Time to Listen: A Discussion Guide

March 2015 | Eric Dietrich, Alexander Fertig, Elizabeth Froeberg, Zach Gerth, and Kendal Stewart

Suggested Citation: Dietrich, Eric, et al. “Time to Listen: A Discussion Guide. Hearing People on the Receiving End of International Aid.” Cambridge, MA: CDA Collaborative Learning Projects. 2015

How to Use This Guide

Time to Listen: A Discussion Guide was developed to stimulate discussion and reflection among practitioners working in international, national and local aid organizations, governments and donors.

For those already familiar with Time to Listen, this guide will serve as a useful review and as a means to introduce colleagues and partners to the voices and ideas presented in the book on how to improve the effectiveness of international aid efforts.

For readers with no prior exposure to the Listening Project or Time to Listen, our hope is that the Discussion Guide will spark an interest in and a desire to further explore the findings of the Listening Project and the implications for their work.

The format of this guide closely follows the structure of Time to Listen, briefly summarizing each chapter and presenting the reader with a series of thought-provoking discussion questions. These questions are intentionally open-ended, allowing users to tailor the discussion to fit their organizational needs.

For practitioners, the questions can be used to encourage reflection on their personal approaches and practices. Supervisors can use the questions to encourage reflection and inspire changes among their team members. The questions can also be used in a class setting, allowing educators and students to discuss the implications for future policies and practices.

The authors’ ultimate hope is for this guide to bring the voices and perspectives of those on the receiving end of international aid efforts to those who work in (or aspire to work in) and around the international aid system.

The Listening Project revealed a great deal about the shortcomings of the current aid system and pointed to systemic ways these challenges can be addressed. Changing the aid paradigm will not take place over night, however, this guide, among other tools, offers a starting point for internal reflection and dialogue within aid organizations in order to begin to change how we conceive and implement aid efforts.


CDA and the authors of Time to Listen: Hearing People on the Receiving End of International Aid, Mary B. Anderson, Dayna Brown, and Isabella Jean would like to thank Eric Dietrich, Alexander Fertig, Elizabeth Froeberg, Zach Gerth, and Kendal Stewart for their work in preparing this guide.

They are all students in the Master of Public Administration in Development Practice program in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and Eric Dietrich is also a reporter in Bozeman, Montana. We hope that their efforts and enthusiasm will introduce the voices and lessons in Time to Listen to development, humanitarian and peacebuilding practitioners at all levels of experience.

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