The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook available for purchase as a paperback & an ebook from Energize, Inc.   

Experience & explorations in
studying & working in development
-- human, community, institutional & environmental

(with information about aid, relief and humanitarian efforts as well)

This section of my web site is to provide resources for colleagues working in humanitarian / aid / development efforts, as well as to anyone studying such. In other words, development: human development, community development, institutional development, environmental development, country development, etc. (in contrast to its meaning in the USA, where the word development is related to fund raising or software or real estate). When I say development here on my web site, I mean development in terms to capacity-building as a part of humanitarian or aid efforts, as well as economic development of areas experiencing high-unemployment, poverty, even conflict. 

(Originally, this part of my web site was a blog about my experience with Open University in pursuit of my MSc in Development Management, and a way to link to OU resources I might need to access when I wasn't at my own computer. But over time, I expanded it to cover all of my work and continuing studies regarding development)

My resources for colleagues working in humanitarian / aid / development efforts, as well as to anyone studying such:

  • How folklore, rumors, urban myths and organized misinformation campaigns interfere with development and aid/relief efforts, and government initiatives, and how to prevent and address such. This was almost my Master's Degree thesis in 2005. I decided the data I had gathered initially was too helpful not to publish, despite not using it for my degree, so I put it up on my web site. Since then, I've continued to research this topic and update this resource. Now, with fake news sites set up specifically to mislead people, as well as crowdsourced efforts by professional online provocateurs and automated troll bots pumping out thousands of comments, countering misinformation efforts has to be a priority for aid and development organizations, as well as government agencies.
  • Recommendations for UN & UNDP in Ukraine to use Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and Other Social Media to Promote Reconciliation, Social Inclusion, & Peace-Building in Ukraine (PDF). This is a draft document I submitted to UNDP Ukraine just before I left Kyiv in October 2014, having completed my term there as a "Surge" Communications Advisor. This draft document offers considerations and recommendations for social media messaging that promotes reconciliation, social inclusion, and peace-building in Ukraine. It provides ideas for messaging related to promoting tolerance, respect and reconciliation in the country, and messaging to counter bigotry, prejudice, inequality, misperceptions and misconceptions about a particular group of people or different people among Ukrainians as a whole.
  • Highlights and resources from the research for my final paper for my Master's Degree, regarding the non-artistic elements necessary for success in "Theater as a Tool for Development" initiatives.
  • Tips for staying in contact with remote staff in developing countries / conflict zones
    Many factors stand in the way of trying to stay in contact with field staff at projects in rural or conflicted areas in developing countries. I review all of the various challenges faced by people in a main office in getting data from field staff working in humanitarian / development / aid initiatives, and how to address those challenges.
  • Women's Access to Public Internet Access, a resource I developed through research & experience to support the development of women-only Internet centers/technology centers/etc., or women-only hours at such public Internet access points, in developing and transitional countries.
  • Empowering Women Everywhere - Essential to Development Success, a list of research and articles (none written by me) that confirm that empowering women is essential to development success and highlight the very particular challenges to women's access to education, health care, safety and economic prosperity. Additional submissions welcomed.
  • Virtue & reputation in the developing world - In some countries, a womanís reputation regarding her virtue is every bit as important as food and health care, in terms of prosperity, let alone survival. This blog offers details that should serve as a caution to humanitarian and development workers wanting NGOs and government agencies to engage more on social media; you need to provide guidance for the women who would be expected to manage online activities on how to stay safe and protect their personal reputations.
  • How to take photos in a culturally-sensitive manner, particularly with regard to respect for local customs regarding women, and to meet various needs, e.g. to show female participation. This resource was developed in 2007, for Afghan staff working out of an Afghanistan government agency, and is adaptable for various cultural settings.
  • A presentation for Afghan women on public speaking. This resource was developed in 2007, for Afghan female staff working out of an Afghanistan government agency, and is adaptable for various cultural settings.
  • Aid workers need to help local staff avoid scams. If you are working in aid, development or humanitarian affairs on site in a developing country, I hope you will consider doing a lunchtime workshop for your locally-recruited colleagues about online scams. Just 30 Ė 45 minutes would be so helpful. Talk about visa scams, inheritance scams and phishing. Even if locally-recruited staff are particularly savvy about knowing when something is a fraud, their family and friends may not be, and you would be helping them to help their family and friends avoid being taken advantage of.
  • A comprehensive list of questions to answer in preparation for reporting to donors, the media & general public. I developed this with a colleague in Afghanistan, to help the local staff at the government ministry where we worked know what information donors and UN agencies regularly asked for, and what we anticipated they might start asking for; what subjects the media regularly asked about or reported on, and what we anticipated they might start asking about or reporting on; and what information could be used for evaluation purposes later. It was part of our many efforts to build public sector staff communications capacities in countries where I've served.

  • Basic Fund-Raising for Small NGOs in the Developing World, a guide I developed a decade ago and regularly update until October 2015. Requesting NGOs have been based primarily in Africa, Asia and parts of Eastern Europe.
  • Starting a Nonprofit or Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). The laws and procedures for starting a nonprofit organization, an NGO, a charity or a foundation vary from country to country. The laws and procedures are never exactly the same. This page offers the general advice that is applicable to any country, but you will still have to go through country-specific requirements, which are NOT detailed on this page but there is advice on where to find them).
  • Vetting Organizations in Other Countries: A resource that can help you evaluate volunteer-placement organizations that charge you for your placement as a volunteer, as well as for people interested in partnering or supporting an organization abroad but wanting to know it's a credible organization, that it's not some sort of scam, or an 'organization' of just one person.
  • Hosting International Volunteers: More and more local organizations in developing countries are turning to local expertise, rather than international volunteers, to support their efforts. However, the need for international volunteers remains, and will for many, many years to come. This resource provides tips for local organization in a developing countries interested in gaining to international volunteers.
  • United Nations Tech4Good / ICT4D Initiatives, a list of the various United Nations initiatives that have been launched since 2000 to promote the use of computers, feature phones, smart phones and various networked devices in development and humanitarian activities, to promote digital literacy and equitable access to the "information society," and to bridge the digital divide. My goal in creating this page is to help researchers, as well as to remind current UN initiatives that much work regarding ICT4D has been done by various UN employees, consultants and volunteers for more than 15 years (and perhaps longer?).
  • The positive effects of sustainable development and alternative tourism and ways to cultivate efforts that support tourism as a part of sustainable development efforts. This is something that has been of interest to me for several years, and something I continually research on my own.
  • Motorcycles and development/aid/relief & volunteer efforts. I'm a motorcycle rider. I'm a development worker. It's not something you can combine in the PeaceCorps, but it is something many people helping others in developing countries do combine, and this resource reviews how it's done.
  • PDX-area Organizations Involved in Overseas Development / Aid / Relief & Volunteer Efforts Or Educating People Re: Other Countries/Global Affairs. Some are nonprofits, some are university programs, and some are for-profit companies / businesses. Some are focused exclusively on aid and development, some are focused only partially on such.
  • Civil Society Capacity Building: Why?
    My favorite kind of professional work is building the capacities of civil society organizations, especially in transitional and developing countries, to communicate, to change minds and to engage a variety of people and communities, through communications, dialogue and volunteering. But the term civil society isn't used in USA as commonly as it is elsewhere, and many donít understand exactly what I mean when I talk about my favorite type of work. This resource explores exactly what is meant by the phrase civil society capacity building.

Also see

I am always interested in networking with other professionals and students engaged or formerly engaged in development studies, with OU or other universities, or working in humanitarian, aid, relief and development in areas similar to my own experience and interest. If you are working or studying in initiatives that relate to the subjects of the resources I've listed above, I would love to hear from you, or interact with me via any social networking platform I'm on. If you are a woman who will be working in Afghanistan or any other post or current conflict area or area that is particularly religiously-conservative, feel free to write me for advice.

view my reviews of development books at:
 my humanitarian-development shelf

If you want to work or volunteer abroad, see this detailed advice and resources.

Countries I've visited or lived in:
Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain (England and Scotland), Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Luxembourg, Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Catalunya and Castilla), Sweden, Switzerland, USA, United Arab Emirates, Vatican City

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The art work and material on this site was created and is copyrighted 1996-2017
by Jayne Cravens, all rights reserved
(unless noted otherwise, or the art comes from a link to another web site).