Links & Contents I Liked 357

Hi all, 

As Scandinavia is slowly shutting down I can offer plenty of good #globaldev readings beyond Covid-19! Lots on how to tell stories-differently & beyond the usual narratives. Plus, I included a great story on Biggie's belt, because who does not like a bit of hip hop history ;) ??!!

Enjoy!

 
My quotes of the week
Nevertheless, we do believe that having celebrities keep praising Save the Children’s work following damaging revelations played a role in the relatively quick recovery of its reputation.
(Restoring the reputations of charities after scandals)

(I)t is much more soothing and gratifying for a Westerner to believe that girls and women suffer because of the "inherent backwardness" of their societies rather than because of centuries of ruthless Western military and political intervention in their countries leading to constant conflicts.
(Skateboarding won't 'save' Afghan girls)

(T)here is little difference between an Eritrean living with the rats under the Parisian bypass and in a detention centre in Khoms. Their experience of migration is incredibly violent, their situation is precarious and dangerous. The situation of a Darfuri in Agadez is not much better, nor that of an Afghan in Samos, Greece. It is difficult not to see this population - unable to move in this world of global mobility - as the most unwanted among the unwanted.
(Libya: the forgotten ones)

New from aidnography
3 quick starting points & 1 structural reflection on how to make affordable online teaching a reality

I will talk about online teaching as a team effort, befriending your Learning Management System (LMS) and being in charge of your low-tech efforts with a participatory approach that includes students.
Lastly, I will briefly touch on our emerging digital ecosystem in Sweden that enables us to deliver the online teaching of the present and future!
This is an evolving post including updates on useful resources on how to set up online meetings & virtual teaching.

Development news

World Vision brushed off reports of corruption months ago

When a whistleblower first approached the chief executive of World Vision Australia, Claire Rogers, to report serious wrongdoing, they begged the former bank executive to keep the information from any of the charity's other employees.
"I can not stress how imperative it is that I see Claire tomorrow and that this matter be kept private and confidential from all ... WVA staff," the whistleblower wrote last December to the CEO's assistant.
Nick McKenzie & Richard Baker for the Age on the ongoing challenges that whistleblowers face in the #globaldev industry.

Skateboarding won't 'save' Afghan girls

These stories decontextualise the lives of these girls, presenting them as ideal victims for pity and ideal heroes for admiration. Their feats make Westerners feel good about the war in Afghanistan, that unlike the Iraq war was the "good" war, which "liberated" girls and women and gave them opportunities their own society would have never afforded them. After all, the "liberation of Afghan women" was one of the declared noble causes of the 2001 US-led invasion named Operation Enduring Freedom.
Apart from evoking white saviour emotions, such stories also serve well to cover up the complexities of economic and political realities in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world. Indeed, it is much more soothing and gratifying for a Westerner to believe that girls and women suffer because of the "inherent backwardness" of their societies rather than because of centuries of ruthless Western military and political intervention in their countries leading to constant conflicts.
Sahar Ghumkhor for Al-Jazeera on the saviorist narratives of 'empowering (Muslim) girls'.

The danger of stories in global health

The corollary to the danger of stories is that stories make people less scared. Fear comes from uncertainty, misunderstanding, and a failure to recognise humanity in one another. Stories are dangerous when they are ignored, taken out of context, are fiction masquerading as fact, or used to dominate, silence, or demonise other people. But stories have long been a means to explain what is happening to us, to think through our fears, and relate to each other as human beings. This is the real power of stories in global health: provision of comfort, making sense of our health and place in the world, challenging our preconceptions, and defeating fear through stories of common humanity.
Sophie Harman for the Lancet on the uses & abuses of story(telling) for global health.

The Poverty Stoplight: learning from a promising new participatory methodology

But after reading the book, hearing Martin’s own version of the Poverty Stoplight story, and engaging with it through the doctoral work of Juan Pane Solis, I share a sense of enthusiasm for this promising methodology; enthusiasm for a return to the known Freirian-inspired theory of change of participatory methodologies applied as interventions that trigger agency and self-efficacy for people to become protagonists of their own process of overcoming poverty. Knowing how many green, orange or red indicators (Poverty Stoplights) a family has at any point in their journey of implementation of their own life plan can enable measurement of multidimensional poverty in context. The combination of a focus on process, empowerment and hard measurement is behind the accolades that the methodology is receiving.
Marina Apgar for IDS on a new book & methodology to understand poverty better. 
  Building resilience in the development sector
(...)
The onus, therefore, falls on the larger, better-funded, and mature nonprofits. They need to define their core mission taking cognisance of the big shifts in development, and be prepared to respond as the ground shifts. This will require a strong coalition of nonprofits and supportive donors built on trust and mutual respect.
Suvojit Chattopadhyay for IDR Online on the bigger picture of what can work in #globaldev.

Statement by King Willem-Alexander at the beginning of the state visit to Indonesia

At the same time, it is a good thing that we continue to face up to our past. The past cannot be erased, and will have to be acknowledged by each generation in turn.
In the years immediately after the Proklamasi, a painful separation followed that cost many lives.
In line with earlier statements by my government, I would like to express my regret and apologise for excessive violence on the part of the Dutch in those years. I do so in the full realisation that the pain and sorrow of the families affected continue to be felt today.
The Dutch King apologizes for colonial violence at the beginning of the state visit in Indonesia.

Libya: the forgotten ones

The situation of migrants in Libya is both banal and exceptional. Exceptional because of the intense violence to which a large number of them are exposed – the violence of people traffickers and kidnappers, the violence of possibly dying at sea and the violence of war. But it is also terrifyingly banal: there is little difference between an Eritrean living with the rats under the Parisian bypass and in a detention centre in Khoms. Their experience of migration is incredibly violent, their situation is precarious and dangerous. The situation of a Darfuri in Agadez is not much better, nor that of an Afghan in Samos, Greece. It is difficult not to see this population - unable to move in this world of global mobility - as the most unwanted among the unwanted. They are the forgotten ones.
Michaël Neuman for MSF-CRASH shares powerful reflections on migration, refugees & the protracted situation in Libya.

Remembering Javier Pérez de Cuéllar’s “Piecemeal” Approach to UN Peacemaking

Most secretaries-general have lamented the state of the world in similar terms at one time or another. But Pérez de Cuéllar remains an interesting case study in UN leadership because, rather than simply complain about the state of the world, he made a real contribution to resolving crises involving its biggest powers, earning their respect along the way. His efforts included backchannel diplomacy with Russia and China over Afghanistan and Cambodia, and a drawn-out but ultimately successful effort to persuade the five permanent members of the Security Council to find common ground on ending the Iran-Iraq War. His tenure culminated with successful UN mediation in the Cold War proxy conflicts in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Richard Gowan for the International Crisis Group remembers the work of the late UN Secretary General.

An open letter to International NGOs who are looking to ‘localise’ their operations

What happens in practice is that these efforts only serve to reinforce the power dynamic at play, and ultimately to close the space for domestic civil society. This can be illustrated quite simply: a multi-million-dollar INGO, with an entire marketing, communications and fundraising team, whose project budget for this endeavour probably outstrips that of most of our national organisations for a year, then comes into the South to raise money ‘domestically’.
Perhaps the board has set a target of raising 30% of total income directly from the South. That’s not an additional million dollars, that’s a million or more dollars taken away from local civil society. And worse still, most of this money will be siphoned off to pay for their own inner workings, rather than be invested on the ground.
All of this serves to weaken us locally. It keeps us in a master/servant relationship continuously begging for grants from your institutions, while we remain bereft of core funding ourselves. This is not what we need or want.
An open letter for Open Democracy with some excellent points regarding the complexities of localizing #globaldev. 

I thought I was helping a vulnerable orphan escape poverty. Then I realised I could be making her situation worse
Kate van Doore for ABC News Australia continues the discussion around the negative impact of orphanages and orphanage tourism in Nepal. See also last week's multimedia photo feature about returning children to their rural families in Nepal.

A new style of development reporting? Pope Francis’s love letter to the Amazon

But I keep wondering, do these reports lead to any self-questioning, or questioning of existing structures of power? Do they make any difference in people’s lives, including mine? I may have been more informed about the state of the world, but more information about institutions not being right doesn’t necessarily lead to ‘making institutions right’, to quote a once favourite development buzz sentence.
Séverine Deneulin for fp2p and the 'voices of the poor'...

Restoring the reputations of charities after scandals

To be sure, these scandals were vastly different in nature. It’s entirely possible that the public found Oxfam’s sexual abuses of people in low-income countries more repugnant than Save the Children’s sexual harassment incidents in the U.K. In that case, the damage to Oxfam’s reputation would have taken longer to recover no matter what else happened.
Nevertheless, we do believe that having celebrities keep praising Save the Children’s work following damaging revelations played a role in the relatively quick recovery of its reputation.
Nives Dolsak & Aseem Prakash for the Conversation presenting new research on how Oxfam and Save The Children UK tried to restore their reputations after major scandals looking at Twitter for answers.

white People Ain’t Free

I’m talking about white people getting to the source of what pain we are numbing, dislodging the wisdom of our hearts and our bellies. We need to feel our own pains, stop numbing, stop transactional relationships, stop disposability and one-upmanship among white folk, so we can actually have a deeper humanity for ourselves, and people of color, too.This is a conversation for white communities to have within ourselves. So we can create systems of mutual accountability for our health.
Rita Sinorita Fierro on solidarity/ies fit for our times. 


Our digital lives

The Legend Of The Biggie Belt

Twenty-three years ago, The Notorious B.I.G. left his 52-inch belt at ‘The Source’ magazine weeks before he died. Nine Keepers of the Belt kept it safe and secret. Why was this accessory so important?
Aliya S. King for the Level with a fascinating long-read on hip hop history!

Publications

Disrupted Development and the Future of Inequality in the Age of Automation

The authors argue that the rise of a global ‘robot reserve army’ has profound effects on labor markets and economic development, but, rather than causing mass unemployment, new technologies are more likely to lead to stagnant wages and premature deindustrialization. The book illuminates the debate on the impact of automation upon economic development, in particular issues of poverty, inequality and work.
Lukas Schlögl & Andy Sumner with a new open access book for Palgrave's Rethinking International Development series.

Academia

Portraits of UK black female professors – in pictures

Phenomenal Women is said to be the first photographic exhibition honouring Britain’s black female professors. It features portraits by Bill Knight, researched and curated by Dr Nicola Rollock, reader in equity and education at Goldsmiths, of 40 professors across a broad range of subjects. The show will be at London’s City Hall from 18 March until the end of the month
Bill Night for the Guardian.

What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 146, 15 May 2015)
New research on International Development TED Talks & their role for communication for social change

Our analysis suggests that TED talks succeed in disseminating ideas and sparking public interest. At the same time, they reflect institutionalized, corporatized modes of mass communication rooted in elitist discourses and practices. Contrary to popular perceptions, we therefore conclude that
while TED talks are an effective vehicle for information dissemination, they are an unlikely catalyst for social change.
Daniel Esser & my article on #globaldv TED talks.

Jeffrey Sachs-The Strange Case of Dr Shock and Mr Aid (book review)

‘We’ are not simply bystanders or victims of the Reagans and Thatchers of the 20th century, but most of the time will buy into the existing structures even a little bit or for a short while. The person/professor/human being Jeffrey Sachs is changing development as much as he is changed by the developments of development. Somehow, we are all a little bit like Jeffrey Sachs...
Contemporary Jeffrey Sachs has re-invented himself again...

Reflexivity in Humanitarian Work

We need human rights work to be reflexive, without being recursive. The examples above suggest that such a future – critical, generative, and able to bring the lolz as required – may be on its way.
Ann Deslandes with some reflections on reflexivity, irony and alternative writing that still seem quite accurate as 'alternative' forms of writing #globaldev...

Why “Design For Development” Is Failing On Its Promise

But if we’re willing to tackle the thorny problems, to get involved in messy policy and political debates, and to go head-to-head with organizations and interests that would prefer we didn’t ask the tough questions, designers can be part of larger solutions.
Panthea Lee's questions about design & #globaldev are still important to keep in mind 5 years later...

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