Duncan Green just proposed 9 trends and their impact on employment in the aid industry-particularly for fresh graduates or those freshly entering the sector. As a critical reader and friend of his blog I think that Duncan has done a great job outlining his 9 trends and starting this important discussion. But that he did not get everything right and in fact overlooked a few important trends as I am going to argue in my response.
So without further delay, here are my 9 trends and their implications for how to enter the sector and find meaningful engagement and employment. Each of my points actually deserves their own post-which maybe a project for the autumn…And while I believe these are emerging trends I also don’t judge them as simply ‘good’ or ‘bad’, hence the academic in me wants to add more nuances.
1. There are no trends: A lot of things will remain the same Generally speaking, I don’t like the word ‘trend’ and I genuinely believe that over the next 2-5 years many parameters wil…
Even if you are only a semi-regular visitor or reader of Aidnography you have probably noticed at some point that reading and reviewing aid worker memoirs or biographies is one of my pet projects. One of my small luxuries of being a full-time employee at a Swedish university is that I have time and space to follow this fairly impact-free small research project. Writing about careers inside the UN system is a particularly fruitful sub-genre. Boudewijn Mohr’s A Destiny in the making: From Wall Street to UNICEF in Africafeatures some of the core ingredients of a good memoir as a mid-level manager reflects on almost three decades of UNICEF work starting in 1985. Mohr’s unique contribution to the genre lies in the fact that he was neither a senior executive of the organization nor did he work in particularly dangerous environments-being the country representative for Sao Tome & Principe has never been exactly a hardship post. But Mohr’s reflections, as mundane as they sometimes must se…
This week's review has a strong humanitarian focus and lots of great people & initiatives are sharing new work! But there are also donkeys, fancy data visualizations & snarky tweets!
Development news: UNHRC corruption in Sudan; Burundi not happy about donkeys; inside the Central African Republic; ODI, CGD, HHI on the future of the humanitarian enterprise; inside Save The Children UK; rescuing 'safeguarding' from becoming a buzzword; a mass facial recognition project for Zimbabwe; randomistas to the rescue! How to conference better.
Our digital lives: Taking down philanthrocapitalists & neoliberal feminism; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's fame.
Academia: Medical education under fire; social media & harassment & more!
Development news Since the publication of my investigation into corruption in UNHCR Sudan on May 15, I've been contacted by numerous other refugees, as well as current & former UN staff, all backing it up. Really hoping thing…
We are in the process of examining 20+ MA projects at the moment-so without much of an introduction enjoy this week's link review from sunny Sweden!
Development news: Was the answer to #OxfamScandal out of proportion? Worsening situation in Central African Republic; do the SDGs undermine democracy? Poverty
porn-Ellen DeGeneres edition; ICT4D bullshit Bingo-Accenture edition;
learning from slum dwellers in Ghana; ultra-rich kids in Nigeria; Uganda
through the lens of a young photographer; failed missionaries; new books.
Our digital lives: YouTube producers burning out; healthy travel should be an employer's concern, too.
New from aidnography A Destiny in the Making (book review) I really enjoyed reading Mohr’s memoir precisely because of his insights into regular UNICEF work that keeps the organization going. Partly because of his extensive diary keeping he manages to go back to small details and daily routines within the bigger picture of UNICEF under Jim Grant…
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…