Links & Contents I Liked 214

Hi all,

Welcome to 2017!

The first link review in the new year features reviews of 2016 from a development and communication perspective-as well as fresh links and new content to get you reading and thinking during these cold January days!

Development news: Development lingo you want to avoid in 2017; cash transfers work; WWF in human rights abuse complaint; Smart phones help expectant mothers in Kenya; sanitary pads, menstruation & the challenge of keeping girls in schools in Uganda; UN leadership needs more than women to become feminist; local aid work in North Carolina; 5 development career tips; photography & short stories. 

Our digital lives: How to make sense of media, technology and politics? Philanthropy and news organizations

Academia: An anthropologist in the textile mill; open science; academics & emotional literacy


New from aidnography
My development blogging & communication review 2016
Now in its 6th installment, I am reviewing another year of my blogging and communication; includes a full list of all the commentary, book reviews & more!

Reviewing 2016

Our favourite global development stories of 2016

From refugees to aid worker safety, leaving no one behind to localising aid, it’s been a busy year for humanitarians and development folk.
Rachel Banning-Lover for Guardian's Global development professionals network.
What’s your favorite TDS story from 2016?

While many of the year’s dominant narratives may be bleak, they are not the only ones that exist. There have also been major strides against communicable diseases like Ebola and Zika, hardworking entrepreneurs around the world are helping improve the lives of the poor, and global poverty continues to be on the decline. I’ve also noticed an increase in civic participation — people who have, particularly in light of recent events, renewed their commitments to being involved in public life. If we can provide people the tools to do that effectively, that feels like a small service to the world.
Sarika Bansal for The Development Set.

Africa's top hashtags of 2016

Whether mourning the death of a musical giant, teasing presidents or launching protest movements, Africans took to social media in greater numbers than ever before in 2016
Hugo Williams for BBC News.

What 2016’s most popular social media memes tell us about how young Africa sees itself

But economic gloom did not stop young Africans managing to see the funny side of global issues from an African perspective.
Yomi Kazeem for Quartz.

sister-hood milestones in 2016

sister-hood was launched in May this year to create a space where women of Muslim heritage could share their experiences and opinions in order to disrupt dominant narratives and stereotypes surrounding them. As we reach the end of 2016, we thought it would be a good time to reflect and look back on some of the the milestones we’ve achieved over the past seven months.
Sister Hood Mag with their reflections on 2016.

Development news
17 Development Clichés I’ll Be Avoiding in 2017

Goodbye “empowerment,” “capacity building,” and “silver bullet.”
Sarika Bansal for The Development Set-the title pretty much says it all ;)!

U.K.’s cash transfer programs are assailed and lauded, all in one week

The idea of cash handouts are controversial in the public eye, as the Daily Mail highlights. Assuring the British taxpayer that they are getting value for money can be a hard sell when cash handout projects can seem like a free-for-all; but there is evidence to suggest that their are strong benefits to using it instead of traditional aid.
Charlie Ensor for The Humanosphere tries to bring 'evidence' into the post-factual space created by the Daily Mail.

Human rights abuses complaint against WWF to be examined by OECD

WWF has voluntarily agreed to the mediation process in Switzerland although it said it disagreed with turning the OECD guidelines designed for commercial companies “into a mechanism for resolving issues between two non-profit organisations”.
Patrick Barkham for The Guardian with a reminder that the WWF is less non-profit and quite corporate when promoting their CSR-BS-work for big businesses.

Kenya: smartphone helps lift maternity fees' worries

M-Afya is not there to give financial support, but to assist in saving the money that it is needed. Pregnant women can register at ten different private clinics. Once they have done so, the clinic develops a birth plan and creates an account. The women can deposit money in the account via the mobile payment system M-Pesa.
"Anybody can pay into that account," explained Nyongesa. "Any well-wisher, any family member, any community member can pay as long as they have the mother's phone number."
There are no fixed amounts, everybody can just pay as much as he or she can afford, at any time. The money is locked into the account and can only be used for the delivery. It will be there when it's needed.
Rahel Klein for DW Africa with an interesting story on how mobile phones, mobile payments and maternal health interact in Kenya.

Does Handing Out Sanitary Pads Really Get Girls To Stay In School?

"This is a really substantial improvement," says Montgomery. "I mean, what we've shown here is that compared to doing nothing, we can make a substantial difference by a simple intervention."
But Montgomery also notes that there are a lot of caveats that point to the challenges of a study like this. So many girls drop out or transfer in that region of Uganda that the researchers ended up losing track of about 40 percent of the girls. Also, more than half of those who were left in the study turned out to be too young to get their periods, says Montgomery.
"One of the difficulties is knowing the age of the girls where many of them don't know their own age."
Columbia's Sommer says there's an additional obstacle for researchers: "We don't have good data on average age of menstruation in sub-Saharan Africa and many low-income countries."
Sommer also would like to have seen more information on other potentially crucial factors — how sensitive teachers at the school are about the menstruation challenge, for instance, or what the toilets at the school are like.
"If girls don't have a safe, private place to manage their periods ... then even with supplies or even with education, they still will be hindered," says Sommer.
Nurith Aizenman for NPR Goat and Soda reviews the challenge of menstruation and school attendance in Uganda.

António Guterres: The Ninth Man

But gender parity in staffing cannot be a main pillar of Guterres’s feminist project, and he seems to know that this is a long route to empowerment. While more women at all levels of the UN’s bureaucracy is desirable for the sake of diversity, it will not necessarily generate feminist policy actions. Also, a focus on gender parity in staffing risks being perceived as an elitist project; ‘jobs for the girls’ but not necessarily justice and opportunities for women around the world under harsh patriarchal regimes. So another priority for Guterres will be to bring gender priorities to his reiterated commitments to peace, sustainable development, and management reform.
Anne-Marie Goetz for OpenDemocracy with a reminder that simply appointing more women to senior UN jobs will not be enough to implement a feminist agenda.

Interview with ‘local aid worker’ Marlene Myers

I am working on documentary film project with my Elon University colleague Dr. Ahmed Fadaam on the topic of how refugees adjust to life in North Carolina.
Last week we met with Marlene Myers who has worked for the last 25 years as the State Refugee Coordinator for North Carolina. She is employed by the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services and works with the United States Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. Her job is to oversee the placement of refugees in locations around North Carolina.
Tom Arcaro looks at a different set of 'aid workers' and talks to one who works 'at home' in North Carolina.

Trying to break into international development? My 5 tips learned the hard way

I’m told that the most senior positions in international organizations or NGOs tend to go to individuals with strong backing from their home government. Joining the civil service and spending several years is a great investment for later down the rode.
Thomas Park shares 5 concise insights from his development career.

Four Photographers And A Poet Are Travelling Around Northern Nigeria To Tell Fresh Stories

The photographer leading the charge, Nonso Edwin Emeka Chukwu, is a creative photographer and an artist, who got started taking pictures because of his love of beauty and adventure – a clear driving force in the North is not Not photo trip.
Konbini Magazine introduces an interesting storytelling project in Northern Nigeria.

Development short stories: a tale from Mexico on the agony of doubt

Marco and I went to school three more times, with dirty uniforms and no lunch. We played football but felt dizzy in the sun. Everyone asked us questions that we did not want to answer, and some shared their lunch with us. By the end of the week we did not want to return. Not because we were dumb, but rather because my mom wouldn’t come out and we didn’t have any money, and I took a sandwich from Ramon’s bag and we got into a fight when I ate it. I was told not to come back. I was asked to bring my mom so she could chat with them, but she did not want to come out and they wouldn’t believe me.
I might one day go to another school because I like it, but right now I can’t.
Roberto Franco-Alba and the power of fiction in communicating development!

Our digital lives

Media, Technology, Politics

To document some of our thinking, we are releasing six pieces that look at different issues that we think are important for trying to make sense of the relationship between technology and current political dynamics in the US.
The Data & Society research institute with great pieces that both summarize and take the debate around technology, algorithms, data etc. forward.

Philanthropists galvanize around news

Foundations should provide operating and project support with few or no strings attached. Additionally, they should give dollars that help newsrooms and other community-based nonprofits take creative risks, explore new revenue streams, and collaborate with partners. Doing so provides organizations the stable support they need while also empowering them to experiment, learn, and adapt to a changing landscape. Funding infrastructure also insulates philanthropy from accusations of deliberately influencing coverage.
Molly De Aguiar for Nieman Lab on how philanthropy and news organizations can work together.


Your View: Lessons from a textile mill

I learned that even in Massachusetts, the state where I grew up, and where I can drive from end to end in a few hours, there are chasms in how people see and experience the world. I am an anthropologist, so I knew this before my mill education began. My bread-and-butter is understanding how people make sense of the world they inhabit. I know that with differences spanning race, gender, class, religion, age, and more, we each see the world not so much how it is but how we are.
But with my hands-on mill education, I truly came to understand the value of immersing ourselves in new perspectives. No matter our formal education, no matter our political orientation or family backgrounds, each of us would benefit from seeing the world through the eyes of people unlike ourselves.
Anthropology professor Caitrin Lynch for Southcoast Today on immersing herself in textile mill communities and the power of leaving your filter bubble...

The year 2016 in open access. Cracks in the mainstream – a subjective review

For the first time I have decided to add a subtitle to this review. I think that at the end of 2016 we, without much exaggeration, can talk about “Cracks in the mainstream” of scholarly communication. During last several years the debate on open access has changed its main subject from “do we need open access” to “how we should make research open”.
Witold Kieńć on DeGruyter's Open Science Blog; good summary of key developments and the fact that a commercial publisher engages in these discussions openly is an added bonus.

The focus on better communicating certain ‘truths’ is misplaced: academics must improve their emotional literacy

Academics are able to make their opinions widely known via social and traditional media – their ready access to such platforms shows that they are indeed part of the ‘elite.’ They should be aware of the unintended impacts that their remarks – and even their tweets and retweets – can have; alienating the very people whom they wish to influence, and making deeper engagement and mutual learning difficult or impossible.
Ruth Dixon for LSE Impact of Science blog on how academics need to review and expand their communicatibe repertoire in the post-factual age.


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