As the Chief Philanthropy Officer at Give2Asia, my job allows me to meet many great donors and leaders doing life-changing work in Asia. But since I am not on the programs team, I do not interact daily or get to really dig deep with groups we are supporting all over Asia. Our program team travels to Asia to visit with our grantees to see first-hand how their programs are running, learn what new issues are cropping up, and generally evaluate to see if the program or relationship can be improved. But that doesn’t stop me from finding excuses to visit Asia or our projects there.
My friend, Bill Somerville of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation always tells people to get out of the office if they wish to practice philanthropy. This is very good advice, especially for someone so action-oriented and hands-on like me. In order to talk about the needs of NGOs and their impact on the ground, I need to meet the leaders implementing the projects and speak to those benefiting from the work. My trips to visit grantees and the leaders in the community allow me to learn more about the specific country, its needs, what’s happening in the field, what local experts are experiencing and what local people want and need.
In May, I traveled to Indonesia and had the chance to see the efforts of many organizations and learn from them. One group I visited, PSKD Mandiri School, applies the seven habits adopted from the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. PSKD Mandiri teaches a national curriculum with an international approach. They apply the student centered and inquiry based approach.
The children were singing the Leader in Me song that they had written themselves when we entered the school. The school is inclusive and takes children with special needs and diverse backgrounds. The teachers travel to the U.S. and receive training and learn from other schools using the 7 Habits methodology. The school has scored highest in several areas when it comes to national, standard tests. I am optimistic that schools like these will educate some of our future global leaders. Please find a video clip below: