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[afro-nets] SATELLIFE and AFRO-NETS (3)


Dear Colleagues

During the last 12 months there has been an unprecedented need
for funding for humanitarian relief and for recovery and devel-
opment. People have been very generous, but the diversion of re-
sources from established good things has been a sad and damaging
side effect. And this is even more sad, when the fact is that a
lot of emergency funding has been badly used, and indeed, down-
right stolen.

The message about what SATELLIFE and AFRO-NETS do is very
thought provoking... and I want to acknowledge how valuable I
personally find listserves like the AFRO-NETS listserve. Without
organizations like SATELLIFE and AFRO-NETS the world would be
much less informed. What is the value of this?

Twenty years ago for me to communicate around the world in the
way that is now possible, I would have to be paying around $500
every day to DHL (the international document courier service)
and I would have to wait days or weeks to do what can now be
done in hours. I have to contribute my time, but I do not have
high out-of-pocket costs.

But there is no way using present day accounting and reporting
for the value of SATELLIFE and AFRO-NETS to be routinely re-
ported in a uniform and verifiable way.

The Tr-Ac-Net organization is in the middle of creating a new
variant of accounting and analysis so that the relationship be-
tween cost and effort and value is systematically reported in a
uniform way. One of our colleagues has taken many organizational
elements to understand what "sustainability" requires, and oth-
ers are working on modifying the concept of "standard costing"
so that it also has a "standard value" dimension. Standard cost-
ing was created inside the corporate world to monitor costs more
efficiently and improve cost control and management and it is a
very powerful analytical technique.

These ideas need to be put into practice so that the whole of
the relief and development assistance sector... and indeed the
all the not-for-profit and volunteer world... is reporting on
how much things are costing and how much value is being derived.
With the planned system, there will be clear distinctions be-
tween cost and price and value... a recognition of opportunity
cost versus an expenditure cost. We want the system to be simple
enough to be usable and understandable, but not too simplistic
so that it does not work in practice.

I welcome people interested in learning how this is coming to-
gether to contact me, but in the meantime I would also encourage
people to support SATELLIFE and AFRO-NETS all they can.


Peter Burgess
Tr-Ac-Net in New York
Tel. +1-212 772 6918
The Transparency and Accountability Network
With Kris Dev in Chennai India
and others in South Asia, Africa and Latin America

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