this is an interesting one.  coming from the relatively small NGO world in Africa to work for this huge global entity, it really was like a different world all together. you know the HIV/AIDS world has it’s own language, but then so does the private sector and that excited me.  then i started working with my boss on our ‘partner’ relations (i call it that, that’s not the official term for it – public-private partnerships i think it’s called in the NGO world) and i began to see the merging of the language.  it wasn’t always pretty.

the truth of the matter is that the ppps work because each partner recognizes the need of the other, but when one starts taking the other for granted, it doesn’t quite sit well.  i think sometimes the private sector do have their own little arrogance because they don’t have to play by the same rules as the NGO or UN agencies and other philanthropic organisations and sometimes that’s a good thing – because they can push the boundaries in the way the agencies can’t.  but then again the non-profits don’t always appreciate this.

the non-profits have their own arrogance too, because they know the issues, they’re in touch with the ‘real people’, they’re saving people’s lives on the ground.  allegedly. (ok some of them can prove this).  and they think their way – the tried and trusted way – is the right way.  So you know there’s going to be conflict.

i must admit that sometimes i listen to middle class white americans (no offence) based in a US city telling me what a young African woman would or wouldn’t do.  and don’t get me wrong, i don’t think for a minute that i represent all young african women or that i’m a typical african woman, because i know that i did have the privilege of growing up in London and Stockhom and that i have- as my father would say- western ideals.  but i still think that i know a little bit better about young African women – especially the type we reach with MTV.

sigh.  oh well, at the end of the day the most important thing is getting the message across right?  hmmm i’ll give you my take on that one another time.

(by the way if this post doesn’t make sense, i totally blame it on the fact that i started writing it and then went to a digital thing for almost 3 hours and then came back to finish this off!)

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