Life is Motion

Friday, September 15, 2006

Grant Writing 101

Yesterday, I attended a seminar called "Winning Grant Proposal Writings" organized by
Tritium Knowledge Publishing, a group that conducts seminars on development issues. I guess it's obvious what the seminar was about.
It's supposed to enhance my grant proposal writing skills that I basically learned on my own when I was working in Russia. I was hoping that I'd get more technical information instead of the general outline of grant proposals that I already know about.

It bombed.

The lead resource person read everything that was given in our hand-outs. I could've just read the handout at home instead of listening to him drone on and on for 4 hours. I was expecting he'd cite pertinent examples for each guideline shown in the powerpoint presentation, but was sorely dissapointed.

The staff was also amateurish and did not know how to organize and run an event. One thing I learned working for a high-end Events and PR company is that an event has to run seamlessly and effortlessly. Even if crap is happening behind the scenes, the audience and participants should never know, and should not even have an inkling of what's going on. The staff should almost move shadowlike-- they're there, but you don't see them, and yet everything runs like clock work. With Tritium Knowledge, the staff were probably fresh graduates-- clumsy, loud, and did not even wear appropriate attires that the occassion called for. Heck, you have guess speakers from Friedrich Naumann Foundation, and the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, but your official photographer is wearing a sports shirt and jeans and looks as old as 15. Tacky!

On the plus side, I met like-minded people, and even managed to find the gumption to speak to the Resident Representative of Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Dr. Ronald Meinardus. It was a room of rich people that had nothing to do with money. The particpants came from all over the country, members of local NGOs and local government units, who are working hard to help the marginalized and poor majority of the country. I look around the room feeling a mix of awe, humility, and frustration. I am critical of this country's government, and even the attitude of most Filipinos that continue to contribute to this country's stagnation, but I didn't really acknowledged the real and existing people dedicated in helping this country. I feel small and invisibile amongst this group because as much as I can feel my need to contribute to my country's development, I also know the blood of capitalism and profit is strong and throbbing within me and I cannot sincerely say that I am willing to sacrifice living a good life(and yes, this is in connection with money) to work in the hinterlands and grassroots to serve the poor.
There is a way to serve and not to be a hypocrite, and I will learn how to do so as I go along.

"The Philippines is not a poor country; but it's a country that has a lot of poor people."

---Dr. Ronald Meinardus


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