Stories about bad volunteering experiences, voluntourism and things that go wrong when predominantly young people yearn for meaningful experiences in the global South are regulars in my weekly link review. As tempting as snarky comments and virtual eye-rolling from development insiders (myself sometimes included) are, it is important to engage with the phenomenon constructively as well. Australia’s efforts to ban orphanage tourism and to educate young people about more responsible ways of global engagement are an important step in the right direction. Among all those pieces of a complicated puzzle, Claire Bennett, Joseph Collins, Zahara Heckscher & Daniela Papi-Thornton deliver a comprehensive, accessible book on Learning Service-The Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad that comes very close to delivering what the title promises.
What I really like about Learning Service is that the book takes a while to outline the framework of learning and broader issues of global volunteering…
I caught up with the creators of The MissionMarie-Marguerite Sabongui and Benedict Moran via Zoom in Istanbul to
learn more about their UN sitcom project. We discussed how to communicate
development and international politics issues differently in an age of
new TV platforms, satirical commentary as edutainment and what could be
the beginning of a global movement of creative talent taking on the absurdities of the aid
There is a
lot of crazy, absurd stuff happening in the UN
Aidnography: I am always intrigued about new and
different forms of how development issues are communicated-so naturally
your UN sitcom caught my attention. What triggered your project?
Marie: Ben and I broadly work in the field of international
development. I studied international development and environmental
issues and Ben and I were both working at the UN in New York. I was a
climate advisor for small islands at the UN and Ben the producer for
Al-Jazeera’s UN coverage. We kept crossing in the…
After the Economist’s piece on the (non-)value of doing a PhD and some comments later (e.g. Prometheus doesn't read the Economist (I like the slightly cynical dichotomy between ‘civilians’ and the ‘academic insiders) or the '100 Reasons NOT to Go to Graduate School' (they are only halfway through so check it out regularly in the future...) I had an interesting conversation with a prospective PhD student a few days ago.
This was not the first time that I had been approached about doing a PhD and I always try to be as frank as possible, even playing the ‘devil’s advocate’ when it comes to the complicated ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ decision-making process. At the end of our conversation I sat down and tried to summarize a few important and generic points from the point of view of doing a PhD in Development Studies and in the UK.
I understand that every case is different and involves a range of motives, options and rationales, but there a few important questions and topics t…
I’m writing a letter to you, because I’m not sure you’ll listen when I talk. You claim that you want to come back to my house, and that in fact, your visit will be good for me. Dear colonialism, I do not agree.
Especially since you have yet to leave my house.
When you arrived you were uninvited. I do not need to document the tragedies that unfolded under your watch. I do not need to document the painful legacies that you created. Others have done so more eloquently, devastatingly, and, indeed, empirically than I might right now in this short letter.
Welcome to a fresh link review from stormy and rainy Sweden!
Development news: Commitment to development (Sweden is #1!); Rwanda's cash transfer program everybody is talking about; Canada's OECD-DAC peer review; UN Women staff sacked over #AidToo; is the UNSG under siege? Citizens United Against Inhumanity; is pessimism a privilege? Positive thinking & poverty; edutainment meets behavioral science; CARE's humanitarian imaginary; Africa is always portrayed as a passive woman; accepting charity with dignity; challenging white drones; the radical history of Jean-Jacques Dessalines.
Our digital lives: Excuses are like...white male panel edition; Mo' cryptocurrencies, mo' opportunities for tax havens!
Publications: Investigative journalism in Africa; ending extreme poverty; medical brain drain? Not so fast!
Academia: Caribbean hurricane vulnerability & British colonial plantations.