Judith-Ann Walker

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2003


This profile was prepared when Judith-Ann Walker was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Judith-Ann is changing the nature of development practice in Muslim-dominated Northern Nigeria, where most aid to the poor is driven by the Muslim practice of alms-giving. Judith and her associates help communities form development associations, training and mentoring these development associations over a minimum three year period. She helps to source funding and bridge the communications gap between donors and recipients. The process makes communities more effective at both accessing funding and demanding greater participation in development programs.
Judith is also building a forum for open communication between donor organizations and recipient communities to assess each other’s needs and work in an honest, mutually respectful and ongoing way. She organizes meetings between aid agencies and these community-based organizations and opinion leaders to ensure that the agencies are aware of the real needs of communities and reflect the opinions of the communities in designing projects for them.
With the forum in place, recipient communities are then able to help design and evaluate development projects otherwise executed without their consultation; and rather than being presented a sugar-coated snapshot of progress, donors see a true picture of what is going on and are able to work with communities to adjust projects as needed. These forums have the potential to change the habits of both community organizations and donor agencies, redefine relationships between these two groups, and create permanence in development projects in Nigeria and beyond.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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