Bjelkeman's travel notes

Travels with the cloud in my pocket.

Marketing is not evil

Hansabai, a village elder in Karamta Village, Kutch province, Gujurat, India.

Hansabai, she gets things done in her village. You can tell can’t you? To me she really looks like a woman who gets things done. One of my colleagues, Mark Charmer, visited her village in north west India about a year ago. Today I decided to find out what her name was, as we missed asking that questions before. Nelson at Arghyam knew immediately who I was talking about when I showed him the picture. “That is Hansabai” he told me. And here I thought it was going to take several emails back and forth to find out her name.

When you talk about development aid, the term “marketing” is nearly always avoided, as if it is something evil. In the west, maybe our consumer culture has made us think of marketing=bad. Marketing is supposed to drive you to buy stuff that you don’t need. But effective fundraising requires good marketing. And without funds you have no development aid. At Akvo we always use real pictures of people we have met. This tells a stronger story. It is better marketing. So we are really happy to have Hansabai as part of what we do, not only because she is great at making local water projects happening in her town, but she is powerful marketing.

Today I set up more meetings for the next couple of days. I am participating in a workshop tomorrow about integrated water resource management (IWRM) specifically for a town in India tomorrow. I am meeting the Arghyam grants and projects team and their advocacy specialist on Thursday. And i am seeing Rajesh Shah, from the Peer Water Exchange on Tuesday next week.

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Filed under: Arghyam, Development aid, India

About Bjelkeman

thomas@bjelkeman.com

Co-director: Akvo Foundation

+46-8-626 7609

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