mission is helping people like Mama Lucy share their stories in ways that generate the income they need to create change in their own communities.  Storytelling is central to our model which is why the charges that our stories are "poverty porn" and/or "paternalistic" are the most troubling - and saddening - of all the feedback I've yet received about Epic Change, BUY ANTABUSE NO PRESCRIPTION.

I can't tell you how much thought I've put into this very issue, or how much time in conversation with Mama Lucy and parents at the school.  Check out this post about Gideon for just some of my thoughts on stories about African children in particular, and this post for my research into how best to share stories in our sector. ANTABUSE images, After some serious soul-searching, reflection and consultation with Mama Lucy and my peers (not to mention the thoughtful consideration I did during the creation of TweetLuck), I wholeheartedly disagree with my critics on this point.  This was not a story about Glory's poverty.  It was a story about the wisdom of her perspective, as was captured by the blogger in this post on citizen:africa.  In no way do I believe that we made her lucky; the note was, in fact, written, before the school had received any financial support from Epic Change.  IMHO, ANTABUSE dose, Glory is lucky because she works hard as a student at the top of her class to create her own luck.  Moreover, members of her own community - Mama Lucy, her friend Leah and Teachers Nancy and Rachel, who found shoes in her own village, made her lucky by creating the community of love, ANTABUSE reviews, support and learning in which Glory is growing up.  Glory is lucky because she believes she is.

Katrin Verclas of MobileActive.org suggests the TweetLuck campaign is "poverty porn", and refers to a quote which defines this as "words and images that elicit an emotional response by their sheer shock value. Images like starving, skeletal children covered in flies. Overuse of the word 'victim.'"  I'm not sure what campaign Katrin was looking at, but there were no such images anywhere near the TweetLuck campaign - nor, I believe, ANTABUSE from canadian pharmacy, in any of our marketing materials, a very conscious choice on our part, and one which has been applauded by African and American colleagues alike.  The story was not meant to elicit shock - human connection, yes, but certainly not shock.  And Glory is no victim. Just ask her or Mama Lucy: Glory is lucky.  Who is it that's saying she's not?  Who's calling her a victim?  Who's focused on her poverty?  Who's not listening - or believes they know better - than Glory's very own words? BUY ANTABUSE NO PRESCRIPTION, For too long, both the media and nonprofits with perverse incentives to manufacture pity have perpetuated a stereotype of the hopeless, poor, sick, weak, hungry African.  I believe the only way to combat this faceless amalgamation is to tell the individual, true stories of real people.  In particular, if we can point our lenses toward the most hopeful stories, like Mama Lucy's and Glory's, perhaps we can more readily overcome this deeply engrained, destructive stereotype. Where to buy ANTABUSE, Moreover, at Epic Change, we believe stories like Glory's and Mama Lucy's are compelling assets that have real value for their audience.  They share hope and wisdom that is currently much-needed in our own culture.  Because they have value, I'd proposed that stories like this can create income, not in the form of donations, but in the form of compensation for the sharing of intellectual property, an idea we're calling "fair content."  (H/T to Samuel Suraphel of Grio.tv, no prescription ANTABUSE online, who offered this phrase during a recent conversation.) In the TweetLuck campaign, other than matching gifts, we did not actually ask for donors.  Instead, we asked for people to purchase Glory's story, in the form of lucky cards that they could pass to friends and colleagues who might just need a little good luck.  100% of the proceeds from those sales goes directly to the school. Buy ANTABUSE online cod, The distinction was subtle, but present as a minor but meaningful evolution from common existing strategies.

Because we shared a true story of an individual, because we placed a premium on sharing a hopeful story and because the income from that story provides direct support to the school that Glory attends, I believe condescension and exploitation are unfair charges.  If a story is true (and you may verify this one with Mama Lucy - I'd be glad to share her contact information), if the owner of the story is compensated directly in some way and, especially, ANTABUSE online cod, if the story seeks to combat pervasive stereotypes, I would propose that it may be ethically shared.

Because exploitation of stories and imagery is such an important issue, we need to be particularly careful about what it is, and what it's not.  If any image of Africa that's created by a third party is "poverty porn, Is ANTABUSE addictive, " regardless of focus, message or beneficiary, some will ignore the problem altogether and others will stop telling important stories to avoid any hint of "exploitation."

Admittedly, there are challenges to telling these stories.  Because of language barriers, issues of cultural receptivity and translation, not to mention access to channels for delivery, we do not currently live in a world where Glory can easily share her own story with a worldwide audience.  Necessarily, canada, mexico, india, sharing her story currently involves the inclusion of a narrator whose presence, by its very nature, alters the tale.  I am Western, I am white, I am a woman, ANTABUSE photos, I am older than Glory - and so much more - and these very facts impose themselves on Glory's story.  The closer we can get to her sharing her story in her own voice, the better, which is why I focused on her own words:  "I am so lucky."

Even if Glory could share her own story, though, it would still be understood through the lenses and filters of its audience.  In spite of these challenges, not sharing stories like hers is not a legitimate option - so what words can we use?  How can we help Glory share her truth with a broad audience?  Is not sharing her story really the preferred option. Most importantly, ANTABUSE samples, how can we help our audience look past their preconceived notions to read stories and see images as they appear, bringing as few of their preconceptions to Glory's story as possible?

I look forward to seeing these important conversations unfold in the comments here, on Beth's Blog and on Twitter. To find me there follow @StaceyMonk, spelled with an "E"..

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  • http://www.bloodandmilk.org Alanna

    I think that it’s always a little…ooky to sell a person’s image and story when that person is a child, or doesn’t directly benefit, or both. I read your whole explanation, and it makes sense, but I can’t get past a gut feeling that Glory is being commodified and isn’t old enough to consent to that.

  • http://www.jenlemen.com jen lemen

    I’ve been following this conversation on twitter and on beth’s blog, and the whole thing is so interesting to me–especially katrin’s comment on beth’s blog about what theories of change actually work and who gets it and who doesn’t when it comes to knowing what works in africa.

    you could take it as a criticism of epic change (and i can see why you would from katrin’s tweets about you, stacey) but i don’t think it has anything to do with you really.

    the world is changing and so are the rules. it used to be that you needed an advanced degree or an NGO or even some sophisticated knowledge of the “theories of change” to be legitimately involved in africa. all of those things are valuable, i’m sure, but mostly to westerners or africans with advanced degrees, NGOs or well-developed understanding of the theories of change.

    the rest of us (whether you live in africa or north america) make most of our major changes as a result of deep friendship and the kind of trust where somebody sees the real you and is willing to stand by you while you become and grow. when that kind of trust is in place, you can take the risks that are required to make a difference–in your own life and the people around you.

    that’s how i see how you (and epic change) in relation to mama lucy. when you met in person, mama lucy saw the real you–the shrewd businesswoman who had plenty of smarts but who operates best when she works from her heart. and you saw the real mama lucy–an incredibly resourceful and competent social entrepreneur who was a sure bet in terms of not only a business investment, but also social change.

    both of you are qualified to enter into this agreement & are successful in its undertaking, not because of your knowledge of “theories of change”, but because you are well-developed human beings who are capable of mutuality and respect–across all kinds of divides, race, socio-economic, age, culture, etc. not everyone can do this; not everyone looking in from the outside will be able to understand it.

    and some (maybe even katrin herself) will find it wildly threatening. because if this shift in our understanding of what qualifies you to be involved in africa (or anywhere) really takes hold in a substantial way, then the question changes from “who has the most nuanced understanding of the theories of change?” to “who understands with depth and nuance what it means to be human?” that’s an entirely different conversation, and one that is bewildering and maddening if you’ve been working off the assumption that human connection or friendship are not legitimate primary channels to make change happen, especially when very real human emotion might get involved.

    if there’s anything i’ve learned about people living in poverty over the years, it’s that this population knows better than anyone else who cares, who’s working a professional angle and who’s full of bullshit. maybe the reason our progress in the developing world is so limited is because we’ve come at it from a theoretical perspective, instead of a human one. we don’t really know ourselves in this way. it’s so much easier to pull the yale card or the expert card or the experience on the ground card. it’s much safer to work from that space than to ask the people around you–”are you changed because you know me? are you more creative, resourceful or innovative in your work in the developing world because of the way i connect human-being to human-being?”

    i could go on and on–sorry to rant on your blog. if it’s any comfort, i think you must be on to something stacey to be getting under the skin of someone with a lot more influence and power than you have to affect the conversation.

    at least for now.

  • http://www.aroconsult.net/blog Shannon Aronin

    I <3 U Stacey Monk. Bravo. You’ll see I just posted on Beth’s Blog before I read your response and pretty much backed up a lot of what you said. I particularly agree that the semantics debate can be… annoying, especially when you have seen with your own eyes the good work a program is doing.

    I also think there was a HUGE celebrity factor to being on a panel at SXSW. It might have even been unnerving. You are not the only panelist I have seen practically ripped to shreds because someone didn’t like what they said on one day on one panel in five minutes without looking into them further. We have google, it’s not that hard to read up on something before judging. I worry that next year the quality of panelists may go down due to fear of an exaggerated level of scrutiny.

    I’m sure this debate has been challenging both personally and professionally (I would take it a little personally!) and I’m sorry. I think this post handles the issues raised with poise, grace and a solid and deeper explanation. I only hope that people READ it all. Would love to retweet for you (@ShannonAronin) if you send me a tweet.

    PS: My next post will be up later this evening. Please stop by and check it out! Thanks.

  • http://projectdiaspora.org Tracy Pell

    Great post Stacey.

    I read Beth’s post, the comments as well as some of the tweets that circled around the SXSW panel; and on the one hand I am always happy that people take the concept of social change so seriously; but on the other had the way this went down was troubling. I think that when people have differences or misunderstandings real dialog is the best and only way to get to a place that is healthy, and in the best of all worlds enlightened. I have alot of respect for MobileActive as an organization and, although I know next to nothing about her personally, by extension of Katrine. It was startling to see such seemingly personal attacks in a public forum during a professional event. I am not sure how productive such conversations can be. It is clear that there is a level of misunderstanding about Epic Change that makes it hard to find the truth in her statements. Trying to find the truth in those words though made me wonder did we at Project Diaspora participate in this Poverty Porn phenomenon when we told the story of the women in the Kireka Quarry? In an attempt to raise funds to get them training in their future trade of choice (tailoring) did we exploit their story? I look at the images… both beautiful and haunting and I have to think.. should that finger have been pointed at us? I don’t believe that to be the case, but if yours are… then we are in BIG trouble.

    We all need to be asking these questions and making sure that the channels we choose, the tactics we choose and the plans we make don’t compromise our core mission. Sometimes we can get so caught up in implementation that we get blind to the impression we are making.

    Staying on message, telling the story the way it is meant to be told, using the right tools for the right reasons at the right time… It is all an art and the truth is we may all look back on what we are doing and say… damn… look at all the missed chances. But we keep trying and do the best we can.

    I think the mission of Epic Change, and the way you are making a difference and marvel. The way you honor the intelligence, hard work, and dignity of all those with whom you are working is inspiring. I am lucky to know you and glad to learn from you in this journey we are all on.

    Good Luck my friend and keep up the good work!

  • http://www.aroconsult.net/blog Shannon Aronin

    One more thing, just to clarify, nothing wrong with being a social media consultant to nonprofits either. Most nonprofit consultants used to work at nonprofits, and they haven’t gone to the dark side just by becoming consultants lol.

  • http://www.betabahil.com/blog Samuel

    In my opinion, keep doing what you’re doing. Those that support, thank them, those that don’t, thank them and wish them a lucky day. Consider the criticism “market feedback,” jot it down in your notebook next to the current amount of money that has been mobilized to educate future twitterers(?), bloggers and keep marketing the cause. Social Media forces transparency and I applaud you for sticking your neck out to push the ball forward.

    Maybe the old saying should be updated to “Actions speak louder than twits.”

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/rememberTZ laura gordon

    I 110% disagree with Katrin Verclas’ opinion. Her very definition of “poverty porn” does not match what Epic Change has ever promoted. All I’ve ever seen out of Epic Change is children with big dreams. I’ve never been shocked by any of it, nor do I see victims when I read about Mama Lucy’s students. Keep it up, Stacey! Epic Change IS doing amazing work.

  • http://linasrivastava.com Lina Srivastava

    Thanks for this post, Stacey. It’s unfortunate perhaps that your organization’s fundraising campaign has been called out as the example of what was misdirected and lacking at SXSW- but I’m glad this debate is happening.

    You say, “I’ll be honest, a semantic discussion does not interest me in the least, and I actually believe that the charity vs. change debate offers a false dichotomy” I have to disagree. Of course we need a semantic discussion. One of the comments, from Jen, said, “The world is changing and so are the rules.” That’s true. But it doesn’t mean we can move through social change initiatives like we’re cowboys and gold prospectors in the Old West. Mutuality and respect are, of course, the values that should underpin our work– but only those aren’t enough. We need to be responsible, reflective, evaluative– and responsive. We need to know what we’re talking about and what will work. A shifting landscape gives even more of an opportunity to look at that. I’m not suggesting that you, Stacey, are some kind of social change hobbyist– nor that there should be artificial barriers to entry into the profession. We have to accept responsibility when we start working within communities- and we must adhere to standards that make sense for all involved parties. It’s strange to me people would think that attention to detail in the social change context somehow connotes a lack of caring or that it belies human connection. I would think intellectual and professional rigor would suggest exactly the opposite– that we care about doing the right thing in the right way.

    Secondly, you say “… it is outcomes – not business models – that are the determinants of whether an initiative creates social change.” I agree we have to look at outcomes- creating and demonstrating impact is of the utmost importance and there’s no room left for initiatives that create static solutions or maintenance measures– which is what I believe aid/charity does. (I refer to charity in the “handout” sense- not your definition.) But more than that, we do need to examine our business and strategic models. We need systems-level innovation to confront global crises– and a new paradigm within which we move toward social change. I’m not suggesting that we all stop working while we reform the sector- but reform, innovation and definition we most certainly need. The notion that you can change one life is beautiful– it’s both possible and necessary- and it does make a good story. But a good story only makes sense if you analogize to the larger picture. (Just a brief digression: Systems-level innovation is not the same as top-down approaches. I think some commenters at all the posts have been conflating the two. We need small, local solutions-building that addresses root causes and is replicable and scalable– that’s systems-level innovation I think that’s what you’re attempting to do– though I’m not sure if you’re addressing root causes directly, at least that’s within your stated values.)

    On another note, regarding storytelling, what you’ve written above hasn’t changed my mind about the tenor of the story you told that day. Again, I’m not calling your intentions out–you’ve laid out what those are very elegantly. But telling the story as you did, Glory’s poverty and your role in extending your hand to her was the central, lasting image you left with some members of the audience, including me. And it’s an image that belies what you state to be your Approach and your Values. We’ll have to agree to disagree on the characterization that this story places on the individual. It’s not so much a question of who tells the story as it is how the story is told. If we really want change to happen, particularly within developing regions of the world, we as a global community have to commit to not only uncover injustice and inequality, but also stories that explore people within those regions as partners/ collaborators and entities as investments. That may be what you’re trying to do with Epic Change, but that’s not what came out that day. And that’s really troubling, because what did come out puts negative imagery back into people’s minds, which isn’t productive.

  • http://katrinskaya.tumblr.org Katrin Verclas

    My comments are too long for this site, so I am reflecting on what constitutes social change in my view versus charity here: http://katrinskaya.tumblr.com/. Part 1 is posted, looking at comments and then will respond in part 2 on why charity is so limited in mu opinion. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/franswaa Frank Barry (posted by Administrator)

    I tend to lean towards giving people the benefit of the doubt – assuming people are good and have good motives and i your case I think you guy’s are doing some pretty incredible work really. If peoples lives are being changed for the better it’s a good thing.

    Don’t worry about the critics. Keep your motives pure, keep changing peoples lives and keep loving the work your doing. It’s inspiring.

    http://twitter.com/franswaa

  • Lucy Kamptoni

    Dear Stacey, Sanjay and all Epic Changers,
    Let me say “Don’t be discouraged by those few who do not know the pinch of not having.
    I’m saying this because I know. Let them say what they want to say, but the truth is always there. Glory is among the children who are benefiting from your efforts of spreading the true stories of ours. To say that these children are not benefiting directly, does not click in anyone’s brain. Everything is so open and can be seen. If we didn’t say about the building we were renting, how could you know and help us have our school’s land and classrooms? If I didn’t say about transport problem, how could you know and help us have a school bus?

    It doesn’t matter whose story is out, as long as it benefits him or her. Whether a child or an adult. Anyone who thinks that Glory and other students are not benefiting direct, can visit us and see the truth. Or can contact me for more clarification. I totally agree with what Epic Change is doing. The good thing is, your support goes straight to the targeted ones.

    You are doing great work! About 300 pupils are now assured of their studies through your efforts. I wish everyone could know what you are doing. Anyway, I know it’s not possible for you to be supported by everyone. Pull up your socks! You are changing this globe by touching parts of it!

    Thank you!
    Mama Lucy

  • Pingback: Happy Birthday Beth! | The Epic Change Blog

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    We all need to be asking these questions and making sure that the channels we choose, the tactics we choose and the plans we make don’t compromise our core mission. Sometimes we can get so caught up in implementation that we get blind to the impression we are making.

    Staying on message, telling the story the way it is meant to be told, using the right tools for the right reasons at the right time… It is all an art and the truth is we may all look back on what we are doing and say… damn… look at all the missed chances. But we keep trying and do the best we can.

    I think the mission of Epic Change, and the way you are making a difference and marvel. The way you honor the intelligence, hard work, and dignity of all those with whom you are working is inspiring. I am lucky to know you and glad to learn from you in this journey we are all on.

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