Does your organization want to…

… embrace principles of effective aid to be more responsive to the needs and initiatives of local people?

… foster more in-house learning and discover untapped sources of expertise?

… transform your organization’s linear and hierarchical systems and practices to become more horizontal and adaptive?

… hone skills and techniques in small grantmaking and capacity building with grassroots and local organizations?

… articulate and share your value-add in the aid or philanthropic sector?

At a vocational training center in central Malawi, supported by Nkhotakota AIDS Support Organization

Jennifer Lentfer can help.

Jennifer has over ten years of relevant experience in organizational development and learning, working with over 300 grassroots organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. Her exceptional managerial, programmatic, technical, communications, and critical thinking skills have led to demonstrated successes in the international philanthropy and development sectors in the U.S. and Africa. Jennifer specializes in building the capacity of donors, networks, non-governmental organizations, and grassroots groups to:

Facilitate reflection and engage in experiential learning:

  • Zero in on what’s most important to measure. Create practical and realistic metrics at a scale at which data can easily be generated and acted upon.
  • Tap into and assemble the internalized, iterative learning processes of individuals and grassroots leaders.
  • Distill good practice and actionable insights to foster curiosity among staff. Encourage and enable varied opportunities to capture in-house learning.
  • Create and support valuable communities of practice, online communities, learning circles, mentorship and coaching. Convene transformative workshops/retreats/meetings.

Communicate and Influence:

  • Connect passion and ideas to the written word in products and documentation that convey your organization’s most important key messages.
  • Enable staff to claim expertise and become confident thought leaders, helping your organization’s best thinking to enter the aid discourse.
  • Present the right balance between data and stories, abstract ideas and real people, and content and buzz.
  • Effectively utilize social media applications and Web 2.0 technologies.

Improve quality of local partnerships:

  • Adapt policies, procedures, and practices to be more responsive to local needs, priorities, and initiatives.
  • Refine and operationalize “accompaniment” approaches to partnership, supporting local organizations as independent and influential organizations in their own right.
  • Ensure downward accountability and effective utilization of local expertise and non-monetary resources for deeper community ownership.
  • Balance “bottom line” results with sound organizational approaches and processes.
At a retreat for grassroots leaders in Zimbabwe

Whether your organization is made up of seasoned professionals or bright-eyed idealists, Jennifer can translate her experience to deliver practical, action-oriented training, mentoring and other learning and communications strategies. Not only does Jennifer help teams think “outside the box,” she inspires collective efforts for change and improvement. Recent clients include the Nike Foundation in Oregon and the Community Development Resource Association in Cape Town. By building an in-depth understanding of the day-to-day realities of her clients, Jennifer’s approach is people-centered, flexible, and consultative, with the aim of accompanying organizations and individuals to translate good intentions into good practice.

Jennifer says, “Anyone can identify what’s wrong. It takes much more skill to identify what’s right, what’s possible, and where change feasibly can occur.”

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