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Hello all,

Sometimes I wish there were more days to a week...I have been prevented from 'proper' blogging due to some academic publication deadlines and other projects. However, there is always time for the weekly link round-up and I hope there are some interesting stories for you to discover. The short, provocative and very interesting 'Wherever you are, there you can "change the world"' by Daniel Miller (EWB Canada) is one of them. '50 global education leaders you should follow on Twitter' is a good social media starter and there are some good resources on African issues, transitional justice, women and peacebuilding & participatory video engagement-and, as always, there's more...


Africa Portal's Community of Practice blog
The Africa Portal’s Community of Practice blog signals important policy research topics and trends in Africa. Contributors include top researchers and practitioners conducting on-the-ground, field-based research in Africa. The blog aims to share their work and document the challenges and learning that emerge from efforts to inform African policymaking.
I only stumbled upon this great blog this week-definitely some interesting stories from Africa that usually don't make the 'news'.

Transitional Justice and Displacement

The results of this project suggest that transitional justice may be an important part of effective responses to forced migration. At the same time, incorporating displacement as a critical human rights concern may strengthen transitional justice initiatives.
Lots of resources from the Brookings/LSE research project on transitional justice that was recently completed.

From the ground up - women's role in local peacebuilding in Afghanistan, Liberia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sierra Leone

This report from ActionAid, IDS, and Womankind looks at the role of women in local peacebuilding initiatives, finding that women are more likely than men to adopt a broad definition of peace which includes the household level and focuses on the attainment of individual rights and freedoms such as education, healthcare and freedom from violence. In contrast, men have a greater tendency to associate peace with the absence of formal conflict and the stability of formal structures such as governance and infrastructure.

Definitely worth checking out!

Africa: fresh voices, new perspectives
The Guardian's new Africa Network will join the debate on the many faces of the continent today – and where it is heading tomorrow
To round off the 'resource section', a link to the GUARDIAN's new Africa blog seems like a good idea...

Who are the experts?

On the one hand, the Most Significant Change technique is a form of participatory monitoring and evaluation that directly involves the voices and perspectives of beneficiaries. Essentially the process involves the collection of stories of significant change, followed by the systematic selection of the most significant of these stories by panels of designated community members and other stakeholders.
While on the other hand, Participatory video is an accessible, flexible medium for recording community stories of change. With InsightShare’s games and exercises and experiential learning approach participants can rapidly learn video skills, allowing people to tell their Most Significant Change stories in a familiar context and to someone they trust. The process itself is fun, direct and the results can be played and reviewed immediately. It also helps to avoid situations where project staff or external evaluators speak on behalf of communities, allowing people to speak for themselves.
Soledad Muniz on women, change, participatory video and voice-includes a lot of great links and additional resources, so check it out!

Wherever you are, there you can 'change the world'

The phrase “change the world” has been co-opted by what Dan Pallotta (in his HBR blog) recently called the “change-the-world industry”. One problem that Pallota’s blog discusses is that this “industry” also co-opts people who could be happier more effective world-changers if they did so outside the industry.
I think it is important that we recognize that changing the world can come from anyone, anywhere, anytime and affirm and celebrate world-changing in all its forms.
(We can, of course, give bonus points if it is “change the world for the better” and also if it is “sustainable” or “permanent” change. Furthermore, whether we join or support the change effort can depend on whether we agree with the direction and definition of “better” that the world-changer is following.)
 Letter from Nairobi: Vanity Capital and Vanity Companies
“Nairobi is probably at the point where there is too much money for too few ventures,” explains Sean Smith of Invested Development, one of the crowd of impact investment firms that have set up shop in Nairobi. Others include Grassroots Business Fund, Acumen Fund, and Village Capital. At least a dozen more impact funds invest in east African ventures from offices elsewhere.
“There’s a flood of cheap money from grants, and a crowded field of investors, so investors have to demonstrate their value proposition as investors,” says Ross Baird of Village Capital.
That has led to some trash-talking between the impact crowd and funds looking for straight-up technology plays – who sometimes vie for the same deals. Most new social impact-related startups in Nairobi are tech-based, seeking to leverage M-Pesa or mobile phones. And even the tech-first investors acknowledge one of the realities of Nairobi’s startup ecosystem: There’s a lot more impact money flowing in than conventional investors.
Signs of a Kenyan tech-bubble, partially aided by social investors...development 2.0 isn't all that easy...

Maoist chairman calls for promotion of ‘war tourism’ while unveiling Guerilla trekking trail

The 19-day Guerilla Trek starts from Myagdi and passes through rugged mountains, rivers, paddy fields including Thawang of Rolpa, the ‘cradle of Maoist insurgency’, and other historic hotspots of the decade-long insurgency in Rukum.
While Nepal is struggling with a rising number of Everest tourists and affiliated problems regarding safety and environmental impact, maybe 'war tourism' could an opportunity to open some very remote parts of Nepal to international tourism?!


The ‘big debate’ in 1960s anthropology doesn’t actually tell us anything about Mitt Romney

Forcing anthropological theories into culturally-specific pigeonholes is also bad for theory formation. As Margaret Mead (or Confucius, or Hillel, or Ongka) would tell you, all humans are both autonomous and dependent, shaped by and also shaping their culture. Only a very small number of cultures find this idea somehow contradictory or problematic — the contemporary US being one of them. We’ve spent decades jettisoning our own cultural baggage and developing models of culture which aren’t shacked by the old individual-society dichotomy. The real lesson of anthropology for the election is that our intellectual horizons must be much broader than a choice between radically autonomous freedom versus submission to the welfare state. We should be using our theories to enrich the public debate — not the other way around.
This definitely more interesting for the anthropological geeks out there, but a interesting and relevant piece that shows the limitations of what long-term academic theories and traditional debates can and cannot add to poll-obsessed contemporary election debates.

Revisiting the 'truly disadvantaged' 25 years later

Wilson, then a University of Chicago sociologist who since has moved to Harvard, offered an alternative view in "The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy," a short book — 176 pages — that stirred hundreds of follow-up studies and changed the national conversation about poverty.
Talking about true 'impact'.

50 Global Edu Leaders You Should Follow On Twitter

Whether you agree with what the following leaders and leading resources included, they still exert influence over the education industry. Give them a follow and use them to discover even more names and faces currently shaping schools across the world.
 This is an interesting list, but a bit too conventional for my liking.
Unfortunately, there are also no 'development' academics included or education leaders from the Global South :(
Will the REF disadvantage interdisciplinary research? The inadvertent effects of journal rankings
In summary, the results of our study support what is now a fairly well-established picture from research evaluation studies that criteria of excellence in academia are essentially based on disciplinary standards. If journal rankings are used, consciously or not, to help determine the allocation of esteem and resources in exercises such as the REF, they can supress forms of interdisciplinarity that are otherwise acknolewdged to be academicaly and socially useful.
Research-based contribution on the challenges of interdisciplinary research. My experience with UK-PhD education was that many universities, schools and initiatives stress interdisciplinarity for the right learning objectives (well, it looks good if students from different disciplines engage with each other and learn together), but without taking the academic job market sufficiently into consideration which is still very much based on disciplinary skills, networks and publications. One colleague commented on the article and he was cautious about interdisciplinary research projects and funding that often look great and innovative on paper but find it difficult to accommodate different objectives and skills in a meaningful way. There probably should be a larger debate within 'development studies' about these issues...


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