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United Against AIDS: The Story of TASO by…
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United Against AIDS: The Story of TASO

by Peter Ssebbanja

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These institutional history things are always kind of funny--like, what are they? Who is the intended audience? If it's a Word document forgotten on the Z drive somewhere, then probably it was a makework project for a co-op student, and that's fine. If it's bound and gold-embossed with glossy colour pages, it's probably a vanity thing for the CEO's antechamber coffeetable or for employees with 30 years meritorious service, and that's okay too. In the present case, I infer that Ssebbanja's book has some aspects of the latter (although Africa tends to go with simple and functional over gold-embossed, unless you're Charles Taylor*), but that the primary purpose is as a kind of secret weapon/lagniappe for funding applications--"this is an organization so established and eminent and transparent and seething with best practices that they wrote a book about it." That seems like it would get donors salivating.

Anyway, outside of that, anyone who comes to work for any organization ever should probably have a document like this to review; and certainly in my own work with TASO it is coming in handy. But for the "general specialist" in development/community-building or infectious diseases or nonprofit admin, a lot of the detail about how the pot of money for the special projects division was combined with the pot of money for the regular projects division in June of 1998 or whatever is extraneous, which makes you wonder if the decision to present this as a "book," however canny, really describes the artefact when it's at home.

*or Idi Amin, or Robert Mugabe, or Mobutu Sese Seko, or Muammar Qaddafi, or Sekou Touré, or Sani Abacha, or Jean-Bedel Bokassa, or Gnassingbé Eyadé́ma, or Mengistu Haile Mariam, or Siad Barre, or the king of Swaziland. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | May 19, 2012 |
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