I’m using this post to respond to all of the comments received on the last post ‘The sad story of how a light goes out…’ (on the demise of Bellanet). I’d like to thank all of you for taking the time to respond to the post. Some of the commentators are blogging partners, others I’ve met a few times as members of Bellanet staff, and some others are the guardians of Bellanet’s legacy in the South. Great to hear from you all.
If I sum up these comments, the general trend is: it’s very sad but we will keep the Bellanet philosophy alive in our own work. Most commentators showed a real spirit of optimism, talking of ‘seeds’, ‘blooming’ etc.
I really value this optimism – being something of an optimist myself – and can see that this sprit of hope will keep the legacy of Bellanet alive. But is it enough to compensate for the loss of the organization itself? I’m sorry to say that I think not.
Whether we like it or not, organizations are very important in the context of development. Although individual agency and commitment are crucial to bringing about change, I think organisations – because of their greater crtical mass – are in a much stronger position to make a difference. So the spirit of Bellanet would have had a much greater chance of surviving if the organization had survived too.
I’m not knocking the personal commitment of those enthused by the Bellanet philosophy – it’s really great that so many of us feel like that and particularly the commitment being shown by Bellanet’s Southern partners – but I think that the demise of Bellanet remains a very worrying development.
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