Links & Contents I Liked 34

Hello all!

From the reflective to the ironic, from the 'creative destruction of the aid industry' to the 'momentum of the blogosphere', plus quite a few new papers worth checking out-this week's link round-up got it all!
Enjoy!


New on aidnography
Is there are space for Google+ Hangouts in global development?
Now includes first responses, including an interesting example of how WFP used a Hangout to discuss the Sahel hunger crises
Development
From 1987-1990, MARLEX was the exclusive Licensor of this Humanitarian Organisation (MSF) and launched a licensing program with a complete line of toys and action dolls, and a family board-game.


In a word: WOW! There really was a set of toys sold in France to set up your own MSF health clinic-only complete with white doctors and Africans on crutches and stretchers!

Voluntourism: We Have to Stop Making This About Your Niece

I spent a lot of time that year wondering if I had unintentionally exploited the children I'd traveled so far to meet. Did I help the little ones learn the days of the week and the older kids practice their written composition? Yes. Had my trip contributed in any significant way to a more just, safe life for them? No. I was a 19-year-old, providing unskilled labor, to deeply traumatized children, for a very short of amount of time. The price of my plane ticket would have been better spent on the salary of Kenyan teacher, a source of continuity for children who deserve it the most.
I do appreciate Leila de Bruyne's openness about her learning process and being self-reflective in a space like the HuffPost that sometimes attracts rather...interesting...commentators (actually not in her case it seems). However, I don't share Leila's vision entirely: 'we now attract a lifeline of supporters who recognize that the most valuable gifts they can bring to organizations like ours are in the time spent advocating and fundraising'. There are more challenges surrounding the school/orphanage industry in Kenya and around the world, but Leila definitely is open about sharing and learning.

Why competing over funding is killing development (and how we might improve)


The danger of thinking about fundraising purely for your own cause is that it is possible to lose focus on the whole notion of giving in the broader sense. Suddenly, raising funds becomes a competition with other fundraisers and the notion of collaboration disappears. But this view of fundraising doesn’t acknowledge that an untapped pool of funds may be currently ignored, by not encouraging people to give more. If we focused our energy on fostering a culture of giving, NGOs may be able to collaborate to increase their funding for all, not only for one.
In some ways, Weh's latest post is a very interesting addition to Leila's reflections and the question whether 'more' and 'better' fundraising really is the best way to support charities and their causes.

Do we need more worldwide development goals? Some surprisingly upbeat stats

But Jamie Drummond — the executive director of ONE, which fights poverty and disease by supporting smart policies — says that when world leaders assembled to endorse the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, they did a surprisingly good job. The basic deal: developing countries promised to halve extreme poverty, hunger and deaths from disease by 2015, while more-developed nations promised to increase smart aid and trade reform. In 2010, the first TEDxChange took a look at these goals and where we stand.
Interesting post from TedX's archive on the MDGs...
Drummond imagines worldwide polling — through cell phone surveys, reality TV show formats and online games — to get input on whether the next set of goals should stay focused on hunger and disease or should be expanded to include education, gender equality, education, sustainability and other issues.
I wonder whether he is still fond of this idea...the topic sounds more complicated and I'm not sure how people in reality TV show formats could/should decide over development priorities...

The world’s changing. Shouldn’t the aid industry?

With the end of the Millennium Development Goals just around the corner, and as the opportunity for re-prioritizing development objectives arises, it will be interesting to see the creative changes that aid and development agencies make in order to continue making useful contributions to eradicating poverty. If these agencies succeed, they will end up exactly how they want to be: they will find themselves looking for a new job.
Good summary and comment on a new Brookings/ODI study (Horizon 2025: Creative Destruction in the Aid Industry).
I definitely want to read the study and comment more thoroughly, but bilateral donors have proven to be very resilient to global change and public administration theory tells us that no government institution just 'disappears'...but the traffic light approach as to which donors are best/less well prepared for change is interesting food for thought.

The Momentum Of The Blogosphere

Getting big name publications to assign the topic a general reporter with no in depth knowledge of the issue or personal connection to it might bring wider attention to the issue but is it the kind of attention that we want? If the development/aid blogosphere continues to grow more robust and more accessible, those mainstream publications will a) start to steal their ‘niche’ article opinions from better sources and b) start to get circumvented all together.
Reflections from the Global Voices 2012 conference in Nairobi and the small shifts in 'development journalism' that are pushed by the aid blogosphere and 'virtual experts' around the globe.

Four ways social media could transform conflict in Africa

Whether social media ultimately will prove itself to be a tool of greater pacification or belligerence in Africa and throughout the developing world is yet to be seen; that it will remain a powerful lever capable of conveying advantages to whichever side in a conflict wields it most strategically is beyond question.
Great example to supplement the last post: CNN teaming up with Gabrielle Ramaiah and Jason Warnerto explore some of the potential of social media for war and peace.

Academia
The Complete List of 79 Academic ICT4D Journals and Publications


So to help those trying to get research validation, here is a list of journals that publish articles related to the use of information and communication technologies to accelerate the social and economic advancement in the development world.
This is a useful compilation, and it covers a range of areas from open access publishing to traditional journals with for-profit publishers and everything in between and some of the outlets are more academically accepted than others.

Crowdsourcing for Human Rights Monitoring: Challenges and Opportunities for Information Collection & Verification

This new book, Human Rights and Information Communication Technologies: Trends and Consequences of Use, promises to be a valuable resource to both practitioners and academics interested in leveraging new information & communication technologies (ICTs) in the context of human rights work. I had the distinct pleasure of co-authoring a chapter for this book with my good colleague and friend Jessica Heinzelman. We focused specifically on the use of crowdsourcing and ICTs for information collection and verification. Below is the Abstract & Introduction for our chapter.
Patrick Meier's introduction to his chapter is really interesting, although in my view the editors of the book chose a way of publishing the book which I would not have. As I noted in the comments to his post 'I can’t help but noting the irony that it’s a book about the power of Internet technologies for human rights' and the publisher goes a long way to make the book expensive and less accessible. It is worth reading the discussion at the Chronicle 'IGI Global - Legit publisher?'

Strategies of Feminist Bureaucrats: Perspectives from International NGOs

This paper explores the challenges and opportunities for feminists working as women’s rights and gender equality specialists in international non-governmental development organisations, as analysed from an insider practitioner perspective. Part 1 identifies the strategies used and the challenges encountered when Turquet lobbied DFID on its gender equality policy while struggling to avoid marginalisation within her own organisation, Action Aid. In Part 2, Smyth describes how she left Oxfam for a year to work in the Asian Development Bank and uses this experience to consider the strategic opportunities available to a gender specialist working in an NGO such as Oxfam as compared with working in an international finance institution.
Strategies of Feminist Bureaucrats: United Nations Experiences
This paper explores the challenges and opportunities for feminists working as women’s rights and gender equality specialists in the United Nations as analysed from a practitioner perspective. Part 1 by Joanne Sandler analyses the experience of feminists struggling with the institutional sexism of the UN bureaucratic machine and shows how this played out in the difficult but ultimately successful negotiations around the creation of UN Women. In Part 2, Aruna Rao describes how cross-agency UN Gender Theme Groups worked together through a process of reflexive inquiry to strengthen the gender equality programming of three UN Country Teams, respectively in Morocco, Albania and Nepal.
Two new, interesting and free working papers that just got published at IDS!

Winners Announced!

Create a short video that explains the benefits and promise of Open Educational Resources for teachers, students and schools everywhere.

Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Open Society Foundations are pleased to announce the winners of the Why Open Education Matters video competition. The competition was launched in March 2012 to solicit creative videos that clearly communicate the use and potential of free, high-quality Open Educational Resources — or “OER” — and describe the benefits and opportunities these materials create for teachers, students, and schools everywhere.
With all the debates on 'open access' in academic publishing we/I tend to overlook some of the bigger challenges that affect students around the globe who cannot afford up-to-date, accessible teaching and learning materials...great videos on OER that are worth sharing!

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