19. Evaluating a smorgesbord of NGOs and finally proposing a project!

February 19, 2010 at 3:45 PM 3 comments

All these helping organizations – which is THE one you want to support with your hard-earned money or your valuable time? The ones with the cutest pictures or the saddest oil-coated bird, starving child or abused puppy?

The NGO posters they made for homework flooded in today with animated sharing at their tables then the group leaders chose one to project for the class. Lots of NGOs I had not heard of before, cool, I’m learning something too!

We MADE them use critical thinking and their hard-won internet literacy to evaluate their favorite NGO, gleaned from the smorgesbord of NGO posters and their NGO search yesterday. Much more consistent and higher standard with their third poster assignment of the year. (Finally 🙂

Which give the best bang for your buck? Which are really non-profits? Are they grass-roots organizations or top-down? Do they have a good track record? Does the organization take note of research to inform their goals and actions, they measure outcomes. Do they have experts on their board of directors? I mean, who ARE these people? One was found to be a NON non-profit. Some were ‘global grass roots’ organization – a bit of an oxymoron.

Is the NGO relion-based? For some kids that will fit with their values, but not others. Either is fine for TAP, so long as the NGO uses objective evidence to inform their actions and measure their success.

We’re showing a powerpoint and using a checklist to help kids make an informed decision. A debt of thanks to Anne here, for introducing us to the huge world of non-profits, and for coming in today.


Entry filed under: TAP Curriculum. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

18. Beyond the Bake Sale! Choosing a creative action. 20. Student feedback so far.

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. annemccartengibbs  |  February 21, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    Getting to sit in on one of Sue’s classes on Friday was an energizing experience. I watched as each table presented one of their NGO posters, and was impressed by the variety of issues they were focusing on. Yes, there was a photo of a polar bear stranded on an ice floe, and a really sad abused dog, but also many that drilled down closer to root causes, rather than tear-inducing effects. Some variety in methods of trying to achieve change, too; one boy’s focus was on a petition drive to list the Utah population of the gila monster under the Endangered Species Act.

    Later, I had a chance to talk with some of the students as they worked on evaluating their NGOs. It doesn’t necessarily come naturally to these students to second-guess adult institutions, but this step is very important. I always try to encourage kids (and adults) to see their philanthropic involvement as their work. They can partner with an NGO that meets their needs to accomplish their goals, but the goals and the impulse to help their cause are theirs, independent of the NGO. A person might care deeply about rainforest preservation, for instance, all their lives, but act on that in a variety of ways as their situation and interests evolve.



  • 2. Suzie Boss  |  February 22, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    I love the critical thinking at work here. I imagine your students “grew” a bit as they took on the role of evaluating an adult-run organization. Powerful stuff!


  • 3. Karen Snelson  |  February 23, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    I stumbled on a way to have the kids co-construct the criteria for what is a worthy NGO to work with. I put up some kid’s Mini posters and had each team member decide if they would donate $1,00 of their hard earned money to it. what would they want to know first? Then they shared in the team and the reporter reported out their concerns.

    Fortunately I had several mini posters who had for the action to solve the problem thngs like ; donate money to meet the needs of Orphans or donate to save endangered species. The kids generated many of the questions that are on the evaluation worksheet. Then they went to work. Only a few chose a NGO not related to their own project.



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