Links & Contents I Liked 338

Hi all,

Today is #climatestrike day-so enjoy new #globaldev readings & a fresh book review over the weekend!

My quotes of the week
Everyone who lived on the hardest-hit islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco – about 76,000 people – is affected. Housing, infrastructure, and basic services have either been destroyed, damaged, or disrupted.
As much as 90 percent of Abaco has been damaged. The mostly-Haitian shantytowns of The Mudd and Pigeon Peas were flattened.
(Five things to watch after Hurricane Dorian strikes the Bahamas)

The transnational nature of the digital revolution has the potential to break down Africa’s arbitrary borders, which were haphazardly drawn during the colonial era, as well as the potential to diffuse power away from state governments to citizens. But it also makes it harder for those who misuse the technology to be held to account.
(
Africa should not be too quick to embrace the fourth industrial revolution)

Enjoy!

New from aidnography

The business of changing the world (book review)

Finishing the book felt a bit similar of going home after a dinner talk: You had an entertaining evening, probably in the company of interesting people, and you feel somehow smarter and somewhat motivated, but once you wake up the next morning you realize how complicated, political and less well-intentioned the world really is.
The business of changing the world is not nuanced and critical enough to receive my full endorsement. It reflects the state of a discussion around business and development that claims to ‘disrupt’, but essentially only introduces philanthrocapitalism and digital solutionism into an aid ecosystem that faces much bigger and more complex challenges that any business approach is willing to deliver without questioning the path of how we ended up in a state of climate emergency in the first place…
Wenn Weisse Afrika retten wollen
Wie zahlreiche andere Entwicklungsexperten ist Denskus überzeugt, dass diese Art von vermeintlicher «Entwicklungshilfe» oft mehr schadet als nützt. Man müsse die Frage, was junge, unqualifizierte Freiwillige in einem fremden Land innert weniger Wochen zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung beitragen können, ehrlich beantworten: «In den meisten Fällen sehr wenig.»
Fabian Urech for the Neue Zuercher Zeitung on the white savior debate and a few quotes by yours truly on how young, unqualified volunteers often do more harm than good...

Development news
Climate crisis leaving 2 million people a week needing aid – Red Cross

By the end of the next decade, the current contribution of between $3.5bn and $12bn (£2.8bn to £9.6bn) a year from funders would need to rise to at least $20bn a year, to keep pace with a predicted surge in the number of people afflicted by disasters such as storms, floods, droughts and other extreme weather events. The estimates were made in a report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), entitled The Cost of Doing Nothing, presented to the UN on Thursday evening.
Fiona Harvey for the Guardian on the latest IFRC report 'The cost of doing nothing'.

Five things to watch after Hurricane Dorian strikes the Bahamas

Everyone who lived on the hardest-hit islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco – about 76,000 people – is affected. Housing, infrastructure, and basic services have either been destroyed, damaged, or disrupted.
As much as 90 percent of Abaco has been damaged. The mostly-Haitian shantytowns of The Mudd and Pigeon Peas were flattened. Many of the estimated 5,000 Haitians on Abaco had been living and working in the Bahamas for years, many of them undocumented.
Here’s a stock-take of response operations so far.
Ben Parker for the New Humanitarian with an update from the Bahamas.

Independent inquiry fails to answer important questions on the UN’s role in Myanmar
In the meantime, the UN’s reputation further deteriorates, potentially undermining its work elsewhere as well as the reform of the country team system. No official, diplomat, or government representative has been held accountable for a responsibility that is shared collectively. More than one million Rohingya refugees continue to live in horrid conditions in Bangladeshi refugee camps.
Gerrit Kurtz on the UN inquiry into their shortcomings in the Rohingya crisis and implications for organizational (non-)learning.

Stalling the UN Report on Dag Hammarskjold’s Death Is Regrettable

Having tirelessly investigated all leads, the Tanzanian investigator has uncovered an array of new witnesses, sensitive archives, information about previously unknown Western mercenaries, the presence of rogue aircraft in Katangese and Rhodesian skies and a plot by French elite officers to assassinate UN leaders in the Congo.Yet despite these findings, the Othman investigation has repeatedly hit a wall. Several UN member states have consistently expressed an extreme reluctance, if not outright refusal, to declassify still-secret material.
Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, South Africa and the United States may well be wary of revealing the details of events from the colonial era, however ancient they may be. Even Hammarskjold’s own country, Sweden, has refused to declassify some documents related to the Ndola tragedy, invoking “national security” considerations.
As Richard Goldstone, a former South African chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, has noted: political embarrassment can be a powerful leverage.
Maurin Picard for PassBlue with an update on another UN inquiry at the anniversary of Hammarskjöld's death.

At age 74, the UN wants to be young again

Short-term work contracts and slow professional advancement opportunities are among the reasons some junior staffers are looking beyond the U.N., according to several current and former U.N. employees.
(...)
Nam said he has spoken with transgender employees who come from countries with regressive LGBTI policies and idealized working for the U.N. The reality is not quite as they imagined it: “A lot of them find themselves disappointed. Maybe a bit less so now, because we are pushing for greater awareness of these issues,” he said.
For one former U.N. staffer, a slow and unclear career path factored into the decision to join the private sector.
Amy Lieberman for DevEx on how the UN system is grappling with their civil service framework from the 1960s in the 21st century...

Bono is really into drones now (but it’s good)

Activists, Bono says, don’t normally become investors, but he’s interested in supporting what works. He downplays his role as a board member (“I don’t think they need me to represent them,” he says. “I might be trouble at the Christmas party”). But the startup says that the musician’s influence will help them convince governments to adopt the technology more quickly.
Adele Peters for Fast Company-Bono is back and so is the Zipline PR work; it's really difficult to assess their impact beyond PR and invited journalist visits.

Africa should not be too quick to embrace the fourth industrial revolution
The transnational nature of the digital revolution has the potential to break down Africa’s arbitrary borders, which were haphazardly drawn during the colonial era, as well as the potential to diffuse power away from state governments to citizens. But it also makes it harder for those who misuse the technology to be held to account.
Karen Allen for the Guardian with a good overview over some key cyber/ICT4D challenges across Africa.

Central African Republic: The parable of the 11 stolen motorcycles

At this point, Dothe began to despair. This was the spiral of revenge that he had been so worried about. Determined to prevent further violence, he decided to approach the police to see whether they could intervene. The police referred him to the national prosecutor. The national prosecutor said he could not open a case without a lawyer — and a lawyer cost almost as much as a brand new motorcycle. It was money that Dothe simply didn’t have.
Dothe’s friends did not understand why he was bothering. “We can get you a new motorcycle this afternoon,” they said. “We just take one from the people who took yours from you. That’s how things work around here.”
Dothe refused. What is the point of having rules if nobody follows them, he wondered.
Giving up on official channels, Dothe asked the presidents of the two moto-taxi associations to meet. They were both sympathetic, and agreed to the meeting, but they warned that the issue was beginning to cause tensions in the Christian and Muslim communities. People were getting angry, and were threatening to take matters into their own hands. This was exactly the kind of issue that had led to flare-ups of violence in the past.
Dothe said he understood. He didn’t want any violence, he just wanted to his motorcycle back.
Simon Allison for the Mail & Guardian with a story about stolen motorbikes in CAR that tells a much bigger story about life, conflict (resolution) and #globaldev!

Naomi Hossain on The Politics of Education in Developing Countries: From Schooling to Learning

Don’t enforce reforms when there’s no capacity to implement. You need best fit – reform programmes that are grounded in the local context, understand it. That means answers must come from local coalitions, and outsiders’ role is to help create the spaces for those conversations to happen, and support the systems to collect the data needed to make good decisions.
Who are the drivers of quality reforms? It is often a middle class thing, but in a lot of these countries, the middle class has exited into private education. So we need to help create the idea that learning matters. That is coming – you’re now getting second generations of going-to-school parents, who are pushing for quality. There are some policy champions emerging, eg in Cambodia. But there’s a lot of work to be done.
Duncan Green talks to Naomi Hossain for fp2p about her latest co-edited and open access book!

How Immigration Policies Are Limiting Afrobeats’ Global Entry

“As the world continues to experience our art and interact with its creators, the future of African music appears bright,” says Joey Akan, a Nigerian music journalist. “Only time will tell how big the movement will grow and perhaps, someday, take over the global stage.”
As it stands, the takeover will be hard-won. Those unfamiliar with the process of applying for a visa may believe, naively, that being a model citizen guarantees entry to other countries. However, experience proves that is not the case. Timileyin A, a representative of 3 Kings Media Group, responsible for Burna Boy’s show in Toronto, knows preparedness and timing are essential.
“We plan ahead of time and send in all paperwork to get a working visa early,” he says. Even when an artist is granted a visa early—Burna Boy, according to Timileyin, had his work visa sorted out as soon as February for his August show—they can't predict what hurdles they’ll face at the point of entry.
Adedoyin “Ade” Adeniji for DJ Booth on Afrobeats, globalization and immigration regimes.

David Adjaye to Design Benin Royal Museum, Housing Artifacts Stolen Under Colonialism

In other words, not only were the French giving back what they had stolen more than a century earlier, they intended to help fund a building that would display what was Benin’s in the first place. This museum’s development is still in progress, but it’s not the only institution being built in West Africa for the intention of housing once-looted treasures. This week, a spokesperson for the in-demand art star architect David Adjaye told Artnet that Adjaye had been tapped for a feasibility study for the new Benin Royal Museum in Benin City, Nigeria, which would potentially hold artifacts stolen from the historic kingdom, such as the Benin bronzes.
Helen Holmes for the Observer with an update on returning stolen African artifacts and new emerging museum spaces.

Our digital lives
Does humor work in fundraising?

There's a more fundamental problem with humor that makes it bad for fundraising -- even if your donors somehow get the joke. The psychological foundation of most humor is a sense of superiority -- sometimes gentle, sometimes cruel, but always there. You're laughing at something or someone. You're pulling something over on them. This sense of superiority is about as far from the emotion that leads to charity as you can get.
When you use humor in your fundraising, you pollute the atmosphere. You make empathy and kindness difficult. Being funny while fundraising is like belting out punk rock while soothing a baby to sleep. You could be good at both. But not at the same time.
Jeff Brooks for Future Fundraising Now introduces an interesting book with a great question about the role of humor in fundraising.

Facing the Great Reckoning Head-On

Many of us are aghast to learn that a pedophile had this much influence in tech, science, and academia, but so many more people face the personal and professional harm of exclusion, the emotional burden of never-ending subtle misogyny, the exhaustion from dodging daggers, and the nagging feeling that you’re going crazy as you try to get through each day. Let’s change the norms. Please help me.
danah boyd shares the transcript of an award acceptance speech that addresses the MIT-Epstein scandal in a powerful way.

Publications

UKCDR publishes draft briefing paper and evidence review on safeguarding in international development research

UKCDR commissioned a team from the School of Education & Social Work and the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex led by Dr David Orr to conduct an independent evidence review to characterise the nature of specific safeguarding issues and challenges that may arise in the international development research context, identify existing guidance and review its implementation.
Today, UKCDR has published the outputs of this work including a set of draft principles and best practice guidance.
Nicole Huxley for the UK Collaborative on Development Research with a report from June that I must have missed during the summer break...

Asian Transformations

Asian Transformations sets the stage by discussing the contribution of Gunnar Myrdal to the debate on development then and now and providing a long-term historical perspective on Asia in the world. It then uses cross-country thematic studies on governments, economic openness, agricultural transformation, industrialization, macroeconomics, poverty and inequality, education and health, employment and unemployment, institutions, and nationalisms to analyse processes of change while recognizing the diversity in paths and outcomes. Specific country studies on China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, and sub-region studies on East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia, further highlight turning points in economic performance and demonstrate factors underlying success or failure.
UNU Wider with a new open access book edited by Deepak Nayyar.

What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 127, 3 October 2014)
Celebrity development bullshit bingo-Victoria Beckham UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador appointment speech edition

Nobody said the work and life of a communication for development researcher would be easy!
Therefore, I conducted painful field research by transcribing a 1:40 minute video recording of Victoria Beckham's appointment press conference as a new UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador.
Is Emma Watson the right woman for the job?
Let me underline, italicise, put in bold, that this is not supposed to be a criticism of Emma Watson. I admire her intelligence, her bravery, and her thoughtfulness. I do not blame her for talking about the experiences she knows. While she did not go quite as far as to say that her experiences belong to a highly elite, privileged class of people (the same class to which I myself probably belong), she did admit: "I don't know if I am qualified to be here. All I know is that I care about this problem. And I want to make it better."
What I do criticise, then, is that the United Nations chose to use a white, western, heterosexual, upper-class woman to speak for a group of united nations. Why should the mouthpiece of an international campaign be such a foreign, distant figure to so many girls and women?
How an Oxford degree – PPE – created a robotic governing class
A remarkable number of the politicians voters despised for their tricks learnt their politics at Oxford: David Cameron, William Hague, Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt, Ed Davey, Danny Alexander. Matthew Hancock, Ed Miliband, David Miliband, Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, Angela Eagle, Maria Eagle, Rachel Reeves and Stuart Wood. There are more PPE graduates in the Commons than Old Etonians (35 to 20). Remember I am not talking about Oxbridge-educated politicians, who make up 50 per cent of ministers and 28 per cent of MPs, but the graduates of just one Oxford course.

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