It’s 23h00 at night and I’m sitting in a room far from home, about 500 km away from home, in Midrand, South Africa. I’m reflecting on whether the work that we do in Managing for Impact is all worth it. Today and tomorrow (09-10 June 2008) we’re facilitating a workshop on the Theory of Change and Logframes, and the purpose of the workshop is to facilitate a process where Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) working in the area of water, sanitation, and natural resource, all to improve people’s livelihoods, develop their Theory of Change.

In going through the Theory of Change today one of the particpants said, “Yes this is another tool among many, but what is lacking with us as “Craftsmen”, is that we have not yet mastered our craftsmanship. It does not matter how many tools we have or are introduced to, if we don’t know how to craft then all these tools are useless”.

In reflecting on the statement said, I then reflected on the recent Xenophobic attacks in my beloved country, South Africa, and instead of looking for someone to blame for what happened. I started thinking about whether MfI would play a meaningful role in making sure that this does not happen again, or whether this is a futile exercise, because maybe we don’t have truly committed and dedicated craftsmen and women, who are willing to give their lives to ensure that development (their craftsmanship) is a success.

What this specific individual said has a lot of truth in it, because how do you monitor and evaluate something you don’t know how to “craft”. How will you know that you have done an excellent work, and if you don’t know what impact you want to make, then what purpose does monitoring and evaluation process serve if you don’t know why you do what you are doing?

I truly miss the days when  South Africans were fighting for democracy, because then we had “craftsmen/women”, who knew and understood the change that they want to see, and the Theory of Change from apartheid to a democratic country that is a home for all who live in it, was understood and truly accepted by all involved. I am not saying I want to go back to apartheid, what I’m saying is that Africa needs committed development practitioners, who understand development and development process, and are willing to commit to this Theory of Change, and maybe it’s time that as development workers/practitioners, we have our own Theory of Change. So that we sharpen our craftsmanship, and as we continue working, we all understand, accept, and commit to this change that we want to see in Africa.

Is it all worth it , that I am sitting in a lonely hotel room, in a cold winter night, trying to do my best to make a difference, so that we don’t have another attack of one African by African? My answer to that is, no matter how small my contribution is to this process, YES this is all worth it!!!! 

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