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Hi all,

Only one more week before a short holiday break!

Development news: Holiday giving the right way; UNICEF in pictures Then & Now; Wonder Woman retires from UN job; Drowning-a massive cause of global child death; J.K. Rowling dislikes orphanages; aid enters-rents hike in Nigeria; Andrea Cornwall on gender, development and academia; do they know there’s evidence? SenseMaker & development projects; mapping the logistics of the U.S. military-industrial complex.

Our digital lives: A political TeenVogue; the 3D printing revolution that wasn’t.

Publications: Caring for humanitarian carers; engaged excellence; community monitoring to combat corruption.

Academia: Associations & their paywalled journals; better policies for more diverse panels.


New from aidnography

What’s next for #allmalepanel?

I have written about all male panels before and I am regularly following the #allmalepanel hashtag for updates on that topic. (...)
Recently, I noticed three developments that add more nuances to the debate on gender and panel diversity-and more broadly on how ‘we’ meet and conference.
Development news
It’s the Holiday Season. Time to Exploit the “Poor.”

1. For organizations and advocates – change the narrative.
Let her speak for herself.
If you do share her story, share her sense of agency.
Speak of her as a person, not as a disease or diagnosis.
Seek her authentic story, as complex as it may be.
Dispel divisive language that separates people, like “us” and “them.”
2. Follow BarbieSavior on Instagram – the feed was created by two former aid workers and is a satirical reminder of good intentions gone awry in the worst way possible.
3. Give to organizations that value the dignity of the people they serve.
Marshall Stowell for PSI. These are some basic tips-and it's actually a bit sad that you need to repeat them every holiday season before people sign up for goat-donating extravaganzas...

UNICEF @ 70: Then and Now

In 1960 in Mexico, three-year-old Concepcion Uribe wears leg braces to support her polio-weakened limbs outside a rural health centre. In 1991 in Sudan, a baby receives a dose of oral polio vaccine in a children’s clinic in Khartoum.
UNICEF presents a very simple, but quite effective 'then-and-now' glimpse into the visual history of the organization.

Wonder Woman dropped as UN equality champion

The UN did not explain why the project with Wonder Woman, announced in October, would end on Friday.
But spokesman Jeffrey Brez said campaigns using fictional characters often lasted no longer than a few months, Reuters news agency reported.
A short BBC story on the retirement of Wonder Woman as UN ambassador.

The silent epidemic: Drowning is a major cause of child death globally

In many regions of the world, drowning is a leading cause of child death – especially in many Asian countries, with the highest continental drowning rate in Africa. As with most epidemics, drowning affects the poorest and most vulnerable communities first and worst; over 90% of deaths are in developing countries, and children make up the majority of lives lost.
Here in Bangladesh, drownings account for 43% of all children who die aged one to five years old. More children are killed by drowning in Bangladesh than by malnutrition, diarrhoea and pneumonia combined.
Helen Morton for WhyDev on an under-addressed threat to child well-being in developing countries: Drowning.

Cut funding for orphanages to stop sex abuse, says J.K. Rowling's charity

Orphanages around the world often operate as centres for child trafficking and sexual abuse, and donors such as Britain, the United States and the European Union must cut funding to them, said a charity founded by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
Matthew Ponsford for Thomson Reuters Foundation. Looks like J.K. Rowling has her charitable act together...nice!

Mauduguri Residents Blame Relief Organisations For Massive Hike In House Rents

"I have been to five places to for accommodation, but the first thing they usually ask is: "Are you working for an NGO?" If you say no, they would say we are giving accommodation to people working with humanitarian agencies or non-governmental organisations. It is really disturbing and it is because the organisations are willing to pay millions in rent. In fact, most of the hotels have been booked for at least a year," Kadi lamented.
Bukola Aderibigbe, an undergraduate, said she did not believe that property owners were discriminating against locals until she witnessed a situation near her home on Damboa Road.
Sahara Reporters with a report from the humanitarian front lines in Nigeria and the political economy of humanitarian aid complex.

Men and Women in Gender and Development: A Conversation with Andrea Cornwall (University of Sussex)

Decolonising the academy is also a matter of looking critically at white privilege as part of the play of power in our institution, and thinking about white allyship and its possibilities and limits. Some people don’t like the language of ‘decolonizing’ and think it sounds hard, or it’s about something that’s in the past. But in my view it’s precisely because it’s uncomfortable that we need to situate today’s ‘development’ not just in relation to the legacy of colonialism, but in the continuing coloniality of the development industry. There are some unbroken continuities between that past and this present. We need to name that, make it visible, own it, do something to unsettle and change it.
Priliantina Bebasari talks to Andrea Cornwall for Say For Development. The long interview bridges two of the core themes of the blog, 'development' and the academy, and provides great insights to Andrea Cornwall's work abroad and 'at home'.

Making the Case for Evidence-Based Decision-Making

As Michele Jolin pointed out recently, few federal programs have sufficient resources to build or use evidence. There are limited resources for evaluation and other evidence-building activities, which too often are seen as “extras.” Moreover, many programs at the local, state, and national level have minimal information to use for program management and even fewer staff with the skills required to use it effectively.
When I was in government, we spent tens of millions of dollars on the randomized control trials of Head Start, which provided information on the effectiveness of the program at a high level but offered little about how to improve the program. The federal agency administering Head Start had remarkably little data to understand what programs were being implemented at the local level or how well they were being implemented.
Jennifer Brooks for SSIR. I have a feeling that she is underestimating the political nature of federal programs-do they really want more and better data?! Does the federal level really want to know local details that would require them to act upon?! On the discursive level everybody will agree to more and better data and evidence-based decision-making, but political will (and lack thereof) should not be underestimated...

Making Sense of Complexity: Review of SenseMaker for Development

As a researcher who has done numerous narrative projects and as a program manager, SenseMaker fits the beautiful tension of providing pragmatic -and usable- data and generating depth that can be used for thought leadership. It is powerful and can add the needed tool for understanding the complexity that is ever-present in development. I recommend its use for complex situations with the only recommendation of ensuring there is enough time for project teams to come up to speed on its uniqueness in its initial use.
Matthew Will shares interesting insights on his experience of using SenseMaker to map, visualize and analyze complexity.

Ecologies of Power: Counter Mapping the Logistical Landscapes and Military Geographies of the U.S. Department of Defense
The DoD is the largest institutional consumer of energy worldwide. It accounts for 80 to more than 90% of US Government energy use
Regine introduces a really interesting new book for We Make Money Not Art. Great pictures, figures and geographical (re)presentations of the logistical footprint of the U.S. military-industrial complex.

Our digital lives
If You're Shocked Teen Vogue Is Great, You're Not Paying Attention

Twitter was in disbelief that a publication for teen girls could be so intelligent and so political at once, though much of the shock came from older, established male journalists whose low expectations for teens, girls, and fashion magazines were on full, embarrassing display.
On Twitter, Gevinson offered a sage analysis of this landscape, the idea that publications and companies in general aimed at young women are becoming more specifically progressive because that’s what young women demand. And she wrote, “Why should it be shocking that mainstream pubs reckoning with accountability culture & the rising currency of feminism are suddenly feminist?”
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd for Jezebel on the recent discussion around a 'politicized' Teen Vogue and the broader landscape of (feminist) journalism.

The Rise and Fall of the Everyman Tycoon

Writing on, former employee Isaac Anderson placed the blame for those three machines’ problems squarely on MakerBot’s decision to go closed source. They could no longer rely on their old customer base of “capable hobbyists who provided tech-savvy feedback and suggestions for improvement.” The new class of buyers, he wrote, “were largely incapable non-hobbyists with no useful feedback, only unrealistic expectations.”
In hindsight, it’s easy to criticize MakerBot for misjudging its potential market. Even icons of innovation can’t always invent the future. “MakerBot, it was the first time people knew 3D printing existed,” says Hartman, one of the earliest employees. “To my mind that is the core of the success, and ultimately the same thing that led to the failure. It was promising the future, which is still coming.”
Andrew Zaleski for Backchannel with a long-read on MakerBot which evolves into a broader tale about the digital age, hypes and a future for 3D-printing.

Hot off the digital press
Twenty years after Novye Atagi: A call to care for the carers

In this personal story by a former head of office at an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) surgical hospital, a short, violent encounter leads to a long journey of recovery. There is an important role for the community in supporting the healing process; the author suggests that an integral and collaborative involvement by organizations like the ICRC is effective in addressing the impact of violence directed towards humanitarian aid workers.
Christoph Hensch for the International Review of the Red Cross add a powerful story the ongoing debate around aid worker care and well-being.

Interrogating an Engaged Excellence Approach to Research

This report will outline these debates, drawing out some of the emerging epistemological, normative and pragmatic arguments for what the Institute of Development Studies has now come to call ‘engaged excellence’. The main literature it will draw on comprises the following: the science–policy debates around Mode 1 and 2 research; debates within the philosophy of science; arguments for why a participatory action research approach is increasingly being used in the social sciences, health, social work and education; and debates about what it means to be an engaged university or scholar. It will also draw on some of the debates emerging from a push to decolonise academia, where those debates touch on issues of engagement and whose knowledge counts.
It will then consider what these arguments mean for the four pillars of engaged excellence that we have identified at IDS – delivering high-quality research; mobilising impact-orientated evidence; co-constructing knowledge; and building enduring partnerships – while emphasising their interdependence.
Katy Oswald with a new IDS report on 'engaged excellence' which sounds quite neoliberal, but delivers on content...

Community monitoring interventions to curb corruption and increase access and quality of service delivery in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review

This review assesses the evidence on the effects of community monitoring interventions on corruption and access and quality of service delivery outcomes. The review also considers the mechanism through which CMIs effect a change in corruption and service delivery outcomes, and possible moderating factors such as geographic region, income level or length of exposure to interventions.
A new report from Campbell Collaboration.

What to do about, and/or with, the American Sociological Association?

It would be easy to say ASA should get ahead of these shifts, stop publishing paywalled journals and embrace new publication models. We know that free journals could be published for a fraction of what ASA and Sage now spend and reap. But that would mean giving up a substantial share of the association’s current income.
Philip N. Cohen for SocArXiv on the complicated relationship between large professional associations and commercial publishers. Given that a substantial part of income of many associations comes from paywalled journals and mega-conferences I wonder what their future really is in the 21st century?

show me the policy (part 2)

I have pledged not to sponsor or support conferences (and don’t accept invitations to speak) unless there is a gender policy and evidence of good faith attempts at gender balance. Many other women and men have done the same. I wonder then, how the men invited to speak at this meeting will feel when they become aware that this seems to be a men-only invitation list. I wonder also, looking at the list, whether women will feel welcome to attend or participate in what looks to be a men-only event.
This imbalance is particularly concerning at a time when academia is attempting to address gender inequity in STEMM.
Jenny Martin with more reflections on panel politics wraps up this week's review and takes us back to where we started...


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