Showing posts from February, 2011

In solidarity with ‘development 1.0’

Living in a small city in Canada and recently having attended a retirement party for an NGO friend made me think about change, solidarity and the value of local history and stories. Since I started blogging I sometimes feel under pressure to write about ‘current affairs’, i.e. ‘trending topics’, topics with Twitter hashtags or events taken on by the ‘ blogosphere ’ . Not writing about revolutions, T-Shirts or aid transparency – as important as these topics are – seems to be a way of getting out of the loop. But attending a retirement party for a friend, let’s call him Peter, who has been working for more than 25 years in the regional office of a well-known international development NGO and generally living outside the spotlight of international development made me reflect upon some of these issues from the ‘periphery’. It also reminded me that my blog is supposed to be engaging with ethnographic challenges around development and peace issues.  I live in a city in Canada that hos

Aid transparency-From standards to innovative accountability and action

When everyone can see how much aid is being spent where, and on what, governments whether giving or receiving aid – can be held accountable by their citizens for spending it well (Karin Christiansen, director of the global campaign for aid transparency, Publish What You Fund) I agree with the importance of more and better aid data as I have expressed already in previous posts . I also think that the International Aid Transparency Initiative is important. But agreeing on standards for aid transparency is only a first and relatively small step and linking transparency to real, new, innovative 21st century accountability and participatory ideas will be the much bigger challenge . How can citizens hold a government accountable over something that has been and will essentially be a political issue that management tools and technocratic fixes can’t ‘solve’? And I don’t mean in the traditional ‘every four years there are elections’ way. And, at least equally important, how ca