All posts in ReSeT News

Website Update October 2015

Posted by / 14th October 2015 / Categories: ReSeT News / -

Dear visitor,

This summer the ReSeT team have worked on a number of important internal changes, with our emphasis shifting towards application projects and research for external organisations. As a result, we have decided to de-prioritise publications for our own website. Whenever one of our projects is in the public domain, we will still publish it on our site. However, regular articles will no longer be featured. In order to reflect this new focus, we will adjust the website accordingly in the next few weeks.

As always, please contact us for further information at

Kind regards,

The ReSeT Team



Happy Holiday Season

Posted by / 22nd December 2014 / Categories: Polis, ReSeT News / Tags: , , , / -

holiday season 2014

As we are about to part with 2014 and usher in the new year, we can proudly look back at the past year and the progress that we made. It has been a great pleasure to work on the Polis as well as other projects. Now, at the dawn of 2015, we are ready to implement the practical application of the Polis, an important and exciting step for all of us. The model is fully developed, we have an enthusiastic network of local and global partners, and a lot of ideas on how to implement our project on the ground.

We therefore very much look forward to 2015 being a successful year full of opportunities and challenges. For now, however, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our progress possible. Thank you all for your continued support, collaboration and trust throughout 2014.

All of us at ReSeT and the Polis Project wish you a Happy Holiday Season and all the best in the new year.

The ReSeT Team


Discover The Polis: When ideas turn into reality

Posted by / 17th November 2014 / Categories: Polis, ReSeT News / -

The world is full of amazing ideas. It is also full of tools and resources to make those happen. The problem is bringing these two sets together: the world is not always very good at doing that yet. This is especially true in economically developing societies where access to global services and opportunities can be hard to find. In fact, it is also harder than it seems even in European or North American countries. Despite technological miracles and globalisation, there remains a lot of human potential to strengthen lives and livelihoods that goes unseen by those who can provide the services to turn people’s ideas into successful reality.

This is where our work comes in: The Polis connects the ideas with the tools.

Since this summer we have a full time team- with further support from other ReSeT researchers and our wider network- working to bring the project to life. The model is very simple in both its basic idea as well as its execution: it connects ideas from people to the resources needed to turn those ideas into reality. Specifically, it connects local ambitions in developing communities to global expertise and funding. There is no complicated framework, and no political agenda. The Polis connects demand and supply, and that’s about it.

We call such connections LLCs (“Local-led Connections”), reflecting the fact that it is always about local people who demand services. This happens through human infrastructure: a representative (“Local Connector”, or LC) listens to local communities and people, and takes the received information back into The Polis. There, people with access to global resources and networks (rather unoriginally called “Global Connectors”, or GC) offer the resources needed to make the ambition work. Once they have come back with sufficient alternatives, the initial local actor chooses their preferred solution. After that moment, the Polis’ work ends and all that is left is a relationship between local client and global supplier(s). Naturally we will continue to keep an eye out, ensuring that we will learn and grow through practical application.

There are of course a number of details that we are skipping here: where do Local and Global Connectors come from? How do they interact? How do you select connected communities? Where do you get the money from? How did you come up with such utter genius? You will just have to trust us that we have the details covered. Right now we only want to give you a general idea of where we are going with this.

Simple and effective, The Polis is an outcome focused method that brings together actors that complement and need each other, one type local and the other global. It does this through simple communication flows with basic online connectivity to support communications and information exchange.

The strength of The Polis lies in its dogged focus on being local-led. Unlike many developmental projects, the agenda is at no point set by global actors or large organisations. The Polis mechanism ensures that resulting projects always respond to local ideas, and never to global ideology or interests. Moreover, overheads and organisational pressures are minimal, and the model exhibits no external imposition of any kind: ideas are local, decisions are local, evaluations are local. Benefits are global.

(Editor’s note: Our marketing department worked very hard on this local/global slogan, so be prepared to find it scattered across all our publications from now on.)

Impact is global not just because the model is so simple and easy to implement, and therefore can be replicated in any potential community worldwide. It also benefits everyone involved. This is not just the group of local people who are in charge of their projects, but also the global actors who compete to supply their services and expertise, as well as observers of Polis dynamics interested in understanding underlying dynamics.

The group of interested observers would of course also include us, the ReSeT team that is so enthusiastically developing the Polis at the moment. By seeing what kind of activities and relationships grow out of the resulting dynamics, we get invaluable insights into local-global dynamics. This is one of the fundamental questions facing human society worldwide, and we, the Polis team, will have first rank seats. It allows us to better understand the nature of our work- international relations and cooperation- as well as further strengthen the method of the Polis itself.

If you would like to know more about The Polis, or if you would like to contribute ideas or connections, please contact us at

Looking forward to hearing from you,

The Polis Team


Q&A with Balder Hageraats | General Coordinator of The Polis

Posted by / 17th November 2014 / Categories: Polis, ReSeT News / Tags: , / -

Could you please describe your role in The Polis? What do you do exactly?

I am the “General Coordinator” of The Polis Project, which means that it is my role to ensure that the rest of the team has the necessary conditions and right focus to be able to do their job. This means that my day to day work consists of giving support and feedback to my colleagues’ activities, and providing overall guidance and leadership with respect to the team’s objectives and agendas.

What does the Polis team look like?

We currently have four departments within the project: Polis Development- i.e. the strengthening of our model and its applications-, Research and Publications, Communications, and Fundraising, each with a full time person in charge. We then have dedicated subteams working on practical issues. These range from things such as model implementation and networking to analysis and publications. And, of course, the Polis team is supported by the wider ReSeT organisation.

And what about partner organisations or experts?

ReSeT has a wide range of existing partner organisations and external experts, some of which have already been involved in aspects of The Polis. Then again, it is early days and we are currently mostly focusing on further developing our local networks (The Polis is all about local connections, after all) in selected countries, and engaging potential “global resources” for the Polis, i.e. organisations and experts that can deliver services to meet local demands.

Where does the original idea for the Polis come from?

ReSeT itself is a relatively young organisation, founded in 2011, but it employs people with decades of experience in international cooperation and relations. One of the major issues that we encounter time and time again in development projects is that energy, time, effort and money tend to flow towards activities designed by international actors, typically headquartered in Western capitals, rather than towards ideas and solutions provided by local individuals or communities. Sure they are occasionally consulted, and may have some influence over outcomes, but the basis of international cooperation remains firmly seated in INGO boardrooms, government offices and transnational dynamics. Local populations simply do not have the systemic clout necessary to set agendas. This is a perverse problem and a fundamental flaw in the sector. It leads to sector dynamics that are on paper focused on so-called “beneficiaries”, but are in actuality serving the sector itself, rather than local communities. Administrative necessity trumps idealism any day of the week, unfortunately.

These observations made us go back to basic questions: what is needed for local and global actors to cooperate effectively to achieve common goals? What are the necessary decision mechanisms for that to happen? How do the various involved actors communicate, and what do they need to operate successfully?

The rather obvious answer is that projects designed and led by those who reap the benefits tend to work. On the other hand, projects that are designed and led by those who do not directly benefit from its outcomes do not tend to work. That observation then leads to the challenge of making sure that local people are in charge of projects, even if they typically require more powerful international dynamics and actors to be involved. These are often still needed to provide necessary capital or political cover. The Polis is our answer to that challenge.

Could you describe The Polis in your own words?

The Polis connects those with ideas to those with the tools to turn those ideas into reality. It does so by collecting ideas locally, collecting tools globally, and then matching them. Crucially, it does so in a way which always puts those with the idea- and who benefit directly from its implementation- in charge. They are the ones who make the decisions, while the Polis simply provides a matchmaking service.

On the website and elsewhere, the Polis team uses quite a few concepts that readers may be unfamiliar with. Is the model complex?

On the contrary, it is simple and very easy to understand. The three concepts to know are:

1. Local-Led Connections: This is the basic pillar of The Polis. It is the connection between local people and organisations and experts that support their projects.

2. Local Connectors: They maintain the Local-Led Connection, i.e. they bring local information to the Polis network and vice versa.

3. Global Connectors: People who have knowledge or networks to bring organisations and experts into The Polis.

That’s all really. Everything else about our model is just details on how local and global connectors operate. Those details would require more time to list and explain, of course, but they are not necessary to understand the essence of what we do.

What impact do you think the Polis will eventually have?

It is difficult to answer this with numbers or other concrete specifics, but given the simple and highly replicable nature of the model, in general terms I would expect at least two important outcomes: the implementation of a significant number of ideas and initiatives which otherwise would not have been able to come to fruition, as well as a strengthened understanding of, and approach to, international cooperation in the 21st century.

The former is obviously important because it directly, and positively, affects people’s lives in the here and now. The latter is important if you, like us at ReSeT, believe that one of the main challenges facing our world today is how to effectively connect the world’s abundant resources to human creativity and endeavour. We live in a globalised world with virtually endless technological and financial possibilities anywhere. The issue is how to harness such incredible opportunities. This question makes international cooperation more relevant than ever, and will require new and practical solutions. We believe that The Polis is one of those.

What makes The Polis different from other initiatives that tackle similar issues?

The Polis team continuously learns from many amazing projects that are being developed at the moment. 2014 is a very exciting time to work on these issues; new technologies and globalisation spur on creativity and activity never before seen in our field of work.  In that sense, there are many aspects of The Polis that are not unique to our model. A lot of good work in similar vein is already being done, especially at a relatively small scale. These range from the Siriolli Institute to more technology-based initiatives related to fundraising (crowdfunding, such as Kiva) and, for example, initiatives such as Elva. However, what is unique about The Polis is the effectively simple method in which local people are in charge throughout the process, and decide over their own future, covering the entire process from basic idea to eventual outcome. Then again, I’d be delighted to find out we weren’t unique, of course.

How do you envision the Polis ten years from now?

A vibrant community of local and global people and organisations being connected to bountiful resources, allowing local ideas and initiatives to flourish like never before. If this- together with similar initiatives elsewhere- pushes the wider international cooperation sector towards being true and effective service providers, all the better.

From our own think-tank perspective, we expect The Polis to be a source of information and knowledge on the realities of local-global relationships. Such knowledge will become ever more important in international affairs and in facing the great challenges of our time. We at ReSeT, like any think tank, are very excited to be able to play a role in that.


Jesús García-Luengos on the conflict in South Sudan

Posted by / 22nd January 2014 / Categories: ReSeT News / Tags: , , / -

On the 21st of January, Jesús García-Luengos appeared on the Spanish RTVE radio programme “Países en Conflictos” (“Countries in Conflict”), with this edition dedicated to the situation in South Sudan.

Please click here to go to the RTVE site and listen to the broadcast (in Spanish).  facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Welcome to our Newly Designed Website

Posted by / 31st October 2013 / Categories: ReSeT News / Tags: / -

After almost three years of using the same design, it was time for a fresh look at This new format better reflects our evolving work and growing range of activities, and allows us to further expand our online output during the coming years.

Our publications can now be accessed in an easy, intuitive way. The most recent additions will be available on the home page, and all others can be found on the Library page. There we will also publish a selection of our past work. If there are articles or reports from the old website that are not available any more, please feel free to contact us and we’ll send you a pdf version.

Please note that it will take a few weeks before all our uploaded content is up-to-date and complete. 

Our other work will be organised through our Polis page, which is ReSeT’s new and ambitious initiative that is at the centre of our focus. This page will be expanded over the course of 2013 and 2014, and will eventually lead to access to more advanced research and application for Polis members.

This means that you’ll continue to be able to find new commentary, insight and analysis by our team here on, and in-depth research and other ReSeT work will be made available through Polis membership.

We hope that you’ll be as enthusiastic about this new format as we are, and that you’ll continue to enjoy our work. As always, feedback is very much appreciated.

- The ReSeT Team