Links & Contents I Liked 352

Hi all,

We just wrapped up to great days of teaching & it's late Friday afternoon-so I'll keep the introduction short ;)! Have a great weekend!

My quotes of the week

“They ignore us but without Rohingya involvement they can’t do anything in the camps, they can’t even understand us properly. They don’t know our language,” he says. “We are the nuts and bolts.”
(Stop ignoring us: Rohingya refugees demand role in running camps)


Which means moving from a pure documentary space to an editorial space, to ethical representation, where the goal is to help the world see the person we are photographing as someone who is worthy of respect and admiration despite their circumstances. Ethical representation is beyond obtaining consent to take the photo, and beyond making sure the subject understands how the photo will be used. Ethical representation is going beyond what the subject of the photo understands and working to represent and portray them in the best way possible, taking into account the lens through which the audience will view the photo and working to eliminate things that will diminish how they perceive the subject of the photo. (Ethical Representation in Humanitarian Photography)

While looking after yourself is great, self-care is still an idea rooted in a neoliberal tradition of looking out for ourselves, rather than seeing ourselves, our health and our fates as inextricably linked to our fellow human beings.
Wouldn’t it be great if this decade we took the self out of self-care and strived instead for communal care?

(We need to move on from self-care to something that cannot be captured by capitalism)

Enjoy!

Development news
Davos is ignoring one of the most devastating humanitarian crises of our time

I call this era the age of impunity: where war crimes go unpunished and the laws of war become optional. While businesses are starting to wake up to the global climate emergency, they are yet to acknowledge that we are facing an accountability emergency as well.
IRC's David Miliband for Quartz talks about one of the growing elephants in the humanitarian room.

Why Are So Many Aid Workers Being Killed in the Line of Duty?

According to my guest today, Abby Stoddard, attacks on aid workers and humanitarian relief operations are both a symptom and a weapon of modern warfare. Indeed, it is the changing nature of conflict around the world that is driving increasing levels of violence against aid workers.
(...)
So what many people may not realize is that the vast majority of aid workers generally are nationals of the countries that they’re working in. Um, and because most aid workers are national staff, uh, about 90% of the victims are also national staff. But when we look at the rates of national and international or expatriate aid workers, you’re seeing something interesting, which is that the, the rates of violence or national aid workers is actually growing. So there are always the the largest number of victims and in absolute terms, but international stats, you used to have a slightly higher attack rate, not perhaps explainable by there being a more visible target fetching higher ransoms for kidnappings. But the attack rate is now equal between national and international staff. But the fatality rate for nationals is three times higher. So I think that shows in these more dangerous contexts, a reliance on international organizations using their partner organizations and remote operations with their national staff. So that brunt of the violence is really being born by these nationals.
Mark Leon Goldberg talks to Abby Stoddard for UN Dispatch about the (increasing) risks for aid work(ers).

Stop ignoring us: Rohingya refugees demand role in running camps

The relationship between the Rohingya and the humanitarian community has been strained by a recent government order to stop paying refugee volunteers in cash, which the authorities claim is used to buy false documents. The government has encouraged the hiring of Bangladeshis instead. Refugees claim they have been removed from volunteer roles, which typically pay a daily stipend of less than £3, which forces them to rely solely on the aid supply of oil, lentils and rice.
NGOs operating in the area claim “miscommunication” was a reason some Rohingya had been dismissed.
“There is a major communication breakdown between some international humanitarian organisations and the Rohingya refugee volunteers about why they are being dismissed,” says John Quinley, human rights specialist for the advocacy group Fortify Rights, which has documented the dismissals.
(...)
“They ignore us but without Rohingya involvement they can’t do anything in the camps, they can’t even understand us properly. They don’t know our language,” he says. “We are the nuts and bolts.”
Kaamil Ahmed for the Guardian on how difficult and politicized 'localization' can be in practice.

Farewell Newsletter 1983—2019

Our partners have stood the test of time, and we have supported them to strengthen their institutions. However, they no longer rely on SOS Sahel UK for their survival. Our fledglings have left the nest. They are innovative, have a multitude of partners and donors, have loyal and knowledgeable staff and each has a clear programmatic and organisational strategy.
(...)
However, we have come to realise that our own journey is now complete and our goal achieved. We have succeeded in transferring power to African organisations so that they can drive change locally. We are proudly handing the baton over to our partners, who will continue to fight for justice, equality, wealth and happiness for their people.
Our closure at this time means that we will be able to pass any remaining funds we have to our partners, to help them in their missions.
After 36 years Oxford-based NGO SOS-Sahel is closing their offices and handing responsibilities over to their local partners.

How Coronavirus Fears Tap Into the Deep History of Xenophobia in Public Health
Historical fears around foreign diseases have only become more intense in our current information and political environment. Social media sites have worked to contain misinformation. Twitter, for example, banned a high-profile account after it posted coronavirus conspiracies about the virus’s origin, doxing a Chinese scientist in the process. The post played on fears of China developing a “bioweapon,” and subsequent conspiracies have embellished on it to tie it to Chinese spies, opening the door to even more anti-Chinese sentiment.
Brian Kahn for Gizmodo with a great overview over current communication aspects around Coronavirus.

In Search of the Helpful Academic: 10 ways they can support Practitioners

I sat down with Willem and came up with some constructive roles that academics can play
Duncan Green & Willem Elbers for fp2p. It's Friday afternoon and my brain is getting a bit tired after two long days of teaching, so it's a bit difficult to put my finger on what's missing from the list; I think there are elements of 'diversity' (?) missing...I agree with many points, but I'm also a white European male academic like the authors...how would you de-/re-center the list in different ways ?!?


Ethical Representation in Humanitarian Photography

Which means moving from a pure documentary space to an editorial space, to ethical representation, where the goal is to help the world see the person we are photographing as someone who is worthy of respect and admiration despite their circumstances. Ethical representation is beyond obtaining consent to take the photo, and beyond making sure the subject understands how the photo will be used. Ethical representation is going beyond what the subject of the photo understands and working to represent and portray them in the best way possible, taking into account the lens through which the audience will view the photo and working to eliminate things that will diminish how they perceive the subject of the photo.
Bryon Lippincott with a great essay on the challenges of getting humanitarian photography right.


Humanitarian communication in a post-truth world

Researchers can do more too. Although “fake news” has dominated public debate (and presidential tweets) for some time, we have relatively little empirical data about its actual reach or impact – and even less its role in humanitarian crises. Alarmingly, despite this lack of evidence, a number of countries have seized on the “fake news crisis” as an excuse to crack down on free speech.
We can help respond to this by producing rigorous, empirical research, particularly on audience interactions with disinformation.
We can also work harder to discover and evaluate new methods for funding reputable sources of journalism, and by staying committed to working in partnership with practitioners, and sharing our insights in public-facing fora, where possible.
Mel Bunce for the Humanitarian News Research Network (check out their new website!) with a summary of her latest research article.

Development aid: how do you convince the public that progress is possible?

Though cautious to make predictions about how attitudes to aid might change in years to come, Professor Hudson notes that there will be serious debate about the discourse, narrative and presentation of what development assistance and international aid actually is.
“The NGOs are starting to acknowledge the issues and adapt. There is greater consideration at a governmental level of how aid fits into wider foreign policy – whether that is shifting programmes into trade departments or looking for those ‘win-win’ outcomes. The US, France, Germany, it’s similar in all of the countries we look at. But at a public level, perception is still driven by coverage of aid in the media.”
“That coverage is heavily skewed towards disasters, conflict and migration. Only one sixth (16.7%) of all development funding goes as humanitarian assistance – which include disaster relief – and yet that is the primary thought that most people have. That will have an impact on their perceptions. To really alter the understanding of aid we need to penetrate that widely held belief that and find a way of sharing different messages about the more complex nature of international development, and the mutual benefits it brings.”
David Hudson with a long post + video on their latest work around public perceptions and images of aid.

Western advisers helped an autocrat’s daughter amass and shield a fortune

Western consulting, accounting and law firms played a key role in helping Africa’s wealthiest woman amass and shield a fortune.
PwC, Boston Consulting Group and other major firms facilitated dos Santos’ efforts to profit off her country’s wealth, apparently ignoring red flags along the way.
Regulators around the globe have virtually ignored the key role Western professionals play in maintaining an offshore industry that drives money laundering and drains trillions from public coffers.
Ben Hallman, Kyra Gurney, Scilla Alecci & Max de Haldevang for International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with important insights into the dos Santos case-the (neo-)colonial global extractive industry works hands in glove with corrupt leaders around the world, causing much more damage than any dodgy #globaldev intervention.

How Funders Can Help Reimagine the Relationship Between International NGOs and Local Partners

Under pressure to reimagine philanthropic practice, private foundations are increasingly attentive to the quality of their relationships with grantees. They’re asking important questions of themselves with greater frequency: Are we listening? Are we providing adequate overhead and flexible support for organizational health? Are we consistently acting in respectful partnership with the organizations that depend on us for financial support — and upon whom we depend for advocacy, research, and the delivery of services to people we seek to benefit?
Ruth Levine for the Center for Effective Philanthropy asked some important questions about re-inventing relationships in philanthropy.

Our digital lives

We need to move on from self-care to something that cannot be captured by capitalism

While looking after yourself is great, self-care is still an idea rooted in a neoliberal tradition of looking out for ourselves, rather than seeing ourselves, our health and our fates as inextricably linked to our fellow human beings.
Wouldn’t it be great if this decade we took the self out of self-care and strived instead for communal care?
Brigid Delaney for the Guardian continues the debate on how to make 'self-care' more meaningful and less driven by consumer capitalism.

Publications


What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 141, 30 March 2015)
The professionalization of development volunteering – towards a new global precariat

The question is not simply about ‘volunteering in a school in Ghana’, but how the volunteering discourse – almost exclusively linked to un- or low-paid engagement of increasingly well-educated young women and men (both in the global North and South!) – has gained such momentum:
An ‘experience industry’ is now linked to the regular development industry that demands more qualifications and skills while at the same time contributing to precarious quasi-employment that often masks the challenges of over-supply of young professionals and shifting dynamics in global development engagement away from the traditional ‘North-South’ flow.
I will arrange my reflections around two key points: First, the paradox that rightly demands better educated aid professionals, but not necessarily links them to equally professional work and salaries.
And second, a growing ‘volunteering industry’ that usually brings together state, civil society and academia, but that is more likely to contribute to a depoliticized ‘employability’ discourse than meaningful political engagement over development policy and practice.
I think it'd be fair to call this post a 'classic' in the history of Aidnography ;)!

10 Life Hacks I Learned by Doing Aid Work

But here’s what - aid work is like a crash course on life. Here are 10 life hacks I learned by doing aid work
Claudia Byrne's hacks are still as relevant as they were 5 years ago...

Does humanitarian aid mend communities or break them?

Well, when discussing the hidden injuries of humanitarian relief, it is important to emphasise the importance of community consultations to understand local customs and preferences, especially as Filipino village cultures traditionally emphasise values of neighbourly cooperation and mutual obligation to care for each other.
Jonathan Ong with one of the first posts that got me interested in his research!

“Just Getting a Bunch of Likes, or Creating a Hashtag? That’s Not Social Change”: Impact Producer Lina Srivastava

We have to set the cultural stage for change to happen. It’s about funding, cultivating and creating lots of pieces of media. Media that will allow people to have those discussions and those shifts in perceptions towards empathy, will then allow them to go towards that intelligent action. I don’t think you can say one film did anything. There was some newsworthy thing that happened relating to immigration reform and someone tweeted at me, “Wow, is this a result of the fact that Who Is Dayani Cristal? was released in theaters?” And I was like, “no!” No, It’s a film. It’s a film. It’s not about, “oh, now we released this film and the entire movement is going to change.” Not going to happen. It’s about movement. And we’re contributing to that.
Lina Srivastava with wise-words that are still relevant, unfortunately...

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