Friday, October 9, 2015

Poverty Alleviation…Put Your Sandals on the Streets…and Walk Humbly

International aid and development assistance has changed dramatically over the decades, yet individuals maintain the inherent desire to matter, to be in relationship with others and to grow. They hold their dreams close and hope for better lives for the children and the communities they serve with driving motivational force. As the international community looks for more efficient and effective methods of delivering scarce resources through international aid, a new dynamic, interactive methodology, immersion, is worth consideration. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September 17th Book Signing and Discussion

Some of the goodies that will be available at the
Stories From The Streets Book Signing
Come and hear stories, experience exclusive behind the scenes action, engage in discussion and watch videos of the book launch in  Ghana, West Africa. Enjoy an evening of books, refreshments, door prizes and goodies. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Follow Your Heart

Sitting here at the lake getting ready to take a huge dive, I am surrounding myself with some of my inspirations; channeling Ram Dass and running through all ten chapters of my book “Up and Over: Boost Your Confidence When There is None to be Found”  all at once…

1.      Breathe
2.      Create Cue Cards
3.      Move
4.      Release Self-Defeating Thoughts…and on and on until we get to Chapter 10…

Act As-If.

Each of these chapters speak to me and I am reminded why I wrote the book in the first place –  the strategies and ideas in the book are practical, useful and they work. They work for me at least and as I am preparing myself to take a huge leap into the next chapter of my life – I am finding something within each of these chapters that is helping me to get ready, to start dreaming and to prepare myself to be open to what comes next.

If you are in that state of confusion, that place in life that to me looks like a murky water, sometimes described as chaos, or confusion or even unrest – then my book on boosting your confidence is just your ticket to start moving forward. Moving through that place of ambiguity, that place of fear, or denial and find some comfort or fortitude to move forward – even if you don’t know where that next place or stage will take you.

Dancing between the dots of ambiguity is not a bad place to be – don’t get me wrong, I actually

Monday, July 13, 2015

Stories From The Streets is Launched

Issah, Gifty and Rose share memories of former
street girls - Issah and Rose interviewed girls for
Stories From The Streets
To My Supporters - As a result of your support, Stories From The Streets was launched in Ghana on June 30th to a crowd of dignitaries, staff and supporters from Street Girls Aid and Rotarians. While there were many highlights that you will read about soon - a few of the special moments that happened during the whirlwind trip include the following:
While reading an excerpt from the book at the launch, I was moved to tears - looking up from the book I spied Phidelia, Fred and Rose intently watching me as I read their words, the stories that they had spent months collecting out on the streets. And, as I stammered, struggling to take a breath as the tears welled up trying to compose myself, in unison, they all smiled at me, even giving me the thumbs up sign to demonstrate their confidence in me that the words would flow - their words, street girls' stories - and finally they did...along with the tears.
The delight and pride that welled in my heart and soul was fueled and fanned each time I got to watch someone open the book and start reading - sometimes flipping pages to look at the photos, sometimes glancing at a page and then returning to confirm what they had just read, and sometimes (mainly) as the reader hunkered down and got lost in the book. I don't know how many authors get that kind of privilege - to watch as someone devours their book. There are not sufficient words to describe how that felt.
Stories From The Streets is an important book, and I can't wait to share it with the world. It is a useful and practical book. Stories From The Streets will help to inform global citizens as we strive to understand how to make a difference when the odds seem overwhelming. If you have not yet purchased your copy, go to Amazon right now and buy your copy today.
Kathy and Fred at the Homecoming Event
Fred was one of the interviewers for the book
Stories From The Streets
And finally a sneak peek at behind the scenes at the homecoming event on July 2nd. Some of the women featured in the book, former street children who are now successful entrepreneurs, businesswomen and mothers, returned to Street Girls Aid and held a workshop mentoring current street children and beneficiaries of S.Aid. Challenging, hopeful and inspiring all rolled into one...kind of like the reviews we are getting about the book - here's what one reader had to say about Stories From The Streets, "We are finding the stories to be fascinating, hopeful and disturbing all at the same time."
Stay tuned for updates about launches and reading near you, or if you or your community group would like to host a reading in your library or community organization - please contact me, Kathy Stutzman at and we will organize a book event that is sure to inspire and inform.

Thank you again for all of your support - now it is time to get the book out there - now is the time. Go to Amazon and order your copy today... and be sure to check back for updates coming soon.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Stories From The Streets

Stories From The Streets is a compilation of stories about the street children served by Street Girls Aid in Accra, Ghana. The powerful and inspirational success stories showcase what it is like to live in the heart of West Africa and how the individual’s resilience to survive combined with the support of Street Girls Aid helped transform their confidence, dreams and their future.  To purchase on Amazon follow this link
This book is a passionate celebration of Street Girls Aid, Ghana, whose mission is “serving street children – impacting generations.” It is also a unique tribute to the success of the many children, girls and young women whose stories are presented.  
The twenty inspiring stories shared, represent the many thousands of children who have gone through the Street Girls Aid’s programs, and represent the twenty years that Street Girls Aid has consistently served children on the street.  
Stories From The Streets brings together a careful selection of relevant information,
lessons learned and for organizations already working in the field of vulnerable children, or those yet to do so, a guide for their project implementation.

This book has intentionally moved away from dwelling on the many challenges facing the street children and rather, concentrates on the successes. After reading this book, readers will have gained a broader perspective of issues and the realities of street children. 

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will create an on-going source of income to support the next 20 years of Street Girls Aid mission, "Serving Street Children - Impacting Generations."

Follow this link to purchase the book on Amazon/

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Savings Circle Successes

Miriam used a loan from a Street Girls AID savings and loan group to expand her business, buy a maize field and employ workers to produce the food she now sells in Accra Ghana Learn the impact that this has had on her life and the future of her children.Each story in Stories From The Streets is filled with inspiration and hope. Help these stories come to life by supporting this Kickstarter - only 2 more days remain to make a difference and pledge your support. Don't delay - and thank you.

Stories From The Streets Kickstarter

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Their Trust Is In Our Hands

The re-launch of the Kickstarter to fund the book distribution and launch is well underway and I need your help. I need you to ensure that these stories are shared globally. I can’t sleep knowing that we have the responsibility to be the voice for these incredible, strong and impacting children and staff.
I am in the midst of writing and need to get back to that very important work. It will help me to focus all of my energy on doing these stories justice if the Kickstarter gets funded sooner than later. If the Kickstarter gets overfunded, the impact will just be that much greater – in equal if not exponential proportion and I can’t tell you what an energy boost that will be from here. Click on this link to pledge:

I am immersed in the interviews, comments and quotes, heartfelt gratitude and heart-wrenching sadness turned upside down by one person who cared…Stories From The Streets is one of the hardest things I have faced and yet I am a speck on the face of the courage that these storytellers have demonstrated.

I am going to introduce you to several important people – Comfort and the social worker who learned a lot from Comfort. Here is a glimpse into my office today. These children have so much to teach us. We must do everything possible to lift these stories from the streets and let them walk into our lives. I am shutting off my social media, and any communication while I meet with these children and listen hard to what they have to tell me. Their stories, their trust and their inspiration are in our hands now. 

Thank you. And now let me introduce you to Comfort…


Comfort went to live with her grandmother after her parents divorced and her mother was unable to care for her five young children. She dropped out of school at third grade when her grandmother could no longer afford to pay the school fees. Determined to get an education, Comfort put herself back in school paying the school fee by selling fire wood. Unfortunately, she dropped out in junior high and became house help in the town of Kumasi.

On her mother’s advice, she eventually moved to Accra to seek greener pastures. She got pregnant in her effort to survive on the street and the man responsible absconded leaving her alone, unable to feed herself and her child and concerned about not providing financial support for her mother back home in Kumasi.

A friend introduced Comfort to Street Girls Aid and she applied for the vocational training program without hesitation. And although she was eager to learn a skill, she often missed classes in order to work on the streets to earn money to send to her mother. It took some time for Comfort to adjust to her new environment at the refuge and status as a trainee but she completed her training program and
Serving Street Children; Impacting Generations
now braids hair.

Her thoughts about the impact of the program, “Life was very difficult. Even to get two meals a day was a problem but I can now buy food and eat. I can now send my child to the hospital when he is sick, I am able to send some money to my mother and am saving some money.”

The impact of Comfort’s experience on Street Girls Aid staff, “just a little assistance can result in improved lives for some of the children on the streets.” And the key lesson learned, “These children have dreams and potential that can be harnessed for their good.” 

Please continue to help these children dream and succeed

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Humility Through Service

I love this photo taken the last time I was in Ghana. We were piloting a tying class, learning how to tie head scarfs, how to tie the fabric to carry babies on our backs and how to wrap the fabric that we put on top of our heads to carry water. This class was a lot of fun - but it was also serious business!

I want to tell you a little bit about what this photo represents to me. I love this photo - it signifies humility and makes me humble just to think about how many girls it took to  get that bucket of water on my head. And then they had to walk next to me to ensure that I did not spill that precious resource being carried on my head!

It was a great honor to attempt to walk in their sandals even for a moment and it was such a privilege to be invited in. And, the honor of being asked to write the amazing stories of the street children impacted by Street Girls AID​ is equally humbling. Each day as I complete one more story, put voice to their hopes and dreams - all I want to do is share these stories with others. I can't wait to get this book to publication!!

The re-launched Kickstarter is focused on getting the book to the girls who shared their stories. We have simplified the request and eliminated a few components to get the budget to the current goal of $3,450. Please help me honor the girls who shared their stories by supporting this Kickstarter and showing them how much their voices matter. Stories From The Streets

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Storytelling Through Fabric

Service, Security and God Woven Together Protecting Street Children

Street Girls Aid Fabric - Find The 5 Symbols
Service, security and God are all present in the Street Girls Aid 20th Anniversary celebration cloth which is being used to make clothing, table runners, head scarfs, place mats, bags and so much more. The girls in the vocational training program are reminded constantly of the deep commitment to service and security that Street Girls Aid demonstrates daily in their work with street children as designs are created and sewn with the deep blue and white fabric shown here.

Adinkra symbols have been used in West Africa since the early 1800’s when King Adinkra was a king from the Ivory Coast. The symbols used

Monday, April 20, 2015

Stories From The Street...And Beyond...

I have the distinct honor of being asked to produce the book "Stories From The Street" an intimate Stories From The Streets Kickstarter
look at life as a street child in Accra, Ghana. And like most of my projects, we will be looking at the strengths, resources and perseverance of those who have survived and have even had successes through their challenges and obstacles. We are going to learn from the experts and we have so much to learn. You can get more information here:

To get the book to print in time for Street Girls Aid 20th Anniversary celebration this is going to take a considerable effort and I will need your full participation to make it happen. It is doable and I am ready to complete the project, the stories are sitting on my desk waiting to be edited, the photos waiting to be selected and the context content ready to be written and your participation in this Stories From The Streets Kickstarter will mean that this will be done in time to be delivered to the storytellers.

Stories From The Streets Kickstarter was originally dreamed by the Street Girls Aid staff during our strategic planning sessions and they have spent the last year seeking out former street children served by Street Girls Aid and interviewing them - I have those stories resting in the palm of my hands and they are screaming to be told. The storytellers deserve to have their voices heard, and just as importantly, the impact of these stories must be shared globally. When you join the Kickstarter - you will be part of lifting and sharing those stories.

It is really easy to join in to the Stories From The Streets Kickstarter and your pledge will only be redeemed when the goal is reached and after the target end date of May 10th. Together we can make this happen. Thank you for your support today!

Stories from street children served by Street Girls AID Ghana…will inspire, inform, and teach.  Share globally; impact generations. Stories From The Streets Kickstarter

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Six Questions To Ask & Answer Before Conducting An Impact Evaluation

Six Questions To Ask & Answer Before Conducting An Impact Evaluation
Rotary District 5960 Impact Evaluation Summary

By Kathy Stutzman, M.A., M.A.

Rotary District 5960 is developing a relevant impact evaluation; including why and when impact evaluation is important and what we hope to accomplish through an impact evaluation.  In this particular initiative, Rotary District 5960 was conducting a pilot project, developing new methodologies and conducting new research about delivering services in the world in different ways. This executive summary reviews six questions that are critical to ask and answer before conducting an impact evaluation.

Impact Evaluation Summary

When conducting an “evaluation” the groups involved need to be clear about the following questions prior to beginning:
  • What are we evaluating?
  • Why are we evaluating?
  • When are we evaluating (timeframe)?
  • Who is conducting the evaluation, and who is being surveyed?
  • What instruments are being used? Why? Standardized? Ease of collation, accessibility?
  •  What are we going to do with the data?

These questions MUST be answered before you begin developing any type of evaluation. Clarity and understanding of what you hope to accomplish is critical to the fidelity of the evaluation.
In any research or pilot project there are many levels of evaluation used, as knowledge and information evolves and as lessons learned require modification of direction or process. As part of this effort we studied a presentation by Jacqueline Novogratz of the Acumen Fund about new techniques that Acumen has been exploring in order to evaluate social impact. This is a brief summary:
1.      Pioneer Capital Evaluation is measuring lessons learned, inspiration and replicability. This evaluation is a longitudinal study.  This is being done through reviewing original goals, objectives and hypothesis and charting them against lessons learned and the replicability of the overall Initiative. Funding, volunteer engagement and resources leveraged are part of the data being analyzed. The Simple Poverty Scorecard for Nicaragua developed by Microfinance Risk Management, L.L.C. is one of the measurement tools utilized in this evaluation.

2.      Growth Capital Evaluation is measuring increased capacity, leadership and project planning.
a.       The first evaluation instrument used was a “Community Assessment Survey” administered by the community itself and the local NGO, to the entire subject community.  This survey was a valuable resource in determining demonstrated readiness and viability of project planning as well as indicators of community leadership and increased capacity. In the future it is recommended  the survey questions become more standardized, the baseline questions from the Poverty Index be included and the data is analyzed using a statistical computing program.  However, for purposes of this evaluation, the information that was extrapolated from the survey was useful in determining impact.
b.      A Process and Relationship Assessment” was conducted in person amongst a delegation from D-5960, the local NGO, and community members. The survey consists of a questionnaire which uses standardized questions to measure relationships, leadership and capacity. Also included were questions to gather antidotal information in order to inspire improvements and opportunities for growth.
c.       Relationships are an instrumental part of the Initiative, and there needs to be effort taken to include relationship questions during the pioneer capital stage of the development.
d.      Additional measurements of impact of growth capital include the increased social ties and leveraged resources and funding for identified plans – demonstrating the fidelity and increased capacity, leadership and project planning.

3.      Project or Impact Evaluation: Projects will have their own inherent evaluations and those evaluations may be funder driven, goal and objective driven or be determined by community demographics. To measure the effectiveness of the impact of the Initiative on the overall economic well-being of a community, the measurements will come from funder, or project driven evaluations, baseline data collected in the “Community Assessment” and a pre-and post-test of the Simple Poverty Scorecard for Nicaragua. An additional matrix has been developed to collate relevant pieces of data across the spectrum of project related evaluations.

Before any group begins dedicating resources to “impact evaluation” please answer the first six questions listed above. Once you are clear about the how, why and whens, carefully consider who will be spearheading the evaluation process and how much of your resources you are going to dedicate to the evaluation process. Begin your evaluation conversation informed and by sharing a common language about what you hope to accomplish in your impact evaluation. It is through those conversations that each organization can answer the “impact evaluation” question in a manner that works best for your own group.

Respectfully Submitted, Kathy Stutzman, M.A., M.A. (507) 219-0912 or

This initiative and resulting evaluations are the collective work of countless people.  This executive summary is an excerpt from a larger body of work that an evaluation committee is developing to measure impact within the Rotary District 5960’s poverty eradication initiative in Nicaragua. We are currently in the early stages of disseminating information from evaluations and progress made over the past seven years. This summary is submitted solely by the author, who is a member of the Initiative’s Steering Committee and the evaluation subcommittee.  To learn more about Rotary District 5960’s work on this impact evaluation, you may contact the author.

This article was written as a reply to Quentin Wodon's question posed on Linkedin and on Rotarian Economist asking if impact evaluations are important in Rotary click on this link to read that article: Impact Evaluations: Do We Need Them in Rotary

Kathy Stutzman has been a Rotarian in the Austin Rotary Club for 24 years and has been a member of Rotary District 5960’s Fast For Hope Committee since 2007 when the group began exploring new ways to serve as Rotarians in the world. As a result of her experience within Rotary and the Fast For Hope Committee specifically, she was asked to speak at TEDxHoracePark in March of 2014  and her work with a team of women in Ghana was featured in The Rotarian Magazine in August 2014,  As a consultant she has been conducting evaluations for businesses and organizations since 1999. An author and facilitator, Ms. Stutzman loves creating connections and then “watching the magic happen.”

Sunday, March 1, 2015

100 Days of Giving Now Available in Print

I am so proud of this book and can't wait for others to be able to enjoy is too. Although it was published as an e-book last year, the stories and writing exercises lend themselves much better to a printed book. The book includes stories, exercises and suggestions for dailiy giving experiences and a 100 day journal for you to document and write about your own giving journey. Please enjoy and I look forward to hearing about how giving has impacted you.

100 Days of Giving Paperback Edition