Links & Contents I Liked 365

Hi all,

Wow...this has turned into one of the longest #globaldev reviews in a while-so I hope you have some extra time to explore great food for thought from India, Liberia, Ethiopia, Nepal, New Zealand, Hawaii, Afghanistan, Lesotho, Burundi, Iraq, Sudan &  Tonga!

Enjoy!

My quotes of the week
Elders are the collective wealth of our community. They are also majority women, and majority impoverished. Women of older generations were systematically denied the opportunity to build a nest egg because they were forced into low-paid work, homemaking and dependency on their husbands.
Older women cannot take care of themselves even if they wanted to. In a decade, one-third of Hawaii will be elderly people. There is no plan to care for them, other than to dump the work on their daughters. We need an eldercare infrastructure to care for every senior, not just the wealthy.

(This state says it has a ‘feminist economic recovery plan.’ Here’s what that looks like).

This is the task for journalists covering Africa and Covid-19: Hold space for communities that those in power would rather not hear. It is a tremendous challenge. Very few African countries have media markets that can pay for quality, independent investigative and documentary journalism. Many are dependent on Western donor governments to sustain their public health coverage, and this tips the scale in favor of stories that make those organizations look good. (Africa Is Not Waiting to Be Saved From the Coronavirus)

(A)ccording to the EU’s own measures of academic excellence, our projects were highly successful – they generated many peer-reviewed publications, received media attention, yielded significant career advancements for scholars working on them, and even resulted in further successful EU funding applications on migration governance. However paradoxically, the EU structure manages to separate production of expert knowledge from policymaking in the field of mobility governance.
(Fund but disregard: the EU’s relationship to academic research on mobility)

New from Aidnography
Would you consider writing your reports backwards?
I read a lot of stuff on the Internet. I also skim-read a lot. I open a lot of pdf files, too.
Please re-consider your organizational practice to have a report starting between page 10 to 15.
Tell me as early as possible why I should engage with your report, why I should invest precious time to read it, perhaps even share it in my weekly #globaldev link review…
COVID-19 & #globaldev
The coronavirus slayer! How Kerala's rock star health minister helped save it from Covid-19
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), of which she is a member, has been prominent in Kerala’s governments since 1957, the year after her birth. (It was part of the Communist Party of India until 1964, when it broke away.) Born into a family of activists and freedom fighters – her grandmother campaigned against untouchability – she watched the so-called “Kerala model” be assembled from the ground up; when we speak, this is what she wants to talk about.
The foundations of the model are land reform – enacted via legislation that capped how much land a family could own and increased land ownership among tenant farmers – a decentralised public health system and investment in public education. Every village has a primary health centre and there are hospitals at each level of its administration, as well as 10 medical colleges. This is true of other states, too, says MP Cariappa, a public health expert based in Pune, Maharashtra state, but nowhere else are people so invested in their primary health system.
Laura Spinney for the Guardian and a view from India on how strong local health systems are an important piece in the puzzle to fight the crisis.

Diaries from the Frontline: How Education Organizations Are Providing Food and Relief during COVID-19
“Diaries from the Frontline” is a new blog series that will feature stories from education organizations working on the front lines of service delivery about what the crisis means for them and the underprivileged communities in which they’re working, as well as the ways that they are helping children to stay engaged in learning or helping families to cope.
Rita Perakis, Nikita Khosla & Wajiha Bari introduce a new series by the Center fro Global Development on front line education responses to the crisis, starting with stories from Liberia & Pakistan.

The irrelevance of NGOs in Tanzania
So far, the responses of NGOs to the pandemic have been simply bewildering, opaque, and ambiguous. Part of this ambiguity, I think, is due to both the history of NGOs in Tanzania and the issues that they continue to remain deadly silent about. In this latter category is what seems to be an almost unanimous agreement among the NGOs, with very few exceptions, of forgoing what they claim to be their main mission, that is: to cultivate a culture of accountable governance as well as the building of strong democratic institutions in the country. This abandonment is disappointing and surprising at the same time, because during a crisis like the one we are in now, one would have expected that the NGOs, far from pretending as if they no longer exist, would double, or even triple, their efforts to force those in power to act more responsibly and deliver to their constituents.
Khalifa Said for Africa is a Country; NGOs and civil society in general have a hard time in many countries to live up to their expectations-see also the post from 5 years ago at the end about globally shrinking civil society spaces.

This is Not the Time for Facebook Activism
What I know is that the kind of giving that is documented on Facebook or in the media is unlikely to be responding to a real need in a sustainable way. I have long been an advocate of responsible giving, following the Learning Service approach. To truly know how to be of service, we need to ask what is needed and then make a carefully-planned response. It is unlikely that these people handing out instant noodles have done this. It reminds me of what happened here after the earthquake in 2015. There was an immediate response, and many thousands of volunteers rushed out to build houses for those who had lost theirs. But what ended up being built for people were just rickety structures that were poorly put together, which these days people can barely use as their cow shed.
Sushil Babu Chhetri for Learning Service with a reminder from Nepal that the current crisis will unleash a lot of digital clicktivism-but hopefully also more evidence of direct and mutual aid.

Covid has shown us we don’t need offices to build community at work
Rather than occupying an office five days a week, what if the workplace became a semi-regular meeting space instead? A venue without desks or screens. A place to find inspiration, exchange skills, brainstorm solutions, share lunches and build stronger working relationships. A space where seating arrangements don’t exist and team silos are broken down. A smaller venue that doesn’t require extortionate rent, so that employers can pay fairer wages or employees can receive a subsidy to cover the costs of setting up a home workspace.
Imagine the benefits of reducing the daily commute. Clearer skies and waterways in cities. No longer sitting for hours in tedious congestion, wasting time and money on fuel and car maintenance. The long-term impact this shift would have on reducing carbon emissions and helping to tackle climate change.
Camilla Bell for Greenpeace New Zealand shares some reflections on the forthcoming changes of how our sector could organize working, meeting and building a community.

This state says it has a ‘feminist economic recovery plan.’ Here’s what that looks like.
Elders are the collective wealth of our community. They are also majority women, and majority impoverished. Women of older generations were systematically denied the opportunity to build a nest egg because they were forced into low-paid work, homemaking and dependency on their husbands.
Older women cannot take care of themselves even if they wanted to. In a decade, one-third of Hawaii will be elderly people. There is no plan to care for them, other than to dump the work on their daughters. We need an eldercare infrastructure to care for every senior, not just the wealthy.
(...)
I have not seen any state or nation propose a feminist economic recovery, a recovery that explicitly centers women or attempts to counteract patriarchy. Even proposals from left movements in the U.S. are missing this. They are bold on race and class, but gender is taken for granted. People don’t seem to understand the fundamental role of patriarchy, and how to tie gender in with race and class. So, I turned to the people with real power — women organizing in our communities who are active inside and outside government.
Frances Nguyen for the Lily interviews Khara Jabola-Carolus, the Hawaiian commissioner for the Commission on the Status of Women about the island's ambitious recovery strategy.
5 Lessons on Combatting Misinformation During COVID-19
Thanks to a strategic partnership with TikTok’s Corporate Responsibility Team, our corporate account has become the second most followed UN agency, even though IOM joined the platform quite late. TikTok has also topped IOM social media ranking worldwide, forcing us to recognize its potential.
(...)
And as the world continues to battle COVID-19, we want to reflect on five lessons learned by our social media team.
Interesting insights from IOM...although I have a few questions about the 'strategic partnership'...

Quarantined and Stalked by Covid-19, UN Field Staff Live With Fear and Anxiety
In these circumstances where staff are trying to help others, she said, “You’re also dealing with your own stress and worried about your own health, your family, your friends, your colleagues. All of that really takes a toll. It has become very difficult for colleagues to balance work and life.”
The agency has reinforced some of its supportive measures, especially in communications. “You can’t communicate enough,” Clements said, “because people ask, What if I get sick? We have access to doctors in many, many languages through a telemedicine app where if one needs support and advice, you can find a doctor any time day or night basically using your phone.”
The Refugee Agency and other UN entities — including the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Development Program, Unicef, the World Bank Group and the World Food Program — tap the expertise of the Rome Institute, an Italy-based group of counselors and coaches.
Barbara Crossette for PassBlue with some interesting insights on how the 'UN system' is dealing with the crisis and supporting staff while working on a 'crisis on top of crises'.

Africa Is Not Waiting to Be Saved From the Coronavirus
This is the task for journalists covering Africa and Covid-19: Hold space for communities that those in power would rather not hear. It is a tremendous challenge. Very few African countries have media markets that can pay for quality, independent investigative and documentary journalism. Many are dependent on Western donor governments to sustain their public health coverage, and this tips the scale in favor of stories that make those organizations look good. Other outlets operate as PR vehicles for their home governments and by extension for the countries that are their strong allies. Few foreign outlets are interested in true partnership with African journalists, and for the few critical journalists the erosion of press freedom across the continent is devouring whatever space they have to work.
Nanjala Nyabola for the Nation with an important long-read about journalism on, from and with 'Africa'.

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic we have taken urgent action to collate useful guidance and resources related to research ethics.
Kate Hawkins for Research in Gender and Ethics with an excellent collection of resources on health-related research ethics.

Development news
“They came to kill the mothers” in Kabul maternity hospital attack
In the days following the attack on the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-supported Dasht-e-Barchi hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, it has become clear that what happened in Kabul on 12 May was a deliberate assault on a maternity hospital with the purpose of killing mothers in cold blood.
“I went back the day after the attack and what I saw in the maternity hospital demonstrates it was a systematic shooting of the mothers,” says Frederic Bonnot, MSF’s head of programmes in Afghanistan.
MSF on the attack on their supported hospital in Kabul. Another new low in terms of attacks on civilians & medical infrastructure.

Why the public-private partnership to build Lesotho’s only specialist hospital floundered
And the public-private partnership once set to revolutionize investment into healthcare in Africa may have outstripped the country’s ability to manage it, leaving it vulnerable to spiralling costs and infighting — with Lesotho’s health system left to pick up the tab.
Pascalinah Kabi for Bhekisisa with more details on the PPP that utilizes almost 1/3 of Lesotho's annual health budget.

In Another Life: The Boys of Burundi
Thirty years ago, six young friends lived on the streets of Bujumbura in Burundi. They were mischievous, playful, and had to fend for themselves in a daily struggle for survival.
As children, they made few plans for life, knowing that tomorrow was not guaranteed.
Today, only three of them are still alive - the other three were taken by war and poverty. Now, nearing the age of 40, they reflect on their lives and the challenges they face, speaking of moments of joy and loss.
Al-Jazeera features Philippe de Pierpont's documentary from Burundi until 12 June.

Fund but disregard: the EU’s relationship to academic research on mobility
Our experiences of working on EU-funded projects were not stories of personal failure at impacting policy making. Rather, based on our exchanges with hundreds of academic researchers who signed our letter, the failure appears to be systemic. Furthermore, according to the EU’s own measures of academic excellence, our projects were highly successful – they generated many peer-reviewed publications, received media attention, yielded significant career advancements for scholars working on them, and even resulted in further successful EU funding applications on migration governance. However paradoxically, the EU structure manages to separate production of expert knowledge from policymaking in the field of mobility governance. While the onus is put on research proposals to demonstrate how they will implement impact-maximising measures to reach out to audiences and stakeholders, including policy-makers, the opacity of the policy process and the lack of engagement by decision-makers on the side of EU institutions is hardly accounted for.
Barak Kalir and Céline Cantat for Crisis Magazine with interesting insights into the systemic disjunctures between the 'evidence-based' discourse and the political realities when it comes to migration and research: Demand 'evidence' from researchers and then disregard it, implementing policies that follow populist ideologies instead.
Women’s Empowerment and Economic Development: A Feminist Critique of Storytelling Practices in “Randomista” Economics
The objective of this article is to interrogate some of the storytelling practices deployed by randomista economists through a critical reading of a widely cited essay by Esther Duflo on the relationship between women’s empowerment and economic development. I focus here on Duflo as a leading exponent of randomista economics and as someone who has written on a topic that is of particular interest to feminists working in development. And I have chosen to focus on a review essay because it provides the opportunity to scrutinize the kinds of evidence that are privileged (or dismissed) by the author, how these are woven together to tell a story, and the message she is seeking to communicate through her story telling.
Naila Kabeer with a great new open access article in Feminist Economics that engages with RCTs and Esther Duflo's storytelling.

‘Good offices’ for others, bad offices for us?
For real cultural change to take place, it will not be enough to commission ethical conduct trainings and staff wellbeing surveys or facilitate critical reflection workshops. Without radical reforms enacted according to the findings of these exercises, they remain mere window-dressing. A healthy organisational culture requires trust in the system’s ability and willingness to adapt. That can only come from intersectional diversity and new role models – women and men – who show the field how inclusive leadership works in practice. Anything less than a diversification of power and update of leadership culture will be insufficient and insincere. Peace and security organisations must decide now if they want to emerge from this global crisis radically reformed, or arrogantly complacent.
Miriam Bensky for LSE Blogs on how to challenge patriarchal organisational culture in the peace and security field.

#032: Evolving humanitarian organisations to where they need to be | Kate Moger
We then go deep on professionalisation and ethics in the humanitarian sector, and what this means for managing people in the present day. This includes her own experiences caring for a young child, and where the sector still needs to grow away from its macho roots.
Ian D. Quick talks to Kate Moger for the One Step Forward podcast about humanitarian professionalism and much more!

Balancing research and practice in an international NGO
In setting up a practitioner research initiative in Christian Aid, the REL team made some assumptions about incentives and capabilities, meaningful research frameworks, and the possibilities for delivering decentralised practitioner research on a tight budget. Not all of these assumptions held. Is our decentralised, collaborative research model working? We may have been overly ambitious in concept and design; translation into practice and the studies themselves have not progressed as far as we initially hoped. Trying to set up study that is both practitioner-led and decentralised led to a process that was too open to iteration, making it challenging to keep a hold on the overall picture, ensure connections between the elements, ensure research quality and, ultimately, have impact. Co-creating collaborative research is hard: it takes patience and time, and it is even more complicated when being negotiated at a distance through many layers and the fragmented relationships that connect them.
Kate Bingley, Kate Newman & Kas Sempere for Christian Aid on how challenging it is to 'walk the talk' of equitable, participatory research in #globaldev.
Our digital lives
Randi Rahbar: “What do I do with a credit card in a country like Iraq?”
And even if I have a credit card, what do I do with a credit card in a country like Iraq? For example, high-end secure-gateway online stores like eBay won’t always accept purchases from Iraq, even with an international credit card. There’s also a huge gap here in terms of bringing in other brands, let’s say Amazon, which we do not have direct access to from Iraq. What I did is, I provided access to Amazon for people who don’t have payment cards.
Majd Al Waheidi talks to Randi Rahbar for Rest of World about online shopping and digital culture in Iraq.

Anatomy of an internet shutdown
How citizens, telecom employees, and activists in Sudan turned a battle for digital rights into a referendum on the government
Jina Moore for Rest of World with a great piece from Sudan!
Make sure you subscribe to their newsletter and explore ROW journalism on tech, ICT4D and digital culture from more unusual places!

The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months
While the boys of ‘Ata have been consigned to obscurity, Golding’s book is still widely read. Media historians even credit him as being the unwitting originator of one of the most popular entertainment genres on television today: reality TV. “I read and reread Lord of the Flies ,” divulged the creator of hit series Survivor in an interview. It’s time we told a different kind of story. The real Lord of the Flies is a tale of friendship and loyalty; one that illustrates how much stronger we are if we can lean on each other.
After about 150,000 shares it's fair to say that Rutger Bregman's story from the Guardian went viral this week. Among many other things it is a reminder to read stories about the Stanford prison experiment or the origins of the 'Stockholm Syndrome' with caution and challenge our trust in these stories (written by white men, of course...) that seem to explain our world so easily...Kate Lyons story The 'real Lord of the Flies': a survivor's story of shipwreck and salvation is also important because here Mano, one of the survivors, tells his story more in detail.

What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 154, 25 August 2015)

Does the ADB have a problem with women?
As much as I like to propagate open communication that authentically captures an organization’s work and culture I also think that such communication needs to keep a larger (digital) audience in mind. In short: Even if you were not responsible for the invitation list, maybe refrain from publishing a group photo with 25 men-or send it to participants privately.
That one time the ADB shared a 25 #allmalepanel picture...

5 trends that explain why civil society space is under assault around the world
Many INGOs are further perceived – rightly or wrongly – as being more concerned with their own survival than the needs of their clients. Yet although reasonable regulation is legitimate, much bureaucratic oversight has become overly burdensome – a tool to obstruct and constrain dissenting voices rather than enhance accountability. Many CSOs are unable to cope with complex, changing procedures and struggle to obtain unrestricted funding required for effective, accountable organisations.
Just in case anybody says 'we didn't know about shrinking civil society spaces'...this is from Oxfam.

Refugee feedback inspires flat-pack homes
Its shelters are designed to be more robust and durable than the tents humanitarian organisations typically supply. Unlike tents, which last for around three to six months, the metal structures and polypropylene panels of the Better Shelter units are designed to withstand harsh sunlight, strong winds and dust storms, and last for at least three years. Feedback from refugees in Ethiopia, Iraq, Macedonia and Nepal now using the Better Shelters is helping to shape how the design evolves.
That one time the #globaldev community got excited about IKEA shelters...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dear white middle class British women: Please don't send used bras (or anything, really) to Africa

Links & Contents I Liked 366

Should I consider a PhD in International Development Studies?

Would you consider writing your reports backwards?