Links & Contents I Liked 351

Hi all,

To be fair, it felt it bit more exciting to share link review 350 last week, but time flies and great new content wants to be shared! So happy reading, thinking & sharing!

My quotes of the week
We must start respecting the diversity of approaches that support people in different societies and cultures; many of which start with the body, not the mind, and the acknowledgement that sometimes the emotions that need releasing are trapped somewhere in a physical form. (A Personal Account of Trauma and Healing)

‘My whole life is on my phone’ they say; that means your dating life, social life, self-image and maybe your business. Having a smartphone doesn’t change your life or your behaviour, it just extends it onto a new platform.
Of course, smartphones are already expanding the potential of social ventures like ours. But to harness that potential, we need to keep one foot on the ground.
Fundamentally, whether someone has a smartphone in their hand or not, they’re the same nuanced individual, who needs to be inspired, entertained and understood to be really engaged. And with phone memory in short-supply, and the cost of data still too high, a new app has to add serious value to oust a WhatsApp or SportsPesa.
(
10 insights from our first 10 years)

(W)hat I keep coming back to is a desire to honour my obligations to lands, waters, atmospheres and to work towards just living more reciprocally with my human and non-human relations. This is not easy work, and it is fraught and complicated when the spaces we are told we can occupy are so constricting and conservative and suspicious of real, deep, expansive change. ((an answer))

Enjoy!

Development news

Behind the Headlines: 10 Crises to Watch

More than 400 people tuned in to catch Behind the Headlines: 10 Crises to Watch, a webinar hosted by The New Humanitarian. For the first time, TNH readers were invited to get the inside scoop on how this year’s 10 Humanitarian Crises and Trends to Watch feature was compiled. Senior editors broke down the issues we believe will shape the agenda and should be on your radar in 2020.
The New Humanitarian with an excellent way to catch-up on the forthcoming year in #globaldev & humanitarianism!

Six trends that will shape the future of humanitarian action

As a result, we are seeing internationalized proxy conflicts like Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen burn on indefinitely, and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law continue unchecked, leading to a dangerous erosion of international norms.
I think UN OCHA's list will be the last one on humanitarian trends in 2020 I'll share, but it's actually quite interesting ;)!

EXCLUSIVE: The cyber attack the UN tried to keep under wraps

Although it is unclear what documents and data the hackers obtained in the 2019 incident, the report seen by TNH implies that internal documents, databases, emails, commercial information, and personal data may have been available to the intruders – sensitive data that could have far-reaching repercussions for staff, individuals, and organisations communicating with and doing business with the UN.
The compromised servers included 33 in the UN Office at Geneva, three at OHCHR in Geneva, and at least four in the Vienna office. According to the report, the breach also grabbed “active directories”, with each likely to list hundreds of users as well as human resources and health insurance systems, other databases, and network resources. The three affected offices have in total about 4,000 staff.
(...)
Taylor, who studies the use of data by international organisations, said the UN sits "outside the framework of laws developed around the world to deal with this problem, and [has] therefore not had to develop processes for transparency about breaches”.
“Expecting any large and powerful organisation to self-regulate and behave perfectly ethically is not realistic,” she added.
Ben Parker with an important exclusive for the New Humanitarian!

Agnes Callamard: unflinching UN official taking on Saudi crown prince

“Agnes is effective because she understands that human rights work is work. It’s a job. And it needs to be done well, as opposed to people making noise on Twitter,” says Matthew Caruana Galizia, the son of the murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. “She does not lash out. She does the work to document what really happened and then, after that, there is a drive for accountability.”
He added: “I really admire what she is doing. A lone woman holding the unaccountable accountable. She has no budget, no office, nothing. And look at how Saudi Arabia fears her.”
Stephanie Kirchgaessner for the Guardian with an interesting portrait of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Melissa Fleming Wants to Change the UN’s Public Image. Can She Do It?
It’s called the three W’s of cause communications. We work for a cause. We have professionals who were journalists, fantastic, talented and experienced. However, we’re not just there to provide information, we’re there to capture people’s imagination. So the three Ws are: What — what we need to lead the narrative on authoritative, factual, neutral information, we need to be that source; the second W is — Why care, so we can’t just have the objective of raising awareness, it’s just simply not enough to get people to do what we need them to do in this day and age of climate disaster. We’re going to be employing more storytelling, more solutions, hope-focused approaches to our reporting, to really pull people in and to give them a sense of, yes, there are problems that affect me, but yes, there actually are ways to solve them. And then once we get them to care, the third W is — What now? So what are we going to ask people to do, what is the UN doing about it? But also, how are we going to involve people?
Stéphanie Fillion for PassBlue with another interesting portrait of a senior female UN manager.

What lies behind the phony war over Inequality Statistics?

Methodological debates are unavoidable, but these debates are regularly exploited with the purpose of stifling or diverting from an increasingly lively debate. Instead we should focus on how we enact the progressive policies urgently needed to close the extreme and harmful gap between the rich and the rest of society.
Max Lawson, Patricia Espinoza & Franziska Mager for fp2p with an important update on what matters in the debates around inequality.

Charity won't fix inequality. Only structural change will

Charity, while wonderful, ameliorates the symptoms of inequality, but it does not address its root causes. And we must address the root causes. Keep in mind that large swaths of people around the world are growing increasingly impatient with the status quo, and we with power will feel their ire if we ignore their righteous demands for a fair and just society. So those of us with privilege need to find ways to do more justice. That means not only helping those who are often excluded, but also undoing the systems and structures that create inequities and imbalances in the first place. That will sometimes also mean working to transfer our own power, and giving up some of the privileges we currently enjoy.
Darren Walker for the Guardian with an important reminder on why more charity is not 'the answer'.

Podcasts: where next?

In this report we look at the changing podcast landscape, the trends dominating the field, where podcasts are heading next and we explore how INGOs can best utilise the medium.
Chloe Choppen for the International Broadcasting Trust with a great new report on the latest #globaldev communication trend!

A Podcast About Doing Good

Do Gooder is a podcast about doing good. We’re curious about the why, the how, and the ethics of doing good. We interview interesting and engaging guests from all over the world in an attempt to understand what it means to do good.
I started to listen to Leigh Mathews' new Do Gooder podcast-and so should you :)!

SDG 17 check in: cross-sector partnerships from the beneficiary perspective?

The partnership drew on old craftsmanship from the region which was modified to fit Northern standards – all decided and directed by the Northern entrepreneur, leaving the young mothers with the task of adapting and imitating rather than innovating.
On top of that, income for the young mothers was unstable due to fluctuations in European demand for the product produced, making it impossible for the women to plan ahead and to improve support for their children’s schoolwork.
These were just some of the unexpected, invisible and unpronounced outcomes of the cross-sector partnership which occurred as the entrepreneur and the NGO leaders were focusing on making the partnership work and the Northern government initially supporting the project was happy to see some business result from the collaboration.
Anne Vestergaard, Luisa Murphy, Mette Morsing & Thilde Langevang Copenhagen Business School's Business of Society share key findings from the latest research and publication on the challenges of SDG partnerships delivering results.

Close the Pentagon: Rethinking National Security for a Positive-Sum World

My new book Close the Pentagon describes the changing threats to America’s national security: the decline of war and the rise of global challenges that can only be tackled with collective action. It outlines the awesome inefficiency of the Department of Defense at its traditional role of war fighting and its limited capacity to adapt to new tasks. It concludes that America’s foreign policy apparatus should be overhauled –US military spending reduced to the global average with savings used to support economic assistance, global collective action and domestic priorities.
Charles Kenny with a new book and very sensible ideas about American security and military which are unlikely to become reality, but still...

10 insights from our first 10 years

Our fans don’t describe their separate ‘digital life’ when they talk about their phones, they just describe their lives. ‘My whole life is on my phone’ they say; that means your dating life, social life, self-image and maybe your business. Having a smartphone doesn’t change your life or your behaviour, it just extends it onto a new platform.
Of course, smartphones are already expanding the potential of social ventures like ours. But to harness that potential, we need to keep one foot on the ground.
Fundamentally, whether someone has a smartphone in their hand or not, they’re the same nuanced individual, who needs to be inspired, entertained and understood to be really engaged. And with phone memory in short-supply, and the cost of data still too high, a new app has to add serious value to oust a WhatsApp or SportsPesa.
These insights from Shujaaz, a Nairobi-based social venture, are refreshing and good to keep in mind when old people like myself start to pontificate about 'digital lives' again ;)!

The Unbearable Whiteness Of Tourism

Let us live, travel and move about the world, even if we’re brown, even if we’re poor because fuck you, we are all born helpless and we are all born free. We all deserve a chance to see the world, to fall in love, to earn a living and to just stretch our feet and walk about the cabin.
I write this in an AirBnB owned by a white person, coming back from a white beach, being a brown person. It’s not fair. This isn’t tourism, it’s just colonialism with tips. And I don’t want just the tip. The world is mine, the world is ours, and a fair world is visa-free for all.
Indi Samarajiva extends the debates around 'decolonization' and being an 'expat' (see links from the archive at the bottom).

Big Picture

A version of the above. Anecdotally, one of the most common mistakes that I see humanitarians make is to focus their angst and frustrations with the system on people. We should focus calls and plans for change on policies, processes, structures, etc. that need to change, rather than on individual people who, because of their job, are part of those processes and structures. Some people really are jerks who need to go. Some people really are incompetent, and they need to go, too. And some people are just in the wrong seat on the bus. But that as may be, if the driver for change is a particular person or people who annoy us, and our agenda for change is to put them in their place, then we’ll end up bringing the wrong kinds of changes.
Did I mention how glad I am that I can share J.'s blogging with my students again ?!?

A Personal Account of Trauma and Healing
We need to find new ways of honouring and caring for our suffering. Simply providing a counselling service, as many NGOs do nowadays, is not enough in an organisational culture where people still feel unable to bring their full, emotional selves into the workplace. Nor is talking therapy always the solution; in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide this was widely believed to have re-traumatised many of the survivors. We must start respecting the diversity of approaches that support people in different societies and cultures; many of which start with the body, not the mind, and the acknowledgement that sometimes the emotions that need releasing are trapped somewhere in a physical form.
Gemma Houldey (who will present her work in our course next week again which I'm thrilled about!) shares personal, powerful reflections on why 'healing' is such a individualized process that may go beyond an organizational guiding document or checklist...


Our digital lives
Horror Stories From Inside Amazon's Mechanical Turk

Yet as benign as academic research may seem, 12 percent of respondents claimed that the worst or strangest experience on Mechanical Turk was due to what can only be described as uncomfortable personal data requests wherein the worker reported feeling emotionally traumatized by an academic survey.
A worker claimed that after having to fill in a suicide-related survey, they had “intensely negative feelings come up,” even though it had been 10 years since they last felt depressed, while a different Turker said they were “brought to tears” recalling the cancer diagnosis of a loved one.
Dhruv Mehrotra for gizmodo on the dark side of platform capitalism and some of its (ab)uses by the #highered community.

African digital labour and contemporary global capitalism

Based on a five year study (2014-2019) we conducted in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya, involving in-depth interviews and group discussions with over 200 stakeholders including workers, managers of outsourcing firms, government officials, trade unions, employment agencies, private-sector associations, and industry experts, in this paper, we attempt to construct a snapshot of the key ways in which African digital labour has been integrated into the production networks of digital products and services that are being deployed around the world.
Mohammad Anwar for the Oxford Internet Institute with new research on the bigger picture of digital economy trends in Africa.

Academia

(an answer)

Put simply, doing (north atlantic) anthropology in still predominantly white, colonial institutions as an Indigenous person in Canada repeatedly makes me a bad relation to those I love. It asks me to forego the most foundational teachings of my Métis and Cree ancestors regarding how to be in the world. As I have learned from Indigenous scholars including Dr. Patti Laboucane-Benson, one of the first laws in Cree legal orders is love. I did not fly to San Jose out of love. I flew out of ego, the desire to prove my worth and my intelligence to a fellow group of scholars.
I suppose that was the true end. That conference. The fire and smoke. The realization that western academia currently takes itself far too seriously and is currently far too conservative in its configurations and imagination to really understand how it is imbricated in the disasters (Sharpe 2016). How can we think outside the systems when they demand so much of us, require fealty to such toxic and harmful structures and configurations?
For me, what I keep coming back to is a desire to honour my obligations to lands, waters, atmospheres and to work towards just living more reciprocally with my human and non-human relations. This is not easy work, and it is fraught and complicated when the spaces we are told we can occupy are so constricting and conservative and suspicious of real, deep, expansive change.
Zoe Todd for anthrodendum on leaving (Western) anthropology.

What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 140, 16 March 2015)

Why I promote book reviews

Book reviews are time consuming and are usually read and shared less than other blog content-so why bother with them?
Me on book reviews...definitely more in the pipeline for 2020!

Media and NGOs: One academic’s take on how the two can work together

But new media brands are moving in fast. I find two developments particularly interesting: One is the rise of specialized outlets-U.N. Dispatch or or Turtle Bay report more details on U.N. work than any mainstream media; the other is that some brands seem to become more interested in international news – sadly because of the horrific news coming out of Syria and Iraq connected to IS or the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Buzzfeed, VICE, the Verge or Medium.com are more engaged now and I hope that they invest in reporting that goes beyond eye-catching crisis reporting.
Me again-this time talking to Tom Murphy for Humanosphere...those good old days of #globaldev journalism ;)!

Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?

Surely any person going to work outside their country is an expatriate? But no, the word exclusively applies to white people
Mawuna Remarque Koutonin's post has been shared 150K+ times & still creates important food for thought...

14 changes UK NGOs must make to be relevant in 10 years time

How can UK NGOs face the challenges of the next 10 years? Our panel has these suggestions
Rachel Banning-Lover with the list...since we are half-way through those ten years perhaps a good point to revisit the discussions?

Innovation spaces: transforming humanitarian practice in the United Nations

We ask four key questions: What form do innovation labs in UN agencies take? What motivated their initiation? What are their aims and objectives? What impact have they had and how is the impact being measured? As innovation practice gains momentum, we reflect on the future of innovation spaces as a way to foster innovation within the UN system.
Louise Bloom & Romy Faulkner with questions that are worth revisiting again as well...

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